Feature image from MARJORIE JONES
Being labeled a high-risk pregnancy is unfortunate, to say the least. It is a label that changes your pregnancy. It alters you choices and removes a lot of options. High-risk pregnancies are not allowed in the Birthing Centres (in Australia) and will struggle to find a midwife willing to support a home birth.
Walking through the Medical Obstetric Clinic at my hospital I saw a blue photocopied sign advertising free pregnancy yoga for all patients; Low-risk Pregnancies only. I cursed whoever stuck up that sign, where no low-risk women would ever walk.
But there are some positives. And since I’ve decide to put a great deal of energy into focusing on the positives, I thought I should share.
Don’t think for one second I am in the smug position of coming out of a high-risk pregnancy with everything being perfectly alright – I’m not. I’m in it right now. I’m just at week 17. Current. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not even positive that at the end of this we will have a baby (mostly I’m sure I will, but the doubt still wells up inside).
So, with that in mind, let’s look at what’s good.
You appreciate every little good moment
So many mothers and pregnant women have told me how fast it all happens. ‘It flies by so quickly,’ people keep telling me. “It will be over before you know it,” they say. I try not to laugh when people say this. Perhaps a quick pregnancy was their experience but I can promise you I have lived, very presently, through every single moment. I’ve basically taken up pregnancy as my new full-time job, complete with meetings, emails, spreadsheets and data entry. I visit doctors ever week and am constantly being monitored and having my performance evaluated.
So in the good moments, when I feel alright, I enjoy it. I have been and will continue to appreciate every single sweet little moment of it. However long it seems to drag on.
You meet a great many amazing women
You spend a lot of time with women with high-risk pregnancies, and they are excellent. They are so friendly in the waiting rooms, and so kind when you cry a little after coming out of an ultrasound. Everyone makes sure you’re ok and talks out loud to each other. They play with each others kids and laugh at each others jokes.
You receive the very best of care
The doctors and caregivers that provide care for high-risk pregnancies are freaky dedicated genius’ who seem more interested in delivering healthy babies than making tonnes of money in private practice. At the moment I could not be in better hands, and I am grateful for it.
You’re forced to be honest about needing help
You can’t pretend everything is fine. You can’t hide or be a trickster. You ask for help. And you get it. I have already been reading a lot of pregnancy stories online, and one common theme I can’t get my head around are the women who feel isolated, need help and don’t know how to ask for it. I have help coming out my nose, and it is a blessing.
Other problems are suddenly hilarious
Hahahahahah! This is all I have to say about that.
You get braver
Braver than you thought you could be (Or maybe just stupider??). It’s incredible what we can cope with when we need to. I have impressed myself a few times with the way I have just done what needed to be done. Wow.
Work becomes a lot less stressful
Perspective is excellent and a high-risk pregnancy can give you a lot of it. When I have been well enough to work during the first few months, I have. But it has not stressed me like it used to. In fact, the small stresses I have had at work were a wonderful distraction from the stress of pregnancy.
You get to see your baby all the time.
Most pregnant women will only see their baby two or three times during their pregnancy; during each trimester. I have already seen it four times. It’s wonderful! I didn’t think the smeared up images on the screen could mean so much, but every time we see it, it’s grown, changed and a little bigger and cuter. It’s great.
You get a free pass to stay in bed and read.
Enjoy it. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Stay in bed until ten, reading and scrawling through Instagram. It’s alright. I haven’t use my bed free pass often, but when I have it felt absolutely excellent!
Ok, so I have just had a thought while writing this?
Is there such a thing as a low-risk pregnancy?
It has been interesting chatting to other women who have had, by all accounts, a low-risk pregnancy – And they had all the same worries I have. Pregnancy is a high-risk adventure. I mean, the stakes could not be higher.
I thought I was missing out on a wonderful stress-free magical pregnancy full of rainbows, bubble baths and pregnancy photo shoots of naked pregnant women on horseback. But I haven’t met a single woman that thought she had a relaxed, easy breezy perfectly wonderful magical pregnancy. Everyone had something they worried about and something that needed to be thought about and addressed.
Without ITP, I would still have worries, anxieties and stress on my mind. We are not that different, us low-risk and high-risk women.