The body wants what the body wants

Getting pregnant isn’t like getting an A

For a long time. I didn’t want to write on the blog about my pregnancy.  There’s a sort of mystique attached to being pregnant, and I didn’t buy into it.  It always makes me unreasonably uncomfortable when people congratulate me on being pregnant; like it’s something I worked hard at and achieved, like it’s something worthy of praise, like I’m talented at gestation.  I know my reaction is unreasonable; congratulating is how people share joy in my news.  But I can’t help talking it down; it’s not a promotion, it’s not something I got an A in.

I see pregnancy as a state of the body, a state that some people are in who don’t want to be, that some people desperately want to be in who can’t be.  That some are in by luck,  some by chance, and some by fastidious planning.  I still believe some people blow pregnancy out of all proportion when often, it is a choice that a consenting adult has made.  It’s not mystical, it’s biology, it’s primal, it’s science.  Amazing science, but science.  Ultimately, it’s a necessary physical state that you have to go through if you want a biological child.  There are plenty far better at writing about pregnancy in a compelling way than I, and I thought I’d leave all the posturing to others.

But as the weeks have gone on and I’ve hit the last trimester, I’ve found that I do want to talk about it.  A bit more.  Not a lot.  But enough.

Pregnancy has taught me a lot.  A lot.  About myself, about others, about perspective.  I’m not the same person I was back in April.  I don’t make decisions in the same way, or feel things in the same way, or want things in the same way.  I do, and say, and act, and think in a manner that continues to surprise me.  All because there’s a person growing inside me.  I find that extraordinary.

The body wants what the body wants

I’ve lived my life with a healthy body who does what I want it to do.  Exercise, pushing myself, and working hard have always been important to me.  I’d run 10k races for fun, and sweat for 90 minutes  in hot rooms in extreme yoga positions.  I saw no reason why I couldn’t continue that throughout pregnancy.

Ha.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been able to do cardiovascular exercise when pregnant.  Twice I have pulled on my workout clothes, walked into a gym, and turned around and walked straight back out again.  I can barely climb the stairs without stopping and recovering at the top.  I look at other pregnant  women jogging, or at the gym, and I think why not me?  I’ve called myself lazy, I’ve forced myself to go out running, and hiking, and swimming.  And each time, my body has declared a resounding no.

It’s taken me six months to stop fighting it, and to accept that my body knows best.  If all my body can handle is paltry yoga and pilates DVDs and a weekly walk through the forest, it’s not going to give two hoots that I’d rather it was out there, running over hill and dale, or in hot room with my leg over my head.

With pregnancy, you have to learn to let go, and let your body want and do what it will want and do.  No amount of will, or discipline, will change that.  For anyone with a control freak gene, that’s hard.

Also, you know when everyone talks about “baby brain” and you bristle, because as if, I’ll  take responsibility for my own mistakes thank you, not blame it on hormones?  (Just me?)  Well, in the past week, I have committed the following errors (in order of seriousness):

1)  On Saturday, I went to the dry cleaners to pick up two pairs of work trousers for Mr K.  Upon my return, I had only one pair in my possession.  Somewhere, somehow, on the ten minute walk between the dry cleaners and home, I lost a pair of freshly-laundered work trousers (black with a grey pinstripe, if anyone spots them in the E4 area).   I retraced my steps, no sign.

2) On Sunday, I opened the living room curtains.  Both curtains (lined), and enormous, iron, bay window curtain rail ripped off the wall and crashed down, missing my head by centimetres.  How is this possible?  I assure you I was not swinging from the curtains.  I don’t have the strength to dislodge an iron railing.

3) On Wednesday, I misplaced an Ambassador.  I’m not allowed to talk about work on the blog, but let’s say it involved a lot of running around and looking frantically in loos.  The Ambassador has since been found, and her meeting went ahead as planned.

Now I’m all for taking responsibility for my own mistakes – but seriously.  There’s got to be some kind of hormonal mayhem going on there, surely?  Losing  trousers is just carelessness.  But an Ambassador?

It’s your pregnancy, not anyone else’s

By this I don’t mean “ignore all the well-meaning advice people give you“.  I’ve been incredibly lucky in that no-one has looked daggers at me for drinking a coffee, or declared the gender of my baby based on the fatness of my face.  I mean that the vast differences between your pregnancy and that of any given woman in the world is astonishing.  You look desperately to other women’s experiences for a template. “When will I stop feeling this dire?”  “What the hell is happening to my..er…bits?” ”When will I start to feel like a sodding goddess LIKE ALL THE BOOKS INFORM ME WILL HAPPEN?”

There is no template.  I like instruction booklets, and recipes, and read them for fun.

There is no manual for this.

I do not have a body, that on paper, is suited to pregnancy.  I have blood prone to clotting, I have limited hip width, I’m relatively short, there’s diabetes in my family, I have a history of spine problems.  And you know what?  Exhaustion aside, I’ve had the easiest pregnancy I could ever have imagined.  No nausea, no sickness, no aches and pains (yet), no cravings, limited hormonal outbursts, sleeping 9 hours a night, every night, dead to the world.  It shouldn’t work, but it does.  I’m lucky, but it’s taught me to ignore the text books.  And especially, especially, to ignore the forums, and the horror stories they bring.  You can find what you need on NHS Choices.  Anything else will send you into a tailspin of self-doubt and paranoia.

You’d better get used to making decisions for someone who doesn’t exist yet

I’ve turned down two job offers because of my impending maternity leave.  I won’t mince words – I hated every moment of it.  I really did.  I’ve never, ever, made decisions on my career based on anything other than me, and what I am capable of, and what I deserve.  My career has always been the thing I’m most proud of in my life.  Having to put ambition on hold, even for a short while, is not an easy lesson.  I’m still learning it.  It comes inevitably with the decision to have children, I know it does.  But there’s a big difference between saying that and actually doing it.

When I go back to work next summer, I want to still be hungry.  I want to still care.  The thought that my career may not matter as much as it did before, that scares me.  I know I can’t plan for how I will feel, but I certainly can hope.  I’m not sure I’ll like a me that doesn’t wake up in the morning and want to go to work more than anything else.

Or maybe there isn’t a finite amount of caring that someone can do.  Maybe you can care fiercely about everything that’s important to you.  Maybe it’s not about caring at all, but about the amount of time and energy I have to devote to my career.  How if that lessens, it doesn’t mean I’ll care any less, I’ll just have to fit in the caring around all my other responsibilities.  This is one for a separate post, and it’s one I will write, when the time comes to go back to work.

For now, I’m trying to see maternity leave as something that will benefit my career in the long run, as something that will give me a perspective I’d never have had  otherwise.

The pregnant body is really, really beautiful

I don’t talk easily about body image.  I am the last person you’ll find extolling the wonders of her naked form.  And I’ll confess, I spent months two to four feeling like an overstuffed sausage with two cocktail sticks poking out the bottom.  I was really bloody miserable.  No clothes fit, I was knackered ALL THE TIME, and every time anyone mentioned pregnancy “glow” I wanted to poke them in the eyes with a burning coathanger.

And then something shifted, for me.

I won’t lie, at first it was the discovery of maternity jeans (I had to be cajoled out of them the first time I wore them.  I don’t understand why these aren’t mandatory uniform for every woman – the joy they and their generous level of “give” have brought to my life is extraordinary).  And then it was the realisation of how liberating it is to be excluded from playing that stupid game of “better faster thinner” that we’re all sucked into playing.  In pregnancy you get an enormous stomach, you put weight on, and it goes against everything that the media and glossy magazines tell you is acceptable, and you do it anyway.  Because you don’t have a choice.  Because it’s not, in this case, about mind over matter, or about self-discipline.  It’s like every single cell in your body has turned towards the nearest copy of Cosmopolitan and it giving it a resounding middle finger.

It feels amazing.

And honestly, it looks amazing, too.  You end up all glossy and the opposite of angular and your centre of gravity shifts and you get a brilliant waddle.  Who doesn’t want a waddle?

*****

So that’s what I’ve learned, that’s what I think, that’s what I feel.  It’s simultaneously an extraordinary time and the most ordinary of times.  Women who are able have been doing this for a very, very long time.  It’s exciting, but it’s just science.

Having said that?  I was at a classical music concert last week and they opened with Zadok  The Priest and I started a wailing, internal monologue,  about how lucky this baby is going to be, born into a world where people make that kind of sound just for the sheer pleasure and beauty of it.

Forget all I said above, that’s pretty magical.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Body Image, Written By Anna
43 interesting thoughts on this

43 Comments

  1. Posted October 28, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Yup. Pregnancy is so very ordinary and extraordinary all at the same time. I still marvel at the fact I made a human, then laugh because what else did I expect to make?

    Curtain wrecking must be a pregnancy thing because I did the exact same. Twice. Still don’t know how!

  2. Fee
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Hooray, an Anna K drivel post! SOLID GOLD DRIVEL.

    I agree with so much of what you’ve said. As you know from my vaguely manic emails back in the summer, there is nothing mystical or magical about my pregnancy, it’s been a whirl of statistics, consultant appointments and weighing up of risks. Yet somehow the fact that my consultant formulated a plan that last week saw me hit the 24 week mark seems a little magical. And as I told you on Friday, if my baby boy still wants to make an early appearance, his chance of survival increases by 1% a day on average for the next month. Magical science at it’s best!

    And yesterday I got out of the shower having used conditioner before shampoo. My hair does not look good.

    • Posted October 28, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Love this- each day is 1% braver xx

      • Fee
        Posted October 28, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        I nearly kissed my consultant when he told me – I think he’s quite looking forward to signing me off in a few weeks!

  3. Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Ambition on hold – I love that! 11 weeks into motherhood here and what I’ll do about work still occupies my thoughts. Lucky enough to have a career I like you see but with that involves total dedication and long working hours not hugely compatible with motherhood! However my ambition hasn’t gone away – I think I will still be committed but may let it all get to me less!

    I also had a good pregnancy – no sickness, no heart burn, not even extreme tiredness really! Felt a bit of a fraud apart from being massive in the end! Short labour too – don’t listen when they say first time mums have long labours – the hubs nearly missed it!!!

    Rachie xo

  4. Becca
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I have no idea if this is “solid gold drivel” like Fee said (congratulations again!) or actual scientific fact. What I do know is that, for some people, the bit of TRYING to have a baby IS like getting an A. With lots and lots of background appointments and science and learning lots and lots about your body and how it works. In much the same way as you would prep for an exam. With schedules and timetables.

    I know the end result is either baby or not baby – but the trying part most definitely is like prepping for an exam.

    And sometimes you just don’t feel like revising ALL of the time.

    • Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Definitely. And with highlighters and folders.

      For others, it can be their A, the feeling must be different for everyone.

      • Fee
        Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        What I’ve learnt from everyone I know is that for about 90% of people, there is an element of ‘getting an A’ to some aspect of it. Whether that be conceiving, staying pregnant, delivery complications, neonatal health issues… I wish everyone could just have the easy, breezy experience that all women seem to have in those stupid baby product adverts.

        • Posted October 28, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          You’ve put that beautifully Fee, Becca too. I definitely felt like I’d passed the hardest exam of my life with flying colours when I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test. But that feeling was, I think, because of the process we went through to get pregnant – a process that was mostly unique to us, so it makes sense that not everyone would feel the same way.

          I think that’s why I love all things pregnancy and babies so very much, there’s always going to be another story, another opinion to consider, new ways of looking at the whole experience.

          The losing-Ant’s-trousers tale is going level with C’s setting-fire-to-the-lemon-drizzle-cake in my favourite baby brain stories.

          • Becca
            Posted October 28, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

            I think a massive problem for our generation is that, metaphorically speaking, we’re used to ALL getting As and being told we can achieve whatever we want, when we want it. Quite simply, the baby thing just doesn’t work like that for 95% of people and it just doesn’t happen the first time of asking.

            The loss of control scares the living Jesus out of me.

          • Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            Oh yes, getting that positive pregnancy stick felt like an accomplishment, since our problem was somehow related to fertilisation. Of course the ones getting the straight A’s are the wonderfully kind and professional embryologists / doctors that helped us, we can not thank them enough.

            I have also found that whether trying to conceive, or during pregnancy, or even after, the biggest lesson is that we have no control over our bodies (even when we eat healthy, exercise… do all the right things). In that sense I think that the fact that pregnancies happen at all has a certain miracle quality (even if it is a miracle sometimes assisted by science / biology). But of course I am biased, as my feelings reflect our particular experience. To me it really does feel magic, that the little one is there growing happily in my belly.

            • Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

              Hang on, have I missed an announcement? Congratulations (I-am-happy-you’re-happy)!!

              And yes it does feel like a miracle sometimes when you start to think about all the hurdles you/the blob of cells has to jump just for everything to be ready in the right place at the right time, particularly in the first few days and weeks.

              K x

              • Posted October 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

                Thank you :) Yes, as of today I’m 22 weeks, it feels so surreal :)

          • Becca
            Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            Not a pregnant thing but I once GRILLED a lemon drizzle cake. Bottom was solid, top was cooked. As had already made the icing, just shoved that on the top and scraped off all the good stuff. Kind of mulch in a bowl.

            Sometimes you just can’t waste lemon drizzle cake.

            • Katielase
              Posted October 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

              I once grilled a cheesecake. I cut the top off and served it covered in icing sugar. No pregnancy excuse for that either.

              KL x

        • Posted October 28, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          And after giving birth I’ll probably be all “GIVE ME MY A. AND A RARE STEAK” So…stay tuned, as I eat my first paragraph!

        • Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          So right, Fee. I thought I’d got away without any problems when F was born, but turns out things had only just started. But we wouldn’t change him for the world.

  5. Posted October 28, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I always interpreted “congratulations” to mean “I am happy for your happiness” rather than “well done”…but I have to say the phrase gets doled out when pregnancy is announced regardless of the wellwisher knowing whether the person in question is feeling happy or not!

    I am entirely with you on the body image thing. I have had resoundingly dreadful body image for most of my life, and pregnancy – once I actually started to look pregnant rather than just fat – has been my one complete respite. It was glorious!! I ate exactly what I felt like, when I felt like it. It’s amazing what trusting yourself to make good choices does for your psyche. So far I am carrying some of these good habits into post-pregnancy life. Giving myself a break and concentrating on health rather than fearing being fat has been a total game changer for me.

    The exercise thing I found harder to reconcile… but I had to work or risk losing business, so I had to keep my fitness up. There were many nights I had to sleep on a yoga mat before teaching though, and towards the end I cried before every class I taught because I was Just. So. Tired.

    Px

    • Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, to me too, the congratulations feels like “we are so happy for you” or “we share your joy”, but of course the pregnant person might be having conflicted feelings.

  6. Alison
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Oh I TOTALLY get this. From listening to your body telling you what it needs, not what you think it needs, to feeling uncomfortable on the ‘Congratulations!’ (what,that I had sex?) , to making choices based on someone who isn’t here yet (properly). I also had proper baby brain at the start (which also irritated me, how patronising!) but I blamed it on the fact I wasn’t sleeping well and all I could think about was the fact I was growing a little person inside me. And I loved when I got properly massively pregnant towards the end, I could wear clingy clothes and be proud, not worried. I was in awe of my body throughout my pregnancy. I always said I wasn’t making the baby, my body was. Mother Nature just took over and started making a baby and doing what it does, it’s not like I decided what day I would make the spleen or the eyelashes.

    Massive congratulations on your pregnancy so far, hope the rest of it goes well and you make it through Christmas ok without craving a mulled wine or Kir Royale (that was a struggle for me!)

    • Posted October 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      It was the cheese board which made Christmas a struggle for me…

  7. Posted October 28, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    As someone with a chronic illness that sends my hormones and my emotions soaring I learned very quickly the affect hormones can have on a woman. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant now, and I’m already horrified at the thought of what I’ll be like with more swirling hormones. We’re in for a treat!

  8. Anonymous
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    As a current AOW preggo in the closet, this is exactly what I needed to read this morning. I am working on and will continue to work on letting go. I’m still in my first trimester and I feel like I need to concentrate all the time on holding onto my tiny baby. I know intellectually that this isn’t possible, and my body will do what is right for it, but relaxing and giving it that freedom is HARD. I’m anxious all the time already.

    Looking forward to the good body image phase.

    Thanks for writing this Anna, I feel saner already.

    • Becca
      Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Looking forward to finding out who you ARE. By the way AOW preggo in the closet should definitely be a THING #AOWpreggointhecloset

      • Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        #AOWPIC

      • Peabody_Bites
        Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Oh me too Anonymous. I was horrified to find when I was trying to get pregnant that I couldn’t control my body, and it seems that this is only going to get worse. Someone suggested that this was a useful life skill as it is also very difficult to control a small baby, so its better to learn that you can’t totally command your environment or reactions before a third party is introduced into the mix.

        Until the zen kicks in, I find the concentrating on hanging on to the baby is almost a full time job (which is unfortunate, because I already have a full time job). Also, having always been very dismissive of “baby brain”, this morning in the space of five minutes, I broke a glass, tied my shoelaces together and knocked over an open bottle of shampoo.

        Thank you Anna – I too feel marginally saner this morning.
        #AOWsemi-anonymousinternetcommenterofficiallyknockedupontheinternetbutstillintheclosetinreallifeisthatweird?

  9. Anita
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to say that the line ‘I misplaced an ambassador’ has had me laughing hysterically at my desk for the last 5 minutes. I love you Anna K.

  10. Posted October 28, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I feel like asking whether the Ambasador turned into a pyramid of Ferrero Rocher when you lost? Agree mathernity jeans & NHS Choices are both wonderful. Lovely to read your thoughts & keep enjoying your pregnancy.

  11. Fran M
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I always found pregnancy congratulations to be on a par with wedding best wishes… Lovely, as people are (as Penny said) thrilled that you’re evidently happy… but also kind of strange, as the state you’ve put yourself in I don’t think reflects any particular skill or mastery – just a happy coincidence. Does that make any kind of sense?!

    Having got more than halfway through this pregnancy, I’ve finally had to admit that baby brain is indeed A Thing. The phrase still makes me a little bit gaggy, in the same vein as ‘yummy mummy’ – but something is happening amongst that constant, underlying distraction and those blimmin hormones. I’m just constantly forgetting things – and words (a bit of a problem in my job)… but losing an Ambassador – that is top notch :)

  12. Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I loved this post, although I quite like people saying congratulations (I like to think it’s the ‘I’m happy you’re happy’ thing rather than ‘well done for procreating’).

    I think I’m a few weeks ahead of you, but I embraced the maternity jeans from about week 16 (even though I didn’t get a proper bump until about 24 weeks – just looked like I’d eaten too much ice cream and cake, which was probably true anyway). Also as discussed on twitter the other day, definitely over bump. Under bump fall down all day (on me, anyway). I have never been particularly body confident but I agree, being pregnant is a really nice opportunity to stop worrying about it (and holding your tummy in) and to just concentrate on growing the baby for a bit. Hopefully, like Penny, some of that feeling will continue after the birth.

    I have been feeling fine throughout, with the odd non-glamorous side effect, but there were a few things I wasn’t expecting (e.g. last week taking two wrong turnings to get to the doctors, when I have lived within the same 2 mile radius for the last 11 years – hmm). Also it appears that wanting to nest is definitely A Thing. I am usually really not particularly interested in house stuff, making things look beautiful (or even tidy) or planning how rooms will look. However I find myself wanting to be at home Sorting Things Out ready for the arrival. I even contemplated making chutney the other day. Luckily I finish work on Thursday so will be ready to embrace the nesting without guilt.

    K x

    • Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Eek – happy maternity leave week!! How exciting! I went nesting crazy in those last few weeks, often entering rooms for normal reasons and somehow finding myself on all fours wiping down skirting boards within minutes. Barking mad.

      Px

      • Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        I did think of you the other day actually, I seem to remember you tweeting or blogging about cleaning the tops of your kitchen cupboards in nesting frenzy (and then I thought ‘I wonder how clean the tops of our kitchen cupboards are?’ – so it begins…).

        Current favourite thing is washing all the babygros and folding them up really neatly in size/colour/type order. I can see that lasting approximately 9 seconds after the baby is born.

        K x

        • Posted October 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Oh god I never made it to the tops… That was cleaning the top cupboard shelves! And dancing whilst standing on said chair. It’s no wonder so many pregnant ladies injure themselves in mysterious household incidents. See also- negotiating cats whilst walking down stairs.

          Px

  13. Posted October 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    This makes me miss being pregnant so much. I loved my pregnant body so much, I was immeasurably more comfortable in my own skin. I 100% know what you mean about slowing down and finally accepting what your body has been telling you all along. It’s actually quite liberating to let biology dictate rather than society or your own brain.

    You sound like you’re doing a fab job, just don’t go losing anymore Ambassadors and you’ll be grand :) xx

    PS Baby Brain is 100% legit… I searched our house from top to bottom the other day looking for the car keys and it was only when I looked outside in the vain hope that I’d dropped them on the doorstep that I discovered them still in the ignition from 2 days ago. Just as well I live in the middle of nowhere!!

  14. Sharon
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Anna I love this post – you have summed up my pregnancy so brilliantly its like you’ve stolen the words from my mind. Except your lack of sickness, so jealous – I have been sick the whole way through, and the comments from people that it will ease off soon (plus their tips on what I should eat) are so unhelpful. They get a look of disbelief…you’re being sick…still? Like the grey faced, bags under the eye look was much more intentional on my part!!!
    I stuggled with the body changing, so so much, so decided to face my demons head on, and a couple of weeks ago, at 29 weeks pregnant, did a bump photography session, properly showing off my bump in all its glory. So pleased that I did it, as I never plucked up the courage to do a boudoir shoot before my wedding, toyed with the idea then backed out, all because I didn’t feel thin enough. Stone and a bit later, full on bump, and although I was really nervous on the day i really love the pics, so would encourage other pregnanct AOWers to do it too if they are considering it. It wasn’t at all boudoir, more just recording the bump, me and my husband at this exciting scary time in our lives x

  15. Caroline
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for writing this Anna. I wholeheartedly agree with most of what you are saying (except the exercise bit!) and I must admit I love people saying congratulations.
    Twitter has been the only place where I have been congratulated and people have said lovely things without a slight grimace.
    On hearing I was pregnant again most people (except a very rare few) made a weird face and gestured to my tummy and said things like “is everything, you know, alright this time?” Even when coupled with a congratulations it still took the shine off it somewhat.
    Coming out of the pregnancy closet on twitter was nice though – just simple congratulations and good wishes!

    My best/worst pregnancy brain moment so far: my usual train was cancelled i didn’t know what to do so instead of waiting until the next one I got on one going not quite the right way and rang my husband and cried. My brain just forgot how to get home. Oh and asking my boss to “pass me a baby” when I meant apple. Weird.
    Also I’m only 17weeks and am nesting already. I cleaned inside the washing machine the other day.

  16. Posted October 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I loved my pregnant body until last week, and wore stuff I would never wear in a million years normally- bright, tight and showing off every curve. It felt so good to be free, and I never really thought of myself as having body issues. Feel a bit like I’ve passed the gloriously round and luxurious phase to the ‘why is that manatee trying to buy a tub of ice cream with her boots card’ stage, but I don’t have long to go…

    You are so right, everyone is different, and I stopped reading anything pregnancy related early on. I just figure we’ll be fine! My worst ‘baby brain’ incident involved putting the wrong address and phone number on the ikea furniture delivery. Also wrote husbands phone number wrong and both our email addresses, meaning several thousand dollars worth of furniture would have just disappeared. I blame buying a cot, which was an infinitely stressful experience because all I could think was how tired I would be when she arrives. Thank God husband noticed…

  17. stacey
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Love this. Thank you so much for posting! You have summed up everything I feel pregnancy will be, if I get there (ttc for 9 months) x

  18. Pips
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all of this.

    Work has been the most difficult thing. I also have a very demanding job (70+ weeks common) and having to balance the needs of the job and the expectations of my co-workers with pregnancy is impossible. I’ve had to accept that I can’t take on new cases and that I have to say no to my boss, but I hate it and still end up working long hours (and then feeling tired, sick and generally rubbish). Already feel like I’m failing to either do my job properly or take care of my unborn baby properly. Heaven help me in five months time…

    I used to go running and go to the gym a lot (helped me stay sane at work) but now I can’t run for more than five minutes (and my boobs hurt like crazy whenever I try).

    I’m not too bothered about “congratulations” (although I find it very odd essentially being congratulated for having unprotected sex), but it annoys me inordinately when people say “well done” to my husband and shake his hand. He hasn’t even had to give up drinking, for crying out loud!

    Also (and I feel like I’m being incredibly anti-feminist by saying this) I’m very disappointed that “baby brain” is true. I’ve lost track of the number of emails I’ve sent to the wrong people or with the wrong attachments, I can no longer do cryptic crosswords and I left my maternity notes on top of the pay and display machine in the hospital car park last week. Still haven’t been able to track them down…

    I found out I was pregnant not long before you first posted that you were pregnant – I really wanted a baby but we weren’t going to start trying until next year so it was a bit of a surprise. It’s a very welcome surprise and I’m aware that we are incredibly lucky, but I’ve been surprised by how long it is (still) taking me to come to terms with it all.

  19. LottieS
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    A really refreshing perspective here! So enjoyable to read and now, after lots of fertility treatments and a miscarriage, I can identify as I’m now 20 weeks. Bought my first pair of maternity jeans oand a top on Sat and they are like manna from heaven for the bumpy tummy now!

    Baby brain: latest case, at the airport my bro in law accused me of losing his suitcase and I had no recollection of where it was/couldn’t even remember holding it. So I spent 30 minutes apologizing profusely, until we found it was HIM who had lost it. I would have happily taken the blame because I was so forgetful!

  20. LottieS
    Posted October 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Also, so happy to see Fee, Amanda and Caroline all pregnant too, after all they have endured. Yay!!

    • Fee
      Posted October 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! Right back at you – yipee! Xx

  21. Leni
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    This is the first post I have had time to comment on in about 6 weeks as I now have 5 week old Alice asleep on my lap. Fab post Anna! I also loved my pregnant body and have been a little sad at how quickly I forgot what it feels like to be pregnant. As for baby brain – At about 36 weeks preggo I went to pay a cheque in at my bank. It was the end of August and was boiling hot. Stood in the queue for about 20 mins trying not to keel over. Handed cheque and bank card over and the chastise lady looked at me strangely and said she wasn’t sure she could do it without a special envelope. I got a bit huffy saying I had never had an envelope before and thinking “stupid woman – it’s just a cheque”. She went off to check on the envelope situation ( I still had no idea what was going on) and then I noticed, I wasn’t in the bank, I was in the post office! Apologised profusely for huffiness and then went and queued in the bank instead!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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