So my big blog news this week is that I am pregnant! Our 3rd little bundle of joy is due at the end of March 2015. Whilst we are both extremely excited (and terrified) at the prospect of a new addition joining our family, I am afraid pregnancy isn't something I find particularly easy...
When pregnant with our second child I too clearly recall my fear of a 'less than healthy' foetus. I remember believing that I wouldn't be able to cope with a child with Down's syndrome. That I wouldn't be a good enough Mum.
Though most GPs are great when it comes to investigating fertility problems, it is certainly the case that there is room for improvement. And there still seems to be a woeful lack of knowledge about the basics of fertility among some GPs, which really makes you wonder what training they are given.
One of the problems with treating infertility in Britain is that infertile couples are often sent straight to IVF clinics. They come to expect the need for IVF. Instead, we need to get them thinking in a different, much more positive way rather than scheduling them in for three rounds of expensive treatment as soon as they've walked through the door. It is not all about IVF.
Having had my first son 10 months ago, I became suddenly aware of how little support there is available to new mums and keeping up their self-esteem. Whilst there is plenty of style advice around for expectant mums, and maternity fashion in most high street shops, once the baby is born, there is not much in the way of mum support on what to wear to help feel 'you'...
All the horror stories about pain, long drawn-out births, complications and instruments that "do what?!!" (trust me - everyone will want to tell you what happened once to a friend of theirs) no wonder women aren't even allowed to entertain the idea that birth can in fact be amazing, empowering and redefining.
I'd love to ban the term 'chemical pregnancy'. It's a confusing phrase and many women misunderstand what it means - if I had £1 for every time someone's asked me to explain it I'd be very well off.
A complete norm, or the truly typical does not exist. How long it takes to conceive, the exact length of your pregnancy, how much your baby weighs, feeds, fills her nappy, wants to be held and sleeps is no different. Neither your body, not your baby have the latest iBaby App or manual from a childcare expert telling them what is expected...
HG is a very very bad version of morning sickness. Really, superbad. Mothers can become ill very quickly if they don't consume any liquids for a few days, and they really do need to seek help. And maybe now that Her Royal Highness has kindly shed some green-tinged light on a serious condition that affects 1% of expectant mothers.
There were a couple of weeks of jealousy. Tantrums, playing up, behaviour we had not seen before. And all we could do was love him and love her and make sure they both knew that we would go to the ends of the earth for them.
Hold your horses just one moment Mr Dawkins. I think perhaps you are confusing non-essentialist, humanist thinking with a loss of humanity here. You are so very wrong on every single count above that it would be eye-rollingly laughable if it weren't so hurtful and damaging. Adults with Down's syndrome are reading your outdated and bigoted views. Yes, they read, and have opinions and feelings, just like you.
How could this be happening? ... I'd lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years and am now a size 14 (the slimmest I've been since I was 14). But that's obviously not good enough if I look pregnant. And not just a bit pregnant - enough to make two sober and presumably rational adults assume that I am pregnant enough to need to sit down on public transport. That's, what, like, seven months?
We need to be more open about the challenges breastfeeding mothers face. We need to talk more about the reality of establishing feeding, we need to resource better support for mothers of newborns, and we need to celebrate what breastfeeding mothers achieve in those early days.
The case of the Australian couple who have taken the twin, but not the Downs syndrome sibling from the surrogate Thai mother, which has been in the news this week raises some interesting ethical issues. I don't mean to comment directly on that case here because the facts of that particular case are far from clear. The only thing that is clear is that it is very sad that it has happened. But what were the alternatives?
When I was pregnant with my second child, I thought about perfect and good. So this time around, I called three friends and made them promise: when my daughter was three months old, they were to call and ask me if she'd had any formula. I would not lie. If the answer was no, they had to come over and give it to her themselves.
Having been Miss England in 2009, and now being a mother I personally feel that the two roles cannot coincide. Until you actually carry out the role of Miss England, you cannot possibly appreciated how much time is spent on the road, travelling from one place, or even country to another - it's all well and good saying but it's your choice etc but it would not be fair on a child.