By DANI LOMBARD
There, I’ve said it. I am almost 6 months pregnant with my first child and so far I can safely say that I’m not digging the pregnancy thing.
This is a confession I am reluctant to make out loud for fear of being CHASED OUT OF TOWN with a pitchfork for being ungrateful, not loving my child-to-be, or generally being a vain prick who thinks only of themselves.
Let me get something very straight. I am very much aware of the fact that I am growing and developing a new life inside me. And in the past couple of weeks, when I felt my little girl kick for the first time, I felt the sheer magnitude of this reality set in. There is a HUMAN. ALIVE. THAT LIVES IN MY GUTS! It moves, it wriggles, it does all kinds of stuff, and all the while I am pottering around, continuing with my life as we share a body.
Let me get something else straight. I am very grateful for being fortunate enough to have fallen pregnant. I have many friends who have undergone fertility treatments and felt sure I would be one of them when my period cycles turned out to be heinously long after 100 years of being on the pill, I found cysts on my ovaries and was diagnosed with a VORACIOUSLY underactive thyroid. I figured I’d carry on with my life for another couple of months and then trot off to see a fertility specialist “like everyone else”. Fortunately, I feel pregnant naturally, without much effort at all and this isn’t something I take for granted.
And, for the record, I already love my unborn baby. This is a feeling that has developed naturally since I found out I was with child at 6 weeks and gets stronger every week. I can’t wait to meet her and smother her with awesome loving-ness.
NOW THAT WE’VE CLEARED UP THE FORMALITIES, let me explain why so far, I could do without the whole pregnancy rigmarole.
1) BLEEHRRG CITY. POPULATION: ME
Up until 13 weeks, like the majority of pregnant women, I felt incredibly nauseous from the minute I woke up until about 5pm, when I would notice with relief, that I felt slightly less nauseous until I went to bed. For those who haven’t had morning sickness, I can assure you that 6 weeks is a long time to feel like horse shit for. And while I never chucked up my guts, it was a very long, arduous first trimester, riddled with the usual worries about miscarrying, not getting the all clear at the 12 week scan and the fact that, around the clock, I felt utterly heinous.
2) ALERT: WIDE LOAD COMING THROUGH
The only thing that made me feel better, as you can guess, was shoving starchy carbs, cheese, 2 minute noodles, strawberry milk and sparkling apple juice down my gullet. Preferably at the same time. While my appetite has returned to normal and I am once again able to eat salad without wanting to DIE, this period of gluttony has, among other things, has caused me to put on 9 kg by the 23 week mark. Which is above the high end of the scale of what is recommended as healthy pregnancy weight gain for height and build.
Aside from the lard issue, my tummy looks significantly bigger than multiple preggos I know who are further along than me – to which, my doctor shrugs and says that everyone carries differently and it’s no biggy. I feel certain however that my tiny little 5 foot 2 frame will have stacked on 20 kegs by the time this is all over and I am concerned that my formerly skinny legs will snap under the sheer weight of my new, excess baggage.
Call me vain – but it’s not easy watching my formerly size 8 body transform into something that I can’t really control. I love my tummy but don’t really love the boob, back, side ankle, foot and ass fat that comes with it. And I am TERRIFIED of how horrendously uncomfortable and HUGE I am going to be by the end. And whether I’ll ever get to be “me”, in the physical sense, ever again.
3) GOODBYE FITNESS, NICE KNOWING YA.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was training for my 2nd marathon. The day I did my positive pregnancy test (at 6 weeks), I ran 30km. Obviously as soon as I found out, I dropped out of the training program, but figured i would remain fit and an example of one of those crazy-ass pregnant women that runs and looks amazing until the baby falls out. But alas – feeling like barfing and having no energy around the clock, do not, a running motivation make.
And so, I pretty much stopped running or doing any exercise for 12 weeks. I’m trying now to walk and do what I can, but it’s not the same, and I miss pounding the pavement for hours on end.
4) PIZZA FACE AND GUMS A-BLEEDIN’
“You don’t normally have acne? Is that the pregnancy?” said my Chiropractor, once again sticking his foot into his tactless mouth during an appointment. No, I don’t normally have acne. I am almost 34 years old. Yet my face and back look like an all you can eat pizza smorgasbord. I didn’t have skin like this when I was 13. And yet, here I am. Oh, and did you know that your gums bleed when you floss them while pregnant? Apparently your increased blood volume is responsible for turning your formerly pearly whites into a scene from Dexter every time you floss.
5) BACK SLEEPERS, BEWARE
So it turns out I wasn’t overly informed about anything to do with pregnancy. Did you KNOW you can’t sleep on your back? The weight of the baby could cut off circulation in your aorta – limiting blood flow not only to yourself, but to your baby. You must sleep on your side, and ideally on you left side. This is no old wives tale – in fact, a recent piece of research showed that women who slept on their back during pregnancy were more likely to have a child die from SIDS. I ain’t foolin’ around with that.
Now I’m a free-styling sleeper – I like to mix it up. But now – NO. I wake up every hour, on the hour, realising that I’m sleeping on my back, FREAKING OUT and rolling back onto my side. If I manage to stay on my left side, I wake up with a painfully sore hip and have to roll over onto the dreaded right hand side.
To remedy the situation, I bought an expensive pregnancy pillow from the US called a “Snoogle” that wraps around you and is supposed to support your new side-sleeping ways. Yet despite it coiling around me like a voracious serpent and overheating me to 11,000 degrees – I am still waking up on my back.
6) WARDROBE WORRIES
My boobs are HUGE – and even clothes that should fit, don’t. (ie the big floppy, loose dresses I thought would be PERFECT for pregnancy are stretched across my Dolly Parton-esque chest) I’ve had to buy a new wardrobe for the next few months and new bikinis that won’t offend passers-by when I splay my spherical self onto the beach this summer. This was an expense, oddly or naively, that I had not accounted for.
But worst of all is that my feet have gone up half a size – at least. So I have had to buy a few new pairs of shoes. Others have told me that sometimes, your feet never return to their former size. I now look with a mixture of longing and sheer terror at my walk in wardrobe wall full of coloured, pretty high heeled shoes in a size 37 and try to push this potential inevitability out of my mind. If all else fails, I shall consider foot binding. I ain’t tossing my shoe collection.
AM I GOING TO HELL??
The moral of the story is, pregnancy is a wondrous, miraculous thing – but am I allowed to say that I’m not really digging it?
Who are these women who say they LOVE being pregnant? And what experience did they get that I’m not getting?
In conclusion, to my darling unborn daughter who may one day read this: Mummy loves you very much. She just doesn’t love the zits, or the cankles you have given her but she loves you – and that’s FOR SURE.
Dani Lombard is a small, pregnant person (among other things) who runs a boutique PR agency in Sydney. When not talking spin to the media, she can be found watching Homeland, eating many things or tweeting here.
What are the best and worst parts of being pregnant?