Pregnancy guilt

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I wasn’t planning on becoming pregnant, and when I did it became less of a celebration and more of a waiting game, counting down the days until the next milestone.

Days and days of repeated pregnancy tests until I could get a GP appointment, then more days waiting for a scan. The scan was shocking, I was sure it couldn’t be true.

After that came the announcement and then the fear…now I’ve told people what happens if “something” happens?

A colleague (actually there were 6 pregnant colleagues at the time) was pregnant following a lot of time and treatment, and 2 friends of mine (both of whom have since had babies) had struggled for years and almost given up hope of pregnancy, so I really understand how lucky we were to become pregnant so easily.  However, it didn’t feel amazing, I just felt scared and guilty.

How was it that having never even had a pregnancy scare I fell pregnant so easily?

What did this mean?

Would something happen to the baby?

Did I really deserve this?

 

When people asked me if I was looking forward to the baby it was difficult, I hadn’t really wanted one so it was hard to get excited about it.  Yes we had agreed we would have a baby at some point, but the timing wasn’t great, having just moved into a derelict house we didn’t get planning permission until January 2013 (I was due in April) so we were living in difficult conditions and then had a race on to get somewhere suitable for a baby in time.  Financially it was always going to be difficult, but coming at a time when expenses were so significant was a bit of a nightmare.  I remember a midwife coming round to take an urgent blood test and having to let her into our room which was piled high with boxes and had a curtain over the door to try and keep the dust down, I was convinced she would report me to social services!

I spent so much time stressing over the house and finances that having a baby to stress about wasn’t ideal.  I remember dozens of sleepless nights worrying about high blood pressure and the birth before I got myself signed up to pregnancy yoga and antenatal classes.

I was convinced that because we had it so easy something was bound to go wrong.

After each midwife appointment I would wait anxiously for the next one, even when they became fortnightly I would start counting down to the next appointment on my walk home.  I didn’t feel my baby move until very late.  He was clearly nocturnal as he could go all day with not even a flutter until about 1am when he would have a jiggle for half an hour or so then go back to silence.  It was only when I was quite far along that I could rely on any sort of movement, even the tricks of cold water recommended by the midwives didn’t frighten him into movement!  Generally my pregnancy was really easy, which should have made me relax and feel better…but it didn’t.  It was just another nail in the box convincing me that something was bound to go wrong.

With hindsight and having spoken to other mums and read other blogs, I wonder if pregnancy guilt is in fact something that just comes to us all, however we become pregnant, for whatever reason and in whatever circumstance.  I have a friend who was trying for a baby for a few months and when she did fall pregnant she didn’t realise and had attended a party and drunk alcohol.  It was easy for me, an outsider, to reassure her that she shouldn’t feel guilty, having lived a healthy and active lifestyle for six months while trying to fall pregnant then having 2 G&Ts when you think you’re not is NOT a reason to feel guilty.  Now, however, I can appreciate why she felt so bad about it.

Perhaps it’s the pregnancy hormones, or a sudden realisation of the wonder of the human body, or a massive reality check, or simply a practice run for the guilt that is to follow as a parent!  But I do think something sets off the guilt mechanism for a lot of women during pregnancy, at a time when one less stress really should be the order of the day.

The sounds my son will never hear…

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Dial up internet connection

The ringing and dialing of a ‘proper’ phone

Someone asking for change for the payphone

The whir of a video rewinding (although he will hear mummy asking for this to be done at the end of every DVD…silly mummy)

The clunk of a cassette tape being taken out (and the notion of a pencil being used to wind the tape back in will seem completely implausible)

That crackle crackle on a proper record (actually that’s a lie because they now seem to add it to things…)

 

I wonder what else…I wonder whether it matters.

I wonder what noises he will hear today that will soon become extinct…

Returning to work – the worries

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On Monday 9 June 2014 I will be returning to work.

I have a lot of questions:

  1. What will it be like to get on a tube train for the first time since April 2013?
  2. How will I get into the building as I can’t find my ID card and can’t remember who to ask for?
  3. Will I still be able to do my job?
  4. What is my job…?
  5. What if I can’t log onto the computer?
  6. What if my clients don’t take me seriously because I haven’t worked for 14 months?
  7. Will I have time to finish my work before I leave (an hour earlier than I used to…and then some) at 5.15?
  8. Will the baby miss me?
  9. Will my SAHD husband become the favoured parent?
  10. What will we eat?

I need a good slap, hundreds of people return from maternity leave every month and presumably they all manage.  We are in fact lucky in many ways that we have decided to try Jem staying at home with the Turk full time rather than having to juggle additional childcare.  Although this is difficult in some respects it seems to be the best financial answer in the short term.

In terms of the Turk taking on a full time parenting role, there is absolutely no reason why this can’t work, my worries about this are:

  • The Turk didn’t spend any time with Jem for the first 6 months of his life;
  • I can count on one hand the number of occasions the Turk has got up in the night to settle our son (which will now become his role…hopefully);
  • This morning Jem was choking on a deodorant lid  whilst sat next to the Turk in bed…he didn’t notice;
  • On two occasions after the Turk has put Jem into his high chair he “forgot” to strap him in and he fell out (…onto our tiled floor…the second time I caught him, the first I managed to lessen the impact but spilled a cup of tea over him in the process – no damage done but that’s not really the point);
  • The Turk thinks it’s acceptable to take the baby around the supermarket in the bottom of the shopping trolley, I don’t agree;
  • The Turk does NOT do routines;
  • A couple of weeks ago I found the baby up 2 flights of stairs in a room we keep building materials in whilst the Turk was looking after him as I got ready…

Our Turklish family is about to undergo a huge change, and mummy is really not very prepared for it.

It’s really important that I “let go” and allow father and son to develop their own bond and have confidence that they will cope and find their own level…

…but that will be hard.

Hello and welcome

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Well, as this is my first ever blog post, by way of introduction I should tell you a little about myself, I’m in my early 30s, I live in North London with my husband (the Turk) and work as a lawyer.  We got married around 2 and a half years ago, and after my husband lost his job, we decided to sell our flat in a nice part of London  and buy a large dilapidated house in a, well…less nice part of London…as an investment…and in the meantime the Turk would do it up whilst we lived in it.

Anyway, mother nature had other plans and shortly after moving I fell pregnant, I now have a nightmare delightful 10 month old son…who doesn’t help with the renovation or sit still…ever.

Life as a mum can be hard, tiring and (although many don’t admit it) boring, but there’s also a lot of fun and drama, particularly when you try and combine it with a major building project.  During my maternity leave I have spent lots of time reading blogs and articles written by other mums so I thought I’d take some time to tell you a few of our tales.  Starting now, heading back a bit and going forward.  Anyway I love to hear a good baby/child story so do send me any hilarities in your own life, I’d love to hear from you!