CAN WE PLEASE STOP TELLING PREGNANT WOMEN “EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE”
I’M currently 25 weeks pregnant and I’ve lost track already of the amount of times I’ve been told by people “everything will be fine.”
In early pregnancy, when we chose to share our news with immediate family, I was told by one person “everything will be fine!”
After our first scan, when I told someone when our baby was due, quickly followed by an ‘all being well’, I was told I was past the dangerous time now and to relax because “it’ll be fine.”
All will be well.
Everything will be fine.
But as well meaning as people are, to be honest I’m getting a bit tired of hearing it, because the truth is not everything is fine for many pregnant women.
None of us want to think about it, but deep down we all know that every day excited expectant women are losing their babies and with them, a lifetime of dreams, hopes and happiness.
Every. Single. Day.
And whilst yes of course, pregnancy should be a happy and hopeful time and whilst no one wants to add to the anxiety that all pregnant women feel to some degree already, personally I think it’s about time that some people stopped being a little too flippant about it.
I have friends who have sadly lost their babies. Some in early pregnancy. Others much later.
One of my friends who was expecting around the same time as me, lost her daughter just over a week ago. The news broke my heart. I’ve struggled to find the right words to say to her since but still as her friend, I’m trying to find them.
Because I know she is not fine. Far, far from it. Her pregnancy dream has turned into a hellish nightmare whilst so far, mine is continuing.
Why am I so lucky to date?
Why was she not?
These two questions have rattled around my head since I first heard the news. I’ve been angry. I’ve been upset. But there is no answer of course. When it comes to mother nature, when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood, life throws the dice and all we can do is take our chances.
Many women experience baby loss and yet still pregnant women are told “oh, it’ll be fine.”
Why do people do this?
None of us know what is round the corner. We don’t have a crystal ball to see into our futures or that of anyone else. We have no idea what is coming. And that’s not to be doom and gloom about it all. But that’s the truth isn’t it? We don’t.
Which is why when someone tells me not to worry or that everything “will be fine” it takes me every fibre of my being not to scream at that and say, stop bloody saying that!
At 22 weeks pregnant, I was admitted to hospital after having a little pregnancy scare. On a Saturday morning I woke up in agony at home with severe abdominal pain and a few hours later when it was still lingering, I knew that this wasn’t normal.
Tearful and worried sick, I rang my midwife who advised me to ring the maternity department and a few hours later, in I went into triage to be thoroughly checked over.
I was one of the lucky ones. My severe pain turning out to be caused by a nasty and bothersome fibroid. But you know, for a while I didn’t think “everything would be fine” and I felt totally sick to my stomach.
I was terrified, anxious and incredibly emotional at the thought that I may lose my baby and today as I sit here typing this just a few weeks later, I still quite can’t believe my lucky stars.
Because I know it could have been so different. I’m well aware of how fortunate I am to still be carrying and growing my boy.
Yes pregnancy should be a happy, joyous and hopeful time. Yes, it should be full of excitement and anticipation and planning. That’s all any of us can hope for and pray that we experience.
And I certainly don’t wish to frighten anyone or make anyone more anxious, myself least of all. But it’s a topic we need to talk about. It’s a subject that needs approaching more carefully.
At 25 weeks I’m now tentatively beginning to consider shopping for my baby boy, something I’ve been longing to do for weeks. But I also know I still have a long way to go.
Such is the dilemma we all face when pregnant. When is it the right time to buy things? When should we tell people? Will it jinx us if we share our news online? etc, etc.
That anxiety, even for those of us that have experienced happy endings before, is always there at some level.
So today, to mark Babyloss Awareness Week, I’d like people to please stop telling pregnant women “everything will be fine.” I’d like people to stop being so flippant and casual when it comes to pregnancy and baby loss. I’d like people to say things with a little more caution and sensitivity.
Of course we should be happy for people when we find out they’re having a baby and hey if you ever see me or chat to me, please do ask me about my dreams and hopes for my pregnancy and child. Feel free to share your own happy pregnancy stories and endings with others too. All of us need to hear these tales.
But let’s not forget the many women who have experienced baby loss.
Let’s not forget that things sadly can and do go wrong in pregnancy.
Let’s not forget the babies that didn’t make it or the heartbroken mums and dads who have lost a much loved and longed for child.
When you speak to a pregnant woman, allow her to chat about her anxieties and fears. And if you don’t know what to say, just listen.
Wish pregnant women and their partners well. Be happy for them. Delight in their news.
But please, if you’re one of those “everything will be fine” people, STOP saying it.
Because it may just not be. And for that reason alone, it’s time we all thought of different words to say.