Planning is very important when you’re having a baby. You have to think of everything from the birthing plan, to having the hospital on standby and being able to get there on time.
But what happens if those best-laid plans fall apart and you’re forced to have an emergency birth in the middle of nowhere?
Do stranded mums-to-be instinctively know what to do?
According to the Irish Independent, Irish couples are turning to a clinic in America to have the girl or boy that they’ve always dreamed of.
For Irish women desperate to bear sons, the scientific evidence is clear: eat lots of bananas, have sex standing up, and try to consume a bowl of cereal every morning.
New statistics show that record numbers of women in their 40s are having babies. Over the last 20 years, the number of fortysomething women giving birth in England and Wales has almost trebled. Experts put this down to several factors: we are postponing childbearing because of our careers, our men don’t want to commit, or we are having a “prolonged adolescence” in our 30s and simply don’t get around to it.
As it says on the blurb: “Your doctor gives you medical advice. Your mother buys you baby clothes. But who can give you the real story when you are pregnant?
Your best friends of course- at least the ones who’ve been through the exhilaration and exhaustion, the agony and ecstasy of pregnancy.”
I have a secret to share with you. It’s about mothers. They are notorious liars. What? Nooooo, I hear you cry, I won’t hear of such a thing.
Oh yes – I am afraid so. They tell outrageous un-truths about their children and their parenting skills to friends, family and – most shocking of all – to other mothers!
“So, what is childbirth really like”, nervous mums-to-be ask of us ‘experienced’ mummys. “Oh, it’s not that bad really,” we say, “of course it’s a bit painful, but you soon forget about it”.
This is a LIE! It is excruciatingly painful and you never forget about it (your pelvic floor won’t let you!). And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We continue to bluff and fabricate our way through motherhood, refusing to admit to ourselves, or others, that at times we feel completely miserable, totally incompetent and utterly crushed because our favourite jeans still don’t fit, the baby won’t stop crying and the three-year-old has just thrown their shoes at us.
So, I plan to set the record straight and share a few home truths. One hundred and one of them, to be precise. Ambitious maybe, but I am on a mission to uncover the reality of motherhood. The truth is out there people, and the journey starts here.
Next week the countdown begins with Truth Number 1: Parents do not go on holidays.
There was a lot in the press over the weekend about coping with the pain of labour. The Sunday Tribune considers the advantages of natural births and home births while a similar piece in the Observer, encouraging women to endure the pain of childbirth without the epidural, has sparked a huge response.
I had two hospital births – home birth was never mentioned to me as an option. I planned to do things naturally, stay at home as long as possible, soak in the bath, listen to whale song etc etc. Of course, none of this happened as I was admitted to hospital 24 hours before my official due date and that was where I stayed for the duration. No whale song, no bath, lots of tubes in my arms, an epidural and 16 hours later a beautiful baby boy.
Second time around, everything happened much faster, and without any pain relief (other than my husband’s hand!). This was, by far, the better experience. But then, I think it will always be – in theory – easier to handle labour second time around as you know what to expect and that goes a long way towards helping you cope.
The articles ask interesting questions of the maternity hospitals and their ‘targets’ to manage labours within 12 hours. Who is really in control here? Surely, it should be the mother, being allowed to do what she feels happiest doing, and not having to fit in with a pre-determined schedule. Then again, when we are in the middle of this incredibly intense experience, exhausted and emotional, are we really the ones best placed to make decisions? I know I certainly wasn’t; I wanted the experts to take control.
One thing’s for sure, childbirth will never be easy, but will always be worth it. The debate about hospital or home, managed or natural, will continue for a long time yet.