Emetophobia and pregnancy

I’m really curious about emetophobic women who have children. How did you deal with pregnancy? The fear of possible morning sickness makes me never want to do it!

-Gigi

I’m not sure if this question was directed at only me or others as well, so if there are any of you fellow emetophobics out there who have been pregnant, please feel free to chip in.

Emetophobia made my early weeks of pregnancy pretty tough going and very stressful. I was blessed not to actually be sick (though I think that has more to do with my ‘continence’ in that particular area). The very sight of pasta made me wretch, and the only thing I remember being able to eat is Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter and banana ice cream. In evenings until about 1 or 2 a.m. I felt horrible, I would often cry and sometimes panicking because of how nauseous I felt.

I also had no idea about things that may have helped back then such as ginger, eating little and often (which to be honest I do anyway), acupuncture travel wristbands and so on.

With my medical history it is very unlikely that I’d become pregnant again. I’m not sure how I’d feel about pregnancy if I were in a place where that was a possibility. I know I’d be terrified for the pregnancy and for the labour – especially as I have a lot more knowledge (and more horror stories). I’d also be extremely nervous about how I’d cope with children when they were ill in that way.

I don’t know anyone personally with emetophobia who has gone through pregnancy, but I would be interested to know how they coped too!

To Cairngorm or not to Cairngorm…?

This weekend I’m supposed to be going to a young adults retreat in the Cairngorms with some folks from my church. I’d kinda forgotten that it was this weekend with things being so busy (and I’d forgotten to put it in my diary). I’m nervous about it for several reasons.

Firstly, I’m not a huge fan of church weekends away. Secondly, I don’t know the other people going particularly well. Thirdly, I have no kitchen making it difficult to prepare for a weekend where I will have virtually no control over what I can eat. Fourthly, I’m worried we could get snowed in. Lastly, the last time I was at the place we were staying was on a Geography revision weekend – a few days before I started my Higher exams.

It was at this centre where I was hanging out a window with my friend’s phone trying to get reception so I could chat to my boyfriend. It was on my last ever day of high school we left for our weekend, and the last ‘hurrah’ to say goodbye to folks I’d shared 5 years with. It was that weekend I prayed I wouldn’t get my period because I didn’t want to be dealing with being ill while we were traipsing up mountains and through forests looking at the power of glaciation. It was during this weekend when I started to feel nauseous. It was that weekend I thought it was strange my period never came and relief was laced with traces of uneasiness that I tried to ignore.

It’s not exactly a place I’ve ever wanted to return to.

At the same time I wonder if it’s a chance to do something I wanted to do last June in the NW Highlands.

Positive thoughts and prayers will be muchly appreciated – for whatever I decide to do this weekend. In Edinburgh or the Cairngorms.

Curiosity may get me in trouble from my friends…

One thing is for sure, I think I’m discovering why there are so many ‘Mommy bloggers’ out there in the blogosphere. Kids sure provide you with much to write and think about. Sorry to say that not much to blog from last weekend when Mr Teapot turned 2 – but check out my friend’s creation for the event (totally homebaked from scratch!). The best part was the fact that it was chocolate cake inside.

The only downside – my jeans got literally ‘caked’ with Thomas. And I didn’t notice until I went to put my jeans on to go to church on Sunday morning. Ha ha!

However, last night was one of those nights that I had one of those potentially corrupting children moments. Several of them in fact, complete with a classic BK style malteser moment. It all began as me & Miss Sweetroot were watching a DVD of her dance show from a couple of years ago. We’re talking about the dances, and the dance teachers we’ve had. Then out of the blue she just asks:

“Do you have a job?”

I of course answer “Yes

This is of course followed up by the key question: “What do you do for your job?”

Panic sets in. This is my friend’s only just turned 7 year old daughter. I’m pretty sure they have not had ‘the talk’ with her at this point in her life. I’m definitely sure the subject of people getting pregnant when they don’t want to be pregnant has never been talked about because she has only known pregnancy as something to be celebrated and excited about. I’m now wishing I’d become a teacher. Teacher would be an acceptable self explanatory answer to this question that my friend’s daughter would already know about. Pregnancy counsellor and teacher of sex education? Even amongst adults in the pub this answer can be quite the conversation shocker.

I think my answer was quite honest (and hopefully not going to get me killed by her parents!)

Well, I help people who are pregnant, and some Mummies whose babies went to heaven while they were still in their Mummy’s tummy before they got to be born“.

At this point I’m praying that this will be acceptable answer for her.

It seems to be.

She tells me of someone she knows whose baby went to heaven while it was in their tummy. But then she asks me the toughest question of all:

Why does God let the babies go to heaven before they get to be born?

Thankfully my truthful answer of “I don’t know” is acceptable. (Phew. Because I really don’t know.)

Later I take her up to bed and I read her a bible story (Jonah and the big fish), and she reads me a story (Chip & Wilf’s Arctic Adventure). We’ll skip the part where I had to climb up to her bunk bed and in the process caught my scarf with my leg, almost knocked myself out and fell in ungracefully into a pile of stuffed toys. We chat to God together for friends we know on holiday (prompting a question about whether they have sharks in Morocco in case our friend gets his arm bitten off while surfing like Bethany Hamilton).

I’ve no sooner gone downstairs, when I hear little creaks and footsteps outside the living room. I’m reading ‘Father Fiction‘ by Donald Miller.

What is that book about?

It’s about people who grew up without having Daddies” I say.

“How does that happen?” she asks.

And let’s just say that for the next 20 minutes we have lots of chats about half-siblings, step siblings, step parents, how some people’s Daddys might go away by choice and others don’t, and whether the Mummy of mine she’s met before is my ‘real Mummy’ and how I have lots of brothers and a sister but we don’t have the same parents.

Thankfully, when my friends came home and I told them these stories, they did laugh. And they told me that when she starts asking how babies are made, they are going to tell her to ask me instead.

I really hope my friends are joking. (You are kidding, right?!)

Anyway. All this to say that I’m back in the business of corrupting children. Or trying not to corrupt them. These conversations are definitely up there with the time when Miss S asked me about why I had two earrings in each of my ears.

And I now realise I’m officially getting too old to try and climb onto bunk beds.

:)

 

The super-secret fertility powers of brunette koalas

It’s been busy in work, and that is just the way I like it to be honest. There’s part of me that gets such an adrenaline rush from being a little bit stressed out!

A few friends of mine giggled on Saturday as we realised that pregnancy seems to follow me wherever I go. There were concerns that I might have some kind of infectious fertility power (?!) as my friends seem to get pregnant. In July 2 friends gave birth one day after the other, and a week later 2 friends gave birth on the very same morning. I have 2 friends due to give birth any day now, 2 in September, 2 in December, 1 in January and another friend is going to be a grandmother in February (if all goes well!). And I’m sure there are pregnant friends I may have forgotten, because it is getting tough to keep track…

I have a real passion for women’s health. I’ve been intrigued by it since I was a little kid when I used to pretend to ‘give birth’, and since I worked in Community Education I found out more, then of course studied it at university more in depth.

And now I work in a pregnancy resource centre!

I loved looking after my baby brother when he was a baby, and though I will remind my godson when he’s older about the time he puked down my top and into my bra right before I headed to a Powerpoint band practice I still get mesmorised about how fast babies grow. How miraculous is that a woman can survive pregnancy.

At my friends’ wedding I held another friend’s 5 day old baby for quite a while and just marvelled at her tiny fingernails, her delicate features, her baby soft hair, and how peaceful she was. For 6-7 months I’d known of her prior to her birth I had nicknamed her ‘Mini Miyagi’ and prayed for her (as did many others). We didn’t know her at all. God did. We didn’t. And here I was holding this baby that had previously been growing inside of my friend only a week before.

It reminded me of holding my godson – another one I’d prayed for since he was but a teeny embryo – at 3 days old, so proud of my friend for all her hard labour birthing him but knowing I was holding a baby we had prayed for so hard, praying that conception would happen, then praying he’d be one of the 3 in 4 that didn’t end in miscarriage, then praying for his & his Mum’s health, for his safe delivery.

I’m so thankful that I feel no bitterness towards my friends for the blessings they’ve received that I would love to have. I never have done. And I feel very comfortable that I’m writing that with complete honesty.

It gives me confidence to speak next month on healing from pregnancy loss. I have experience that it’s true, not just from the people I see coming in and out of the doors of the centre I work in, but from my own personal experience too.

I now just have to work out what exactly I’m going to say. :)

 

Causes I support: Pregnancy Crisis & Loss support

It’s something that everyone has known directly or indirectly in their lifetime. You might have had an abortion, or gotten pregnant when you hadn’t planned on it – at the ‘worst possible time’. You might have had a miscarriage. Maybe your mother had a miscarriage. Your friend did. Your friend in high school got a girl pregnant…

Everyone who reads this blog pretty much knows my own story. A number of my friends have had a abortions during the last decade. A few of my friends got pregnant while we were at university. Two of my friends had miscarriages this year. My friends had their second child while one of them was a stay-at-home-parent, and the other a full-time student, neither of them really earning.

It is not easy. We don’t really talk about it. Pregnancy loss is a taboo subject (not only abortion, but miscarriage & still birth too). And people don’t understand it.

But across the country, and in many others people train staff & volunteers in counselling skills and gain knowledge of these things so they can provide a safe space for women & men who are in crisis or grieving to come to. To be listened to. To be supported through.

This week, 10 years ago I conceived new life with my at the time boyfriend – my best friend & partner in everything. It was a horrible time, and I’m so thankful that I had someone who cared about me enough to go through it all with me as much as he could.

A lot of people going through something like that aren’t so lucky as I was.

Two friends of mine (Douglas & Annaliese)are running the Edinburgh Marathon to support our local pregnancy crisis centre. Others are at the moment collecting change in baby bottles.

So this ‘Sunday’ this is the cause I’ve chosen. :) You’ll be able to see that I’ve given a donation to both of my friends! I’d love if you could do the same – or failing that, get an empty jar or baby bottle and collect your spare change & then hand it in to YOUR local centre on Father’s Day.

More lessons in leadership

This leadership thing is tough.

For those of you who hopped over to Shelley’s blog last week to read my guest post (thank you to all of you who left me a comment, I really appreciate every single comment I get on any post I write) you might realise that I have a fair bit of insecurity regarding my current status in this area!

It has not been an easy ride.

I’m battling the whispers and memories of negative words spoken over me. Why is that you always remember the bad stuff? My friend Tam talked about this recently, and I can only echo my agreement with all she said in her post that day. The power of word is huge.

These battle scars are not ones that can be seen. And it is so easy for old wounds to be reopened.

Something that deeply concerns me is the lack of support and the unwillingness of organisations to open their doors to pregnancy crisis support, sex and relationships education and post abortion & miscarriage recovery. People seem to be scared of what I do. It seems to make them uncomfortable.

There is a huge generational gap in our organisation, and as cancer seems to attack (quite literally in some cases) I worry that with death or retirement our work is going to die too. And it is still so needed.

Something I’m trying to encourage the folks in leadership of centres across the country is making sure they have pastoral support, a team of encouragers and prayer warriors and to be training up the next generation.

I’m making that my own goal for this year.

Lead by example.

I want people to learn how to do my job – because if this year has taught me anything, it’s that even though I’m ‘only’ 26, I don’t know how long I have here. I need to be replacable! If I’m Moses, I need a Joshua, and if I’m Paul, I need a Timothy… :)

The one thing I have very little control over is financial support, pastoral support, encouragers and prayer warriors. About 99% of this form of support I receive through cyberspace. Lovely, but not ideal. I’m so thankful it has been there though. I don’t think I’d have got this far otherwise.

The nervousness of ‘shocking’ people. As I spoke to the group in front of me in the Highlands on Monday night, a few eyebrows were raised, some expressions stony…but eventually there were smiles (phew!). But the stigma and fear of being part of this kind of ministry seems to remain.

In the meantime, we end up having to turn away people needing our help because of the lack of resources.

I’m not sure if that makes me sad, angry or just decreases my faith….or maybe a combo of all of the above!

Bible commentary from a pregnancy counsellor…

“There Judah met the daughter of a Canannite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son and named him Onan”

- Genesis 38:2-3 (NIV)

So I’m now on Day 19 of The Bible in One Year. A lot of the readings from Genesis (first book of the bible) have included sentences like these.

And I’d just like to say, I’m pretty sure Judah did more than just ‘lay’ with his wife for her to become pregnant.

Laying in the same bed does not a child conceive.

Sexual intercourse without contraception (and occasionally even with contraception) does. I mean yeah, you might be horizontal while doing this, but it does require a bit more energy and activity than simply laying next to someone. ;)

You know. Just in case any of you were freaking out after you accidentally fall asleep in a pew next to a guy in church or something — you don’t need to come to me for a pregnancy test. :)

On another note about Judah & Shua: they named their son Er.

Yes.

Er.

That sound you make when you aren’t sure about something or what to say.

Way to give your kid a complex in early life and make him feel secure. 8O

Top Ten Ways to get your baby weight to stay

I don’t have much to say today. Except that we’ve reverted back from nice summer to our usual non-existent summer…

…and I’m not too happy about it. (For those of you who work in Fahrenheit…the above pic translates to…)

An American on twitter responded to my posting of the above screen shot by saying: Wow that’s cold what’s the normal temperature in the middle of the summer there?

Bless his American cotton socks… :) Because let’s face it…this IS the normal mid-summer weather in Scotland!

Anyway, I was MOST cheered up on an otherwise dreich day by the posts on my lovely American who lived in Scotland friend, Caroline (who is well aware of the sucky Scottish weather as she has experienced it firsthand) announcing some very special news today….she’s preggers with baby Collie number 2!!!!!! :D

It’s been a while since she did one of her ‘Top Ten’ posts, and this one about the top ten ways to make sure you never shift your baby weight made me giggle.

I’m worried by the lack of digestive biscuits, jam, cream & scones in South Africa….how is she going to cope through this pregnancy?! ;)

Love you muchly Caroline – Congratulations to the Collie Family!!

PS If you’d like to see the guest ‘Top Ten’ I did for Caroline a while ago, you can check it out here. Unless you are called Lynn and you work as a Children & Families Pastor. Then you really shouldn’t read it.

Of course you’ll be a mother!

Recently, one of the young people from our church met up with me and we got talking. Somehow it got round to kids, and having them. Or more to the point, asking about when I have kids.

As more of my friends have been having babies and I hold them, and rock them or in the case of Bump2 use my advantgeous long nails to pick the loosened cradle cap out his masses of 4 month old hair (a little gross but oddly satisfying) the question has come up a lot lately.

Only it seems to other people not to be a question but an assumption that of course I’ll have children. When you have children…when you’re a mother…when God heals you…

And for me, and the only doctor whom I have ever trusted, I know it’s not a question of when, but if I’m able.

I do understand why people make this assumption about my future. I think. I specialised my studies in maternity care and breastfeeding at university. I work in a pregnancy crisis centre. On stressful days in the Community Centre I worked in prior to me moving back, I’d escape to visit the creche where I often got a baby handed to me. I generally tend to get on well with my friends’ kids. Crying, tantrums, whining don’t scare me. Oh, plus I had a list of baby names picked out when I was like 14.

Maybe I’ll use them on my many future cats;)

Really the only thing about kids that sends me running away screaming is if they puke (babies excluded – which was just as well since my godson was a puketastic baby).

Actually, I’ve accepted the possibility of infertility now, particularly after the huge difference the temporary medically induced menopause (and subsequent relief and freedom) Depo Provera has given me. So I’m at peace with never having my own children.

It’s not that I don’t believe in healing. I know people who have been told they can’t have children and have been healed. I also know several people who for whatever reason have been unable to have children despite their  best efforts.

I realised I’ve accepted  infertility as a very real part of my life so much, if I did in the future get married, I think it would scare the crap out of me  if I did get pregnant (because I don’t expect it to happen now).

Luckily, in the unlikely event that this does happen, I know quite a few people trained in helping people deal with the shock of an unexpected pregnancy. :)