Sunday, 18 January 2015

Things I didn't know about pregnancy

In all honesty, before I was pregnant I didn't believe in cravings. I thought them as an excuse for women to over indulge, what would a baby in utero need Flamin' Hot Monster Munch for?
I worked in a shop and witnessed first hand a man rushing in before the shutters went down.  "She's having an ice cream craving!" he uttered, rolling his eyes.
 Fool! I thought, that woman of yours has you completely under the thumb!, picturing some barely pregnant woman sat at home, filing her nails with her feet up.

A year down the line and i'm eating my words, It's a Friday night and we're driving around town with one sole purpose. To track down a slush puppy. A red one. (keeping in mind the last time I drank a slush puppy I was wearing dungarees and had a bucket and spade in hand.) I did a Google search and we drove around until we finally found a petrol station selling them. In that moment of sheer desperation, I felt nothing but empathy for that poor soul I had previously criticized, patiently waiting at home for her ice cream fix.

Who was I to judge?

At the beginning I couldn't get enough of mashed potato/carrot and parsnip. "Oh my cravings have all been quite healthy" I smugly told people.

Well that sure as hell didn't last too long.
 Over the next eight months I couldn't pass a Costa without ordering an iced caramel latte, and a fifteen. And if i'm being completely honest- a sandwich too.
I became quite the connoisseur of cupcakes, pickled onion crisps, anything covered in coconut and, McChicken sandwich meals. 'Make mine a large, and shall we get chicken nuggets to share?'

Cravings are very real, and despite your best intentions in the first trimester, you'll most likely cave  by month 5, justifying all those late night takeaways by promising yourself you'll be out every day for lengthy strolls with your little lovely in their pram. 'Awk the weight will just fall off you' people will tell you. I'm four months post partum and have finally accepted the fact I need to exercise, this tummy isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.

By week 35 I was well over two stone heavier and  I was still convincing myself that I fitted into my River Island skinny jeans. I stopped craving food (thank God for that) and moved on to stranger things. After polishing off a 72 pack of Rennies in three days, my other half told me enough was enough and I was placed on heartburn- relief surveillance. 'Ok' said I, shamefully hiding packets in my handbag like relapsing drug addict.

To compromise he went on the hunt for a mint, the chalky texture of a Rennies. I loved the smell of bleach, wasn't satisfied until our bathroom smelt like a swimming pool and I could have quite happily worn our fabric softener as perfume, it smelt that good.

It is said that only 5% of babies are born on their due date, and even though we'll tell everyone 'I'll probably go over' we secretly all like to think our little bundles of joy will arrive bang on time.

I personally blame everyone else. Towards the end you're being asked by everyone from strangers in the street, to the lady in Boots scanning your maternity pads
"When is the baby due?"
You say the date so often it becomes so embedded in your head that when that (what is supposed to be the momentous day) arrives, and then...... passes, you're absolutely gutted. And if you hear
"Baby will come when it's ready" one more time you'll be ready for swinging at the person, whether it be your granny or not.
 The night comes and you're propped up in bed, with a face like thunder as you scroll through countless "well?!" texts.
At this stage, log out of facebook, turn off your phone, do it for your own sanity.

And so begins the ridiculous pursuit of trying to get baby to move. Your backside won't see a seat for days you'll be too busy on your birthing ball, resenting your poor partner for looking so ridiculously comfortable on your cushion laden sofa.

Curries will be ordered, walks will be had and you'll be absolutely livid if there's no immediate change. We become desperate, uncomfortable and lets not beat around the bush, we become bitches. Hard to be around, bitches.

And rightly so. In the short space of nine months your whole life has changed.

Your body has become unrecognizable, your income has taken a knock, You become somewhat of an invalid needing help getting out of bed, and putting your shoes on can break you out in a mild case of the sweats. Your priorities have had to change, and you can no longer justify paying £90 for a pair of Topshop boots when there's a cot needing paid off.

You'll pee multiple times an an hour and will quickly become an expert on local public toilets, which are the cleanest (M&S) and which to avoid (Lisburn Square..) Anyone who comments on the size your bump becomes the enemy and God help any poor acquaintance from school who bumps into you in town. "Awk I didn't even know you were  pregnant!"

I haven't seen you in six years, I wouldn't expect you to....idiot

Exactly a week after my due date, I went for a midwife appointment to discuss an induction date. Whilst getting examined I was told I was 4cms dilated. Our baby was en route.

I had spent the last nine months worrying about this day,  would I be able to handle the pain? where would I be when the labour  kicked off?  what if something was to go wrong?  Now it was here- I had never felt so ready for anything in my life.
My mum who was with me, cried. (Then panicked incase my waters broke in her car), the other half got the text and came rushing down the motorway from work, and I limped out of the health center, mid contraction holding on to my mum's arm for dear life.

 I was told by a friend that by the end  'Nature makes you so sick and tired of being pregnant that you just want to crack on' and it's so true. When the time comes you do what you're meant to do. You find the energy from somewhere (God knows where, but you do), the thought of getting to meet your baby outweighs any amount of pain you feel. Your body was made for this.

And when that little bundle of pure love is placed upon your chest, everything just falls into place, and it all makes sense.

Every pound you've gained, every sleepless night, every stretch mark and every little discomfort.. it was all worth it, you'd do it again a hundred times over if you had to.
And just like that, those nine months which  felt like years, are over in a matter of minutes, and this little human who you've only just met, but know so well, becomes your all, your everything..


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