Whilst the ability to access a wealth of information online should provide peace of mind for mums-to-be, the array of different sources available, all too often offering conflicting information, means that the internet may well be more of a hindrance than a help in this case, and bad advice is of particular concern when people are reading up on matters related to health.
I genuinely think that I was as excited about Becky and Neil expecting Niamh as I was when Carolyn was expecting Anna and Iris. And I don't mean that in a dismissive way about my girls. I love them completely. But I remember Becky telling us that she was pregnant and it was incredible.
Pregnancy is supposed to be the most wonderful time of a woman's life. I, however, liken the condition to that of being invaded by a parasite. Reading that sentence back to myself makes me feel like a terrible person. And very worried that there is something wrong with me. This is me sharing my dirty secret via my laptop: I don't ever want to be a mother.
Harriet Laura Amy Leah was born at 37 weeks on 16th November 2012 by c-section. "She was laying very awkwardly" explains her mum Zena, "doing the splits and her cord was presenting, had my waters gone the cord would have been the first thing out and she would have most probably suffocated"
Some people clam up, shut down and do not know how to speak as they struggle to heal and come to terms with the unexpected. Others go into denial and carry on with what they believe is normal. Some people who think they are helping, try to fix the situation for the person going through the difficult time.
The latest scientific research is now starting to indicate that if the baby is not properly seeded with the mother's own bacteria at birth, then the baby's microbiome, in the words of Rodney R Dietert, Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University, is left "incomplete". Consequently, that baby's immune system may never develop to its full potential, leaving that infant with an increased risk of developing one or more serious diseases later in life.
I had heard that women in their third trimester get emotional, only the other day I sprayed my face with too much fake tan and burst into tears (looking back THAT, was funny) but no one warned me of the gut wrenching, heart smashing 'end of an era' come down that I spent the weekend with.
Many of my clients are traumatised by their previous experiences of birth and will not return to the NHS. Some of my clients have 'risk factors' that other midwives insurances would not allow them to provide care. Some of my clients would choose to birth alone if they could not have a midwife who was able to support them.
New mums are always asking me what they can do about postpartum hair loss. This is the hair loss that is experienced by probably 50% of new mums, some to worse degrees than others.
I cannot imagine being in labour and forced to trek miles and miles in the hope to deliver in safe conditions. One woman I met Kula, delivered her baby on the side of the road in the dark with the threat of snakes and other dangerous animals to contend with. She had walked miles from her village to the one where we met to hire a canoe. She didn't make it as far as the village before she gave birth and her baby only made it as far as the water's edge when it passed away as she waited for two hours for a canoe to take her and her newborn baby to the clinic. Kula's story shocked Kate and I to the core. We were overwhelmed with grief for her.
When you look at the facts, perhaps it's not such an odd concept for women in their 20's to think about freezing their eggs now and having a much better chance of conceiving with these younger fresher eggs in later life. It's something that wasn't available 10 years ago and women who are struggling with infertility now would do anything to turn back the clock to their more fertile years.
Why are we, as a culture, creeped out by the idea of a woman wholeheartedly enjoying breastfeeding? We're uncomfortable at the suggestion that a woman might exercise such autonomy over her body that she breastfeeds beyond infancy and might actually LIKE DOING SO.
Today it's not unusual to spot a pregnant bride walking down the aisle. And with the selection of bridal maternity wear that is now on offer, there is no reason for brides to compromise.
For 4 weeks I had no job to go to or even think about; and no babies yet. For the first time, probably since I was at university, I was completely free to do what I wanted for days on end. Of course, what I wanted most of all was to sit on the sofa like a beached whale - I was huge and had no energy. But still, the feeling of freedom was starting to take hold.
We have one child. We're not going to have any more. It was a rough ride trying to become a family and we've suffered many losses, most of them before we had our incredible little boy. We're extremely content as a family and if anything our sad experiences have made us all the more grateful that we get to be parents at all.
Your biology changes when you change your beliefs because they translate into biological realities in your body. Wouldn't it be nice if that biological reality were the baby you've been dreaming of?