“So, in the last twenty four hours I’ve vomited seventy five times. I can’t sleep, I keep shouting at my husband and I’m generally having the worst pregnancy ever.” I’m in my baby yoga class and we’re doing the usual sharing/moan-as-much-as-you-can before the class kicks off. I’m twiddling my thumbs, waiting for it to be my turn, plotting in my head what I’m going to say. The trouble is, I don’t really have much to give out about. I’m 18 weeks pregnant, and one morning last week I woke up after a full six hour’s sleep – without any (ANY) wee breaks. I want to high five random strangers on the street I feel so good.
Unfortunately this kind of behaviour is frowned upon at baby yoga. My classmates have a tendency to turn on you if you’re having too good a week, so it’s best to make something up and move onto the next person as quickly as possible. Of course, my verbal diarrhoea issues make this near impossible. Rather than hang my head and mutter about lack of sleep/constant pukeyness/ever present heartburn I bubble over with “Hello! I’ve had a great week! I managed to sleep through the night, and eat some vegetables – its the best week of my life actually.” NOW I hang my head in shame. The class is filled with hostility. I am on the verge of bolting from the room when my teacher kindly interrupts and suggests we start with some gentle stretching… and I know that I’m not going to make this same mistake again.
You see, pregnancy is one of the only times in your life – ever – when it’s ok to be a moany hole. In fact, it’s encouraged. Days generally begin with a chat over your decaf coffee (good girl) about how your pelvic floor is giving you awful jip, followed by a bout of mournful sobbing at eleven because Noel in Sales implied you were a fat cow when he offered you the last digestive and culminating in the all screaming, all flailing shout-off after work when you accuse your fella of sabotaging your pregnancy because he didn’t offer to rub your feet the minute you came in the door.
When you don’t adhere to this tried and tested model of being up the duff, you find yourself shunned from the pack. I began to feel fabulous at week 18 and it lasted all the way through to around week 28. I started to look pregnant, which did lots for my self esteem (I was convinced people were judging me for being morbidly obese up until then), and with the extra bit of sleep, I started to feel a bit more normal. Of course, there were the usual (and often) bouts of hysterical crying, but that’s par for the course, and to be perfectly honest, I think my constant need to weep is an inherent part of my personality.
At around week 20 I became aware of the size of where the baby was living. I know this sounds STUPID but when you’ve no reference other than what kind of fruit your baby is (cantaloupe melon) this kind of a discovery can rock your world. So, I was lying in bed one evening, rolled over and it felt like I was on a beach ball. Literally, on a beach ball. It’s so SO weird but BRILLIANT and I (don’t judge me) rolled over a few more times to make sure I was feeling what I was feeling. The fella gave out stink to me, but these kind of things fascinate me, and anyway, it helped me understand the environment that my baby was living in – it must be like a fish bowl in there. A warm, cosy fish bowl, that is.
Also, during this time I went to get a maternity bra fitted. These are horrific, disgusting things that nobody should have to wear. They look like a hybrid of granny bra and training bra, have no underwiring and turn your boobs into a strange, squashed square shape. I bawled MY EYES out in the changing room while the woman who was fitting me nodded away behind me, murmuring “I know, I KNOW.” I didn’t buy one, or any up until now. I know you’re meant to, but I love my boobs, and though they’ve let me down by not getting much bigger, I feel they deserve a little underwire, and a little uplift. I have bought some nursing bras for when the baby arrives alright (there are some half ok-ish leopard-print ones in m&S at the moment if you’re into it) but until then, my boobs are staying where they belong – up front and centre.
The coolest thing about this time for me? I was out at a work do and was talking to this woman while fanning my overheating face with a piece of paper (I am an oven at the best of times, but while pregnant I’m at an industrial setting). Embarrassed by my sweatiness, I appologised to her and blamed it on the baby to which she said “why wouldn’t you be warm – you are two people at the moment.” This was the first time I had thought about it this way – I am two. It’s deadly, isn’t it?
Things that irked me during week 12-20
1. People start telling you their birth stories. Don’t get me wrong, you TOTALLY want to hear them, but they are birth stories that are glossed with time – i.e. these women clearly have forgotten the absolute horror of it all and are intent on pressing upon you the AMAZING-ness of labour. I KNOW it’s not going to be amazing. In fact, I know I’m going to want to die, but I consider it a fair pay off that I get to meet my kid at the end of it all – there’s no need for the fakery – I LOVE a bit of gore so I do
2. The question that EVERYONE asks: “So, do you know what you’re going to have?” Me: “No, but we’re going to find out”. Randomer: “Which would you prefer?” Ok OK. Nobody in their right mind is going to tell you one or the other – it’s just stupid. You get what you get, and you’re ALWAYS happy about it. End of.
3. Stretchmarks. This isn’t particular to this cluster of weeks – just that they reached their peak during this time for me. I used Bio Oil from six weeks and still have a GIANT TREE of stretchmarks up my stomach. GIANT. TREE. It’s like I’ve been branded. I’ve been told they’ll fade, but for now, they are red, angry and oh-SOOOHOOOO-vivid. And I hate them. This is all.