So yesterday I received my NHS Maternity Exemption card. After my first miscarriage, when I had to send the card back after losing the pregnancy, I became tentative about applying too early to avoid the same situation. My second miscarriage was at just on 6 weeks so I never got the chance to think about it, and with my son, I held off for longer than I should have as I didn’t want to ‘tempt fate’.
This time, I had a dentist’s appointment booked in around what would have been my 9 week mark, so that prompted me to apply.
Well the good news is that the rules have been changed and you can now continue to use the card regardless of the outcome of your pregnancy – no more worrying about when to send off for it in case you have to endure shakily posting it back, feeling sick to the pit of your stomach. The bad news – you don’t expect to be told about this as a matter of routine do you? There are some very good sources of information including The Miscarriage Association, which posted about this on their Facebook page yesterday, but you do need to know where to look.
And, with expectant mothers waiting even more expectantly now until around 10 weeks (at least in my area) before they get access to a midwife, you need to know the card exists – if you are pregnant for the first time, that’s not a given.
So if you haven’t seen a midwife yet, request a maternity exemption form from your GP. Knowledge is power people, knowledge is power.
Next up, the awkward conversation I’m going to have to have at the dentist if I receive any misplaced good wishes and the guilt I’ll be wrestling with at feeling I’m not entitled to use the card…