I’m afraid this is going to be a bit of a ranty one.
It involves a certain virus, a heavily pregnant (and hormonal) mama and some ‘words of wisdom’ I’ve been treated to over the last few weeks.
While it’s fair to say I’ve received lots of lovely messages of support ahead of the arrival of baby number four who is due in less than a week now (you know who you are – thank you!) at the same time there have been some not-so-helpful pearls of wisdom too.
I don’t doubt people mean well, and in many cases speak without thinking too, but even so I thought I’d compile a little list of things NOT to say to a pregnant woman in a pandemic – especially one due to give birth in the next few weeks.
7 things NOT to say to a pregnant woman in a pandemic
1. “Your due date is when the height of the pandemic is predicted.”
What am I supposed to say to that? I’m well aware of my due date, thank you very much. And pointing out that the crisis is due to be at its worst then is not helpful.
2. “Have you seen this report about [insert coronavirus birth horror story here]?”
Nope, I hadn’t. Until you very kindly pointed it out.
3. “If I were you I wouldn’t go near a hospital right now.”
Given home birth services where we are have been withdrawn I – and thousands like me – don’t have much choice. Think before you speak!
4. “If the midwife is wearing a mask, how will you hear what they’re saying?”
I have absolutely no idea – I’ve never given birth in a pandemic with midwives wearing masks and visors before!
5. “Whatever happens you’re stronger than you think.”
No, I’m not. I need to know no-one in our house will show any symptoms of coronavirus between now and when I go into labour, I need to know I won’t have to labour and give birth alone, and I need to know my husband can be there. But no-one can guarantee any of these things.
6. “What’s the big deal? Fifty years ago women gave birth without husbands or birth partners all the time!”
That may be, but that doesn’t make it right!
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Will I be forced to give birth alone? A few weeks ago it would have sounded like a ridiculous question with an obvious answer: of course not. But now we’re in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic it’s a very real possibility facing expectant mamas like me 😔 Where we are home birth services have been withdrawn, dads & partners are banned from theatre so if you need a c-section you’re on your own & I’m dreading what the situation will be like when I’m due in just under 2 weeks 😬 In Ireland they’re already banning dads & partners completely & the rules are changing daily 😢 Then there’s the added anxiety that if anyone in our household displays symptoms of coronavirus in the next 14 days Misery Guts won’t be allowed to come with me – yet another thing to worry about 😫 I’ve had a bit of a brain dump about it over on the blog (link in my bio) – any words of wisdom would be much appreciated 😥 #38weeks #pregnancydiary #babynumber4
7. “What a terrible time to be giving birth.”
Again, what am I supposed to say to that? I can’t cross my legs for six months until the worst is over. Not helpful!
Are you currently expecting or do you know someone who is? I’d love to hear about your experience!