Self conscious

BumpEverything changes when that test comes back positive. Everything. I think we went into slight shock. Of course we were ecstatic, but at the same time, when it actually happens, it’s such a surprise. I did the test, waited for the result, and as soon as it flashed ‘Pregnant’ I put it down and ran away from it. I couldn’t run very far because we were living in a tiny one bedroom flat at the time, but I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I had timed it so I wouldn’t have to wait very long for H to arrive home from work, and telling him was amazing. Then we went out for dinner and grinned inanely at each other all evening, but kept repeating that we would not allow ourselves to get carried away until the first scan at 12 weeks. Only then would it be real.

But of course, in typical fashion we had booked a holiday of a lifetime with friends to New York that would fall before the first scan. And so we told our parents and siblings and then our concrete jungle companions; they know me so well that if I turned down that first cocktail on the hotel roof terrace we’d be busted. And once the nerve wracking 12 week scan had passed, telling all our family and friends the news was joyous – reactions ranged from stunned silence to tears to one friend leaping out of her seat, what larks!

Those first twelve weeks are now a blur of feeling permanently sick and pretending to have a drink or two at social gatherings, when in fact I was swapping my drinks (thank you H and Melanie) and hoping people were none the wiser. Then once the news was out, it was time to really go about this business of being pregnant. But not like this. There’s nothing like a massive sweeping generalisation is there? What this annoyingly catchy song fails to take into account is the other side of being pregnant. The anxiety of the myriad things that can go wrong, the blood chilling fear when you realise you haven’t felt your baby move for a couple of days, the sleepless nights as you grow bigger and bigger and can’t lie on your back, front or sides comfortably, which is a bit of a tricky situation because sleeping standing up isn’t a fun option.

NotfatAnd speaking of growing bigger, oh how some people love to comment on your size. I was so happy to be pregnant, but I felt so very self conscious a lot of the time. I didn’t know what to wear – baggy clothes were comfy and made me feel less ‘on show’, but at least in tighter outfits it’s clear you are pregnant and haven’t just been eating too many sausage rolls. Some people would stop making eye contact and just look straight at the bump, or greet me with ‘Wow you’re looking so BIG today!’ Ahhh gee, thanks. And also . . . I KNOW! I can laugh at it now, but I was left in a bit of a rage when one day in a lift a colleague – a mother herself and extremely petite – asked me, in front of my friend and a total stranger, how long I had left. ‘Three months’ I beamed, and her eyes widened in horror. ‘Oh my god!’ she exclaimed. ‘But you are EEEEEEEnormous!’ Again, thanks. Thanks so much.

So now when I find myself talking to pregnant ladies I makes sure to do two things. Look them in the eye and ask them how they’re feeling. They don’t need me to tell them they’re growing bigger. Unless they’re in one of those Daily Mail ‘I went to the supermarket and sneezed in the aisle and out popped my 12lbs baby!!!’ situations, they’re more than conscious of their size.

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