This has been an eventful week. All the unpleasant events taking place, especially here in London and in Manchester – they’ve been so upsetting and disruptive, forcing people to face the reality that there are a number of dangerous people out there, maybe not too far away from us, who want to spread terror and hatred. Not a nice prospect to be facing. It is at times like this, though, that I do love living in a city like London. The people here have a fantastic talent for sticking two fingers up to these fearmongers by just…going about their business, carrying on because there’s simply no other option, because to stay at home and cower would mean that the bad guys have won.
I did wonder if pregnancy would make me react to events like this in a different way – the stakes feel higher, I’m more physically vulnerable, I’m not just responsible for myself any more, I’m already taking precautions to stay as safe as possible (even giving up salami for crying out loud!)…so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself even more determined to carry on as normal, if anything. It’s nice to feel like pregnancy hasn’t made me weaker. I thought by this point I would be constantly exhausted, waddling about with puffy feet and a doughnut in either hand. I’m weirdly full of beans – most of the time anyway.
My beans were still jumping on Thursday last week, when we went to the Scala to see Swet Shop Boys perform! If you have not heard of them, you need to get on it. They’re a hiphop trio – Riz Ahmed (he of Star Wars, The Night Of fame), Heems (formerly of Das Racist) rapping with Redinho as DJ/producer. These boys are very dear to my heart – they’re not just a hiphop group, they’re the only group I’ve ever heard to push South Asian culture and issues into the spotlight in such a funny and razor-sharp way (plus their tunes are banging). Their material feels especially relevant considering the recent Manchester bombing, where the fear of a nasty backlash against all Muslims is very real. For more on these guys, check out this article – and some of their tracks.
The gig was amazing. For one thing, it’s a very rare occurrence that I get to be in the ethnic majority. I don’t think I’ve been in a room with so many other brown people since the last Mauritian wedding I went to. Not even exaggerating. It was simultaneously uplifting and depressing – so much brown empowerment, but also a reminder of how little representation there is for people like me in so many areas of life. There was such a great sense of camaraderie as well – we met so many chatty and friendly people, it was like a joke that we were all in on.
And the actual performance was just incredible. I danced through the whole thing. Swet Shop Boys were really tight, the songs more than held their own live – and they wore United & City shirts in remembrance of the bombing victims which I thought was a nice touch. Riz Ahmed in particular is a really arresting presence, and in a brief serious moment of the night, performed his spoken word “Sour Times” (a plea to challenge negative stereotypes of Islam) sans mike to a dead silent room.
Brilliant night. Paid for it by being a bit knackered on Friday, but it was totally worth it.
We had our second midwife appointment on Saturday, which went nice and smoothly! I had my bump measured for the first time (25cm, apparently that’s good?) and heard Squish’s heartbeat galloping away. I’ve also acquired the MATB1 form which entitles me to claim my maternity pay and organise my leave.
If you have any questions for your midwife that pop into your head at random moments – WRITE THEM DOWN. I managed to remember for this appointment and it made a massive difference. Stick them in your phone, scribble them in the notebook that lives in your bag, because you will inevitably forget what they are (or at least I do!). And then I have the annoyance of walking out of the appointment, getting on the tube, and suddenly remembering all the things I didn’t ask.
However, if you forget to remember to write the questions down, your midwife should have provided you with a point of contact (I have been given both an email address and emergency helpline number) for any ad hoc questions you might have. Just be prepared for a bit of a wait for a response in case they are busy!
Next up for us – we have taken the plunge and put the beautiful larder, bookcase and massive chest of drawers on eBay, to make room for baby furniture. Not sure we’re going to recognise the spare room without loads of crap in it!
Have a great week peeps.