Howdy people! Hope your respective weeks have been both fruitful and pleasant. My large mechanical work child has decided to play nicely and give me an easier time of it, which I could not appreciate more, given that Squish has decided that I no longer need to do useful tasks like breathe, eat and walk normally. She’s so big now that any position she takes up puts lots of lovely pressure on my lower back, lungs, stomach or pelvis. I can’t decide which is my favourite! Ha. I refuse to moan unreservedly, but it is very challenging to have to deal in turn with sciatica, breathlessness, acid reflux and a ridiculous need to pee when there’s NOTHING IN MY BLADDER for goodness’ sake. There is a very real concern that I have actually run out of womb room. And we still have 8ish weeks to go. How much bigger can she get?!
Since I am nearing the end of pregnancy, I’ve started to look back on how it’s gone for me – generally speaking, I’ve been very fortunate with how my body has been able to adapt to a baby, and the usual suspects of pregnancy symptoms have managed to stay away from me. The bizarre questions and comments from relative strangers, however, have not.
I’m pretty sure the media has a lot to answer for with regards to how pregnant women are viewed. In the movies, or on TV, any storyline involving pregnant women has to demonstrate her condition in a really obvious way to get the point across. So you’ll always see the extremes of what SOME women experience depicted on screen – sudden, violent nausea, the instant craving for pickles on ice cream, unpredictable sobbing/laughing mood swings, and the “My waters have broken…the baby’s coming…I need to push NOW!” that (I have been reliably told) does not happen over a matter of seconds! The trouble is that this perception of pregnancy seems to inform a LOT of (sometimes) tiresome questions from people you barely know!
There’s a couple of things I noticed once I told acquaintances I was pregnant. The first is that I noticed the same set of closed ended questions (even if there was no reason to think they applied to me) and the second is that the usual social filters of tact and politeness seemed to suddenly vanish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to have people enquire about your welfare when you’re going through a massive life change like this, but some of these comments were dropped like context-free word bombs that left me struggling to come up with a nice polite response.
Here are my top 5 favourite standalone questions/comments:
- “Have you been sick?” I’m genuinely confused why you would want to know if I threw up this morning.
- “Are you having any cravings?” No, none. Anything else? No? Oh. Bye then.
- “You’re due in the summer? Oh, you’re going to be SO HOT AND UNCOMFORTABLE.” Yeah. Thanks. I’ll look forward to my third trimester then… (Sidenote: I personally think it would have been far worse for me to be heavily pregnant in winter, since I hate being cold and being restricted by layers! I much prefer floating about in a light summer dress.)
- “My friend X went into labour TWELVE WEEKS EARLY and it lasted for THREE DAYS and she had an EPISIOTOMY and it turned out there were EIGHTEEN BABIES IN THERE!” Dude, seriously I know you’re trying to relate but…pick your audience!
- “You look pregnant.” Yep. That’s the general idea. Was laughing hysterically inside at that one.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the above were all meant kindly (at least I hope so!), or asked by someone who didn’t know what else to say. Most of the questions are perfectly fine when they’re in the context of a bigger conversation with a good friend (well, number 4 is still a bit of a toughie). I know there’s really no harm in answering a few questions from people who were just showing an interest – I appreciate that, really! But perhaps a better tack would be to ask “How are you?”. Simple, but effective, and it gives the woman a chance to describe how her pregnancy is actually going – because it’s so different from woman to woman, it really is.
In other news – the flat is coming together! We have a changing table/chest of drawers (thanks, eBay!), and a PRAM, finally! We looked at all the options – oh so many options – but decided to go with the Journey from Mothercare. It’s a “travel system” which basically means it comes with a carseat (for the crucial journey home from the hospital) and a free pram liner, plus it’s pretty sturdy and easy to steer. Ticks all the boxes – well I say that now, we probably have to wait to see what’s it’s like when it actually has a baby in it. It was hilarious bringing it home – since it was easier to steer than carry, the staff at the shop built the pram for us and loaded all the extra kit into the bassinet for us to wheel back to the flat. We got some seriously funny looks for not having a baby in there…we didn’t lose her, honest!
NCT classes start on Saturday! We have an intensive weekend of all day lessons – I’m really looking forward to meeting other parents-to-be in the local area. Plus, it’s in a cafe, so CAKE. I hope.
Take care, y’all.