The news came to the fore yesterday that the new National Maternity Hospital was to be placed under the ownership of the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters of Charity is a religious group who in the past were one of the groups who ran the Magdalene Asylums. Under their watch, terrible abuses were carried out on mothers and children alike. In State redress schemes since the news broke of what went on inside these Mother and Baby Homes, the Sisters of Charity have neglected to pay their fair share. In 2013 the Sisters of Charity, along with the three other religious congregations which managed Magdalene laundries, announced that they would not be making any contribution to the State redress scheme for women who had been in the laundries. The Sisters of Charity were involved in five industrial schools – including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s, Kilkenny and Madonna House in Dublin. They were party to a €128m redress scheme with the State in 2002 for child abuse which took place. According to a December 2016 report from the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Sisters of Charity offered €5m towards the redress scheme – but have only paid €2m. They are currently in debt to the state, and the victims as a result, to the tune of 3 million. So, gifting them a hospital sounds par for the course, right? Only in Ireland.
My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
I’ve written before on here about my C-Section, about being a caesarean section mother and about the opinions others may have on the topic. However, looking over my C-Section story which I’d put up here the other night I realised that I’d left a lot of the details up. That piece was initially published as an interview for a different website and so it wasn’t fully fleshed out. So, I got to thinking, and now have the full 35 hour long ordeal of fun which ended one era and started another. Since April is Caesarean Awareness month in the UK, I thought it was a good time to share my experience.
When I was in hospital just about to give birth to Eliott (a day or two before the induction); my oldest friend Siobhán, who had seen me through every big and small life event since we were six, came to visit me. With her were two washing baskets, decorated and filled to the brim with goodies, baby necessities and gorgeous baby clothes – the perfect new baby basket. She had literally thought of everything. It was definitely one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received, and something I would love to replicate. As it happens, a rather awesome blogger friend of mine, the lovely Suzy from The Airing Cupboard, is expecting a little boy in the next few weeks, and as I understand that having a baby isn’t just a time to focus on the baby but also the new Mama, I’ve decided to throw together something similar; a little baby basket, a hamper of joy, love and Mammy treats.
When you’re getting ready to have a new baby, whether your first or your 2nd/3rd/19th, the hospital bag is one of the most important things to have planned out. I would suggest not taking the approach I took, which involved a lot of putting it off until it was a little too late and ending up stuck in hospital trying to assemble the bag in dribs and drabs. The earlier the better is the general rule with these things, and if there is a next time, the bag will be being prepared from the 20 week scan!
This is not a broody post. Promise. This is also definitely not an indication that another sprog will be entering the equation any time soon; no siree, we are a family of three and happy that way for the foreseeable (20:20 vision) future. The things I do not miss about being pregnant (a much longer list) have certainly made that one definite – that and the fact that I’ve yet to discover the sleepful nights, no nappies part of this parenting craic, nor proved myself able to keep something alive for more than a year. That’s definitely a goal I should attempt to meet before deciding the first one went well so another would be grand. It didn’t work out so well for any plant I’ve ever owned (god love that aloe vera, it takes effort to kill those…) but he seems to be faring well. Anyway, point made, this is a broody but not broody post, inspired by a pregnancy announcement by a lovely blogger friend of mine.