This is my baby’s scan photo. I wanted to share a snippet from my personal experience because it’s such a sad time in the world of maternity care at the moment. I try to keep my blogs positive and helpful but I think shared experiences can be a positive thing, even on a negative subject.
I’ve always suffered from anxiety, during pregnancy it was really heightened. You worry about whether the 5 pregnancy tests you took were actually working properly, you then worry if you’ve eaten something not suitable for pregnancy, about whether your baby is ok, and if they’ll survive the 40 weeks, you worry your stress levels are too high…will it affect the baby. The worry goes on and on! Even if you work in the area of maternity care, I still worried continuously!
I had quite a few scans through pregnancy, I had reduced movement and had a few check ups. I remember on one occasion going to Whipps Cross hospital in tears as I hadn’t felt movement in quite a long time, it was one day when my husband was at work. There was a member of staff who wasn’t very nice to me at a time when I needed some support, I totally fell to pieces. Another member of staff took me outside, reassured me and spent some time calming me down and trying to make me laugh. Once my husband arrived I felt stronger, not so scared, supported, and we had the scan which confirmed everything was ok. At all of my other scans, throughout my induction and for the birth I had my husband by my side. It was still an anxious time and nothing happened as I had expected it to, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m telling this story now because I don’t know what I would have done if I had been on my own and my husband wasn’t allowed to be with me. That emergency scan experience on my own was awful, let alone going through the induction alone as well. To this day I have regular sad memories about my pregnancy and birth, mainly because of my anxiety levels and how stressed I felt, and that was with a supporter by my side. It would have been horrific to go through it alone, including the week I stayed in the hospital postnatally, it was bad enough anyway, and that was with continuous support!
It’s easy to see why there’s been a huge spike in cases of PTSD, postnatal depression and birth trauma since partners have been banned from hospitals for a majority of the time. My anxiety was going into overdrive through my maternity journey, and I’d have had serious mental health issues to deal with had my husband not been by my side.
I’d like to ask the trusts, why are you doing this to women? Since the 5th June the government and NHS England have said birth partners can go back into the hospitals, because it’s safe to do so, but you’re choosing not to listen and keep to the strict rules. Why? It’s cruel! It doesn’t make any sense now that covid19 levels have dropped considerably, and there’s no cases at all in a lot of hospitals. Please spare a thought for people’s feelings and mental health and reconsider these damaging guidelines that you’re still enforcing…please!