Life Fitness

Monday 18 November 2019

Yvonne Hogan: From fear to maternity

Yvonne Hogan Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.
Yvonne Hogan Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.

Yvonne Hogan

With just nine weeks to go, I am starting to feel a bit panicky and unprepared.

I haven't really done much of anything in the way of getting ready for the baby. I still can't drive properly, although I have bought a car and taken loads of lessons.

I haven't bought a buggy yet -- or anything else baby-related for that matter, done a birth plan, thought about whether to breastfeed or not, booked any ante-natal classes -- and I tend to get very defensive if anyone asks me anything even remotely related to any of the above.

I think I am in denial.

For example, I know deep down that denial is the main reason I have elected not to find out the sex of the baby.

My husband doesn't want us to find out because he wants a surprise. I hate surprises, but I know that if I knew junior was going to be a girl or a boy, that would make it all real and I would have to acknowledge how ridiculously unprepared I am and how much there is to do.

As I am currently the size of a baby elephant, people are inquiring as to my readiness a lot. Especially people who already have children.

And one area that people seem to be particularly concerned about is the fact that I have not booked in to, nor do I intend to book in to, an ante-natal class.

Firstly, it would really interfere with my denial.

Secondly, I have a fair idea of what is going to happen, that it is probably going to hurt, and I am confident that the people in the hospital will know what they are doing and that there is nothing I can inadvertently do as a result of not attending an ante-natal class that will stop the process or damage the baby.

So I have decided that I am not going to spend any of my last evenings as a non-mother at an ante-natal class. I am going to sleep or watch TV.

But I have another, baser, more immature reason for not attending ante-natal classes.

I would have to bring my husband and I don't want him knowing any more than he already does about pregnancy and childbirth.

Not because I don't want him to share in the magical process -- he will be present, don't get me wrong, but I really don't like men acting like they know what childbirth is like.

In fact, it was something a man said that made me decide ante-natal classes were out.

"The classes were brilliant," he told us. "Not so much for 'insert mother's name here,' but for me. I found it very useful to know what was going on at all times. I felt I could contribute more."

Jesus wept.

Now I get it that men want to be involved more and learn about how their children are coming into the world so they can support their partners, but my current hormonal, exhausted, fat, waddling, pregnant opinion is that they will never know enough about giving birth to a baby to be entitled to 'contribute' anything other than complete silence and respect in the birthing suite.

I have already seen in my own relationship how a little learning can be a dangerous thing.

Early on, I bought my husband one of those books for dads-to-be, thinking it might make him really sympathetic to me and buy me loads of nice stuff etc -- and it didn't work out at all the way I wanted.

Now, if I give out about something in a rational manner, or stress even a normal bit, he says in this really calm, even, annoying, patronising voice things like, "You are in the third trimester now so you are going to be a bit mental".

Or, "You are cranky because you are nesting at the moment, and that's appropriate".

It drives me nuts, but I have no one to blame but myself. I bought him the bloody book.

But I am not going to make that mistake again.

There will be no ante-natal classes for us. I think it would be bad for our relationship and I know I'm not ready to give up my denial just yet.

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