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Colette Fitzpatrick: We demand proper care -- not a sausage factory

We've been doing it for millennia; having babies. But for every mother to be, each pregnancy is a unique and special experience.

Strap yourself into the hormonal rollercoaster, because for first-time mothers-to-be, it's a big adventure into the great unknown full of emotion, excitement and fear.

The pressure starts almost as soon as you find out you're pregnant. You're defending and explaining every single decision you've made -- why you're not breastfeeding, why you want pain relief, why you went public or private, why you chose the name you did.

For many, reassurance comes at their first peek at that new life when you have that first scan. It's a milestone in your pregnancy and when the sonographer says 'there's your baby -- there's the heartbeat. Having that scan heartens and comforts you, soothing away all those first-time worries. Everything is fine. There's the baby -- teeny, tiny as it is -- right there in front of your eyes. What a relief.


An ultrasound scan isn't just about peace of mind. It's full of medical information too. To have to wait 12 weeks for it, especially on your first pregnancy, is an eternity for first-time mums.

You're unnerved enough as it is and now that anxiety has to be dragged out even further?

And this on top of possibly having had your first appointment in a temporary building around the corner on Pearse Street, simply because the corridors were so busy and overcrowded in the National Maternity Hospital. Talk about feeling like an inconvenience, like a sausage in a sausage factory.

Baby boom or no baby boom, am I just a number here? Because I got pregnant when I did, does this mean I have even more worries than a mum who got pregnant a few years back? I'm going to get bigger; a bit of room would be something.

Mother's Day is approaching and having joined this unique club, I have one wish for us all. Instead of flowers and dinners and chocolates, what we'd really, really like is a health service that will mind us and treasure our babies. And just a little more room, please.