I know for a fact that it is unsafe to ride rollercoasters whilst pregnant. And although I risk the reader’s distain when I say that I decided go to a theme park when I was 6 months pregnant with my first child, I will recount my horrific experience.
All women react to pregnancy in different ways, but most follow a pattern of morning sickness, mood swings, tiredness, breast tenderness and an assortment of other symptoms that tend to take the shine off your impending motherhood – for at least the first three months of pregnancy anyway.
I was no different to anyone else, an suffered en mass with other women in my situation, and after about three months I found that I had either got used to what was happening to me or I just simply “settled” into my fast changing body. I became energised and happier than I had been for a long time.
With my newfound happiness came a great deal of energy, and an instinctive desire to get out to experience the things that I felt I may not get a chance to do after I had brought my baby into the world.
One of those things was to visit a theme park and go on a roller coaster ride. Now, strangely enough, before I had fallen pregnant I had felt no desire to try such a thing, but for some reason, I wanted to try it. Although I was nearly 6 months pregnant, I had such a tiny bump you couldn’t really notice it that much.
I very excitedly boarded the ride that would take me on a thrilling rollercoaster ride and then down into a “black hole”, a vertical drop that had people screaming in terror as they dropped into the black abyss…
The roller coaster started and we moved off. Within 10 seconds I knew I had made a mistake. With every turn and drop and heart stopping swing, I not only felt my own fear, but also my baby’s discomfort. With every turn of the car I felt my baby move inside me with great distress and I was in agony knowing that I had to grit my teeth and wait it out until the end.
The worst was yet to come.
In the initial process of being made secure within the car, we had a kind of metal bar and arm contraption that came over our shoulders and then it was pushed down on top of our legs. Unbeknown to myself, my own bar hadn’t clicked in properly (it had felt uncomfortable against my stomach and I hadn’t wanted to push down too hard) and as we moved toward the final descent my bar started to glide back up. I desperately dragged it back down again and tried to click it back into place… without much success.
The black hole loomed up, and instead of being strapped safely into my seat I had the task of somehow quickly jamming my legs under the rigid part of the bar mechanism before we dropped down the hole. As we descended with great speed I desperately clung onto my seat. The whole thing had happened so quickly that I hadn’t had a chance to scream or call out and when we reached the bottom I was drenched with sweat, but I had clung on to my seat for dear life and luckily I had survived.
I will never forget the terror of that ride. I have not been near another one since. I suffered during the rest of my pregnancy. Torturing myself with the thought that I had damaged my baby and berating myself for putting my unborn child into such a dangerous situation.
Later on I gave birth to my lovely son. He was born with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD and OCD. Although I have been told that my rollercoaster experience was not the cause of his condition, I feel even more ashamed of myself because of it.
Strangely enough, out of all my four children he is the one who is the most daring one. He revels in dangerous sports and is the one I most worry about when he is out. I never know what scrape he will get himself into next. His last trick was to knock his elbow completely off and he had to have an operation to have it wired back together again. How did he do it?
By hand walking down a flight of concrete steps.
I blame it on the roller coaster ride. My boy is always looking for that next best thrill… I wonder what he will do next?