The subject of sleep needs to be discussed with women antenatally, especially those who may have pre-existing mental health conditions or identified as being at high risk of developing PND. Sleep is not a dirty word. It is a fundamental human need and is essential to promote mental well being.
It's not that I don't want more babies. I definitely definitely do. But, and this is a big but...it takes slightly more effort for the woman to bring a baby into the world than a man.
Prenatal infection refers to any infection that is present or acquired during the pregnancy and can be passed from the mother to the baby. Pregnant women may be more susceptible to infection because their immune system is slightly less reactive to prevent the rejection of the foetus.
After a morning of procrastination, I spent the afternoon working in Central London with similar levels of productivity. The tube was busy when I returned home, as apparently other people had been working there too (I don't get out much).
I used to be reasonably fit. I am vegetarian, have practised yoga for over a decade and have always been naturally slim. When I had my first child my body stretched and strained but within six months of a natural birth I returned to a slightly heavier, slightly hippier, saggier-boobed version of myself. But not that dissimilar.
Firstly, I do not believe that all employers behave like this out of malice, but out of ignorance. They panic, believing pregnancy could have a detrimental impact on their stability. Many are unaware of what the laws are.
At the hospital our worst fears were confirmed. "I'm so sorry, he's gone" the sonographer said. The pain and heartache can't be described. The shock lived within us for several months as we wanted to know why our baby boy was gone so soon.
Stillbirth is still a difficult subject to raise with pregnant women. There is a taboo about it as if by talking about stillbirth, you are making it a possibility. We believe that if you deliver that message in the right way, it doesn't have to be scary.
Now if the decade I spent as a home-based wine rep taught me anything, it's that wearing pyjamas at midday is perfectly acceptable, and in no way related to productivity. In this case my husband had in fact been working for an hour, and the toddler and I had half-peeled a banana (it is sometimes related to productivity).
Giving birth to a stillborn infant is a tragedy for any parent and their family. These babies die either in late pregnancy or during the process of giving birth; deaths earlier than 28 weeks are called miscarriages.
We made the heartbreaking decision to withdraw her life support. It was the kind thing to do. She had fought such a brave fight but now her little heart couldn't cope. Our little girl died because her heart was too big. At least we were able to have one cuddle without wires and machines as she died. She died in the arms of parents who loved her so much. I hope she felt that love.
All birth shaming does is teach women that all births are equal but some are more equal than others. You are telling us our bodies failed, we are lesser mothers. Let us change this dialogue and swap it with real ways to change how we as women view our bodies and our births.
I hold in my hand a press release from the UK Screening Committee with recommendations for the staged rolling out of the new Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests, or #NIPT. These tests look for a woman's 'risk' factor of having a baby with Down's syndrome, Patau syndrome or Edward's syndrome.
Fear can hold us back in all aspects of our lives and childbirth is no different. If you expect a difficult birth, you're much more likely to get one. If you are positive and have the right tools to help you cope, you're much more likely to have a good experience. In a nutshell, that's what hypnobirthing is all about.
You worry that the longer you take off the easier you'll be forgotten. There's always a younger, cheaper version of you out there, more than willing to fill your Louboutins, so keeping in touch days quickly turn into 'don't forget me' days.
Being pregnant is undoubtedly a blessing. And some of us are doubly blessed in that we sail through pregnancy with very few twinges and are constantly heard saying, "I'm pregnant, not ill". Then there are those of us that have every symptom under the sun, and absolutely demand that you give up your seat so we can rest our cankles.