CAN WE PLEASE STOP BODY-SHAMING WOMEN?

I’d like to know when, if ever, it became socially acceptable to (a) comment on another’s size, be it to point out how thin or fat they are, and/or (b) openly compare another’s size to your own? I should hope the answer to both questions, is never. However, I’m finding myself increasingly inclined to believe we have made no such progress on the body-shaming front, and that if anything, it is more commonplace than ever to insult women with our body-fascism. Oh, and please don’t worry about this becoming a man-bashing, feminist (although I do openly identify as a SIW) rant, because perhaps unsurprisingly, it is women who are the most guilty of parties in this crime. Shame on you, you terrible anti-girl-power femmes! You make it impossible to castigate men for supposedly abhorrent sexist-driven objectification, when you insist on dishing out such cruelty to the women you seek to defend against such behaviours!

My particular aggrievance lies with individuals wanting to comment on the pregnant body. Mainly because this is my current state, and after insane levels of comments, I feel I’m pretty much an expert in this body-bashing field. As someone who has a very nondescript body-type (you’d consider me neither ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ if you were to even consider my body shape at all), pregnancy has been a body-shaming eye-opener for me. And yes, I know I’m in danger of sounding like a broken record, but I’m too pregnant (read angry) to care. You see, these size comments really are the stuff of progesterone-fuelled nightmares, and have an untold impact on the emotional wellbeing of us hormonally charged, and often paranoid child bearers. Therefore, I will continue to repeat this same ‘stop commenting on a pregnant woman’s bump’ message if it means even one pregnant woman is saved from the upset that such body-related comments have.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this type of body-bashing behaviour, is that most perpetrators would normally be the first to defend an individual’s right not to be aesthetically judged. Yet this freedom from insult, seems to evaporate upon their victim housing another human being. I’m assuming these individuals rationalise their behaviour on the basis they are commenting not on the individual’s size, but on that of someone else: the baby. Well here’s the thing. A woman’s bump gives no indication of the baby’s size. And what if it did? Well they’re essentially saying ‘gosh your baby is small/big for its gestational age’, which as we all know, can carry with it a myriad of potential health issues.

The other day I found myself having to defend my size to an acquaintance who already has two children, and quite frankly should have been more sensitive. Upon receiving her negative commentary that ‘you’re so small, much smaller than I was at your stage’, coupled with her disgusted expression, I (attempting to hold back my upset, and humour the lady!) suggested the height difference, my long body, or the fact I’ve never carried weight around my stomach but instead develop dumpy legs when I’ve been a bit greedy (yes I even put myself down), to somehow explain away her confusion. By the end I felt exasperated, and was beyond disheartened to learn I was not done for the day.  I was next informed by a man that my face was looking thinner and I needed to eat more (I mean what the hell?!), before later being informed by a lady that she has a bigger stomach than mine post-pizza. It’s almost laughable that my stomach should be considered the size of an unpregnant person’s even after pizza, and I say this despite having digestive issues which mean even the whiff of a gluten base causes me to balloon to King Kong proportions. Furthermore, it’s just not true…I now have to aggressively contort my face, and even back in the vicinity of a camera, so as to avoid a double chin and/or back fat (all depends on the angle…).

I would consider retaliating to these size comments by firing a devastatingly personal, and equally pointed comment in the direction of the offender, but that’s so against the matriarchy (is that even a thing?), and you know girl power…So instead I’ve settled on a far more pacifistic approach. Now, whenever I meet up with people I haven’t seen in a while, I commence our interaction by commenting on the size of my bump. I suppose I naively believe if I get there first, their inevitable bump judgement will sting less (it doesn’t)…but seriously how sad is that?!

I do wonder why these people (although let’s be honest, it’s mainly women) feel compelled to make such personal comments. What are they fuelled by? I’ve narrowed (was easy considering my tiny bump…) the driving force behind their cruelty down to all/one of the following: (a) a deep-seated insecurity which means they need to tear someone down who is openly joyous and happy at expecting a baby, (b) jealousy at the fact the pregnant individual may for once feel immune from the vanity that expectations of a ‘perfect’ body tend to bring, and so they want to remind them they’re still under the body police’s control, (c) a bizarre competitiveness? Think a ‘size off’ kind of contest (weird but no weirder than someone commenting on your bump size…), (d) insensitivity, and/or (e) I’m overthinking everything as usual. Some (including my mum) claim that people comment on my size (and others’) in a complimentary manner. This would be believable if it weren’t for the disgusted/horrified face they pull, and the disparaging manner in which they deliver their one-liner.

If you find yourself reading this and recalling the time you commented on a pregnant woman’s size, and thinking ‘I didn’t mean it like that’, well I ask you, what indeed did you mean by it? Because after extensive consulting of both current and past preggos, I can confidently and passionately declare that we didn’t like it, we don’t like it, and we’re left dumbfounded by your insensitivity every time (since you insist on repeating the bump comments EVERY single time we meet). So please do enlighten us on why you glare, stare, and insist on telling us we’re so ‘huge’ or ‘tiny’. We’re not dolls for goodness sake.

Individuals who comment on other people’s size, pregnant or not, are no better than the keyboard warriors who frequent the Daily Mail, and are potentially even worse since they seek to weakly disguise their mal-intent behind their otherwise whiter than white, and social etiquette-abiding demeanour. So if you’re one of these delightful individuals, I’d like to say that I’m sorry I’m tall, and that I’m not showing as much as I potentially would if I was shorter. I’m also sorry that another lady is ‘so big’. But you should also be sorry. Sorry for shaming her, shaming me, and for making us feel terrible about ourselves during a particularly vulnerable, and often terrifying time in a woman’s life. Shame on you.

I’d like to end by thanking my brother, who (I like to think) in an act of sibling solidarity, or because he remembers that unpregnant Georgia doesn’t waddle, comments ‘you’re so pregnant’, each time he sees me. I like his intonation, and the surprised tone he adopts each time he repeats this phrase. But I especially like the fact he doesn’t use the words ‘tiny’ or ‘big’. After all, I am so (in a strictly biological categorisation sense) pregnant.


N.B. In the vein of substance over form, and so my words rather than image are the focus of this post, I have resisted including photos of my ‘tiny’ 33 week-old bump.

 

30 WEEKS PREGNANT: UPDATE

Disclaimer: The week was too action-packed, and stressful (in less than equal proportions) for me to provide an accompanying photographic narrative. I hope it still counts.

At 31 weeks + 2 days pregnant, it is the perfect time for me to reflect on week 30, especially when I consider the last 24hrs of agonising leg cramps/pain/whatever one can class these horrors as, which allow me to look back on the preceding week with rose-tinted glasses.

At the dawn of the third week of the third trimester, both the baby and I began to grow exponentially. As if to confirm my ever-expanding form, the other morning when Rich and I were racing (why am I seemingly incapable of building pregnancy slack into my original routine?! N.B. letting myself go has somewhat mitigated this issue) out of the door to our first antenatal class, my coat popper burst free in the midst of the battle between my swollen calves and unsuitably knee high boots. Fortunately, my fantastically supportive husband, provides me with the confidence boosts I need during such challenging times. Take our walk to the antenatal class for an example of such wife-affirmation.

Me (grabbing my hamster cheeks, and unable to work out if I’m pleased or not…): “Look at my face. I have zero wrinkles thanks to how plump it is”.

Rich: “Yes but you’ve always had a cute button face”.

Me (because we all know a button is generally round…a perfect circle really): “You mean chubby”.

Rich: Laughs in my (button?) face.

It’s okay though, because when we arrived at the session and were asked on our best and least favourite part of pregnancy, Rich said “doing all of the washing-up all of the time”. So whilst I’m still struggling to pull my rotund self out from under the red London bus I was thrown beneath, I’m left wondering whether that’s Rich’s best or least favourite part? In his defence (or arguably anyone that doesn’t scour the literature for endless pregnancy tidbits), he may have been overwhelmed by concepts like ‘episiotomy’ which were being liberally thrown around by us bellies. Also, credit where credit is due. Rich does do all the washing up all of the time, and he appreciates my agency sufficiently so as not to make the mistake of proclaiming that ‘natural’ (meaning in this context without epidural…) is definitely the best way to have a baby whilst staring pointedly at his wife, like one of the other (insert: brave/foolish/insane) husbands*.

Nonetheless, if you still need convincing of a husband’s ability to make everything better, take mine and Rich’s Monday night exchange for the final example. I’d say final straw, but fortunately I’m not a camel (I pee way too often to store more than a thimble of liquid), and (un?)fortunately my back is now too wide to be broken.

What I said (underwear clad with back to Rich): “Look. When I have my back turned to you, you’d think I was just chunky, and not pregnant”.

What I was really saying (underwear clad with back to Rich): “Tell me that if it weren’t for my bump, which is now hidden, I look positively slim, and like my usual self”.

What he said (examining me, and delivering his carefully considered response): “Yes you’re right”.

What she said (since I refuse to be associated with the ogre that suddenly entered my body and declared war against husband): “What do you mean? I’m not chunky am I? You just said I was. That must mean I’m really chunky”.

Needless to say, as quickly as the hormone-fuelled witch entered me, and her embarrassingly unreasonable outburst took place, I simmered down. Because let’s face it, who cares?! So besides emotional outbursts, weight-gain, and the discomfort that comes with my growing baby, I’ve also faced some delightful comments on my apparently still ‘tiny’ bump (more insulting than ever when you consider my apparent weight-gain!). So to the wonderful human who thought it appropriate to inform me I look closer to 5 rather than 7 months pregnant, and to kindly question whether my baby’s growth was okay (“his growth is all on-track though, right?”), I’d like to say “no”.

Last week amidst the flurries of snow, and after half a day of changed strength (albeit not frequency) of foetal movement, Rich and I ended up in the maternity assessment centre with me on a monitor at 1.30am. This was followed by a growth scan which revealed our son not to be growing at the normal rate so as to be the average weight for his age of 2.9lbs. No. The two measurements that were taken provided us with an estimate (let’s remember there’s c.10% margin of error) of him being 3.12lbs and 3.13lbs respectively. So it transpires that my ‘tiny’ bump is safely housing our wonderful baby rhino.

So goodbye, and hello to another week of pregnancy excitement, hormones, wonder, bafflement, and strife. Please let there be no more bump commentary. My hormones will determine whether any metaphorical or actual bird flipping takes place on my part. I claim no responsibility from here on out.


*Kudos to the midwife, who on his fifth attempt at shaming his wife into going ‘natural’, pointed out to the husband that both a birth with, and without pain relief is considered natural. We’ll have to wait until next week to see if he’s convinced.

HOW I FELL PREGNANT

I’m just kidding. I don’t think anyone needs lewd details, or a conception story. Especially not mine. Nonetheless, this was not intended as a clickbait title. Therefore, I guess it’s more of a ‘how it began’ post. Full-disclosure: we weren’t trying to conceive but nor can two well-educated individuals claim the conception of a baby was an ‘accident’.

So I don’t know why, but since turning 27 I had convinced myself I would struggle to conceive. It became a bit of an inner dialogue with myself. I suppose it had something to do with me having an irregular cycle since coming off the pill a few years ago, my skin being terrible (notably not any better since falling pregnant…we all have our own cross to bear!), and my gynaecologist asking if I was trying for baby at each visit since I turned 24 (which I took to mean I clearly should be by now, now meaning every year since turning 24). My husband who clearly knew better than me, though I concede only on this subject matter, rejected (after much qualification) my concerns. Nonetheless, on the basis it was unlikely to happen to us, from June 2018 we ceased to use any form of contraception. Given my pessimism, our shared naivety (?), and lack of planning (my proclivity to overthink meant actively trying for a baby was out of the question), we were not expecting to fall pregnant two months later.

Throughout the w/c 23rd July, following each of our gym sessions, I bemoaned to Rich that I was unable to go as hard as usual (I must caveat here that my going hard is sitting on a stationary bike watching YouTube videos). In fact, I was flat out exhausted even selecting the YouTube videos to accompany my gentle spin, and put my inability to perform at my usual level down to our consecutive gym sessions. Although, I was surprised, and a little confused that Rich seemed to be unaffected by our schedule!

That weekend, we met up with Rich’s sister, and far from my usual Prosecco-loving self I found that a) I didn’t really want to drink at all, b) I fell asleep around 10pm at the house of an acquaintance (so unlike me who is (1) a night owl, and (2) extremely selective about where I will sleep), and c) I felt nauseous upon returning home during the small hours of the next morning. Again not like me, especially following a delicious take out pizza (the subsequent nightmares about the potentially unpasteurised and listeria-harbouring cheese still haunt me).

Still, despite the aforementioned blindingly-obvious-in-hindsight symptoms, I hadn’t put two and two together. Or if I had, I had come up with five and deduced it was a case of overdoing it, whatever it was. Certainly not the gym or work. In fact, it wasn’t until 1st August when I noticed what appeared to be some physical changes in my appearance that I started to think perhaps something was up. However, my husband’s second opinion was that I was overanalysing my reflection, which given I do overanalyse, and my umbrage at his implying I was being vain, I quickly quashed all suspicions. Although, we now know that far from me overanalysing, it is he who is guilty of under-analysing!

On 2nd August, whilst working from home and caffeinated up to the eyeballs on two coffees, and probably quadruple the number of green teas (my recently discovered-and-ever-since-put-on-hold life’s passion), I was feeling a little distracted/bored so figured I’d do a pregnancy test, if only to confirm these changes which I suspected were not in my head, were in my head. After following the instructions, I set the stick on the floor, and started putting clothes away. The next time I looked back at the stick (note that I wasn’t stick-watching because of course I wasn’t pregnant), a timer was flashing, which in moments was replaced by ‘1-2 weeks pregnant’. I started to shake. Unlike all these cool women you watch on YouTube or read about, I didn’t ponder on whether to break the news to Rich by gifting him a t-shirt with the slogan ‘baby daddy’, or to greet him home from work with arms outstretched, clutching the urine-soaked test. No that would be far too cool for me. Instead, I called him at work and asked if he was free to chat. After giving him a solid half a second to say ‘ye-‘, since the additional ‘s’ in ‘yes’ would take too long, I requested he look at his text messages. What greeted him? The image below.

IMG_0052

Rich’s reaction to this test result, and the subsequent three (I had to be sure!), confirm what a cool man my husband is. Combined, my hysteria and his collected response, we make a semi-cool (or rather hysterical but collected) little team. What’s more, I am grateful everyday, and truly think of our baby boy as a wonderful gift. Although we won’t know why we conceived when we did (I’ve since read that so many factors need to be aligned, that the creation of life seems even more miraculous), I’ve since thought it can only have helped that before we fell pregnant, we were regularly gyming and following a plant-based diet (n.b. this is NOT a vegan plug. Note I said before falling pregnant!). In short, we were probably in the best shape we had been since meeting at 21, which can have only been skin-deep all those years ago, given our penchant for nights out (both), take-outs (both but mainly Rich), Diet Coke (me), and limited exercise (both but mainly me).

Would I have done anything differently? No. Although, I think I’d have had a week-long binge of the softest and smelliest cheeses beforehand, taken folic acid in the preceding months, and not taken a test so early. Nobody needs to prolong the worries of the first trimester!

Left: Us at 22. Right: Me at 27, and 26.5 weeks pregnant. Featured: The everlasting onesie.

30 WEEKS: NESTING TIME

fullsizeoutput_2a5dfullsizeoutput_3431fullsizeoutput_3434I’d heard that nesting was a thing, and of course I desperately hoped I’d be a ‘nester’ (god knows I needed to become tidier), but what I didn’t expect, was how instinctual the urge to domestically cleanse would be. My husband will cluck at me as I pace our tiny 35 m2 apartment seeking out ‘projects’. Gone are the days when I could just sit still and switch off.  Rather I spend the evenings glancing surreptitiously around our ‘cosy’ abode, or if I’m feeling particularly bold, openly inspecting areas I could/should be organising….I mean I won’t have time for this when the baby is here will I?! Even when it might look like I’m sprawled across the sofa watching Netflix, in actuality I am peripherally scanning each and every corner of the room for items to rearrange/tidy. My current compulsion is replacing all our photo frames so they are uniform, and ergo aesthetically appealing (who even am I?!). The White Company for one will appreciate this impulse, and Richard too, once he accepts the visual harmony that I’m busy creating.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that rather than relaxing this weekend, which I think I should justifiably be doing, I’m afflicted with this overwhelming desire to clean, organise, and generally obsess over irrelevant household minutiae. Which let’s face it, nobody, especially one that is now officially waddling, should be concerning themselves with. Take the last few hours as an example of my (newfound?) lunacy. I set my phone to a YouTube music playlist (Taylor Swift aplenty), and what started with a very normal process of dusting the sides, ended in me wiping clean the inside of the wardrobe, and switching out any odd hangers so they are now all a uniform black. I also rounded up further clothing items to be vacuum-sealed for the foreseeable future until my body decides to deflate to its pre-pregnancy size once more (fingers crossed!). I also dusted the inside of the fireplace, because god knows that needs to be spotless…so you see it must be a visceral response to my baby’s imminent arrival because the ‘normal’ me wouldn’t be down for this insanity (I like to reserve that for other areas of my life).

Don’t worry though, Rich isn’t immune to the nesting allure, I’ve made sure of that! I have also conjured up a list of absurd tasks for him to do tomorrow, which amongst other all-important items, includes tidying his sock drawer, and folding jumpers.

Piece of advice: if you insist on antibacterialing (patent pending for my newly-created verb) the floor, don’t. Ask a friend/partner. I tried alternating between my hands and knees and squatting, and they both left me aching and short of breath (but then again what doesn’t these days?). Plus, you’ll want to conserve what little pregnancy energy reserves you have, for those all important other nesting tasks such as wiping bannisters, and polishing door handles…

PREGNANCY MYTHS: DEBUNKED

Version 2

So you don’t fall into the trap I did, of thinking everything would be hunky dory, and you’ll feel, and more importantly (at least to those amongst us who are vain) look amazing, I thought I’d cut the crap we’re peddled and tell you the honest truth. FYI, it doesn’t consist of picture-perfect preggos, manicured to within an inch of their lives. These mystical creatures are consigned to the pages of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. But just in case you are, or happen to know a unicorn, please let me know. And then divulge all your secrets.

Disclaimer: These are my realities, and they may not be everyone’s. But I’ve got a feeling they may well be.

Myth # 1: Everyone will know you’re pregnant from the moment you find out, thanks to that magical ‘preg-aura’ you exude.

Reality: If anyone has worked it out before you’ve rammed the news down their throat either in person, on social media, over the phone, in letters, through carrier pigeon, or any other medium at your disposal, it’s because a) you’re puking your guts out at work, b) you’re clutching your bloated 5-week belly (this was me), or c) they’re your mum.

Myth #2: You will cry at everything. Especially cute [insert: puppies, kittens, your other half…you get it].

Reality: You will cry at everything you’re not screaming about. Except when the store doesn’t stock ingredients for the meal you had planned. Then you will cryscream. Think a cross between heaving snotty sobs, and snarling.

Myth #3: You’ll vomit loads, and that proves your pregnancy is healthy.

Reality: Not everyone suffers from morning sickness. These lucky people (I was one), are already panicking they’re doing something wrong, so please refrain from gloating in between sick burps that vomiting means your pregnancy is on track.

Myth #4: You’ll pee a lot.

Reality: You’ll pee non-stop. You could power a hydroelectric plant with your pee, and then some. Woe betide (get the pun?) anyone that breaks that dam.

Myth #5: Your bra size will go up a cup or two.

Reality: Your boobs will expand to a gargantuan size, beyond human-sized proportions (it’s all relative right?!), and you’ll yearn for your flatter-chested days, in between grieving for the flawless territory those monstrous blue veins now occupy.

Myth #6: You will crave chalk and/or dirt. Or you know, just start snacking on gherkins dipped in ice cream.

Reality: The craving for non-comestibles is actually known as pica, which is a) pretty rare, and b) rather dangerous. As for the gherkin-eating, I’ve been known to eat straight from the gherkin jar (not an innuendo) on the walk home, post gym and pre-pregnancy, but not since. On the one occasion I a) had a proper (marked only by its weirdness) craving, and b) marvelled at the ingenuity of aforementioned craving, I was devastated to learn that a bacon, marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich, is in fact known as a Bacon Fluffernutter, and hence I was not indeed a nutter.

Myth #7: Your lustrous locks will grow so long, and so thick. “Rapunzel? Is that you?”.

Reality: Your prince could scale a tower with that mane. That’s if the barrel loads of grease didn’t loosen his grip.

Myth #8: Your nails will grow longer, and stronger than ever before.

Reality: You could enter the Guinness World Records with those armadillo claws. And for those ridges. And for those cuticles (is it normal for them to cover half the nail?!).

Myth #9: You will glow.

Reality: You will (definitely) sweat buckets, and (potentially) develop cystic acne to boot. Oh, and unlike during your teen years, you won’t have toxic chemicals/medicines at your disposal. So say hello to your new zit friends, they’re here to stay.

Myth #10: Cometh the second trimester, cometh the new (old) you.

Reality: Weeks 13-24 you’ll be waiting for your metamorphosis. Weeks 25-27 you will feel like the old you again. That’s it, you’ve had your lot. Move on.

Myth #11: You’ll don a ‘Baby on Board’ badge, and the sea of Londoners will part.

Reality: You got yourself into this mess, and your fellow commuters aren’t about to get you out of it. You will still be tackled to the floor when boarding the tube (non-Londoners should substitute tube for metro or subway) for prime position by the pole. Especially by chippy, middle-aged men. Their taxes are already funding your embryonic brat don’t you know?!

Myth #12: People will treat you with the respect you have rightfully earned from getting yourself up the duff.

Reality: You will be treated with disdain, especially by aforementioned chippy, middle-aged men.

Myth #13: Everyone you know will be as delighted as you are about the bundle of joy you’re cooking, and want to join you on this magical journey.

Reality: Some friendships will fall by the wayside. But don’t despair. These weren’t the Thelma and Louise bonds you thought they were. Plus they’ve got nothing on your new mummy friends.

Myth #14: It’s 9 months of joy.

Reality: It’s 9 months of joy, stress, panic, excitement, happiness, and everything in between. However, you wouldn’t change it for the world. Only the baby that comes in its place.

If I learn of/remember (reality #1: baby brain is real) some more myths to be debunked on my crazy, wild journey, I will be sure to share these with you in due course. Just in case you’re under any illusion, I love (most of the time) pregnancy. And I especially love (always) my baby boy growing inside me.

‘ARE YOU REALLY GONNA EAT THAT?’

fullsizeoutput_3355fullsizeoutput_334efullsizeoutput_3350fullsizeoutput_3357fullsizeoutput_3359fullsizeoutput_335a

Has anyone else found that since becoming pregnant, their diet is everyone else’s concern? Whether it’s to enquire how much/little I’m eating, how balanced/unbalanced my diet is, or how healthy/unhealthy my snacks are, it seems everyone wants in on my alimentary action. If you are/have ever been pregnant, I will safely assume that you too have been on the receiving end of this avid fascination in your comestible choices. It’s funny isn’t it? And by funny, I mean absolutely, completely, and entirely infuriating.

I’ll tell you what is funny though. The idea that up until 6 months ago I was a capable, functioning, and adept woman of the world, able to meet my nutritional needs without advice from anyone, and everyone (family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers you know who you are!). Yet no sooner had I peed on a stick and had my ‘with child’ status confirmed, I was replaced with an ill informed, witless, and more rotund version of myself, who supposedly lacks agency over my body and the decisions surrounding its nourishment. Strange how that happens!

I’d like to think people proffer menu suggestions to me out of caring for my unborn baby. However, given I’ve faced a number of digestive issues which have seen me add hundreds of additional foods to the NHS ‘avoid’ list during my pregnancy, it can be hard to swallow when the ‘advice’/’care’ is so often gift-wrapped in a perfectly timed (always when I’m about to bite into a sandwich) look of admonishment, and handwritten with condescension, ‘are you really gonna eat that [silently insert: you irresponsible, silly preggo]?’

When I was 17 weeks pregnant, looking very much like my pre-pregnant self, and at the point of still only being slightly fed-up with people’s concerns over my (impending/future/potential/inevitable) pregnancy weight gain, I asked my midwife about being weighed. She informed me, that assuming an individual had a healthy BMI when they were weighed at their booking appointment (I did), and they don’t have a history of an eating disorder (I don’t), they don’t concern themselves with the mum-to-be’s weight. How refreshing! Granted, I’m willing to accept this practice may not yet be the norm, given (and despite anecdotal license to exaggerate) I’ve read online that some women are still berated by their midwives for gaining a pound above their recommended weight. Nonetheless, it’s worrying that despite my midwife’s lack of interest, people still want to bother themselves with mine or any other pregnant woman’s weight, and as a by-product what she eats. I would love to know what a) motivates this unwanted nutritional advice, and b) makes everyone but the pregnant halfwit an expert on the aforementioned nutritional subject matter.

Most recently, I’ve had comments about ‘all’ my snacks. For clarity, I probably carry two types of nuts, possibly a flapjack or rice crackers, grapes, and at least a litre of water on me at all times now. Why? So I can make sensible food choices when I’m out and about, and I am able to resist the urge to throw a few choice words in the direction of the individual doling out food advice when my hanger sets in! See the thing is, I’ve been an intuitive eater for a long time now, and I’m not about to stop. Sure that may mean I gain a few extra pounds over the next 11 weeks, given my spike in hunger levels, but it’ll also mean when my body no longer needs to store up fat for breastfeeding I will drop them. So please don’t judge me as I brazenly demolish a scone/bag of tortilla chips (small in case you’re wondering) in two swift bites on the tube.

Funnily enough, and since it may come as a shock to all you helpful advice-givers out there, my baby’s health is my primary concern, and I will ensure I’m eating well for him. Therefore, please don’t worry on our behalf. However, just in case you do work for the pregnancy food police, or are in the least bit interested, here’s what I’ve eaten so far today: porridge with oat milk and blueberries; two Sour Squirms (yum); a handful of cashews and Brazil nuts; an avocado, cheddar and habanero chilli relish sandwich; a glass of orange juice; and one Cadbury Creme Egg (mainly so I could list it here…oh and Easter is on the horizon). Given it’s still early, I’m sure a whole lot more will be added to that list. Sorry not sorry.

Therefore, please bear this in mind. However it is shared, unless an individual (pregnant or not) solicits your nutritional wisdom, you can bet they don’t want/need your advice. This isn’t a rant, nor even a moan (really…). More an expression of wish, that anyone considering giving a pregnant woman food advice, even if they ‘got so so fat’ during their pregnancy and ‘want you to avoid’ their mistakes, first takes the time to look at their own regimen. Maybe even ask themselves, ‘are you really gonna eat that?’

28 YEARS OLD AND 28 WEEKS PREGNANT

fullsizeoutput_32e2fullsizeoutput_32e7fullsizeoutput_32e5

Today I turn 28. Which means I am officially ‘nearly’ 30. I am also 28 weeks pregnant +1 day. Now I’m not one of those people who dreads ageing, and sets out on a mission impossible to conceal their age, but I know which of my ’28’ milestones I’m most excited about!

As a January baby, I am so happy my baby boy will have an April birthday. It is my first gift to him. That probably sounds dramatic to the fortunate many who weren’t born in the two months sandwiching 25th December, but to those that were, they will understand exactly where I’m coming from. By the time our birthdays roll around, and depending on which side of Christmas we were blessed to be born, we find that people are either too busy decking their halls with boughs of holly to celebrate, or have had their fill of festivities. Well at least until the chocolate eggs begin appearing. Consequently, when January arrives, no one has the capacity for more than self-loathing at their yuletide overindulgence, and resolutions to never touch [insert vice as applicable: alcohol, food and/or credit card] ever again. Or at least for a month…why do you think dry January has gained traction?! Unfortunately, that leaves even my nearest and dearest bereft of birthday fun.

Nonetheless, and in spite of being reminded by everyone that they hate January, I have for the last three years inclusive, liked my birthday. For my 26th birthday, my then boyfriend (and now husband) flew us to Paris under the guise of transforming my birthday from a day I dread, into a day I love. The day after, he proposed. So that was an awesome birthday. Next came my 27th birthday when I was preparing for our February wedding. Then this year, on my 28th birthday, I am growing my baby boy inside me. So you see, I think I may have grown as my husband intended, to love my birthday. Therefore, you can forget Blue Monday, forget the 300+ day countdown until next Christmas, forget yearning for more self-control, and you can certainly forget the self-recrimination for the thrice-daily-for-a-month mince pie habit… I’m pregnant don’t you know?!

A lot can change in a year. It certainly did for me. I married my boyfriend of 6 years, we moved back to London, and I fell pregnant. Therefore, instead of dreading my January birthday, I now grab hold of the hope at what another January being alive may bring.

BLOODS AND TONS OF SUGAR

fullsizeoutput_324ffullsizeoutput_3248fullsizeoutput_3256fullsizeoutput_328d

Well I had my mini glucose tolerance test (MGTT) today, and it was absolutely vile! I mean, I knew as I counted out 17 Lucozade tablets it wasn’t going to be tasty, but still. At least (fingers crossed) that’s the last of that for this pregnancy at least. Fortunately, the midwife was a pro when it came to extracting my blood and it wasn’t in the least bit painful. The last time I had bloods taken I was at the hands of a student who left me very bruised!

Also on the upside, I am now officially 28 weeks, and into my third and final trimester-yayyy!  According to one of my many baby apps, our baby boy is now 38cm and weighs c.1kg. Given I’ve been obsessively following his growth from a poppy seed at 4 weeks to a cantaloupe melon this week, it seems such an achievement to finally be at this stage. Also, and despite comments on the size of my bump (see last post), my Fundal height is spot on for my stage of pregnancy! At least I will now have that in my arsenal for the next daring commentator…

My plan for the next 12 weeks is to a) try not to balloon too much as people have been telling me the last trimester is when you really start to store up fat in prep for breastfeeding (although I suspect my efforts will be futile because I have never, and certainly won’t start denying my pregnant self anything now when my baby’s growth is key!), b) stay calm, which I suspect will be even more futile given my propensity to overthink EVERYTHING, c) antenatal appointments galore…I have 8?! I’m not really sure what’s the normal number and given I love to over prepare I was keen to sign up to lots of different classes, and d) go through my baby list to see which remaining items I need to purchase, and when. This last point I’m looking forward to most. I’ve been holding off on purchasing some items because from the posts I’ve read from other mums to be, the last couple of weeks before the baby’s EDD (and after if they’re late!), pass by really slowly and I’ll want things to keep me occupied. That being said, last night in some kind of mad nesting/organisation panic, I started ordering Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment, Multi-Mam Compresses, and nappy/diaper bags. I’m not even talking the kind you carry all the baby stuff around in, since that was purchased months ago, but rather the disposable ones you get through on a ten-a-day basis! In my defence the nappy rash cream was on special offer…

I will at some point share a post on my baby list, given I went to the extreme effort of composing an Excel spreadsheet with all the items, and web links on where to purchase said items. The latter I gleaned from hours and hours of trawling forums, magazines, and review sites. I even signed up to Which? But this is standard me. Whenever I feel something is outside of my comfort zone, which having a baby is given that I’m a first time mum, I like to do all that is humanly possible to bring said activity into my comfort zone. Since nothing can prepare you for a baby, the next best option for me is to get everything as organised and prepared as possible. With that in mind, I need to go and finish off my To Do list.

27 WEEKS PREGNANT AND COUNTING

fullsizeoutput_3150fullsizeoutput_314bfullsizeoutput_3152

fullsizeoutput_3156fullsizeoutput_3159

fullsizeoutput_304b

My big plan to blog my entire pregnancy didn’t exactly come to fruition. However, I figured that shouldn’t stop me blogging about my experience from this point in my pregnancy onwards. Plus, I have a pretty good memory/have obsessively been recording notes and symptoms (as you do…), so my recall should be sufficient to blog on earlier weeks too!

So today I am 27 weeks and 6 days pregnant. The days bit is super important….I wouldn’t have thought I’d spend 9 months of my life counting down days either, but apparently this is a thing during pregnancy. I’ve come across more women, who when asked how far along they are, can provide pinpoint accuracy to the day, than those that can casually throw out their no. in months. I suspect this is because no single source can agree on a woman’s stage of pregnancy in months?! Some say I’m 6 months, and others 7 months. I’m sure I could even find some claiming I’m closer to 9 months… Of course given how exhausted I feel, and if nothing else but to elicit rage in whoever I’m telling I wasn’t offered a seat on the tube, I’d rather claim to be further along at 7 months. BUT I think that’s one stretch too far. So that being said, I am 27 weeks + 6 days, AKA 6 months pregnant, and entering my third trimester tomorrow!

Given I found out I was pregnant a few days before my missed period, this feels like a long time coming, reinforced by the multiple baby apps on my phone which provide a countdown ‘until the big day!’ In retrospect, I’d probably recommend not using an early detection pregnancy test if you don’t want to drag out the countdown longer than necessary, and certainly not during the anxiety-filled first trimester when fear is the main emotion of the day (or rather 13 weeks) but more on that in a later post.

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, inability to retain more than a thimble of pee, excitement, and tiredness.

It’s this last symptom which bothers me most actually. The idea of tiredness (as debilitating as the first trimester) returning is quite frankly a little bit terrifying. I’ve enjoyed being able to hold conversations without zoning out into the abyss. I’ve loved doing things at weekends instead of wondering if 2pm is an acceptable time to take to my bed, after lying in until 11am. I’ve also rather liked feeling a little less like the walking dead and a teeny tiny bit more like myself. So yeah, as I’m increasingly fantasising about naps with the same passion normally reserved for a bar of Galaxy after a hormonal meltdown, I am fearful!

Things I’ve enjoyed about this week: I’ve started loving, and purchasing, all things pink and heart-shaped. Given you’d typically find me shrouded in black from head-to-toe this is a little bit exciting! I really hope when my hormones have subsided that I don’t come to regret this decision because a) I’ve spent a small fortune on a pink lambswool jumper, b) I purchased said item in my pre-pregnancy size so it’s not like I can get any wear out of it now whilst my heart yearns for pretty-in-pink shades, and c) I really had to defend my selection of a heart-shaped soap dish to my husband (who over the last couple of years has played audience to me judgementally preaching the benefits of minimalism) not as clutter but as an item of beauty, AND utility- significant Marie Kondo points here!

Things I’ve disliked about this week: People commenting on the size of my bump. Unless you’re my husband or my mum I will take it to heart, and you have been warned! I wish I didn’t, and my god I hope it’s just hormones or I really have become insanely sensitive. Even so, please don’t tell me I’m ‘super neat’ because I may start to build a case against you, and/or spend the rest of the afternoon panicking about whether my baby is growing safely inside me. Before falling pregnant I’d have considered this fairly safe territory, especially if you’re commenting on another woman looking ‘tiny’, but it’s absolutely not. So if you must comment on mine or any other ready-to-explode-in-a-hormonal-outburst-woman’s size, please just tell her she looks amazing, and besides her burgeoning bump you wouldn’t have known she was pregnant. Or better still, don’t go there.

What I’m looking forward to about next week: I will officially be in my third trimester, and another week closer to meeting my baby!! Enough said really.

What I’m dreading about next week: The glucose test. Despite craving all things sweet, I suspect 17 Lucozade glucose tablets may be a little too much for me to stomach. We’ll see, since you never know these days …