Mama's Maternity Leave

9 months of pregnancy with 9 months of leave

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Warning to Mum’s: Mind what you say ?

Every mother does it, as I discovered today while sitting with almost-11-week old baby Jack in my arm’s with his petted lip looking up at me. A mother beside me cradling her 5 month old daughter with a gaping wound in her head.

"What happened?" I asked. "I forgot to do up the straps on her pram and as I was bumping it down the stairs she fell out and hit her head" she replied with a red face.

Every mother has had a moment like this and as we sit there thinking we are the most stupid, awful, selfish, idiotic mother in the world; so is the woman next to us. 

However, I would caution you to what you say down the telephone line or in front of your health professional. Once they think you aren’t coping they won’t leave you alone. Not very long ago I made a little mistake with Calpol and my toddler (that’s infant paracetamol) and gave a larger dose - nothing serious but I did have to ring NHS24 (that’s the emergency helpline for those outside the UK) to ask if it would harm her at all. The reply was no but they did forward the details to my General Practitioner and the Nurse (Health Visitor) who is in charge of looking after my daughters health. Now I can’t shake them off and they seem to think “I’m not coping”. 

When I mentioned to the Health Visitor when she came here last I was getting a private tutor for my daughter to make sure she started school next year and I wanted her to take music lessons, I was accused of “doing too much” and “putting too much pressure” on myself and “expecting too much”…what on earth is the woman on about? I’m posting letter and making a few phone calls at the moment. Should I be bedridden? And anyway, the tutor will be coming here. I don’t have to travel. And the music lessons are at a hall in town. I go have coffee while trained professionals take her for an hour of my Sunday afternoon- brilliant! I’m not feeling pressure here, I’m not taking on too much…don’t feel like I’m doing anything at all actually. 

Long story short:

  • Take a first aid course for babies and children up to puberty
  • ***DIAL 999/112/911 (OR WHATEVER) IF YOUR CHILD SHOWS NO SIGNS OF LIFE: NOT BREATHING, NO HEARTBEAT, GOES LIMP, GREY/COLD COMPLEXION.  
  • If in doubt call your mum first, she knows best and she managed to keep you alive.
  • Keep your trap shut unless it’s serious and you think there is something wrong with your child in the long term that needs to be addressed. Don’t go pointing out that you dropped a half empty bottle of shampoo on his/her head last night or that you left him/her alone with your toddler and found that they’d been removed from their bouncy chair and were being pulled along the floor by their feet. You might get a laugh if your Health Visitor is liberal but chances are the vast majority will look at you like you are a maniac and phone Social Services!
  • Unless you are genuinely suffering PND then try to stay away from the NHS. Enjoy your baby away from them. Baby clinics are for immunisations and weighing babies. And in my humble opinion, because I really don’t care what anyone says- I think health visitors are a barrier in the Health Service between patients and Doctors. Nurses are needed in the wards…end of story. 

I’d just like to point out that I like Nurses a lot, a whole lot. It’s nothing personal. 

***Always use your bloody common sense. Try to learn first aid but if you child is in danger get in touch with medical services without delay to save your child’s life. Every moment counts so never wait. 

(PS, I’m too tired to check this over before publishing as its 11pm but I do look forward to seeing how horrendous it is in the morning. Goodnight folks!)

Filed under PND NHS motherhood parenting baby toddler childhood parenting stories health visitors midwifery nursing