Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bob and the Builder crack

Nearing week 26 now and what a turning point it is, too. Gone is the honeymoon phase of sauntering around gazelle-like and posing with oh-so-little bump, and hello to the I Can Just About Fit Through Doorways phase and the Get the Hell Out of My Way Or I'll Bulldoze You phase. I officially waddle and I tell you, it ain't pretty. My T-shirts seem to have all shrunk overnight and now ride up to leave an unsightly 2-3-inch gap reminiscent of Bob the Builder. Charming.

In the past week or so I seem to have come full circle, with the first trimester hormones flowing on tap, and all of a sudden someone has pulled down the shade on my life view, making it very dark indeed. Little Green now kicks the crap out of me at all hours of the day and it's no longer the butterfly flutter of yore either. I swear last night I saw my tummy skin register a tremor worthy of the Richter Scale. All sorts of anxieties have been nibbling at my brain. What right do I have to bring a child into a world teeming with squalor and unbelievable cruelty? What temporary madness inspired me (me, who can just about call herself a respectable grown up at the ripe age of 31) to think I could look after some guileless little angel? How brazen and selfish and irresponsible and misguided must I be for believing I could just bring another human being into the world and not balls up the whole thing?

Nevermind myriad aches and pees, no wonder pregnant women don't sleep much; there are too many of these Gremlin-like critters coming in and crowding round the bed and secretly nibbling away at her brains throughout the night for her to get any much-needed shut eye. This says nothing of the usual anxieties about surviving labour (easy -- just don't, AT ANY COST, think about it) or panicking about the baby bursting out of the womb with two heads (Sigourney Weaver has a lot to answer for).

At my anomaly scan the other week I was told that Little Green is currently in breech, meaning his feet are aiming the wrong way. I was also told that my placenta was low-lying on one side but that in most cases this usually lifts as the baby grows and anyway, I could probably still have a "normal" birth. The humourless sonographer clearly euphemised the situation, which Google later informed me could, in serious cases, lead to mandatory bed rest for weeks prior to a Caesar (which is where, bluntly put, they hack into your belly to wrench out the baby since it won't squeeze through the little hole)... Sex in this case would be off limits. And, as a matter of fact, since sex proved too painful and awkward anyway, I'm becoming almost as humourless as the sonographer himself. So much for all the phony hype from the marketing gurus that guarantees you'll have the best sex of your life in the second tri. Some silver lining. Of course this is true in some cases but you have no choice but to hate the women who do get what's promised on the packet, just as you loathe the women who can eat chocolate all day long and still look like Kate Moss in skinny jeans...

So prick up those teeny ears young man. Invaluable life lesson #1: Life is seldom fair.

Monday, June 9, 2008


So 24 weeks, and it's been a rocky ride back to British soil. Not only has the usual jet leg been compounded by pregnancy, the lead up to the flight was also marred by hormones. The fact is fatigue during and post pregnancy magnifies everything, crafting molehills into mountains. Case in point. On the drive to the airport Mister Green and I had "words", the result of which led to us missing our turnoff on our way to meet my parents for a goodbye-for-now meal at our favourite Italian. In the end, although we were only 20 minutes late and my parents were magnanimous about the whole thing, I burst into tears which seasoned my linguine and did not let up for the duration of the meal... I don't know about you but sobbing like a tantruming toddler in the middle of a packed restau has to rate in the top ten most humiliating experiences (along with the skirt tucked into the underwear thing, though, granted, that has never happened to me -- yet).

Digressing. With reflection, I can see the error of my ways. Back at work after several sleepless nights, I had to call in sick and at last grant myself some much needed slack. After all, a relaxed mother is a relaxed baby according to that frightfully posh matron to the Royals, Betty Parsons. It must happen in all pregnancies, to every woman at some stage in her progression: she ploughs on full steam ahead until, inevitably, her body gives her a stark reminder of the task at hand, e.g. making a little miracle is no small feat! We would do with being gentler, more forgiving on ourselves and on each other, and not just in pregnancy either.

Digressing again... To other women. To each other. The reaction of strangers when commuting to the City this past week caught me off guard now that I have, for want of a better expression, officially "popped". From disdain to sheer contempt -- these are the looks I've been fending off from women, old and young. Where is the empathy? Where is the sisterhood, I beg you. Why such sour lemons? Is it fertility envy? A deep-seated hate of fatness in all its forms? Theories are welcome...

Men are another story, of course. A strange breed they are (admittedly I'll have to get used to this if I am to raise one myself). Their reactions vary from complete oblivion to outright leering with seemingly no in-between. Until now I never understood the pregnant form was so sexually charged, so desirable. The media wouldn't dare broadcast the fact, but it's true. There is no state more feminine, more exalted than that of the heavily expectant woman, so it only figures that she to cannot escape the lusty gaze. Of course this is reassuring in a way. You don't want to cease being attractive to your partner because that would go against nature, but by the same token neither do you expect to be visually groped by Tom, Dick & Co. Maybe I'm being naive. I'll bet there are entire syndicates and URLs devoted to this particular fetish. Mr Green helpfully supplies the term MILF. In which case, darling son, I'm sorry you had to read about your "old lady" being sexualised before you were even down the hatch. How gross and inconsiderate of me to even bring it up. So sorry...