30 WEEKS: NESTING TIME

fullsizeoutput_2a5dfullsizeoutput_3431fullsizeoutput_3434I’d heard that nesting was a thing, and of course I desperately hoped I’d be a ‘nester’ (god knows I needed to become tidier), but what I didn’t expect, was how instinctual the urge to domestically cleanse would be. My husband will cluck at me as I pace our tiny 35 m2 apartment seeking out ‘projects’. Gone are the days when I could just sit still and switch off.  Rather I spend the evenings glancing surreptitiously around our ‘cosy’ abode, or if I’m feeling particularly bold, openly inspecting areas I could/should be organising….I mean I won’t have time for this when the baby is here will I?! Even when it might look like I’m sprawled across the sofa watching Netflix, in actuality I am peripherally scanning each and every corner of the room for items to rearrange/tidy. My current compulsion is replacing all our photo frames so they are uniform, and ergo aesthetically appealing (who even am I?!). The White Company for one will appreciate this impulse, and Richard too, once he accepts the visual harmony that I’m busy creating.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that rather than relaxing this weekend, which I think I should justifiably be doing, I’m afflicted with this overwhelming desire to clean, organise, and generally obsess over irrelevant household minutiae. Which let’s face it, nobody, especially one that is now officially waddling, should be concerning themselves with. Take the last few hours as an example of my (newfound?) lunacy. I set my phone to a YouTube music playlist (Taylor Swift aplenty), and what started with a very normal process of dusting the sides, ended in me wiping clean the inside of the wardrobe, and switching out any odd hangers so they are now all a uniform black. I also rounded up further clothing items to be vacuum-sealed for the foreseeable future until my body decides to deflate to its pre-pregnancy size once more (fingers crossed!). I also dusted the inside of the fireplace, because god knows that needs to be spotless…so you see it must be a visceral response to my baby’s imminent arrival because the ‘normal’ me wouldn’t be down for this insanity (I like to reserve that for other areas of my life).

Don’t worry though, Rich isn’t immune to the nesting allure, I’ve made sure of that! I have also conjured up a list of absurd tasks for him to do tomorrow, which amongst other all-important items, includes tidying his sock drawer, and folding jumpers.

Piece of advice: if you insist on antibacterialing (patent pending for my newly-created verb) the floor, don’t. Ask a friend/partner. I tried alternating between my hands and knees and squatting, and they both left me aching and short of breath (but then again what doesn’t these days?). Plus, you’ll want to conserve what little pregnancy energy reserves you have, for those all important other nesting tasks such as wiping bannisters, and polishing door handles…

PREGNANCY MYTHS: DEBUNKED

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So you don’t fall into the trap I did, of thinking everything would be hunky dory, and you’ll feel, and more importantly (at least to those amongst us who are vain) look amazing, I thought I’d cut the crap we’re peddled and tell you the honest truth. FYI, it doesn’t consist of picture-perfect preggos, manicured to within an inch of their lives. These mystical creatures are consigned to the pages of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. But just in case you are, or happen to know a unicorn, please let me know. And then divulge all your secrets.

Disclaimer: These are my realities, and they may not be everyone’s. But I’ve got a feeling they may well be.

Myth # 1: Everyone will know you’re pregnant from the moment you find out, thanks to that magical ‘preg-aura’ you exude.

Reality: If anyone has worked it out before you’ve rammed the news down their throat either in person, on social media, over the phone, in letters, through carrier pigeon, or any other medium at your disposal, it’s because a) you’re puking your guts out at work, b) you’re clutching your bloated 5-week belly (this was me), or c) they’re your mum.

Myth #2: You will cry at everything. Especially cute [insert: puppies, kittens, your other half…you get it].

Reality: You will cry at everything you’re not screaming about. Except when the store doesn’t stock ingredients for the meal you had planned. Then you will cryscream. Think a cross between heaving snotty sobs, and snarling.

Myth #3: You’ll vomit loads, and that proves your pregnancy is healthy.

Reality: Not everyone suffers from morning sickness. These lucky people (I was one), are already panicking they’re doing something wrong, so please refrain from gloating in between sick burps that vomiting means your pregnancy is on track.

Myth #4: You’ll pee a lot.

Reality: You’ll pee non-stop. You could power a hydroelectric plant with your pee, and then some. Woe betide (get the pun?) anyone that breaks that dam.

Myth #5: Your bra size will go up a cup or two.

Reality: Your boobs will expand to a gargantuan size, beyond human-sized proportions (it’s all relative right?!), and you’ll yearn for your flatter-chested days, in between grieving for the flawless territory those monstrous blue veins now occupy.

Myth #6: You will crave chalk and/or dirt. Or you know, just start snacking on gherkins dipped in ice cream.

Reality: The craving for non-comestibles is actually known as pica, which is a) pretty rare, and b) rather dangerous. As for the gherkin-eating, I’ve been known to eat straight from the gherkin jar (not an innuendo) on the walk home, post gym and pre-pregnancy, but not since. On the one occasion I a) had a proper (marked only by its weirdness) craving, and b) marvelled at the ingenuity of aforementioned craving, I was devastated to learn that a bacon, marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich, is in fact known as a Bacon Fluffernutter, and hence I was not indeed a nutter.

Myth #7: Your lustrous locks will grow so long, and so thick. “Rapunzel? Is that you?”.

Reality: Your prince could scale a tower with that mane. That’s if the barrel loads of grease didn’t loosen his grip.

Myth #8: Your nails will grow longer, and stronger than ever before.

Reality: You could enter the Guinness World Records with those armadillo claws. And for those ridges. And for those cuticles (is it normal for them to cover half the nail?!).

Myth #9: You will glow.

Reality: You will (definitely) sweat buckets, and (potentially) develop cystic acne to boot. Oh, and unlike during your teen years, you won’t have toxic chemicals/medicines at your disposal. So say hello to your new zit friends, they’re here to stay.

Myth #10: Cometh the second trimester, cometh the new (old) you.

Reality: Weeks 13-24 you’ll be waiting for your metamorphosis. Weeks 25-27 you will feel like the old you again. That’s it, you’ve had your lot. Move on.

Myth #11: You’ll don a ‘Baby on Board’ badge, and the sea of Londoners will part.

Reality: You got yourself into this mess, and your fellow commuters aren’t about to get you out of it. You will still be tackled to the floor when boarding the tube (non-Londoners should substitute tube for metro or subway) for prime position by the pole. Especially by chippy, middle-aged men. Their taxes are already funding your embryonic brat don’t you know?!

Myth #12: People will treat you with the respect you have rightfully earned from getting yourself up the duff.

Reality: You will be treated with disdain, especially by aforementioned chippy, middle-aged men.

Myth #13: Everyone you know will be as delighted as you are about the bundle of joy you’re cooking, and want to join you on this magical journey.

Reality: Some friendships will fall by the wayside. But don’t despair. These weren’t the Thelma and Louise bonds you thought they were. Plus they’ve got nothing on your new mummy friends.

Myth #14: It’s 9 months of joy.

Reality: It’s 9 months of joy, stress, panic, excitement, happiness, and everything in between. However, you wouldn’t change it for the world. Only the baby that comes in its place.

If I learn of/remember (reality #1: baby brain is real) some more myths to be debunked on my crazy, wild journey, I will be sure to share these with you in due course. Just in case you’re under any illusion, I love (most of the time) pregnancy. And I especially love (always) my baby boy growing inside me.

28 YEARS OLD AND 28 WEEKS PREGNANT

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Today I turn 28. Which means I am officially ‘nearly’ 30. I am also 28 weeks pregnant +1 day. Now I’m not one of those people who dreads ageing, and sets out on a mission impossible to conceal their age, but I know which of my ’28’ milestones I’m most excited about!

As a January baby, I am so happy my baby boy will have an April birthday. It is my first gift to him. That probably sounds dramatic to the fortunate many who weren’t born in the two months sandwiching 25th December, but to those that were, they will understand exactly where I’m coming from. By the time our birthdays roll around, and depending on which side of Christmas we were blessed to be born, we find that people are either too busy decking their halls with boughs of holly to celebrate, or have had their fill of festivities. Well at least until the chocolate eggs begin appearing. Consequently, when January arrives, no one has the capacity for more than self-loathing at their yuletide overindulgence, and resolutions to never touch [insert vice as applicable: alcohol, food and/or credit card] ever again. Or at least for a month…why do you think dry January has gained traction?! Unfortunately, that leaves even my nearest and dearest bereft of birthday fun.

Nonetheless, and in spite of being reminded by everyone that they hate January, I have for the last three years inclusive, liked my birthday. For my 26th birthday, my then boyfriend (and now husband) flew us to Paris under the guise of transforming my birthday from a day I dread, into a day I love. The day after, he proposed. So that was an awesome birthday. Next came my 27th birthday when I was preparing for our February wedding. Then this year, on my 28th birthday, I am growing my baby boy inside me. So you see, I think I may have grown as my husband intended, to love my birthday. Therefore, you can forget Blue Monday, forget the 300+ day countdown until next Christmas, forget yearning for more self-control, and you can certainly forget the self-recrimination for the thrice-daily-for-a-month mince pie habit… I’m pregnant don’t you know?!

A lot can change in a year. It certainly did for me. I married my boyfriend of 6 years, we moved back to London, and I fell pregnant. Therefore, instead of dreading my January birthday, I now grab hold of the hope at what another January being alive may bring.