#MeToo in the Birth Room: one teen mama’s battle to be heard

Written by Sharmika

I was 17 years old when I found out I was pregnant.

At first I was shocked, but had always dreamed of having a beautiful baby and family so I decided to keep my blessing.

My pregnancy went quite well health-wise and I continued to go on with my college term. During the 9 months, I had to leave college due to discomfort and ended up doing my course in health and social from home, leaving with a D*D*D*. I ended up having my son just a few months before finishing.


I had an emergency C-section, because I wasn’t dilating.

I remember waking up the next day and seeing this beautiful baby boy. I couldn’t even believe he was mine. Riley. He was so small and tiny, and looked so peaceful.

But I don’t remember even holding Riley when he was born as I was so unwell. Riley’s dad told me about two years after, that him and my mum were holding Riley on my breast that night to feed him.

I missed the best first moments, which makes me the saddest.

While in the hospital, I saw all the other mums and of course they were all older. They looked fine and were just getting on with things, and I just thought, “well if they can do it, then I’m sure I can”.

Plus I didn’t want to look incapable.

My blood pressure had also gone up straight after the birth and I was put on blood pressure tablets. But because one of my biggest fears was having Riley taken away, I didn’t mention how much agony I was in.


Midwives came out every day when I went home to check my blood pressure. But I remember reading on a correspondence note to the midwives from my GP, “I know this patient and I’m not too sure about her mothering skills”.

This obviously shocked me and I felt even more under pressure.

I could hardly move and was waking up during the night in puddles of sweat having to change my bed sheets and clothes. But I didn’t mention that at first, as I had seen the note and didn’t want to seem like I couldn’t handle it. At the time I physically couldn’t even bend down to pick up my son, I was in so much agony.

Eventually though, I mentioned my symptoms to the midwife; she said sweating was due to me breastfeeding. Yet 11 days later, another midwife visited and said my blood pressure and temperature were really high and that I had to go back into hospital.

There I was given antibiotics as I had an infection in my blood. But as soon as I went home I had to be rushed back in to hospital within a few hours. I was then told I had a womb infection, caused by the atmosphere of the operating room.


The consultant came and did an ultra-scan and then I remember him saying, “she needs to stay close to me” and rushing off. I was so confused as he didn’t explain what he saw, so I went on to ask another doctor, who said it was the placenta.

Within the next day I was due to have surgery to remove the placenta. But then they said I couldn’t have the surgery anymore. They said it wasn’t an emergency, “as my head was not falling off”, which I guess is fair enough — but it just made me feel more and more like a young mum that was exaggerating.

Finally a nurse came to me and said “something isn’t right here”, and within 10 minutes she had brought a surgeon up and I was being organised to go into surgery.

They removed the placenta and blood clots and within 24 hours, I went home.

I started to feel better… but still noticed an unusual pain that I’d never had before. I carried on for about a month and a half until I saw my GP who said that it was down to the C-section.

My stomach was swollen with red blotches all over, and it would sweat to the point where I could poor a glass of water off my stomach. I tried to get on with it but kept ending up on the floor in pain and in A&E pretty much every week for 9 months. I couldn’t eat or leave the house hardly, and was constantly bent over in pain. I could hardly put any pressure on my left leg and was constantly throwing up and loosing myself.


After 9 months, I was finally referred to a pain clinic. I had an epidural in my spine straight away for pain relief for a laparoscopy. They found adhesions, removed them and then discharged me.

After having a nerve injection that sent shocks up my back and down my leg, the doctor abandoned the procedure, and the pain clinic then refused to give me any further treatments.

This was the worst feeling of all, because my life had completely flipped around. I could hardly even look after my son properly. I was then put on Fentanyl patches and have had to remain on them for almost four years now, which has ended up taking a toll on my body as I have been rushed back to the hospital on numerous occasions with pancreatitis.

I have been told I have nerve entrapment, and had to have my c-section scar reopened in February of last year as two nerve branches were completely tangled around my scar. They also said I have severe nerve damage across my scar and down both my legs.

At my last gynaecology appointment I was asked if I was finished having children.

I am now on a waiting list to see a radiologist for another invasive surgery to help for the pelvic congestion syndrome. I also now have a sprain in my hip and my spine is slanted to the right, which causes discomfort. This is due to the pain being so bad on the left side that I put more weight on the right side, which has twisted the spine.

I am not sure if they really understand what’s happened or going on, which is very frustrating and I still feel like I’m battling at times. But things are getting there.

Inspired by my experience, I have decided to create children’s books focusing on children and parents with disabilities, as I have found it difficult to find the right words to explain to my son about my condition and why I’m unable to do certain things with him.

The aim is to help children have a better understanding on what they or their parents might be going through.

I’ll be talking more about this in another blog post, along with how my condition has affected my life, so keep an eye out!


Here is a clip that explains a little more about what I will be doing next…

By Sharmika

Do you wana share your experiences of birth and mothering as a young mum? We would ❤ to hear from you. Contact us, comment below, or tag #WokeMamas on social media.

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