That’s right. That’s the route this piece is going to mosey on down, so like tearing off a plaster (and we’ll talk more about tearing later on) that’s the bar set, below the waist.
At 32 years young I’m a first-time preggo. So, all of a sudden, I’m taking an active interest in all things baby and gynae.
And whilst I appreciate the valuable life lessons learned in GSCE biology and from watching many an episode of Eurotrash at my pal’s house after a night at the cave (god bless Lolo Ferrari) it’s perhaps not very surprising that I in fact know jack shit about actual pregnancy.
I never took an active interest in anything baby related, only how to avoid making one. I always felt I could make it happen when the time was right for me.
‘No need to rush’ I would say when people gave me the old ‘it’ll be you next!’ spiel.
I spent my 20s pissing my salary up the wall every payday. Waking up in last night’s clothes close to death, looking like Paul Gascoigne pre-rehab every weekend. I was buying any old shit I wanted, when I wanted it and travelling the world with my now husband.
Zero regrets, still.
It was right for me then and babies had no place in my world. I avoided events that meant interacting with other people’s kid because quite frankly, I saw them as irritating miniature joy hoovers.
I was that horrible cow on a flight that would roll her eyes at your kid if it started crying. I had no patience, little empathy and (it eventually transpired) no clue that my efforts to avoid pregnancy were ironically a massive waste of time.
This is because when the time WAS right I would come to learn I could not actually have children.
Hello? Alanis Morrisette is that you?
No, it’s not quite a traffic jam when you’re already late but it is indeed ironic.
Now, most of us have heard our fair share of negative tales about the health service on the island. Like Juan down the road who went into Noble’s for a tonsillectomy and came out with a new pair of tits.
However! After eventually being diagnosed with endometriosis in my 30’s, they were absolutely there for me when I needed them (big up the ‘Empress of the Embryo’, Mrs M) and I was very fortunate to become pregnant after entering the emotional marathon that is IVF (Holy crap, did I just sum that horrendous time in up in once sentence?).
No longer needle-phobic, I now laugh in the face of a little prick.
After the elation of learning that I was pregnant had simmered a little, reality popped by to remind me that I was officially cultivating life and actually, I had no idea what that would mean for me and my body.
I was aware that at some point I’d require bigger pants and my chebs would probably inflate (bonus), but that was the extent of it.
As I write this, I am now six months down the line and packin’ a bump that wouldn’t look out of place on a beach with a colony of elephant seals (and damn proud of it I am too!).
So far it’s been the biggest learning curve I have ever experienced. And this curve has another three months of expansion (goodbye knicker elastic).
So, here are a few things I’ve experienced along the way.
I guess it would be a good idea here to squeeze in a bit of a disclaimer at this point.
Everybody’s experience is different. Pregnancy isn’t a one size fits all package, so I’m really only speaking for myself here.
Google is a bad influence!
It’s the mate you had at school that your mum didn’t like you hanging out with because they taught you what all the bad words meant. Stupidly, from day dot I googled every twinge, every pain, every fart!
This usually led to some sort of mummy forum where I ‘educated’ myself about all the potential horrific scenarios that could occur (which sometimes came with handy photos just to ensure you got the full picture).
Blue waffle? Best avoid purple pushing then (it’s a thing).
I learned from these forums and various ‘helpful’ articles that it’s highly likely I would tear apart like bread dough or be left in adult nappies for the remainder of my life as a result of the ‘miracle of birth’.
I was accused of being submissive by other mums when the fear of having my delicate lady parts reduced to crispy shredded beef led me to enquire about alternative methods of birthing.
I found this to be a bit of a common theme within these forums. The same women that preached ’empowerment’ and ‘not tearing each other down’ seemingly wouldn’t hesitate to passive aggressively criticise or challenge others who had differing thoughts about birth, feeding or what brand of crayon their toddlers use.
I quite literally lost sleep thinking about birth, praying to flanjesus to spare my baby cannon from a fate worse than John Hurt in Alien. I, of course, did the sensible thing and ugly cried on my husband’s shoulder about it.
After a swift visit to the grip shop to make a necessary purchase, I felt it would be a wise move to take a break from the internet mummy minefield.
Instead I went to real mums. My family and friends who’d been through it all and wouldn’t judge or bullshit me.
Much like the Ken Barlow’s death, morning sickness is a myth. Why? Because it’s not restricted to mornings!
Now I’m a lass that enjoys her food but at 8 weeks pregnant my baby decided that it wasn’t a big fan of essential, life sustaining nutrients.
In an effort to ensure I was giving it what it needed to grow elbows and the like, I tried everything to avoid chundering after meals but nothing really worked. I still ended up feeling like a carpet python digesting a villager regardless of what I ate, usually followed by a scene from the exorcist.
Pea soup, mate.
Happily, this stage passed at around 17 weeks and my appetite returned. I am now partially responsible for world hunger as I am quite possibly eating the food supply for a small country.
Soz Bob Geldof.
I’m fighting a losing battle with my pants. I can even feel my baby pushing itself against my waistband, jostling for space. I imagine it looks similar to the scene in Star Wars where they’re trapped in the garbage disposal and the walls are closing in. Maternity jeans purchased kiddo, relax!
I have never been particularly blessed in the cheb department, so I was looking forward to the bonus boob expansion and sure enough, a few months into pregnancy there were signs of inflation…on ONE boob.
JUST THE ONE, MIND!
The one that had grown in line with motherhood had accepted its fate. It was now a big udder like feeding implement.
The other one however, was having none of it. It still wanted to go out in halter neck tops and enjoy two for one woo woos in Havana. For a while there I panicked. When I looked at my breasts which weren’t unlike Sloth from the Goonies eyes, I wondered if they would ever look normal again.
I’m happy to report that after a while, stubborn boob gave up the good fight. I look forward to my new career in Reader’s Wives magazine.
How baby brain works
Husband – ‘Grab some milk when you’re at the shop please?’
Me – Returns from shop with inflatable flamingo, jar of gherkins and Christmas decorations in April.
‘Sorry Carol what did you want me to get again?’
People are oddly drawn to the bump. They want to touch it and give it a good rub like it’s some sort of magic lamp.
Prior to pregnancy, if you’d dared to touch my tum there’s a good chance you’d have ended up under my patio like Trevor Jordache, but strangely I find that I’m enjoying it now.
It’s acknowledgement from other’s that they see me as a mother to be and that they’re excited for me. Touch my bum(p) – this is life.
Its cliché but I’m going there – this has been a hell of journey and I still have some distance to waddle through.
Despite the (sometimes unwelcomed) physical changes, with every kick, roll and sharp shock to the groin that takes my breath away, I am reminded how lucky I am and how wonderful it feels to know I will soon be holding a miniature human in my arms.
My miniature human.
I am humbled, always conscious that there are so many experiencing heartbreak due to infertility. I have unwavering respect for anyone going through fertility treatment. It takes a great deal of strength and resilience. Whoever you are, you are one tough cookie.
I welcome the forthcoming fanny daggers, leaky nipples and in years to come, taking every opportunity to remind my child how much better the Isle of Man was when I was younger because Summerland AND how much I hate their taste in music, like every good Manx parent should.
12 weeks and counting!