I am currently in the 3rd trimester of my 4th pregnancy. Every single one of my pregnancies was different but none of them had me feeling the loss of control and loneliness that Covid has forced upon me and so many other women.
Being pregnant is a blessing, I know that, of course I do but being pregnant during Covid has been a curse in some ways as well. I felt a bit guilty saying that at first and felt that I shouldn’t be complaining because some women cannot conceive or have suffered the loss of a baby but then I realised – I am one of those women who suffered loss. My baby girl died in September last year and I am entitled to express my feelings. As we all are.
Even without Covid this pregnancy would still have be full of anxiety and stress because of my stillbirth but I feel I would have been looked after and had much more support had the world been ‘normal’.
From the very beginning I have had to chase and fight to get the simplest thing. I called my GP at 6 weeks to let her know I was pregnant and to get the ball rolling with booking in with a midwife and be given notes etc. Anyone who was pregnant knows that this is done before you 12 week scan usually around 9 to 10 weeks. Because of Covid I didn’t have either. At 10 weeks I chased the DR’s to say that no midwife or consultant had contacted me and I had no notes but I had received a letter telling me to go to hospital for a 12 week scan. She didn’t didn’t know why and told me just to keep waiting. I was all over the place. Did I go? Would they send me away? I was so full of anxiety I couldn’t think straight. I had no notes so how were the people at the hospital going to know who I was or what was going on? On top of this because of Covid regulations my husband was not allowed in with me. I had to change this. My baby died last year and I suffered badly with anxiety and panic attacks, I couldn’t do this on my own! Surely they could understand and make an exception for me?
Well yes they did – eventually. But they did not make it easy. I spent 2 weeks emailing and calling various nurses, midwifes and matrons repeatedly explaining my daughters death and my mental health problems and begging them to let my husband come with me to the scan. 3 days before the scan they agreed!
I completely understand that they had to follow guidelines but seriously sometimes you just have to show compassion and not put everyone under the same umbrella and deal with things on a case by case basis. I was so panicked and stressed by this point I was then so worried the stress had effected the baby!
It hadn’t and thankfully the scan went well.
The challenges continued as I didn’t see a midwife or a member of the mental health team for several weeks and even then I was via zoom.
I HATE zoom. I am so anxious about it that I spend more time worrying about the video aspect and what I look like and sound like and how I am coming across than the actual conversation. So it was pointless in my opinion and didn’t help at all – but it was all that was offered during peak Covid time.
As from around 18 weeks I saw a midwife at my home. I have only seen her twice however and being 29 weeks now you would have thought that would been more. I have a consultant I have seen at the hospital, but again I have only seen her 3 times. I don’t know, I guess I feel a bit let down. I definitely thought I would be better looked after this time after Darcey’s stillbirth but maybe I am expecting too much from the NHS? Don’t get me wrong I think the midwives do an incredible job. When I am sat in the waiting rooms waiting for appointments or scans I watch them rushing around non stop and you can tell they are absolutely exhausted. They work so blimmin hard these people and they deserve much more.
I feel like being pregnant during Covid has robbed me of my enjoyment, excitement and support that I should have felt in my pregnancy. Not meaning from a professional point a view but even being able to see and spend time with friends. There hasn’t been the sitting around having a cuppa discussing bump, how I’m feeling, future plans, have we thought of any names or started buying bits and pieces. Is she kicking now? It’s a fleeting “Hi, how are you getting on?” as we pass quickly in the street or over a text. Don’t get me wrong I have some incredible friends and family and this is nothing to do with their lack of interest or support, it’s just what Covid has forced us into. And it is lonely.
I have spoken to a couple of women who have been pregnant during Covid and some who have given birth during Covid and it has been hard on every one of them. Covid has added stress, anxiety and panic to otherwise happy and relaxed women. It has stolen away the chance for their partners to be present at scans and even the lead up to the birth – which I am terrified about myself! Most partners are only allowed to be there in the last part of labour and are only able to stay an hour after the baby has been born, stealing away precious bonding time for Dads and partners.
My heart also goes out to anyone who lost a baby during these times and has had to find out alone or be left alone whilst their partner remains outside in a car park! When I lost Darcey having Ben there was everything. I cannot imagine finding out the very worst had happened and being sat on my own in a hospital room.
The world for now at least has changed in some awful ways. I am just hoping and praying that I and so many other women start to get the support they deserve when the time comes.
I wanted to add here that there is a fantastic campaign by Pregnant then Screwed that I have been following and will continue to in relation to allowing husbands and partners to scans and the lead up to birth. Some hospitals have changed their procedures already, mine hasn’t unfortunately – come on Buckinghamshire do the right thing now! Please do check her out and support her campaign as so many women – and men – deserve to have support.
If you are pregnant then please stay strong and positive. I say positive affirmations everyday and talk to people when I can. Even if it is just a text and although it’s not the same as it would have been pre – Covid it does help.
My inbox and social media is always open if you want to get in touch.
Sending love and remember to be kind, always. You never know what battles people might be facing.
Love Amy x