Even the first time around when I was pregnant with Amelia, I found myself having to defend certain things that I was or wasn’t doing. Some of the so-called rules out there, after doing my own research I just decided to ignore. Others I just either wasn’t very organised, or couldn’t bear the thought of it (antenatal classes!)
When I fell pregnant with Amelia, I was adamant that I didn’t need new mum friends. In hindsight, I think I was wrong, but this was a major factor in me deciding not to book any antenatal classes. Next on the reasoning list was that I was still working a hell of a lot, running a retail business full time right up until I was over 8 months pregnant. My work left very little in the way of spare time, and while I could have totally scheduled the time off if I had wanted to, the desire just wasn’t there.
The biggest reason that I chose not to attend any antenatal classes was because I truly believed (and still do) that childbirth can’t really be planned for. There is no amount of practising that I could have done that would have prepared me for the reality of childbirth. I feel very strongly that when confronted with actual labour, if you are relaxed enough to let it do so, your body takes over and does what it needs to do. Plus there’s all the people yelling at you to breathe. That helps.
My reasoning for not writing a birthing plan is pretty much the same as why I didn’t go to antenatal classes. I looked at the sample birthing plan I was given when I fell pregnant with Amelia, and almost immediately decided that attempting to plan the unknown was only going to stress me out if/when the plan was strayed from during the actual event.
I knew, even then, that the last thing I needed to be during labour was stressed. So I looked at the plan, even put pen to paper once, and then decided to chuck it. William’s went straight in the bin on my way out of the midwife’s office.
I’m fully expecting a telling off from a few of you on this (and my next) point, and I’m cool with that. There were a number of occasions that I chose not to follow the guidelines on eating undercooked meat and pate. Let’s just get real with Pate, can we? I was pregnant over Christmas with both of my kids, and pate is a big deal for me at Christmas. I see it as a total indulgence, and Christmas is the only time of the year I eat it. As for meat, I was severely anaemic during my pregnancy with Amelia, so yes I definitely did indulge in a medium-rare steak on a few occasions.
The thing with meat and pate is often misunderstood, I think. These things pose no direct threat to you or your baby, or at least no more so than they did before you were pregnant. The problem with undercooked meat and pate is that they are just that – undercooked. This means that they have the potential – they might – hold harmful bacteria that hasn’t been cooked out, and they might make you sick. Obviously getting sick would not be good for you or your baby. I rationalised that so long as what I chose to eat was from a reputable source, and that I had control over the cooking of it, then the chances of me getting sick were as slim as before I was pregnant. Same goes for eggs. Love a runny egg!
As above, the same goes for soft cheese! Brie at Christmas, anyone? I mean, come on – Brie, bacon & cranberry paninis are like Christmas gold dust, right?! The issue with soft cheese is similar to that of undercooked meat and pate. Soft cheese is made with unpasteurised milk, usually, and it is the pasteurisation process that (mostly) removes harmful bacteria. This is not to say that all soft cheese will make you sick, or definitely houses bad bacteria. Think about it. When was the last time soft cheese made you ill? If it was recently, you have my heartfelt sympathy. If like me, you’ve never gotten ill from eating soft cheese then you may well see my point.
Once again, I made sure that my Christmas Brie came from a reputable supplier, and I monitored or controlled its storage and preparation.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Alright. I’ll admit it. On this one I was just plain lazy. I couldn’t be arsed, and generally I just forgot to do them! I suppose I have been exceptionally lucky in that I am still, post kids, able to hold my pee even when I laugh (shock horror, I know!) I know that things could have worked out very differently for me, so if I’m honest, my advice to those of you carrying precious cargo would be to do your exercises. Don’t be lazy like me!
Despite the (probably poorly chosen) title of this post, all of these things were entirely my own choice. You shouldn’t take everything you read on the internet for gospel, including this post! Do what works for you!
So I’m genuinely interested to hear about your own choices and experiences. Did you choose to ignore any of the advice you were given? Do you think I’m a total nutcase?! I’d love to hear… Well most things, really!