My friend and colleague Nicolle went on maternity leave with her first child this week. I don’t think there are many weirder feelings than the one you get when you walk out of your workplace on that day, however you feel about your job. It’s this very clear definitive line between the life you know and the life that’s waiting for you. Anyway, our kitchen catch-ups were never long enough. So I wrote this for her. Maybe you can pass it on to someone who needs to read it…
Friend, it’s okay to be scared.
You’ve spent more than 30 weeks being told to relax, not to worry, don’t stress.
It’s hard not to stress when you’re pregnant. You’re literally carrying the precarious future in your uterus. A big squirming, wiggling bump of Things That Could Go Wrong.
And they do go wrong. And you know that. Because we don’t live in a world any more where women hide their grief about baby stories that didn’t end with arms cradling a pink-and-blue-striped bundle. Thank God.
It’s a wonderful, culture-changing thing that we now recognise all the tiny tragedies that women were burying deep for so damn long. But it also means we are always swimming in stories of the Worst Things.
So, it’s okay to be scared. It’s a perfectly normal response to such a high-stakes experience as pregnancy. Stress if you need to.
Side note: Things pregnant people never say. Post continues after video.
And birth. You’re currently in exactly the stage of pregnancy – the end bit – where everyone is delighting in sharing their war stories with you. Or the war story of their aunt’s sister’s best mate. Marathon labours. Stitches. Back-seat births. Poo. Pain like you’ve never felt. Insensitive obstetricians. Harried midwives. Big babies. Little babies. Beeping machines. Giant needles. Dads saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing.
Who doesn’t love a birth story? I have been boring people for years about how my clearest memory of my son Billy’s birth is that, once he was safely out of me and I slowly came back into my body and looked around, I saw a man in a leather jacket standing behind the midwives and the student doctors, staring. Never did found out who that guy was.
Right now, feel free to ask those people to stop. Your story is about to start. And it’ll be just yours.