I heard it again just yesterday, and it’s played on my mind since.

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‘By number 3 I just didn’t have any choice, but all that matters is that the baby is healthy isn’t it…?’

Well actually, no. That’s utter bollocks, especially when the words are followed with a look which felt to me like it very much wasn’t ALL that mattered; But it’s hard to say that so directly when the ship of choice has long since sailed for a woman, so I am here to shout about it for those of you able to use this information positively.

So why do women continue to buy into this notion that we stop mattering completely during pregnancy and labour? Or that we have no choice about our options in certain circumstances? Why is this even a thing? The power of the language which causes these feelings is surreal, at no other point would strong women accept that they matter so little, but when the undertone of a conversation becomes that you’re an uncaring mother, or uneducated / naïve to the risks, or that you should just suck it up as its temporary, we can end up feeling so guilty for wanting to consider our needs and wellbeing as well as our unborn child’s that we feel obliged to stop considering ourselves.

OF COURSE everyone’s main priority is that baby is safe and healthy, and as a mother YOU are the one who will be feeling this the most strongly… Mothers want what is best for their children, and will always prioritise them over themselves when they need to; so why are we not always being treated with the dignity and choice that we deserve? To be given unbiased information about situations or complications without fearmongering, guilt, or coercion, and allowed to make the choice which will undoubtedly be focused on the needs of our baby, but also include the impact upon ourselves (be that the physical or mental impacts) in the short and the long term?

Because you know what? I want you to know that you matter too. YOU MATTER SO MUCH.

A newborn baby need his mother, he needs her physically and emotionally, and starting motherhood from a place of sadness, disempowerment or unimportance is never going to be a good thing. Too many women have to spend too long struggling to come to terms with the loss of autonomy they felt during pregnancy or birth. For some it’s ‘just’ a tinge of disappointment, or annoyance that their opinions and needs didn’t feel considered, for others it can be full blown PTSD or PND – going on to impact the way they parent for years to come, their decision making about having more children (or not as can be the case) and their long term mental health. At a time when you are emotionally vulnerable anyway, you should feel supported, important, and in control.

Here in the UK we are fortunate, we have the law on our side with the Human Rights Act 1998, for more information on how that impacts maternity care options head over to the Birthrights factsheet here.

For more on how to birth your way with calmness, confidence and power, why not head over to the course’s page to find one which is right for you. We have groups and one to one options available, as well as our amazing relaxation sessions which combine education, connection with other mums as well as relaxation time.

I’ll be here till Mid-March before taking the time our to birth MY way, so if it’s a private course in Southend that you want, don’t wait around.

Much love, Steph x

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