Pregnancy Diaries #4
Here is it, the final entry to my Pregnancy Diaries. I knew it would take me a while to write it, and to be honest, I was in no rush. So much happened in the final weeks of my pregnancy, and the following weeks after baby Remy’s birth, that I knew it would take some time to digest and regurgitate my thoughts and experience in the Irish maternity system.
Since baby Remy’s arrival a year ago, yes my baby is one whole year old, I wrote several versions of this final entry. Each time I felt I wasn’t able to articulate what I wanted to say, so I decided to down tools and wait until baby Remy’s first birthday to finish the series. The perfect milestone to end on.
Part of the reason I was unable to eloquently articulate what I wanted to say, is because I felt I held two positions on this pregnancy; I either felt gratitude or anger. I felt so lucky that I was able to stay well and healthy during my pregnancy given what was going on in the world. I felt so grateful to live close to a hospital, and that baby Remy arrived safely and not in the car, which at the time was looking like a possibility. I felt so lucky that I had two competent midwives who were amazing at their jobs. And I was beyond grateful that I had My B with me for the first few hours of baby Remy’s life.
And then comes my anger. I felt, and if I’m honest, still feel so angry that my pregnancy, anyone’s pregnancy for that matter, was consumed by Covid-19. I’m angry that as a result, the women of this country had to shoulder the impact of poor decision making by the Irish government. I was so angry that the midwives were not given the resources to respond to demands placed upon them because of Covid-19. I was even more angry that after baby Remy’s arrival, one of my fears came true, and I had to stay in hospital longer than planned. It was at this stage, alone with baby Remy, that I expressed my despair, my utmost fears about staying in hospital alone, and I was handed a brochure on mental health supports available in the hospital, as the staff member ended our conversation. And I’m angry that I should be grateful and nothing else, because baby Remy is healthy and here.
Now, a year on, I am able to feel more than just gratitude and anger. It is hard to believe what women had to unnecessarily endure during the pandemic, and even though I feel at times a little less angry, (or maybe I’m just too tired to be angry), it all feels like make believe; that the people in the highest position, with the responsibility of looking after the lives of the women of this country, as they bring new life into the world, made the wrong decisions and did nothing about it. Worse still, it is my understanding that some restrictions are still in place in maternity hospitals.
If I erase COVID-19 from my mind, I know I am in fact beyond lucky to live in a country that has a maternity system that does what it should. But does that mean it can’t be better? Absolutely not. Most of what I see as ‘improvements’ are basic common manners. Give each woman the time and respect they deserve as they grow and nurture new life. Trust me, it is not an easy task. Despite, at times, feeling like no one was listening, there was huge comfort in the fact that people were fighting for those very improvements. At times, I felt I couldn’t fight, but knowing there was a group of women, strangers, who were fighting for me was a huge support during this pregnancy. The #BetterMaternityCare was an amazing campaign and I will be forever grateful that someone was in fact listening.