I fervently believe some women are better at being pregnant than others. I was a bit shit at it. I’m one of those irritating Type A people – so I worry a lot, and moan even more (my hubby really lucked out). This stressful combo does not mix well with trying to safely harbour a human being in a massive uterus.
I am hugely privileged to have been able to carry and birth a child. I will love and respect my body for that until the end of my days, it is and always will be my greatest achievement. But there were some really sucky things about pregnancy, and I always felt my baby would be (as I’d say when my horrific pregnancy farts almost knocked Andy out) better out than in.
You hear a lot of ‘I miss my bump’ sentiments from new mums. I don’t, and here’s why…
1. You can’t see what’s going on
If you have a rough pregnancy, you spend the entire time wishing your bump had a sunroof, porthole, transparency switch, anything that lets you see inside to check your baby is ok. Admittedly, this would be a bit gross in practice. That shiz does not look like the pretty pictures in your week-to-week app. But looking at your bare belly, wondering what’s happening in there, can be a very frightening and lonely place. I was thankful for every day we made it through, and couldn’t wait to get her out of there into my arms.
2. Bump science
I don’t think health professionals realise how terrifying it is to mothers to insist the bump behaves in a strictly routine fashion. Your bump measurement has to follow a graph – regardless of how your diet changes from month to month or if your baby has a spurt one month and chills out the next. If your bump doesn’t follow that line it’s all furrowed brows, notes in your green booklet and crapping your pants. Alice doesn’t do graphs, she doesn’t follow a line now and she didn’t when she was inside me. So my dramatic midwife had a field day with my all-over-the-place measurements, I was glad the last time she pursed her lips and told me to head to hospital I finally lost that bump altogether and never had to see that frigging tape measure again.
3. Sketchy personal hygiene
If trying to shave your third trimester legs was an Olympic sport, everyone would lose. Your arms aren’t six-foot-long, you can’t see around corners and you’re only just above Mr Blobby on the scale of attractiveness, so you might as well forget it and enjoy those hole-filled crying out for detergent 24-hour maternity leggings.
And good luck taking a bath – you can’t have the water too hot so it’s lukewarm when you wedge yourself in and tepid after 30 seconds. So you lie there pretending you’re feeling relaxed when really you’re cold, uncomfortable, and can’t reach anything to wash anyway. Oh, and don’t slip when you try to haul your fifty stone boulder out.
In conclusion, you slowly turn into Chewbacca… enjoy.
4. Wide load coming through
Navigating your new barge-like bod through life presents challenges. Carparks, for example, are arseholes to a pregnant lady. I have cursed under my breath many an innocent grocery shopper for parking too close to the car next-door whilst walking ten miles round the edge of the carpark to get back to my car. And wing mirrors are actual bastards.
The most basic tasks, like standing at the sink, getting out of bed, putting shoes on, become a lot more difficult than they used to be. I love having my normal tummy back.
5. Get off my baby
I confess, I’m stealing this one from other pregnant women. I must have given off an aura of ‘back the fuck away’ because it never happened to me, but I know women who had virtual strangers put their hands on the bump without even asking. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?! You wouldn’t go up to someone you barely knew and stroke their face, right? So pocket those intrusive mits.
What I did experience, is the desire to erect an invisible wall (can no longer type that word without hearing Donald Trump’s voice) around my bump, so no one could accidentally brush past it or bump into it. I would actively avoid busy spots and hold my arms around my bump defensively in public places. It’s precious cargo, and I don’t miss that responsibility.
6. You look so… well
I looked like shit. This is a pregnancy thing rather than a specific ‘bump’ thing, but I’m on a moan roll (can you tell I’m enjoying it?). I went through the first two trimesters like a dead bulb in the light shop, thinking this ‘glow’ business was a definite myth. Rubbish sleep (not that having a baby has improved matters), feeling sick, achy and drained left me pretty unpretty. My face did suddenly come to life for a couple of months in the third trimester, only to go all Bella Swan being eaten by vampire baby again just before Alice popped out. It’s a relief to finally dye those greys and look like I have blood running through my veins.
7. Wee, wee and more wee
I have never spent so much of my life in bathrooms. The hormones had me weeing every five minutes during the first two tris, then when bump grows and baby discovers it’s fun to bounce on your cushiony bladder you might as well bed down for the night next to the loo. Not to mention the disappointment of rushing to the toilet sure you have a reservoir inside you about to burst, only to plonk yourself down with a sigh of relief and hear two measly drops fall into the bowl.
Every health professional is obsessed with your wee. I had a lifetime’s supply of sample bottles in my handbag, and on more than one occasion opened it to find the old wee I forgot to dispose of staring back at me. My wee never behaved itself. I had signs of a UTI pretty much every time the midwife dunked her dipstick. I’d drink a gallon of water before each appointment to avoid the inevitable red ‘leukocytes’ card. Then it was SUGAR ALERT PING PING PING each time. I began to think I was pissing lemonade. How wonderful now to have my wee left alone.
Oh yeah, and there was the time I thought my waters had broken but I had peed myself…
8. Nuclear gas
Third trimester problems. That baby bump doesn’t leave much room for your digestive organs. If you could bottle this stuff I swear it would do a better job of knocking women out than gas and air. Nuff said.
9. Movement watch
This is a funny one, because my favourite memory of pregnancy is easily the first time I felt a 17 week old Alice nudge the hand that lay resting on my belly. I will always remember that life-affirming moment. It was also beautiful when Andy began to feel her moving around.
But then out pops paranoid obsessive Cathy, who googles exactly how many times she should feel her baby in an hour, week by week, and pays strict attention to all the apps and health professionals who literally tell you to COUNT THE MOVEMENTS and do something about it if they become less frequent. Well, as you may or may not know, Alice is a lazy child. She is almost 9 months and still not crawling. She would prefer mummy slave to move her from spot to spot. She was no different in the womb. So the poor child was frequently poked about by her fearful mother. And if she still couldn’t be arsed to move, made me look a right numpty when I raced to hospital and tearfully insisted they check her NOW only for her to start kicking and rolling like she was auditioning for a synchronised swimming team.
10. Just the two of us
One beautiful aspect of pregnancy you’ll often hear women mention, is that it’s just you and your baby. There’s no passing baby around between friends and relatives, or leaving baby with a sitter. Baby knows no one but you, hears and feels nothing but the movements and warmth in your body.
Alice and I, however, have been pretty much attached to one another since she was born. She’s had a fourth, fifth and sixth trimester. We’ve also had so many peaceful moments snuggling and feeding, I still feel our bodies are connected in that way. I would take gazing into her eyes, smelling her hair and skin, and holding her hand whilst she feeds over feeling her wriggle around inside me any day.
Of course there were lots of special moments. And there’s something wonderful about your bump becoming noticeable. You see people begin to behave differently around you, holding doors open, letting you have their seat, singling you out for special treatment when they spot the signs that a life is growing inside of you. You are proud of your body. You enjoy people noticing it and talking to you about it.
(It’s also a prime opportunity to make everyone do things for you. Andy has never made so many cups of tea in his life.)
I know when people refer to missing their bump, of course they don’t mean they would prefer to be pregnant than have their baby in their arms. They just enjoyed having their bump too.
For me though, the experience of pregnancy was inferior in every way to being able to see and hold Alice. So much so that it was a period of time I felt I had to get through, rather than one I could absorb and enjoy. I was thankful for every day that passed, as it was another closer to my due date. I suppose it’s a shame I feel like this about carrying Alice, but it made it all the sweeter when I could finally look into her eyes. It’s such a blessing to make it to the end of a pregnancy and see your baby. The most beautiful memories I have are all from Alice being earth-side.
So, pregnancy number two, I don’t know whether you will happen, or what you might have in store for me if you do, but you can wait for now, a little girl wants my attention…
Taken from my blog: www.mummywomanblog.wordpress.com