Ahead of the March for Choice next week in Dublin, there was a Repeal Not Replace demonstration in Cork City on Saturday 23rd September. I was asked by the organisers to be one of the speakers at this event. Initially I was hesitant to speak, feeling like my story wasn’t as relevant of that of many of the women who have suffered greatly under the 8th Amendment to our constitution. However, on reflection, I realised that as a woman who has gone through pregnancy in Ireland, I do have my experiences of maternity care under the 8th to speak about. The 8th Amendment is about so much more than abortion and it’s availability in our state, and I hope that I got that across in my speech. Here’s the full text of the speech, I’d love to hear what you think.
Another day, another horrific tale in the news. It’s unfortunately part of life in Ireland in 2017. In the last few years, the topics of mental health and the 8th amendment have been in the news seperately and together, but yesterday’s news had something different. The Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland reported on a case from the Child Care Law Report Project which took place in 2016, and opened our eyes to fresh horror.
The boy will be three in March. He’s long gone from being a baby, and is even losing his toddler ways. More and more, I’m seeing a little boy when I look at him. We’re enduring the TERRIBLE twos at the moment. Defiant. Tantrums. Enough attitude for his own punk band and then some to spare. He has his own little group of friends from creche, whom he loves. And now he wants a baby brother.
My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
When I was pregnant, I saw a lot of my doctors thanks to my blood pressure and I not getting along. In the later stages of my pregnancy, the words “pre-eclampsia” were bandied about a bit. It was discussed at length as to whether or not specific results that day indicated if I did or didn’t have it, or if it seemed likely I would. Nobody sounded very happy about the possibility so I for sure knew it wasn’t a good thing. However, there was little enough information being sent my way about it which led me to googling what it could possibly mean.
For a pregnant lady whose blood pressure was already high, googling may not have been the best idea. There’s a lot of information out there online. In particular, information in well meaning forums where pregnant women and mothers discuss different symptoms and features of pregnancy, birth and beyond. A lot of this can be misleading, or more frightening than it should be.
So, for the sake of my past self who was terrified of what this diagnosis could mean for me and my baby (thank you Downton Abbey), here is a No Nonsense Intro to Pre-Eclampsia – hopefully if you’re reading this due to a similar Google search, it will allay some of your fears. While it is a very serious condition which can be very dangerous if not managed correctly, it is also key to keep in mind that when it is caught in time, which is the majority of cases in modern Ireland, mother and baby get through it healthily and happily.
Two years ago, after a rather mixed up bank holiday weekend, I took a pregnancy test, because hey, what else would you be up to on a bank holiday Monday night? It said Pregnant, 1-2 Weeks. 2 years on, I’ve now got a 16 month old who is walking, talking and giving attitude falling asleep in the room next to mine, and it has me thinking of things I’d like to say to that girl, sitting on the bed staring at the digital screen in disbelief.
When I was in hospital just about to give birth to Eliott (a day or two before the induction); my oldest friend Siobhán, who had seen me through every big and small life event since we were six, came to visit me. With her were two washing baskets, decorated and filled to the brim with goodies, baby necessities and gorgeous baby clothes – the perfect new baby basket. She had literally thought of everything. It was definitely one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received, and something I would love to replicate. As it happens, a rather awesome blogger friend of mine, the lovely Suzy from The Airing Cupboard, is expecting a little boy in the next few weeks, and as I understand that having a baby isn’t just a time to focus on the baby but also the new Mama, I’ve decided to throw together something similar; a little baby basket, a hamper of joy, love and Mammy treats.
I gave birth in March 2014. My son is 15 months old this week, and the question has been asked, more than once, as to when I’m going to give him a baby brother or sister. If I’ll go again. For most it isn’t a question of if, rather when, as having an only child is an anomaly in society. I wasn’t aware that when the animals went two by two on to the ark they were in fact siblings, that does make the story a whole lot more weird, but it appears that if society says children must come in twos that theory had to come from somewhere. Read More
These days Iâ€™m the mother of a rather adventurous, loud, mad-as-a-hatter 14 month old boy who I canâ€™t really get away with calling my baby anymore â€“ heâ€™s the light of my life and the reason Iâ€™m driven insane all in one fell swoop. However, when I started this blog I was heavily pregnant and for the most part a bit clueless about the whole process of becoming a parent and the changes it would bring to my life. Iâ€™ve written before about the things motherhood has taught meÂ hereÂ andÂ here, but all of that skips over the whole question of getting the baby out of me, a thought which absolutely terrified me (I donâ€™t have much of a pain threshold and an addiction to One Born Every Minute really wasnâ€™t helping).