Everyone loves a good birth, right? Especially a royal baby?
Well, no. Not everyone.
|S at one day old
The arrival of a royal baby means the media is full of speculation: what was the labour like? How is Kate feeling? When will they leave hospital? Where will the baby sleep? Will Kate breastfeed? Who will do the night feeds? As a parent, I can’t help but be reminded of my own experience.
Those of you who’ve been reading for a while will know that I had a fairly traumatic experience, both during my pregnancy and when S was born
. (one of these days I will write the story of my pregnancy, but funnily enough, while I’ve written all about the birth, I don’t feel ready to talk about what happened before it)
As time goes on, and I become more and more resigned to the fact S will most probably be an only child, and I will most probably not have another baby, I find it difficult not to be bitterly disappointed about my experience.
Quite early on in my pregnancy, I bumped into one of my mum’s friends in a shop. We talked about my being pregnant, and as we parted she said, “enjoy yourself; you’ll never have your first pregnancy again!”
I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy. It was filled with fear and tension and stress and the constant feeling that everything was just wrong. I didn’t enjoy my experience of S being born; I didn’t enjoy the first few months of her life. Throughout all of that time, I would look around me at other women in my position, and find it very hard not to be consumed with jealousy. You might think I’m being childish or deliberately maudlin here, but just for a moment, stop and think what it must feel like to be in induced, premature labour, and still afraid of demanding too much attention from the man who is supposed to love you.
I have several friends who had babies shortly after I had S. Many of them were first time mums like me. I found it so hard not to be jealous of them with their new babies, when they were so happy and secure and contented with their partners and their little family. S and I were on our own, alone and distinctly lacking in security. I felt so guilty for her, for the life I had brought her into, and I felt sick to my stomach that my only experience of pregnancy and new motherhood had been tainted so badly by the situation we were in.
I’m really not into the whole navel-gazing, feeling sorry for myself business. I tried that approach to life for years, and all it ever got me was further into a stinking pit of despair. I don’t want to wallow in that feeling. For the most part, I just avoid thinking about it and try to focus on the positives. And there are some massive positives, as I’ve mentioned before. Being a single parent is definitely the best choice for me. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have liked to have someone taking care of me when I was pregnant, someone asking if I was ok, someone putting me first from time to time, someone supporting S and I in those first few months, when everything was so new and strange and difficult. Someone to fetch me a glass of water on those evenings when I was stuck the couch, cluster-feeding a tiny, hungry baby while the room darkened around me.
I’m glad that most of my friends had good experiences with their babies. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to have such a hard time in life. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find it hard to be constantly bombarded with stories of the most anticipated, privileged birth of this generation.