As a mum of three healthy kids, I count my blessings every day.
I was stoked to hear that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford are having a baby, especially given the fact they didn’t think they could conceive naturally.
What a cool surprise! Probably not great timing given she was about to take over the running of a country, but then babies are not normally known for sticking to a schedule, including when it comes to their conception.
What has greatly troubled me is not that our Prime Minister might be slightly distracted by her impending motherhood, but some of the nasty comments made by keyboard cowards on social media (not for re-printing here).
Many of them are women, and some of them mothers themselves.
If you’re one of those women who conceived naturally as soon as you wanted to have a baby, didn’t suffer from morning sickness, didn’t have a miscarriage, didn’t have a difficult labour or a stillbirth, didn’t have post-natal depression or experience a relationship breakdown following the birth of a baby, good for you. You are likely to be in a very small minority.
Dads don’t escape either, with men also experiencing the grief of failed pregnancies and post-natal depression.
Bringing a baby into the world is often fraught with difficulties. I’ve had more than my fair share of the above, including delays in conceiving, multiple miscarriages, a life-threatening labour with twins and post-natal depression.
I’ve never been shy about discussing it and have found by doing so there are many more mums out there who have shared similar experiences but didn’t feel they had the support to talk about it.
I’m pleased to note that most New Zealand media and the general public have offered their heartfelt support to the Prime Minister and her partner.
To those keyboard cowards, I say remember the joy of having your own children and don’t begrudge others the same experience, regardless of their status in life.
Support for fertility issues, miscarriage, baby loss and post-natal depression are available from the following:
Fertility New Zealand Tauranga support group, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Miscarriage Support NZ: www.miscarriagesupport.org.nz
Sands Bay of Plenty, supporting parents who have experienced the death of a baby: www.sandsbop.co.nz
The Bay of Plenty District Health Board has a maternal mental health team for women who develop mental health problems during pregnancy and up to 12 months following. Women can self-refer or through a GP or healthcare provider.