You know something momentous is happening when you try to split your blog in two after 10 years. I think being pregnant for the first time probably justifies that.
I know that a lot of what I write about – wine, beer & spirits in particular – seems pretty incompatible with being pregnant. in fact, with the aid of a fancy new spitoon, the professional booze end of my life is carrying on as normal. And I have written the odd piece about mocktails… But it seemed the best thing to do was to create a whole new area for this latest Extreme Adventure.
That way people wanting to look at the Leicester Happy Hour Directory don’t get overwhelmed with Mummy Blogger stuff. And people looking for (hopefully) witty musings on the unfolding experience of parenthood don’t have to wade through the workings of a brewery to get to the changing mats. Or whatever, you get the picture.
My aim now is ease in what I hope are the new people, The Pregnants maybe. And I want to wave goodbye to my old readers. See you back on the other side – navigate to The Good Old Days via the top menu pals. What better way than to fall back on that blog staple, the list?
Here are the things I didn’t know about being pregnant. Please bear in mind that I am just over 23 weeks pregnant right now. I fully expect to be able to write a couple more lists like this before this experience is all over!
- What you think you know about being pregnant is essentially the average of millions of experiences. You may experience all, none or some of the ‘traditional’ pregnancy symptoms. I haven’t been sick once, in the morning or otherwise. I have not experienced any cravings. However, the crazy hormonal mood swings and spontaneous napping have very much been in force. Every single pregnancy is unique, running on its own timeline and making itself known in its own way.
- There are loads of things that happen to you when you’re pregnant that make you say, “No-one told me that would happen!” But generally speaking all the information is out there. You just never looked it up, because nobody spends time looking up what being pregnant is actually like until it’s actually happening to them. And then it’s just to reassure yourself that whatever is going on with you is normal. And it is. It’s your unique normal. So if you’re reading this and you’re not pregnant, congratulations! You are probably already a lot more prepared than a lot of us Pregnants were.
- Away from the theoretical and on to the practical. Under the bump maternity trousers make no sense. It’s only when you get them on and try to walk in them that you realise the fatal flaw. They have extra stretch in the waist to accommodate your growing bump. So what stops them sliding down when you walk? Nothing. NOTHING.
- A lot of weird stuff will go on with your body which is seemingly totally unconnected with being pregnant. Almost all of it is caused by the ubiquitous ‘pregnancy hormones’. For example, I spent just over a month with pain in my biceps and triceps, as if I’d pulled all the muscles in my upper arms. One of my earliest pregnancy symptoms (I now know) was not being able to breathe! I get breathless walking up stairs, because I take too big a sip of water that takes me too long to swallow and sometimes just… sitting. Other Pregnants get totally different, equally random stuff happen to them.
- Knowing you are full when you are pregnant is really hard. You spend your whole life up to this point feeling your stomach bloat and even begin to hurt when you have eaten too much.. You are “full” because you can feel your stomach is full. When you’re pregnant, your stomach isn’t in the same place anymore. So that bit in the front of your abdomen, where the food baby normally goes, no longer gets affected when you eat food. And eat more food. And then eat some more food.
- I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to ‘feel’ my bump – to be aware of its size and my new dimensions. You’re not. You don’t feel anywhere near as wide as you actually are. This is why it’s perfectly possible for a Pregnant to completely obliviously knock everything off a poorly positioned table when turning. It’s like a cat with it’s whiskers cut off – you are not aware of your own physical footprint.
- The point where people start giving up the seat on the bus, and offering you a lift to prevent you from walking and generally treating you like an invalid is MUCH SOONER than I expected. I presumed you needed to be at least 7 months for everyone* to go full sympathy on you. But actually, they just need to know (or just suspect) that you are pregnant to be worried that without a comfy chair you might spontaneously combust. It’s very strange.
- *Not everyone. There is a very small, but significant proportion of the population who know you are pregnant, and you know that they know you are pregnant, but they are inscrutable. No reaction, no questions. And when you become a Pregnant, all you ever think about is the pregnancy, so believe me, this is a welcome relief. It would be horrible if no-one ever mentioned it and you couldn’t talk about it. There’s really nothing nicer than sharing your excitement with someone, or hearing about someone’s memories of their own time as A Pregnant. But just once in a while a baby-free conversation is very welcome too.
- Pregnancy is the ultimate timewarp. You know how time flies when you’re having fun? And a watched pot never boils? Welcome to the land of “I’ve been pregnant forever” “Wait, I’m having a baby in 4 months” “When will this end?” “Is that my waters breaking?”. Maybe it’s a hormone thing but time is simultaneously going extremely slow and the fastest I’ve ever experienced.