Wow. What a question? This Mums Like Us member provoked a huge and varied response with her post about a much wanted pregnancy that turned up at an unexpected and less than ideal time in her life.
The overwhelming response was of support and empathy. Not one mum responded by saying, “oh no, my pregnancies came at the perfect times!” Is this because we all had bad situations or because there really is no ideal time to fall pregnant?
Speaking personally, my first daughter was planned and longed for. We had found it easy to get pregnant but had a heartbreaking miscarriage along the way. By the time that little blue line made its appearance I was desperate to be pregnant. But no, it wasn’t ‘ideal.’ I was getting used to life with MS and was about to turn it all upside down. It was very daunting.
By the time we had number two, the sacrifices were greater. By this time I was on medication that had kept me stable for three years. I was told I would need to come off it when pregnant. My MS had progressed significantly since I became pregnant with the first time, having had a major relapse when she was six months old. I needed a lot of physio and couldn’t work after 30 weeks. A couple of times during that second pregnancy my hips gave way and sent me crashing to the floor without warning. I had bad pelvic pain plus all the usual pregnancy symptoms, (and it really did feel like I got them ALL!) In short, I was a miserable cow for nine long months.
I had, however, wanted this pregnancy with a yearning that far outweighed how I’d felt before conceiving with my first. By the time my eldest was 2, I was constantly thinking about her potential sibling. I’d sit on trains in rare moments of peace, thinking about names, picturing their little face and imagining our complete family of four. I became, to be honest, a little obsessed. This decision was big. It was a risk to my health and my sanity. We were scared of upsetting the balance of our little trio. But we went for it, and once she arrived, we never looked back.
I have heard people be terribly judgmental about the choices of others to have children. Why would you have a(nother) baby when you’re too old / disabled / unhealthy / poor / unhappy / unstable / single etc etc etc? If the people who make these judgments have perfect lives I’d be very surprised. Any woman who has felt that yearning, day dreaming longing for a child will know that if you are lucky enough to be able to, you just do it, and you deal with the obstacles.
I am pro choice. I believe in the rights of women to make choices about their lives and their bodies. Pregnancy is often hard, and for disabled women it can bring additional difficulties and sacrifices. I don’t believe anyone should go through that if it’s not what they want. But if they’re hoping for ideal, I fear this may be an unrealistic dream. It’s not ideal to have a tiny human stamping on your bladder while you’re trying to sleep. It’s not ideal to have piles and thrush and chaffing and the fear peeing yourself if you do a sneeze or cough of magnitude. It’s not ideal to suffer with the self esteem problems, depression, insomnia and anxiety that so often accompany pregnancy and motherhood. These things aren’t ideal in any circumstances. But the great thing about women, is they can do it. They’re built to do it. And even when it’s bloody hard, they get it done.
Thank you for reading this and I hope you’ll join me in wishing for a very happy and successful pregnancy for the lovely lady who let me use her story as inspiration for this blog.