Dude, where’s my glow?

Me, 15 weeks pregnant: Would you say I’m glowing yet? I’m supposed to get a glow in my second trimester.

G: You went quite bright red in the face when you were throwing up earlier?

[long pause]

Me: I’m hungry.

I have honestly never known hunger like this. A few years ago I remember reading a post by Clare about pregnancy hunger and remarking wittily to my then fiancé that it just sounded like me on an average day. Boy, was I wrong. So far today I have eaten two pieces of toast and marmite, a pain au raisin the size of my face, a large fruit smoothie, two Nature valley cereal bars, an apple, a bag of grapes, approximately 12 Jacob’s crackers, and a Mini Babybel and I am still ravenous. It’s currently 11.30 am. Lunch has never seemed further away. I fully expect to have gnawed off my own arm by 11.45 am. I may be undergoing reconstructive surgery for bite marks as you read this.

It’s funny, thinking about becoming a Mum. I am so happy, and lucky, to be pregnant. Before it happened I’d been broody for months. Nevertheless, when I first saw that line on the wee-stick my overwhelming thought was “oh shit”. Gareth can testify that all I said, breathlessly, for about 15 minutes was “oh shit” repeatedly. I do not think this was the reaction he was necessarily expecting, given that mere minutes ago, before we took the test, I had been all glowy-eyed and dreamy, mentally redecorating our spare room into a nursery.

It was just the hugeness of it, you see. It’s huge. Like, really really huge. Life-changing in a way that nothing else has ever been. For weeks I felt gripped by a sort of manic terror, were we really ready for this? Was I? What if I accidentally drop my baby out of the window? What if it hates me? Aren’t parents supposed to be sort of… grown up people? I mainly feel like I’m playing at being a grown up. I can’t keep my house tidy. There’s a persistent spot of mould in the bathroom that I’ve been meaning to bleach for THREE WEEKS and am now going out of my way to avoid eye contact with. How can I bring up another human when I can’t take care of my bathroom mould?

And there were more serious concerns. I have to be honest, because somehow these pages compel it, I was absolutely stricken with panic when the implications of becoming pregnant hit me. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life fighting and coping with separation anxiety, how will I cope with the overwhelming nature of maternal love? How am I going to let my child out the door without spending the rest of my life paralysed with fear for them? Have I come far enough for this? Am I strong enough?

Now that I’m pregnant I suddenly understand all over again why my Mum is the bravest person I know. She waved me off a hundred times with a smile on her face, and a hug to make me feel safe, and she kept her strength on the outside so that I would see it and know how to be strong. She never let me see how hard she found it to watch me walk away. I could never have found so much strength in myself without her and my Dad behind me, like a rock, constant and brave and safe and always there. I hope when my baby is older, I have that courage. But the thing is, I know that I will find it, because I’ll still have my family behind me, showing me strength so that I can continue to learn to be strong. And I’ll have the love of my life beside me, holding me tight when I need space to crumble.

Maybe that’s the thing about becoming a parent, it doesn’t actually stop you being somebody else’s’ child. And this is lucky, because I am going to need serious maternal support when it comes to sewing costumes for school plays. I can’t even sew on a button straight.

And on that note, I shall leave you with this thought…

Me: Do my boobs look wonky to you?

G: Actually, yes.

Me: Baby better be hungry only on my right-hand side because apparently that’s where the goods are going.

[pause]

Me: Actually, I’m hungry again.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Family, Friends and Relationships
26 interesting thoughts on this

26 Comments

  1. Fee
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Yipee, Katie!

    Dude, I’m 36 weeks and have yet to ‘glow’. I may have looked vaguely glowish for about ten minutes at 28 weeks but I think I might have just been sweaty.

    I’ve had a weird combination of sickness and hunger for my whole pregnancy – a delicate balance between ‘I’m going to pass out if I don’t eat now’ and ‘If I eat too much I’m going to be sick again’. Although having had a friend experience full on HG, I feel I have got off lightly!

    I totally get what you mean about the anxiety – I am desperate for the baby to arrive as my pregnancy anxiety is off the scale but at the same time am petrified about keeping him safe when he’s here. I might just wrap him in bubble wrap and be done with it. Especially as I pulled the arm off the doll in my NCT breast feeding class.

    Lovely to read one of your posts – looking forward to many more! Xxxxx

    • Katie
      Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Yay!! 36 weeks….. Well done Fee. xx

    • Becca
      Posted January 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      So excited to meet Baby Fee.

  2. Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Yay it’s Katie!!!

    I looked rough as hell till late third tri when I became ripe and luminescent, like a particularly delicious peach. A good thing too as I’ve spent the past 14 months moulting and looking less than desirable!

    The hunger now is pretty intense – breastfeeding hunger at the start is even crazier (4 slices of toast at 3am one night!) so your excuse to eat will go on a good while yet!

    I think we had v similar pregnancy test reactions – that one little line holds so much meaning!

  3. ChirstyMac
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I can say with 100% surety that the only bit of motherhood I COULD cope with, nay excel at, would be sewing costumes for school plays. That aside any offspring of mine would likely be semi-feral with emotional issues on their emotional issues (albeit dressed like the most fantastical of dinosaur, minotaurs or unicorns)

    Which is why people like me leave the procreating to wonderful people like you.

    And, in the words of another wonderful pregnant friend when I asked her if she was scared about ‘the whole impending motherhood thing’:

    “Well, duh, of course I am: I’d be a pretty shit mother-to-be if I wasn’t, right?”
    Right indeed I reckon. X

  4. Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. My baby is DETERMINED to bang his head today, and I need to get a grip and realise that it’s just going to happen, and my hovering over him like an anxious mother bee is just annoying him and stressing me out. I am a fellow worrywart. I wish I could say that when they come into the world it’s not that bad…you know, the fear that Something Could Go Wrong At Any Moment. It sort of (sorry) is. It really is, actually. BUT I can also promise you that all the other stuff, the good stuff, is more massive and splendiferous than you could ever ever ever imagine, and it will make all that worry stuff pale into insignificance.

    Plus, what Chirsty said – we’d be really shit if we didn’t care at all. Caring makes us ace.

    Px

    • Katie
      Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Once again, Penny, you restore my sanity in a few hundred words. My counsellor actually said to me “Of course you’ll panic about your child dying, what kind of mother would you be if the idea didn’t bother you?!”

      You’ve tipped me back over from terror to excitement.

      Love you!

      KL x

  5. Sharon
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Brilliant post and congratulations! My pregnancy glow was entirely down to bb cream and bronzer, ( on days when I thought ooops, overdid the bronzer, I got compliments on how pregnancy suited me, ha ha!)as I was actually grey as my sickness lasted throughout the pregnancy. As a result, I didn’t get pregnancy hunger but now breastfeeding my little girl, I have never known hunger like it. She’s only 6 weeks but I must’ve eaten my own body weight in biscuits and chocolate. Enjoy uninterrupted meals and snacks now Katie! Xxxx

  6. Anon
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Oh Katie, thank you for this post. I’m in the very early stages (hence anon…) and I am floored by the hugeness of it all. I feel completely overwhelmed with the anxiety and worry, even more so because so few people know. Despite my husband and I talking for months and months about ‘what things would be like when…’ and, like you, daydreaming about the nursery, the nice bits etc., as soon as I did the test it just unleashed this whole barrel of unexpected thoughts. Hopefully there will be plenty of months ahead to work through all of these thoughts and, like you say, we’re not alone in this. When I give in to my control-freaky tendencies I completely forget about the role my husband will play, grandparents, friends etc. That’s where the support and strength will come from. Can’t wait to read more of your posts! x

    • Katie
      Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      I absolutely felt the same for my first 3 months, particularly as I felt so sick and tired that the whole thing just didn’t feel positive at all. Overwhelmed is absolutely the word for it. You’re definitely not alone.

      KL x

    • Anon
      Posted January 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Also in the closet here too. I’m currently petrified that I’ll do something wrong so have been googling NHS and Baby Centre “Is it Safe” pretty much non stop (the former for information, the latter because its hillarious).

      I can’t stop eating Bagels. Cannot get enough of the chewy goodness.

  7. fbird
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Katie – I’m sure you look way more radiant than you feel. Having never been pregnant, I can’t imagine the hunger being worse than my already insatiable appetite… but you live and learn!!

    Also, I feel an echo of your comment to Piriya but… was so excited when I realised we used to work together! :) xx

    • Katie
      Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Oh my god.. DID WE?! It’s possible that I’m being SUPER slow but I now need to know who you are.

      KL x

      • fbird
        Posted January 20, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        You’re totally not being super slow… given it was back in 2009 when Twitter wasn’t even a thing and I’m now using my Twitter handle as a name, I don’t blame you for not knowing! It’s Fran Buckland (although now Ayres!) x

        • Katielase
          Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          Okay I’m glad I wasn’t being dippy! Also, hello! That IS exciting! And I am quite amused that AOW has three ex-FSG employee readers!

          KL x

  8. PiriyaP
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Great post Katie! Love the hilarious intro and ending. My friend is pregnant at the moment and eats on the hour every hour! xx

  9. Katie
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Fabulous post Katie. I never glowed either, and the sickness continued till 26 weeks. In fact, the labour part, was better than the sickness!!

    You and Gareth will make wonderful parents. So exciting. xx

  10. rachel JHD
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    On a serious note there’s a great paragraph in Naomi Stadlen’s What mothers do especially when it looks like nothing (as recommended by Emma) about the fear of dropping. It really helped me see it as something so many fear & you won’t drop, there is no way, even though you may still think it when not holding your baby.
    Fancy dress – planning for every costume to be variation on the no sew tutu.

  11. Caroline
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’m 28 weeks and still waiting for the glow – I am just pleased to be out of the stage where I just looked tubby. Having a defined bump has its perks (cough cough seat on the train cough)

    Despite wanting this baby for the best part of 18 months now we are but 12 weeks away from him arriving I feel nothing but anxiety, from “I’ve never changed a nappy” to the extreme “what do we do when he comes home drunk/smelling of weed” Although I hope i have a good 16 years before I have to tackle the second one!
    I know that as long as me and Alex are left to our own devices without too much well meaning but wildly inaccurate advice and unannounced visitors we should be okay.
    We thought we couldn’t organise a wedding and that turned out to be bloody marvellous.
    I can’t wait for him to be here now…I WANT TO MEET HIM!!

    Great post KL – can’t wait to read more!

    PS In the last week my mammoth appetite has been curbed by Gestational Diabetes, now all I do is look at food and cry! (not really, but you get the drift!)
    PPS with reference to the comment above: a new secret AOW pregnancy – how exciting!!!
    x

    • Katie
      Posted January 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Caroline!

      Sorry I meant to tweet you, after Frankie tagged me in a post.

      I had gestational diabetes. I managed it through diet. Porridge for breakfast, sweet potatoes and parsnips instead of chips for tea. Wholegrain (seeded) bread with lunch. Basmati rice instead of white rice with curry. Low GI fruit and nuts for snacks, carrots/ peppers/ cucumber and houmous.

      I didn’t gain any weight with pregnancy, even with 7 lb 8 oz daughter.

      Good luck!

  12. Pippa
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Very similar conversation with my husband at about 16 weeks:
    Me: (expecting reassurance) are my boobs different sizes?
    Husband: yes, the leftone’s much bigger.
    Me: what??!
    Husband: it’s ok, you can’t usually tell, it’s only when they’re next to each other like that.
    Me: as opposed to when they’re not next to each other?

    Currently 28 weeks and I think they’ve evened up…but that could just be because my stomach is completely overshadowing everything else!

  13. Posted January 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Ah yes, pregnancy appetite. I remember when I told my boss I was pregnant, I said “didn’t you wonder why I was eating ALL the time?”! When I stopped breast feeding I was really worried I would still be starving and would then put on loads of weight, but alas my appetite did finally reduce.

    One positive thing about Freddie’s rough start to his life and consequent feeding nightmare was that I do worry less, as I know I could get through a lot more than I thought I could.

  14. Ro
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    It reflects badly on my housekeeping skills that the main thing I took from this (apart from the pregnancy part – congratulations Katie!) is that three weeks is no time at all to coexist with a ‘spot’ of mould… Oh, and that Babybel are woefully underrated.

    So many pregnant and recently pregnant people on here! I’m 18 weeks and still waiting for the appetite to kick in.

    A question for AOW’s wise ladies: we’re living far from UK-home and anything resembling an antenatal class in a country that’s relatively new (to us) – I’d like to find some kind of online-NCT-group of pregnancy cheerleaders/sources of middle of the night sanity – any suggestions of where to look? Looking forward to more posts Katie!

    • Posted January 20, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Mumsnet have good antenatal ‘groups’ on their forum – just join the one corresponding to the month you are due. There are due date clubs on Babycentre and BabyandBump too, you have to take some of the forum stuff with a pinch of salt but often you will find lovely mamas like yourself to chat too

    • Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Are you on Twitter, Ro? There’s a lot of us on there for cheerleading/middle of night support!

      • Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        When I was pregnant I read a quote about how pregnancy is like having 2 stomachs, one which is constantly nauseous and the other which is constantly ravenously hungry. Nothing could have described it better. On one memorable occasion I was half way through a particularly delicious chicken dinner, bolted to the loo and barfed up everything I’d eaten so far, returned to the table and polished off the rest while G looked on half impressed, half horrified.

        Also, if it’s any consolation I didn’t glow at all, I went straight from 1st trimester exhausted to 3rd trimester exhausted.

        I remember the feeling of thinking vaguely that I might be pregnant and having the conversation with G that there might be a possibility that I was but I probably wasn’t all the while thinking to myself that I definitely was. And I was. While he hooted and grinned like a cheshire cat I kind of just stood in the bathroom holding the pregnancy test staring at it and it’s audacity to confirm what I already knew. We’d wanted this for so long but HOLY SHIT NOW IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING AND HOW AM I GOING TO TELL MY MUM THAT I’M CHUFFING PREGNANT!!! And then I remembered that I’m married, that this was planned and that it’s perfectly acceptable. And I continued to panic anyway.

        I’m so excited to be able to live vicariously through you as your pregnancy progresses, it might just stem the broodiness for a while. Yes, I’m insane.

        And now I think my comment is longer than your original post… xx

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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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