30 Mar 2010

Oh No Psycho

I have always been a bit of an emo. I spent much of my teens addicted to Leonard Cohen and eyeliner whilst energetically projecting a consistent unspoken 'Nobody understands me'. I dutifully learned three guitar chords and howled along in my gloomy bedroom to self-penned (and musically sparse) songs about assorted boys and injustices, pausing only to scream at the occasional fool who dared suggest I might oblige them by emoting quietly so they could watch TV/read/sleep/not punch me.

The intervening years have been largely dedicated to the the slow and painful process of getting over myself and pre-pregnancy I might have been described as a reasonable, sane and moderately nice woman (depends who you ask really). Since the pregnancy hormones invaded and turned my brain inside out I can comfortably cover the entire spectrum of human emotion in an afternoon.

I'm now 14 weeks pregnant and things are a-changing. Interestingly (or very very boringly, depending on your perspective) the nausea and inhuman exhaustion seem to have eased off but the general hysteria is getting worse. My mood ricochets from demonic rage to overwhelming ennui to Disney-esque cheer at the slightest provocation.

On Saturday alone I exploded into tears at a (fictional) old man painfully admitting that he loved his grown-up son in a gravel-voiced, noble sort of fashion, danced on the spot in apoplectic fury at M's wilful misplacement of the dish towels (he put them in the cupboard to the right of the sink when everybody knows they live on the LEFT.) and spent a good 20 minutes on Facebook making up mean things I would say to people with annoying status updates if the boundaries of social convention only allowed. Highlights include: 'Nobody gives a shit about your horoscope except you' and 'Facebook angels are just another reason i don't like you.'

Much of the time I drift about aimlessly in a mist of baby-centric contentment but the rage surfaces without warning and is particularly fond of making an appearance when I am offered well-meaning advice. A very good friend rashly suggested I try mint tea to help the nausea. The very concept of mint tea makes me justifiably angry at the best of times but I had to resist the urge to scream "Why not just drink a cup of boiling toothpaste you hemp-loving fucking hippy??".

I've also fallen into a terrible habit of insisting I don't mind if my betrothed goes out and then ringing him on the hour every hour with tearful accusations of abandonment/apologies/further tearful accusations/further apologies etc. When he comes home he is equally likely to be greeted by flying crockery or a blissed out monologue declaring how much I love him and the baby. A by-product of the constant uncertainty is that I often notice M eyeing me with the hopeful, wary expression one might expect to see on a postman sizing up a gently growling Doberman.

We have had our first scan and everything is healthy and well. Baby has the most exquisite little head and was tumbling around in there like a dancer in a 90's pop video. In two weeks we can have the gender scan which I was CERTAIN I wanted but in a bizarre twist I'm having second thoughts...

Baby now looks like this, except a week and four days bigger.

6 Mar 2010

Things I did not know about being prego before I was prego.

1. You count the weeks of pregnancy from the beginning of your last period. So you're already two weeks pregnant by the time you concieve. I'm eleven weeks now, but baby's only been in existence for nine weeks. Confusing no?. By this logic everybody is pregnant at all times.

2. Early pregnancy necessitates much snoozing. Things that are LESS exhausting than the first three months of pregnancy include
  • Working four jobs simultaneously for two months while averaging 4 hours sleep a night to save enough money to move to London.
  • Going straight from a party to work, still drunk and then shuddering into a painful hangover at about 2pm.
  • Sorting and packing 25 years worth of assorted debris from your parent's attic, alone, overnight.
  • Listening to your boyfriend talk about local planning regulations and how they may or may not affect his plans to develop the house whilst pretending you a) understand and b) care.
3. You don't just quit booze and smoking. No more coffee, soft cheese, rare meat, runny eggs, redbull, chocolate, shellfish, tuna, artificial sweetener, coke (the drink AND the drug), pate, unpasturied milk, home-made chocolate moose, painkillers, skin creams containing Retin A, hayfever pills, vicks vapour rub, sauna/jacuzzi, Bikram yoga, not wearing bras, being thin.

4. You have to should excercise three times a week and the excercise MUST be deeply boring. Much gentle walking, gentle swimming, gentle swaying etc. No body-popping, pole-dancing, cage-fighting.

5. People don't give you a seat on the tube, they just avoid eye contact. Perhaps they are worried in case I am just fat and they give offence. Or perhaps they're just knobs. I have taken to staring with intense agression at strangers for the duration of my hour long commute.

6. Other people don't find anecdotes about your cravings, mood swings, expanding girth and antenatal appointments all that interesting. My friends are also oddly reluctant to discuss the merits of natural labour vs drug-assisted delivery or the shoddy state of maternity rights for the self employed.

7. You develop a super-human sense of smell. I can smell strawberries THROUGH the fridge door.

8. Eating crackers in bed before you get up helps the all fucking  day  morning sickness. And makes satisfying crunchy sound.

9. Everyone in the universe has an opinion on what you should be eating, doing, watching, reading and preparing for and everyone in the universe assumes you want to hear said opinion.

10. Boys do not check you out anymore and when they do by accident and then realise you're prego'd, they look mortified/ashamed/disgusted depending on which age bracket they fall into.

11. At only 11 weeks baby can make a tiny fist, swallow, bend and flex tiny joints and spin around inside me like a ballerina. Baby can even frown (baby is judgemental like it's Daddy). It's definatively a girl or boy, has all it's major organs and is the size of a lime.

12. It is bizarre feeling to love someone you've never met, indeed it is bizarre to love someone who is busy growing their own digestive system.

Baby now looks a bit like this one, but more stylish.

23 Feb 2010


I find myself in circumstances I've been energetically trying to avoid since my late teens.

After years of diligently not getting pregnant, M and I have done an about turn and got ourselves good and knocked up.
I have been pontificating on how to share this with the world (and by the world I mean my facebook page). It feels as though a gracious and rather distant announcement is expected of me, something to the tune of "R and M are delighted to announce they are expecting etc.."., which feels both impersonal and inaccurate. I'm looking for something more honest in both tone and content

"R is nauseous to announce that she is prego'd"
"R and M are chilled to announce that they are henceforth entirely responsible for the wellbeing of a tiny and fragile new person"
"R resentfully announces she is not getting fat but is in fact, pregnant"

Truthfully, M drifts about his day with the gently helpless air of a man who has been spun around fourteen times quickly then punched really hard in the face. I am nauseous, bitchy, overwhelmed with emotion at nappy adverts and troubled with a violent and reoccurring desire to kick the ankles of  fellow commuters on the tube. The clich├ęs are all true, which is disappointing.

But we're also floating on a smug self-involved little cloud of angel breath and sunlight.

I'm nine weeks prego'd and there is a grape size, mermaid-tailed baby-shaped little entity turning tiny nonchalant somersaults in my tummy. Just hanging around, growing it's own appendages (which is genius, however you look at it).

My baby looks a bit like this one. But cuter.