Women are not just unkind to themselves in this quest for perfection; they can also be extremely unkind to other women. This unkindness comes in many guises; in passive aggression; in bitching; in judgement; and in straight-up nastiness.
Left untreated, both conditions are likely to result in the deaths of both mum and baby. The only cure is for the baby to be born. My partner and I were both utterly devastated - we knew the chances of our baby's survival at that stage were slim.
As women, we have so much to thank our mothers and our grandmothers for. There was a time, when we were expected to sit at home, preparing the tea, cleaning the house and completing 'a woman's work' without fuss.
Of course, we're told to call a number if we need support or advice. But many women won't. And especially not in the wee small hours of the night. Many will struggle in silence or sink into denial - snapping at a concerned partner or parent that "they're fine".
There isn't a single hypnobirthing technique that isn't a skill for life. So I encourage you, pregnant or not, the next time you notice you're having the urge to change what is, wishing for the future or yearning for the past, bring your attention to accepting the moment for what it is. Breathe out resistance and notice how much easier things feel. It works.
One of the biggest misconceptions about hypnobirthing is that, it's all about having babies. Women have heard that if you do everything your teacher tells you to do, you will have a quick, straight forward, pain free, vaginal birth. Now, there's no easy way to say this...but that's all pretty much a nonsense.
I'm going to come right out and say this. It's what every childbirth educator on the planet thinks and what we all talk about in our private forums, but what very few of us dare to say in public.
There have been some tremendous scientific developments over the last three decades in the realm of assisted conception, opening a great number of doors for women and transforming the way we think about fertility. However, I still believe that self-care needs to be front of mind for couples that are trying to conceive.
This must not be mischaracterised as an issue of freedom of speech. The right to free speech must be balanced with the right for women to seek advice and treatment in confidence and free from intimidation. Anti-choice campaigners are free to protest in public spaces, but it is unacceptable for them to be positioned outside clinics where women are trying to enter. These are not political protests. The campaigners' tactic is now to make women feel so scared, ashamed and insecure that they refrain from accessing a service they are perfectly entitled to.
As many readers might already know, exposing pregnant women to stress at constantly high levels can be detrimental to foetal development, placing the newborn at an extreme disadvantage emotionally and intellectually.
Researchers recently discovered the existence of Egg Precursor cells (EggPC) in the outer cortex of female ovaries. These immature egg cells can mature into fresh, young eggs. Scientists even believe that these intact, immature egg cells can be found in a woman of any age.
I remember the excitement I felt seeing that little blue cross in the small square window of my pregnancy test. It seemed surreal. I was 27 years old and pregnant with my first son. I couldn't wait to share the news with my husband but I wanted to find the perfect way to tell him. We both wanted a baby but I sensed that, like many men, he still didn't feel 'ready'.
I highly recommend ensuring pregnant women increase their omega 3 levels, and work towards a healthier balance of omega 3 to omega 6 as this has been shown to increase our brain power, sleep and mood, and may help us fight any addictive tendencies. However, there is a concern from some readers, especially when pregnant, that eating too much fish (one of the most common sources of Omega 3) can be risky.
Men, please don't act like it's your god given right to date a much younger woman and use the phony excuse of children. After all, I've never heard of men's sperm count increasing with age.
Prematurity often comes with few warning signs and mums and dads can be unprepared. Some may not have started attending their antenatal classes or even begun thinking about the birth. Uncertainty about their baby's health and seeing them linked to wires and machines can be an incredibly frightening and scary experience.
Couples can wait up to two years if they qualify for a free round of IVF with their local NHS Trust, but the qualifying criteria varies, and usually excludes couples if one of the partners has a child already, can be age dependent for the female and is basically down to funding, which can run out at anytime regardless of where you are on the waiting list.