This week has mainly been about hormones for me – I’ve definitely noticed a big increase in how teary I feel. You’d think I’d be well used to the hormones by now but they’ve definitely ramped up now we’re reaching the end. I nearly cried in the baby section of Asda on Wednesday for absolutely no reason other than the clothes were cute.
I’m also definitely suffering from baby brain. Things go in my head and leave as quickly as they arrived. I’ve forgotten countless things, bought the wrong train ticket the other day etc etc!
It’s also been a week of medical/baby related appointments – starting with a mental health assessment on Monday, then a midwife visit on Wednesday, the end of our NCT course the same day and a growth scan on Friday. The latter two I’ll post about separately. There’s definitely an increase in appointments in these last few weeks and the journey to the hospital is now becoming all-too-familiar! At least when we go for the birth it’ll just be a ten-minute drive and not the current 45-minute bus ride!
Although a couple of weeks ago I did manage to spectacularly misjudge my own size and bash the bump right into a table (sorry about that baby!), the title of this post actually refers to the annoying sport of ‘compare the bump’ that most people want to play. As I’ve touched on before, there’s a whole host of spectacularly insensitive, stupid and downright unnecessary comments others make at/to you when you’re pregnant; b
ut all of the remarks relating specifically to the look of the bump are a category in their own right. And thus the subject of my mini rant today!
Size – myself, and pretty much every other pregnant woman on the planet, has I guarantee at some point been told their bump looks really small considering how pregnant they are. They’ve also been told it looks really big considering how pregnant they are. Make up your minds people, which is it to be? It makes me laugh that people think there is a standard size to be at all points during pregnancy – because clearly all women are the same size and shape to begin with right? Next time you go to comment on someone’s size (unless it’s ‘aww what a perfect bump’!), think about this – even health professionals often don’t predict the size of the baby correctly and they’ve been measuring the bump regularly (and they actually have some expert knowledge!).
Shape – as if feeling under pressure to have a perfect size bump isn’t enough, you also have to conform to people’s ideas of what the bump should look like too! People want to comment on how low/high up it is, whether you’re carrying all round or just at the front etc. My baby is currently so low that she’s at risk of falling out (disclaimer: probably not medically possible) and I look at people with really cute neat high-up bumps with a tinge of jealousy. But they’re probably looking at me thinking ‘I bet that girl’s ribs aren’t half as sore as mine’. (They’re not, but my back and pelvis feel like they’re actually mangled). So it’s a lose lose. Like in school when you used to want curly hair and all the girls with amazing curls just wanted straight hair.
So my message to the ridiculous commenters of the world today is: women are different shapes and sizes, babies are different shapes and sizes. Put one into the other and you’re going to have a different outcome every time. If you feel the need to comment on someone’s bump, if you really can’t suppress the desire then please, something complimentary not judgy would be best! We’re growing babies not mass producing pottery, one size does not fit all!
I’ve officially got the worries! I don’t know if this is normal but I’m going to assume it’s just part of the process of the journey to motherhood which is itself obviously a worrying time – there’s a whole host of things from the minor scraped knees to the really serious shit which can go wrong.
When I got pregnant I worried for the first trimester that we’d get to the scan date and there’d be nothing there, that despite a positive pregnancy test which was reaffirmed by a test at the doctor’s I might not have even ever been pregnant. I assumed when the time came for the scan it would reassure me – not so. Obviously I was absolutely thrilled to not only discover there was a live baby in there but that seven weeks later she looked to be growing and thriving as she should be. Obviously I’m delighted the pregnancy hasn’t been plagued by medical complications, trips to hospital or bleeding.
But every day I feel more acutely aware of all the things which can go wrong from here on in. Now entering my third trimester, I worry greatly about the prospect of a premature birth and what that might mean for the little one. In a way I feel absolutely foolish for even thinking about it so much, there’s no indication to say she will arrive any earlier than the time she’s due. But equally it can and does happen with no warning.
I also find as we near her due date I’m more worried about the process of actually bringing up a child. At the start she was almost an abstract to me, an idea (albeit an idea which was making me feel sick all the time). Now I can see her move and I know in three months or less she’ll be here. Now I’ve started to think beyond those first few whirlwind days of hospital care and then coming home with an entirely new human who you’ve been trusted to look after. Now my concerns can focus on anywhere between the present day (at 28 weeks pregnant) and our baby being all grown up. The simple fact of the matter is there’s lot of ways to mess up a kid’s life and, although clearly I have the best of intentions, I know the basics, I definitely love her already and I’m not entirely stupid so some of it should just be common sense, what if I simply am not a good mother?
Really there are no answers anyone can provide. It’s a case of waiting to see when she arrives and then riding out the bad bits which will inevitably happen at some point and enjoying the good and hopefully coming out of it bigger and better. My worries could all be unfounded and it could all feel very natural. I know a lot of it is simply my personality – even if I’ve done something 100 times before I would still worry about it, even more so if it’s something new and even more on top of that if it’s so important!
Apologies this has been a bit of a thought-dump post! But I always wanted to document my pregnancy honestly and at the moment I feel worry is a big part of it!
One of the biggest things which seems to divide opinion in the pregnancy/motherhood world is the whole battle between the breastfeeders and the bottle feeders. It really is the ‘issue du jour’ and seems to get people going more than most other subjects. I do find it bizarre when people have such a strong opinion they act so aghast at the other side’s reasoning – it seems like they’re forgetting these mothers are still going to feed, wash and look after their children. In some circles, saying ‘I’m not going to breastfeed’ does really produce the same reaction as if you said ‘I’m keeping the baby in a cupboard, putting it up the chimneys or down the mines when it’s seven and I’ll wash it only for birthdays and Christmases.
I completely understand how much research there is out there suggesting ‘breast is best’, detailing all of the wonderful things which will happen to your child if you choose to give it your own milk rather than Cow and Gate’s (other brands also available). We all know your baby will take its A-Levels aged 18 months, graduate at the age of four and probably be the world’s best piano player/runner/author before its tenth birthday if you breastfeed. But seriously, is there a need to be so anal about the whole thing? It’s not a war, both sides can win. I can’t imagine going to parents’ evening and the teacher saying ‘little Timmy is terribly behind with his times tables, it must be because you didn’t breastfeed.’
I also think the view is completely unfair on those who wanted to breastfeed but for whatever reason weren’t able to – if it’s out of their control then all you’re doing is being hugely spiteful rubbing it in their face how perfect you are because you managed to express liquid from your nipples. Well done.
When bump comes along I would like to give it a go – it might work, it might not. Myself and/or baby will come to some sort of agreement along the way I dare say – whether that’s a bottle, a boob (probably one of mine, not a random one) or a mix of the two. If it works, great! I’ll be happy, baby will be happy and maybe, just maybe, if someone asks for any helpful tips or advice I’ll impart what I’ve learned along the way. I definitely won’t judge, lecture or gloat. If it doesn’t work, then I’ll move on with my life and that’ll be that.
What’s your opinion? Did you/do you plan to breastfeed? Have you experienced bitchiness because you bottle fed?
Telling people you’re pregnant is one of the coolest things you get to do in your life. Having your friends and family get involved and be almost as excited as you for the new arrival is pretty special – providing they go about it the right way! I’ve learned most people will say ‘congrats’, ask a couple of questions and all will be well with the world. Other people just seem to go a bit weird about it! So here’s a list of some of the odd reactions I’ve had about:
Touching. This is one of the first things which happens when you’re pregnant, suddenly the whole world is allowed to touch you. I’m pretty convinced if I got on to a bus full of people and touched each of their bellies in turn, I would get punched in the face at least twice. At the very least, if I was in a nice area, I’d get some funny looks. But somehow because there’s something growing in there it’s fine to have a good old rub – even very early on when there is definitely no bump. Now clearly, Dylan touching my bump is fine, friends and family fine (although I’d prefer they ask first rather than launch themselves on me like a pack of wolves hungry for blood – or in this case for foetus fondling), people I hardly know = big fat no! I may touch you back, be warned.
‘Were you trying?’ This to me is one of the oddest things I’ve been asked, and not just by one person either, quite a few. When I hear someone’s pregnant I’m delighted for them, I ask when it’s due, how they’re feeling, if they know what gender it is etc. I don’t start pondering whether their contraceptives failed them or whether they’d been having unprotected sex. I feel almost like I have to validate my pregnancy by reassuring people I hardly know that yes, I am able to operate contraceptives correctly and yes, we were trying thanks. My personal thoughts are – if I’m close enough to you, you’ll have told me you were trying for a baby. If I don’t know, it’s probably not okay to ask.
‘It’s definitely a boy/girl’. 20 seconds ago they didn’t even know the child existed, now they can tell for sure what gender it is by having had the quickest of glances at your (usually clothed) belly. They are so sure, they’d bet their lifetime’s earnings, house and husband on it. They will then back this up with some ridiculous old wives’ tale – definitely a boy because the sun’s out today. Definitely a girl because someone else they know is having a boy so ying/yang, it’s all got to balance out right? Yes, I have had a feeling from the start which one (and I’ll know if I’m right or not by the time you read this) but I’m actually carrying the baby! Plus I still only have a 50 per cent chance of being right.
‘I wasn’t sick once’. Well hooray for you, excuse me while I hurl the contents of my stomach out through my mouth for the fifth time today. I’m really glad for you that your pregnancy was such a breeze and I’ll be sure to think of that next time I’m flushing my breakfast down the toilet for the 100th day in a row. Please do come and be more smug around me any time you like. (The only good thing about this one is you can’t hit a pregnant woman even if she hits you first, right?)
‘Oh okay’. This is quite a sweet one as opposed to the annoyances listed above. When I told my dad he was going to be a granddad for the first time his reaction was ‘oh okay’. He is actually really pleased and has been really supportive throughout my pregnancy. He’s just not one for jumping around screaming, clearly!
Did any reactions annoy you when you shared your pregnancy news?