I’m writing this at 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant.
I delivered my first baby at 38 weeks, 1 day.
I delivered my second baby at 38 weeks.
This is my third pregnancy, and it has been an ‘easy’ pregnancy in so many respects. I have had less aches and pains than my first and second pregnancies (who would have guessed!). I know the drill. Yes, it has been sad that my husband hasn’t been able to attend either of my NHS scans but we have coped and actually were fortunate enough to experience a private 4D scan together for the first-time instead. Yes, I didn’t see a midwife in person until 26 weeks (gosh)… but this didn’t increase my anxiety levels too much and I knew what to expect in terms of movements, etc. However, I hugely appreciate that: firstly, I am quite a calm-person; secondly, I have been fortunate enough to have a straightforward pregnancy so far; and finally, that I have experienced the whole process twice already within the last four years within the same health trust.
I am very aware and saddened to think that my experience would have felt so very different had I been expecting my first baby. At that time, I DO REMEMBER feeling desperately eager to see the midwife when the time came around for my routine appointments, and feeling so comforted hearing the heart-beat, asking every question under the sun! It felt daunting finding the maternity ward at our local hospital that first time, sitting in the waiting room to go into that 12-week scan, but also so incredibly exciting and something you WANT and feel you should share with the partner of the child growing inside you.
I know some of the restrictions have since lifted, at least regionally to me, but there are still many factors to consider in the current circumstances. I’m hoping for a homebirth, and usually teach YogaBellies for Pregnancy across two different counties – half of my ladies are permitted to still have home-births, and the other half are denied this option. It simply doesn’t seem right. I don’t place blame on anyone one, or any particular organisation – these are extraordinary times we are living in. Instead, I just wanted to say that I am so very sorry. Sorry to those beautifully strong women who are expecting their first babies, and are having to navigate some of these milestones alone. I’m sorry to those lovely ladies who had traumatic first or second births, or are experiencing complications and challenges physically, emotionally or indeed both of these, who are, despite best efforts, receiving less support, rather than more.
I wanted to finish by saying, for anyone who needs it, please reach out. The NHS are still offering an incredible service – talk to your midwife!! Please still connect with other local pregnant women. I’m sure one reason I have navigated pregnancy and COVID-19 so peacefully is because I have continued teaching YogaBellies for Pregnancy classes throughout, whether in-person when allowed, or virtually via Zoom. I have connected with others expecting twice a week, every week, until reaching my own maternity leave at 36 weeks. We have practised prenatal yoga together, but we have also celebrated and moaned about restrictions, encouraged virtual baby showers and other innovative ways to celebrate pregnancy from socially-distanced maternity photo shoots to recommendations of other excellent local services offered by expert practitioners, or simply just encouraging one another to have a luxurious bubble bath.
Alice has run Yoga With Alice D (formerly YogaBellies Chilterns) since 2017, and is based in Wendover, Bucks. Pregnancy yoga classes return to Halton and Tring in June, along with Fertility yoga, Mum & Baby yoga, Baby massage and general Women’s classes. She is already Mummy to Millie (4) and Jasper (2). Baby Laurie was born at 38 weeks 6 days, and Mummy and baby are thriving.
The title photograph was taken by ZoeCPhotography at 37 weeks.