Written by Lucy Kemery for her blog, Mum With No Manual.
We go through life being judged and dealing with it. Hair, weight, tastes in music, men etc… unfortunately especially in the times we are in now, it’s part of our day to day life.
Judging and being judged.
What became apparent to me during pregnancy is that although you are doing something amazing and you are growing this tiny life inside of you (which deserves massive kudos), is that this is a time of your life you will be judged. Whether it be for one decision or in my case because I fit in a certain statistical box, a time when you need as much support from professionals, family and friends and people going through the same thing as you is actually a time you get criticised. Albeit in a way which is given to you as advice. I had a few examples of appointments with healthcare professionals which were horrible. And actually I luckily didn’t take to heart too much what was being said/how I was treated or it could have broken me.
I am a first time mum. Nothing unusual there. I know nothing about children. I am the youngest of 2 and my cousins/nephews live far away so I have never really been around babies. Getting pregnant was amazing but also terrifying when the reality hit me that I knew absolutely nothing about what I was supposed to do. During and after pregnancy. I also prepared myself to be judged. There’s always going to be other parents in your friends and family who don’t do things the same way and they will all tell you what to buy, how to feed and what not to do. I’m okay with that as I can politely listen and take on board what I want to and at the end of the day they are helping you. I mean professionally judged. I’m not small, anywhere between a size 18 and 22. I’m not overly healthy but I have a very active job which involves a lot of running around, lifting, moving things about etc. I tend to think more about how other people perceive me rather than the fact that I’m actually pretty happy. Any insecurities I actually have stem from other people not how I feel. So one of my automatic thoughts was I am going to hear a lot of talk about my weight and everyone’s favourite; BMI.
So my first appointment went well. No medical history, good blood pressure and absolutely low risk. Apart from those 3 little letters… BMI. Because of this I automatically had a lot of decisions taken away from me in terms of birth plan etc. I was also given a lovely list of all the things that could go wrong. Which do you know what, I was fine with as I expected it.
I was assigned an obstetrician due to my BMI. I wasn’t told about this until I got the letter so I thought it was normal… until I discussed with friends with kids who had never heard this before. Now that’s a way to panic a pregnant woman with no knowledge of pregnancy! My appointment was at 12 weeks. I had spent the week before with my husband having a few days in London. Lots of walking and touristy bits and just having a lovely time in our bubble before people knew we were expecting.
So bring in my obstetrician.
A grumpy middle aged man who barely cracked a smile. He proceeded to repeat all the risks involved with having my BMI. He then looked at my notes, I had just been weighed/bloods etc and my current BMI had gone down by 4. I was then questioned about why I was dieting whilst pregnant. I explained I wasn’t and that I didn’t realise I had lost any weight. There were no further questions, just a lecture on how fad diets were not healthy in pregnancy and that I should be maintaining my weight and not loosing and he would see me again at week 36. End of appointment. So I was sent to an unfriendly doctor who firstly told me why it’s bad to be my weight and then proceeded to tell me why it’s bad to not be my weight. I cannot tell you what I came away with from that appointment other than to my own surprise genuinely not caring about his opinion. My husband agreed that was a hauge waste of our time and that the doctors bedside manner was not quite what you would expect from someone whose job it is to deal with pregnant women! Many who have already been scaremongered by being at a special doctor anyway. At least I know for future reference a few days in London having a nice time is better than any fad diet for loosing weight!
That was just one of my lovely experiences. Unfortunately there are a few more which I will tell you about later on. But it was actually the beginning of something else I didn’t really know I had in me. This odd inner strength and protectiveness towards the little squishy thing inside me. I was going to show them that actually yes I may be a certain weight and size and I’m not doubting the fact that there are issues that come with that, but I was going to do a bloody good job of being pregnant and even if I would never actually say a big f**k you to that grumpy old man I’d do it by having a baby, my way.