More Judging Than Judy (Part 2)

Written by Lucy Kemery for her blog, Mum With NoManual.

So here’s a list of everything I have been judged on during having my little boy and pregnancy.

. Being overweight
. Losing weight
. Not cutting out sugar
. Working too hard
. Overdoing it
. Not being active enough
. Not wanting to breastfeed
. Not doing parent to be groups
. Buying a prep machine
. Using a prep machine
. Saying I will put my little one in his room before 6 months
. Actually doing it
. Using a dummy
. Potential name choices
. Kissing my baby boy on his face
. Not accepting pain killers during induction
. Doing too much after a c section
. Driving too early
. Using certain products
. Telling the health visitor my baby may have a bruise (it wasn’t, it was a birthmark)
. Putting my baby’s pictures on social media
. Buying too many clothes
. My choice of “designer” changing bag (it’s only Cath Kidston and it was on sale)
. My little ones feeding routine
. My little ones bedtime

There’s probably more. That’s a whole lot of judgement for someone who hasn’t had a baby before.

The majority of it was even before I had him! It would be so easy to breakdown over the amount of judgement that I got, especially as I’m actually a very insecure person. Being pregnant was one of the only things that I manned up about and thought do you know what, I’m doing this my way and sticking to my guns about things. It was that attitude that for me through one of my worst experiences during pregnancy which actually still really upsets me when I think about it.

It was my 25 week appointment with a midwife. This was the most exciting one as I knew I’d hear my boys heartbeat for the first time! I went in really happy and positive (I was sure weight would be brought up but I had weighed myself and actually from my start weight at my booking appointment I had out barely anything on which I was pretty proud of!).

I walked in to a midwife I had never seen before but she seemed nice enough. There was also a student midwife who was doing some work experience which was fine by me. It started off on the wrong foot when the midwife had written down I was there for a 15 week appointment, when I corrected her and said I was 25 she seemed quite agitated at me…. Apologies I didn’t get pregnant 10 weeks later. Because of this she was really unprepared for what she needed. So blood pressure was taken and fine. A few discussions about movement, fine. Then there came the discussion or more lecture about weight, BMI and all that jazz. She wasn’t overly polite and told me how she was ‘so passionate about women with high BMI changing their ways and understanding all that would go wrong due to it. I took all this with a pinch of salt because I’d heard it all before.

There was then a brief period where she seemed more interested in a wasp being in the room and needing to find a handy man to open the skylight so it could fly out. Do you know what… I’m also fine with that. Some people don’t like wasps.

So then comes the bit myself and my husband were really looking forward to. The heartbeat!!

The trainee midwife found it pretty quickly and it was strong and loud. Such a beautiful moment… well, I don’t think it was long enough to even qualify as a moment. The main midwife wheeled over to me on her chair and asked me question after question after question still on one about my BMI. Have I given up all sugar? I responded no, was I meant to? No-one had given me any info about doing so, not my midwifes, GP or at my pointless appointment from my last post. She gave me really patronising eyebrow raise as if to say “oh dear”. I questioned ‘well what about fruit … There’s sugar in that?’ She ignored me and started to talk about my gestational diabetes test at 28 weeks and the likelihood of it being positive etc etc. By then, the heartbeat listening was finished.

I heard about 3 seconds of it and felt completely robbed of that moment.

I sat back down not looking at my husband incase I burst into tears. She wanted to book my glucose test in at 28 weeks and I explained I was I’m Cornwall with my family that week (who live abroad in Malaysia – I hadn’t seen my brother and his kids for over a year and my parents only come over every 3 – 6 months this was the only week I had off work with them) she tutted and said I’d have to book it the Monday morning after first thing.

Then I left. A little bit in shock and feeling absolutely shit. How dare she take away my experience because she doesn’t deem me healthy enough to be pregnant. I wasn’t bothered by the questions, just don’t interrupt a lovely moment and don’t be so rude and patronising when asking them! We got in the car and I cried. I cried all the way home and I cried on the phone to the doctors surgery whilst enquiring about making a complaint.

I wrote a complaint and sent it to the head of the midwives for my county. By the time I heard back and they had suggested mediation with said midwife in front of a board of people, my next appointment was scheduled the week after with her to discuss my glucose results which she has already established she thought would be positive for gestational diabetes. I responded saying I didn’t have time (this was the week I was on holiday with my family so wouldn’t be back home until the Saturday and then the glucose test was Monday with my appointment with her Thursday). I cannot fault the lady who was investigating my complaint. She set me up at the midwives in the next town along from us until the end of my pregnancy. Those midwifes were lovely!!! Best thing that could have happened to me and the first thing they did was let me listen to the heartbeat for a long time… in silence so I could take it all in.

What I took from this horrific experience was that more than anything I wanted to prove that horrible woman wrong. And anyone else who didn’t think I would be good enough. I was going to have the best pregnancy I could have! I could have broken down and let it destroy me but I wouldn’t let anyone have that satisfaction. I didn’t have gestational diabetes, I didn’t put on too much weight and I gave birth to a healthy happy little boy. Most of all I continuously believed in myself which is something I find quite hard to do and I was still determined to do it all my way. I didn’t read books or go to classes. I didn’t falter when I felt pressurised into changing my mind on things such as the fact I didn’t want to breastfeed or even try it. I’m a much stronger person because of it and in my own way I feel that’s the best “fuck you” I could give to that midwife.

I don’t write this blog to tell you how to do things or what I think is best. But if you will allow me to give you some advice, stand your ground and believe in yourself. I have no clue what I’m doing but now I’m doing it i’m pretty confident about it. Don’t be a statistic or boxed and take judgement with a pinch of salt. Be yourself, isn’t that what you would wish for your child? Also a good old “fuck you” to someone who has wronged you, in any form can feel bloody amazing!