I am 18 weeks pregnant. Yikes!
As an old schoolfriend cleverly pointed out, I am now living in a #maternitywhirl (thanks Lizzie!@ ). I’ve been jotting down some random thoughts about the transition from girl-about-town to girl-who-wants-her-PJs-and-bed. Here they are, in no order of relevance or priority.
I miss prosecco. Prosecco smells lovely. I know this because I smelt it at a recent Christmas lunch with friends as they tucked in. I say smelt it. What I mean is I stuck my nose in the glass and inhaled deeply for about 7 seconds. Yes I did.
Wearing a Baby on Board badge is not simply a visual marker of my gestation, an attempt to avoid a full frontal collision or a silent plea to those (who can) for a seat on the Tube – it is a fascinating social experiment. I am a walking Survey Monkey.
On seeing my Baby on Board badge will you:
(a) peek at and then blatantly ignore it, suddenly feigning sleep as if you have inhaled the scent of deadly poppies like Dorothy and the gang in the land of Oz or immerse yourself in the highly educational and life-critical Guilty Pleasures section of Metro.
(b) stare at me with a defiant expression which pretty much screams ‘Your choice to travel lady – take to your bed for 9 months!’.
(c) leap up and offer your seat out of the goodness of your heart, as you know your Mum would want you to.
For most people the survey says (c). They simply couldn’t be more gracious and I’ve had some lovely chats with and apologies from those who were genuinely engrossed in a good book and didn’t see me in their periphery. I totally get it and most of the time I feel very guilty – they’ve had to vacate a comfy seat after all. Others? Karma, people. There’s a special place in hell for you, sleep-pretender.
The animalistic need to consume salt crackers and hummus, do whatever it takes to stave the relentless nausea and nap at any given point during the day has marginally overtaken the need to buy clothes.
Possibly TMI, but I constantly need the loo. I can wee on demand, if required. Although, to be fair, it’s the only party trick I have in my armoury at present, since rapping the entire words to MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This while doing the ‘Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh’ dance (reference: girls in black cycling shorts) and drinking copious amounts of rum is temporarily on hold.
At Madonna’s recent O2 gig I went twice in one hour while the support act was on, even though barely a drop of liquid had passed my lips. (I was also keen to avoid a repeat of my attendance at The Girlie Show World Tour in 1993 when me and friend Lou waited excitedly at the front for 6 hours only to realise as the great Madge popped out of a hole in the stage that we were breaking our necks for a piddle, but were alas completely blockaded by the crowd. For the whole gig).
I miss running and playing tennis a lot. My Instagram feed is full of people running, sprinting, training for the London Marathon and sodding well insta-shouting about it. Instead though, me and my bump are walking absolutely everywhere on our own unlikely pilgrimage – I’m the Harold Fry of London. This allows more time to think and more time to appreciate the City. I stop in awe every single time I cross the Hungerford Bridge and take in the twinkling lights of the Southbank. Apparently I can run while preggers, so I may be brave and go for a light jog. Today I did 3 minutes on the treadmill. Whoop! #preggersrunninggoals
Usually on the verge of an emotional outburst at the best of times, pregnancy has sent my emotions rocketing into overdrive. One minute I’m earth-mother, smiling at strangers, waving at children, telling everyone who wants to know that my husband and I are expecting our first child, falling totally in love with everyone on my tube carriage (except you, sleep-feigner) and studiously researching hypo-birthing while eating kale.
When cracker-deficient, I’m John McEnroe. I’m bloody Michael Douglas in Falling Down. I’m effing Gordon Ramsay. I am apoplectic with rage. My jeans are too tight. I need a wee (again). I’m screeching at cyclists THIS IS A ZEBRA CROSSING, YOU ******* IDIOTS!! I’m shoving people back who nudge me for walking too slowly and adding a sharp elbow in the ribs for good measure.
Then, I’m a blubbering hormonal mess. I cry at the slightest thing. Old UK Garage tunes make my eyes prick with reminiscent tears – Kele Le Roc’s My Love (10° Below Vocal Mix) recently caused an unexpected and rather unnecessary reaction. The other day I completely broke down at a re-run of the Great British Bake Off Final, namely at the monumental sight of Nadia and her lovely family and even Mary Berry welling up. YES NADIA, I sobbed, DON’T EVER PUT BOUNDARIES ON YOURSELF EVER AGAIN. NEVER SAY YOU CAN’T DO IT. NEVER SAY YOU DON’T THINK YOU CAN. YOU CAN, AND YOU WILL!! Sob.
Sometimes I forget I am expecting. I literally forget. Maybe it was a dream, I ponder, on a rare morning of no nausea. So I do normal things. I go shopping, I meet mates for lunch. I walk on the treadmill at the gym. I dance at parties. I go to see Madonna at the 02 and get home at 1am. I go to Christmas dos and work in my day job at the usual crazy pace. Then on Sunday I Sleep. Eat. Repeat.
Christmas is a funny old time to be pregnant. London is full of hot young things in slinky tops wearing cheeky reindeer ears and molten eye makeup, who fall out of bars and sing Mariah Carey on their way to the next raucous do. I’m shuffling around like a frump, nursing an orange juice at the work Xmas quiz while everyone necks cheap mulled wine and going to Xmas dinners with mates but forgoing the boozy after-grub bit. I’m undecided how I feel about this. Sometimes my FOMO rears its ugly head. Other times I realise I’ve been drinking for 20 years and could do with a rest. I slip my PJ bottoms on and settle gently into sleep.
My body is expanding in ways I never knew possible. It is a miracle. There are parts I don’t quite know what to do with; I have a bum! The other day a man knocked at our front door selling fresh fish and stared at my new boobs unashamedly for a good few seconds. Twice I declined his fresh kippers. I’m covering all this new junk in the trunk with floaty over-sized things. Kim K in Balmain I am not, although fair play to her. Instead my maternity-wear inspo is Kate Moss, 2002. Floaty tops, voluminous dresses, velvet, skinny scarfs, accessories and that kind of stuff.
Hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time felled me in one pulsating beat. It was incredible. It was also remarkably fast – ARE YOU OK IN THERE?! I wanted to ask my tummy but the midwife assured me it was normal. Although after seeing baby spring about in the 12 week scan, doing flips and acrobatics, I’m worried we’ve got a live one on our hands. (Like mother, said my husband cheekily) It took my breath away and made me realise, this is the real deal. I walked to work from the antenatal appointment and gave myself a little pep talk. ‘It is not just about you now. You are responsible for another human being. You need to slow down, and say no to all the demands and pressures that work and life can bring’. Do it. Now.’ I’m trying.
I’ve discovered some great pregnancy apps to guide me through all the ups and downs, the scary shit and changes completely out of my control. I’m fascinated every day, it’s the best book I’ve ever read. At 16 weeks, the baby was the size of an avocado. At 17 weeks, the baby weighed as much as a turnip. A turnip! What on earth is sprouting in there?! Soon, I’ll be able to feel a flutter. Which makes me feel kind of fluttery. It also dishes out helpful advice like ‘At 12 weeks your feet may become tired and swollen. Buy some new shoes’. Erm, ok I will. Thanks.
Telling friends and family the news we were finally, at last expecting was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. All these people you adore sending you their heartfelt congratulations, love and support and then seeing them face to face and squealing and hugging and talking about the future? It made all the pukiness, exhaustion and my expanding bum absolutely, 100% worth it.
Hope you’re ok in there Mini K. You’re a big part of me already.