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Just Add Ginger: My pregnancy and birth story
Jacqueline from Just Add Ginger is a blogger and YouTuber who talks about beauty, lifestyle, and parenting. In this guest post, she talks about her experience of pregnancy and birth.
When I found out I was pregnant I had a very rose-tinted view of what the experience would be like. From running to the toilet every few minutes to throw up to waking up one day radiating a gorgeous pregnancy glow I thought everything was going to be perfect. I quickly discovered that you cannot believe all the ideals Hollywood throws at you.
Even though my pregnancy was not the easiest, I didn’t really experience any obstacles when it came to my disability. The hardest thing I had to come to terms with was the thought of actually giving birth. I have left side hemi paresis which is the result of a trauma during my own delivery and I found myself terrified that this was going to happen again.
It was something I would think about over and over again, unable to focus on the positive and instead obsessing over the negative. But I knew it was something I couldn’t bottle up. I spoke to my midwife on numerous occasions as well as my husband who were both incredibly supportive. I was referred to the consultant midwife at my local maternity hospital and in the meantime tried to do as much as I could to keep my anxiety at bay.
I found that practising hypnobirthing helped a lot. Whenever I felt worry bubbling up in my stomach I would pop in my headphones and get swept away in the dulcet tones of the lady on the tracks. More often than not I would drift off to sleep and by the time I woke, those anxious feelings that were trying to take me over disappeared.
When it came to thinking of my birth plan I knew I already had some very specific requirements. Instead of opting to be induced should I go beyond my due date I asked for an elective C-section instead. My left side goes a lot stiffer in stressful situations and under the guidance of the consultant midwife we decided this route would put a lot less pressure on my body. I also knew I needed everything as calm as possible, with lights turned down low and things discussed with my husband should they involve things that were likely to set off my anxiety again.
With these things in place my labour ran pretty smoothly. There were a few changes to the general plan but with all the staff being aware of my wishes and everybody acting as calmly as possible my left side remained relatively relaxed. After a long labour I delivered naturally in the most accommodating position as possible (for me this was on all fours) with no intervention. I was knackered. I was overwhelmed. But I was incredibly proud of myself.
My advice to all expectant mothers out there who are experiencing feelings of worry and anxiety relating to birth would be to talk to your midwife, GP or healthcare practitioner and share your concerns. When it comes to finalising your birth plan make sure you think about the things that are going to make you feel at ease.
And most importantly, look after yourself. Practise as much self-care as you can and try to always take time out switch off from the outside world, relax and unwind. Pregnancy can be as exhausting as it is exciting and your wellbeing – both physical and mental - should always be top priority.
How do you practise self-care? Can you relate to Jacqueline’s experiences?