A Post about Postpartum Anxiety

You’re pregnant? Wow! Congratulations!

Book in and see a midwife immediately. You’ve been taking folic acid for a few months already, right? Rest if you’re tired. But stay active. Take vitamins. Only the right kind though. Eat whatever you can keep down. But eat healthily. Drink plenty of water. Don’t drink caffeine. Don’t drink alcohol. How much did you used to drink? Have you had ANY alcohol this pregnancy? You don’t do drugs do you? You don’t smoke do you? You haven’t EVER smoked have you?

Eat fish. Not too much fish. But plenty of fish. And the right kind of fish. And not too much. Make sure your meat is well cooked. Your eggs are well cooked. Don’t eat that cheese. And possibly not that salmon. Maybe not those prawns. Definitely not those oysters. Probably not that salami, who knows, best not. 

Stay away from chemicals, do you use plastic? Teflon? Machined clothes? Possibly don’t. We’re not sure, but best not. Don’t wash with soap. Don’t use perfume. Don’t let yourself go, keep your partner interested! Have sex. But be careful. 

Keep up with the house work while you can. Don’t overdo it. Stay active. Don’t do anything too strenuous. Sleep whilst you still can. Exercise. Not too much though. You’ll know how much is enough. 

Has the baby moved yet? Is it still moving? How much? How often? When? Have you bonded yet? Talk to it. Read to it. Play it music. Don’t be a pushy parent already. Isn’t this a magical time? Are you getting enough selenium?

How big is it? Too small? Too big? Lie there. Turn this way. Pee in this. Don’t worry. 

You’ll want to breastfeed or your baby will be stupid, fat, slow and sickly.  Formula is poison. You’re still not smoking right? 

Practice breathing. Practice positions. Make a plan. Dont expect to follow the plan. Don’t raise your expectations. Do hypnobirthing. Let go of control. Learn about pain relief. Don’t use pain relief. Learn about complications. Don’t scare yourself. Be prepared. Don’t over prepare.  Have you packed your hospital bag yet? You won’t need al that stuff. You forgot something. 

Is it here yet? Felt anything yet? Are you in labour? No, real labour. How often? How intense? How long? Stay at home. Come in. Go home. Come back. You should have been here sooner. Your body knows what to do. Your body isn’t doing it right. Have this needle. Have this drug. It’s necessary. Stand up. Stay active. Lie down. Don’t try to get up. It’s your choice.  You’re in control. Do this or your baby may die. That trace doesn’t look good. I don’t like that heartbeat. What would you like to do? Listen to me. Stop crying. Make a decision. Make sure it’s the right one. Can you feel your legs? Your chest? Your tongue? Push. Don’t push. Stop screaming. Push. More. Harder. Your body knows what to do. 

Your baby is here!

Don’t get up. Rest. Why aren’t you breastfeeding yet?  Do it now or you won’t bond. We’re taking the baby. Where’s your baby? Why aren’t you up yet? Your baby is hungry. Why haven’t you showered? Have you changed her? Keep baby clean. Not with wipes. Don’t overdo it. Have you bonded yet? It’s the most natural thing in the world. Your baby is hungry again. Don’t carry your baby out there. Don’t wrap her like that. Don’t put her down like that. I’ll carry her out for you. Is the seat in properly? Is it a new one? How long has she been in it? Don’t wake a sleeping baby. 

Support the head. Put her feet to foot or she’ll die. Put her on her back or she’ll die. Don’t let her overheat or she’ll die. Don’t put her in a draft. Keep her warm. Extra layers. Not too many. But more than you. Is she too hot? Better check. Don’t disturb her. Let her sleep. She should have fed again by now. Wake her up. How many wet nappies? How many today? Has she pooed yet? How much? What colour? How long is she feeding for? Are you sure she’s swallowing? That’s too much. That’s not enough. Just keep going. It’s natural. You’ll both learn. 

Why are you so anxious?

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So this happened…

I don’t really know why I took a pregnancy test this morning. If you were to ask me my mood over the last week, I’d have to say ‘PMS super bitch’. So imagine my delight then when that faint little pink line appeared!

Last time we told parents the day after the test, such was our excitement. This time I’d like to enjoy the secret for a while (anonymous blogs don’t count, OK!). This means not telling FireGirl, unless we want her blurting it out all over the village. She’s taken to jumping knees-first in to my stomach though, so we’ll see how long that lasts.

The other half wants to wait a while before booking in with the midwife too, so we can delay the shitstorm for a while. So, here’s to a few weeks of peace! Wish me luck…

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This indecision’s bugging me…

I am supremely bored of making this choice.

I don’t remember some miraculous, shining, moment in which firebloke and I held each other and cried and decided we would be brave and have another baby. It happened by degrees, and at different rates to each other. It goes back and forth too.

Lately we’ve sort of kind of, maybe, probably decided we should think about trying again. Or maybe not yet. But yeah, go to the clinic and get things sorted and ready. But now might not be the best time. But I saw a cute baby today. But I re-read something I wrote for a midwives conference and sh*t myself so no, not now, not yet. Awww but firegirl said she wanted a brother. Though it’s not quite the right time at work…

You see? BORING.

This prevarication is not unlike the decision making process the first time around, but we had the naive excitement that only first time parents can have then. People assured us that there was no right time and we should just go for it, so we did. We took a leap of faith and just did it (reliving that moment is like watching the soldier promise his sweetheart he’ll be home for Christmas in  a cheesy war film).

We’re far more cautious now. A second pregnancy  will not only trigger the usual involvement of the GP and the midwife, but an obstetric consultant (prolonged labour, postpartum haemorrhage and suspected pre-eclampsia), a perinatal psychiatrist, a community psychiatric nurse, a liaison health visitor, and at my own request, a perinatal psychologist. All before I’ve even given birth!

Our lives will not be our own again for a long while, and whilst I appreciate the support I must admit I’m dreading the onslaught. I’ve never been particularly great at accepting help and have to make a conscious effort to force myself, resisting my natural urge to close ranks when I’m struggling. The thought of that many people intruding in our lives again, on top of family…just…ugh. 

There’s no right time, but there are wrong times. The stern, matriarchal advice of my psychiatrist has made me very cautious, and I think I’m in danger of trying to over plan this pregnancy. That would NOT be a good situation to be in (Margaret Oates writes about ‘the conservatory set’; high-achieving, high-self control, middle class mothers  who expect too much of motherhood and fall apart when it, and they, are inevitably imperfect. Hmm has she been peering in my windows??)

There’s no nicely wrapped up ending to this post, sorry.  If I can’t have a neat resolution, you can’t either. You get to feel the frustration of my paralysis. Lucky you. 

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