The inspiration for my work was my own journey to motherhood. Is my own pregnancy, birth and my early postnatal journey had a profound impact on my life; I learnt that if I had been more knowledgeable, I would have had the power so that many things could have been different. I suffered in silence during my pregnancy with my care providers, as I was ignored when I shared how ill I felt and my symptoms were downplayed. It never really occurred to me at that time that I was possibly being neglected because of the colour of my skin. I am of mixed heritage and present as black and have grown up very proud of that fact. I never had a “Chip on my shoulder” which of course you can get accused of when you are feeling as if your race is part of why you are being treated differently.
In hindsight, I feel some kind of way about it as I for sure was really ill. I did not just tell one midwife on my pregnancy journey either, I told all of them but, despite this, for the entire length of my pregnancy I was ignored with my symptoms. Most days I did not get out of bed as there was no point as any motion made me physically sick. What I actually had was Hyperemesis Gravidarium (which is extreme morning sickness), except it is not, as it lasts all day and night. This psychologically made it hard to enjoy my pregnancy and connect inward with my son; it also made me feel that I could not trust what I was feeling so I kept ignoring my own intuition when, I knew in the depths of soul something was wrong.
Then to top it off, at 36 weeks I developed Pre-Eclampsia which again was initially ignored and misdiagnosed and so I became very ill by the time I gave birth to my son. I did not hold my son in my arms for almost a week, which of course impacted my postnatal journey.
3 Tips You Can Do to Help Yourself
Is always your power – Read as much as you can around your birthing rights and choices, learn about your body and the birthing process, work out where you want to give birth
Get a Doula who is going to help you advocate for your rights and choices and help build you grow your confidence.
Trust your gut instinct
Your instincts never lie!! If something feels off it normally is; trust what it is, even if a doctor or midwife is telling you something, know that it is your right to get a second option.