Google+ Authentic Parenting: When Pregnancy Isn't A Happy Time

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When Pregnancy Isn't A Happy Time

I had a happy healthy pregnancy for the first 16 weeks. I was in Cameroon until then. I was radiant, happy, I didn't gain too much weight. My husband and I were on cloud nine. This pregnancy really topped up all of the happiness and joy we had gathered in the years before.
It had been coveted, desired and nurtured.
Sure, I was extremely tired and spend most days of the first months rolling from my bed to couch, but overall it was great. I was never ill either.

Then I went to Belgium, to the dreaded hospital where I was being followed, to get a battery of tests... And then some. Voila. No more happy pregnancy.

The happiness got replaced with worry and dread and fear and testing sugar levels and eventually using insulin and always always fearing the food and being able to join in the fun even less when there were people over or dinner parties. I was diagnosed with GD.
Suddenly the low weight gain didn't even matter anymore. I had the 'fat people's disease' so my being a bit overweight before pregnancy must have been the issue. Good weight gain or not, I was fat already anyway, so I kind of brought this on myself.
I was threatened that if I didn't 'behave' I would have an induction, my baby would have macrosomia, she would have dystocia and so on.
All because I didn't make the effort to get what the medical apparatus calls a healthy weight before I got pregnant.

Bad mommy!

Image: GwiR on Flickr
So I behaved. I ate nothing that contained sugar. I weighed all my carbs. I shot my insulin and then some more and still some more. In the end I was on long and short term insulin.
I tried everything to get those sugar levels down, I even ate vietnamese soup for breakfast the last couple of months.
I was still hoping that if I was the perfect patient, they'd "allow" me to have the birth I wanted, no induction, no IV. Little did I know that as soon as they'd made that diagnose they'd already checked the induction box when they made that diagnose.

But there's a flip side to all this. I actually started liking the diagnose too.
I had imagined pregnancy as a special state, where people are interested in you and look at you with soft eyes. That wasn't really so until I had become high risk. Suddenly there was all sorts of attention. And I lavished in it.
I was being told that I was a good patient. People started taking care of me, they gave me attention. Maybe not the kind I had initially imagined, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, right.

So I get the strange perverted nature of wanting to be 'high risk' of liking that artificially fragile state. I did kind of enjoy it. And when I hemmoraged after the induction and maybe needed a transfusion, I did enjoy the close control. I wasn't getting any visits anyways, so at least I had that.

But it shouldn't be necessary. First of all we shouldn't wreck perfectly happy pregnancies for diseases that are just a figment of medical imagination, and secondly pregnant women shouldn't crave to be high risk to get any attention.
Birth care providers should be giving them the attention anyway. Their surrounding should be giving them attention.

Pregnant women are carrying the next generation in their womb. Show them that attention. Next time you see a pregnant woman, ask her how she is doing. Get up off your seat and offer it to her. No woman should be so deprived of attention that she needs to turn to illness to feel better.



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4 comments:

  1. I was overweight during my pregnancy and felt like they made me do 3 times the amount of normal tests (including a ridiculous number of ultrasounds) because of that one issue.

    Nothing was EVER wrong. :(

    I hated all the testing, on top of the sickness I experienced every day until I gave birth. It did turn what should have been a very happy time into a lot of fear and bother.

    I'm just happy I know better now for next time!

    I also found a great difference between doctors and midwives when it came to birth care - one looks at you as a simple clinical case number; the other sees you as a person to be excited for...it's astounding the different affects these carers can have on you in that heightened state of pregnancy!

    I like your admonition though...next time I see a pregnant woman I think I will go out of my way to be kind to her somehow. :)

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  2. I'm so sorry your happy pregnancy got turned into a nightmare pregnancy and birth. The medical model and all the 'risks' they were constantly worrying about (undermining me and my body's ability to carry my child) was precisely what drove me to stop prenatal care at 20 weeks with my first pregnancy/child and continue with an unassisted pregnancy and childbirth. Best thing I ever did.

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  3. People really should look after pregnant ladies (and new moms, while we're at it!) much better. Of course it's different from place to place. I think Belgium is just awful in that respect. I commuted to work after riding my bike became more difficult and I can probably count on my fingers the times someone offered me a seat! People would actually avoid eye contact and ignore my ginormous belly in their face! Luckily I didn't have to go through what you went, but I totally get what you mean. And hospitals/doctors here! Won't even get into that, although I did get a somewhat natural birth. I don't think I berges thé episiotomy and really disliked how they handled the pushing part.

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