It's not that people don't tell you what it's like being pregnant, it's just that until you get knocked up yourself you never really listen or care. Or at least I never did. Not ever having suffered from crazed baby lust – seriously, you had baby names figured out when you were still at uni? – I felt woefully unprepared for what can only be described as one of the most physically and mentally challenging trials a non-triathlete can undergo. Yes, I know, wait til I actually have to give birth/raise the little mite. But, in the meantime, indulge my hyperbole by taking a moment to check out my novice's guide to being pregnant – whether you've got a bun in the oven or not.
My face after ANOTHER person tells me quite how gigantic I am
Morning sicknessMorning sickness is an unpredictable beast. How I longed for the efficient pre- work puke in the kitchen sink. Instead I got round-the-clock debilitating nausea turning all tastes, smells and sounds to pure evil.
Pushing outFor some, each push out is a moment of pure earth mother joy. Mine have been more like something out of Alien, reducing me to an existential weepy mess. A few days’ respite, then it happens all over again.
Maternity wearBuying clothes for nine-month body morphing is rubbish. Those super-comfy maternity jeans I gloatingly bought at week 12 when I was just one size up are now a fart-inducing instrument of torture. Money. Down. The. Drain. Over. And. Over.
Getting dressedToo short tops, too tight waistbands and dresses that make you look like a pyramid all pale into insignificance when you can’t even get your socks on without time-consuming acrobatic edge-of-bed-perching maneouvres.
Hippie brigade vs. the C-section campViews on giving birth are abundant and strident, but, I’ve found, mainly fall into two categories – the natural birth let’s-just-aromatherapy-our-way-out- of-this hippie brigade and the give-me-every-drug-you’ve-got and whip-it-out- as-quickly-as-possible C-section camp. Neither has the moral high ground – I’m staying open-minded and taking the best from both.
Pregnant celebritiesForcing myself to step away from the Daily Mail's Sidebar of Shame has not been easy. But pregnant beach prancing Victoria’s Secret models and glammed up rock royalty off-spring have not done me, my fragile ego and darling partner’s tolerant nature an ounce of good. Yes, they look fucking fabulous, have an envy-inducing maternity wardrobe and I feel like a sack of potatoes. Suck it up.
Friends and strangersEven my dearest friends have put their foot in it. “Oh my god, you’re HUGE!”, “You look like you’re about to pop!” “Haha, that’s a bad case of bloating you’ve got there!” or worse, just fearful staring. So I’m reduced to texting pals in advance, telling them all I want to hear is how fabulous I look. Strangers, I tell to fuck right off. In my head.
What to buyAfter extensive research (ok, Mumsnet and some new mum friends) here is my definitive newborn shopping list. For the hardcore only (nappies and associated paraphernalia a given). Multipack of sleepsuits, vests and socks, cot, car seat, sling/buggie. Done and dusted.
Playing the pregnancy cardSo tempting, especially for queue-jumping, getting a comfy seat on public transport and persuading sniffy air hostesses to let you on with an extra piece of hand luggage. Until she asks exactly how many weeks you are and have you got your fit-to-fly letter signed by your doctor. Time to backtrack, fast.
Nesting and housework horrorsFor me, dust was one of those things you let conveniently collect in balls on the staircase for bi-annual removal. Now mystical forces have me fully acquainted with the inside of my once grotty fridge, oven and under-the-bed drawers. Impossible to ignore, I’m talking Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets House & Garden.
Any or all of the above resonate with you? Finding pregnancy a hassle or loving every minute of it? I’d love to know.
ps. Julia can also be found blogging at stylonylon.com