A lot of things changed for me when I became pregnant. While it’s all natural and part of the journey, I’m still human, and as I count down the days until baby, here’s what else I’m looking forward to (and it’s probably not what you think!)
Honey, we need to talk…
I’ve come a long way since the start of my pregnancy. Before the stick turned blue I admit I was more clueless than Cher. In my earlier post, 10 Things I Didn’t Know About Pregnancy, I only kept the list short for your (attention’s) sake, but could just as easily have written about 100 things…! Similarly, other than sushi and alcohol, I really had no idea about the things I would miss.
But before we get to that, I have to ask, why the surprise, huh ladies? They always say that women talk more than men, that we’re all about feelings, emotions and useless details like the colour of our poop or which type of birds make the best feathered pillows… But in my pregnancy experience, this is simply untrue.
Maybe it’s the company I keep, but nobody told me anything specific about their experience before it was my turn. Perhaps if I expected more women to have prepared me for pregnancy I should also consider the question, which women? Basically, I’ve figured out that there are two kinds: women who have already had babies, and women who are pregnant.
This first group have a tendency to reduce their pregnancies to either really good or really bad, with very few “meh” stories in between. Either it was terrible “and really hard, horrendous” (thanks, scaremonger). Or, “it was absolutely fine!” Saying crazy things like how pregnancy was the best time of their life. But unless you probe them, and I mean really dig in with some interrogation-style questioning, neither will share any real details.
It’s interesting, no? When these are the same women that used to recount their adventures in such pre-dick-pic graphic detail you might think you were there. But once crossed over to the other side of motherhood, it’s like you’re asking them to share details of something they’ve already decided you don’t want to hear about or simply wouldn’t understand.
Pregnant women, however, are a whole other story. I’ve since met a lot of pregnant women, which has been one of the best parts. I’m lucky to live in an area where the ratio of pregnant to non-pregnant women is pretty much 1:1. So there are lots of us, but it’s important to find those with similar due dates. We have what’s app groups and regular meet-ups for tea where we talk about all the things going on in our minds and bodies. We spare no detail. Nothing is too gross, or embarrassing. Like soldiers in the same squadron or mob wives of la familia, we’re in this thing together.
And therein lies my answer. It’s not that women don’t talk, it’s who we talk to. More than who, it’s the when and the why. In a few weeks, I’ll no longer be pregnant and naturally, I’ll also stop talking about my pregnancy as that chapter closes and a new one opens. I can almost see the finish line, I’m down to the last few weeks. Looking ahead, here’s what I think that new chapter will look like once I get to do all the things pregnant women can’t…
It’s a popular misconception that alcohol should be at the top of this list. Do I miss it? Yes. More than other things? No! Look, I spent a lot of my pregnancy feeling sick and hungover without the aid of alcohol, which pushes drinking waaay down the list. So what’s at number one? Oh, just that I’m casually waiting to become a zompire (a portmanteau of zombie and vampire), or a flesh-eating, bone-breaking, vein-sucking vambie (same thing). Vegetarians, I’m sorry, please look away, I know not what I do. I want nothing more than to eat all the raw and bloody foods that I can get my hands on. I’m talking steak tartar, sushi, oysters, that live octopus thing they eat in Korea, gleefully, like these guys, and everything else on the pregnancy no-no list. I have officially lost all interest in cooked food and seriously considering disappearing into the forest with nothing but a hunting knife.
I know a lot of women will enjoy the break from vigorous exercise that pregnancy demands, and in parts, I’ve enjoyed it too. But believe it or not, number two on my list is the possibility to work out like a f***ing machine. I know it’s not what most people expect looking at me, but I’ve been going HAM in the gym ever since this girl in school issued me with a death threat. At uni, my MMA sparring partner was a Slovakian body-builder. I’m a survivor of Barry’s Bootcamp Hell Week. It’s only my love for 3 course meals and fine wine that has kept my body looking less intimidating than my Shaolin military mentality. When it’s finally safe for me to do so, I can’t wait to work out until I pass out. That’s why I love Barry’s, because it’s the only workout designed to push you until failure. Until you have nothing left, not even a single rep, sending an explosion of endorphins loose through your body like a Guantanamo prison break! Better than drugs, better than sex… Don’t believe me? Allow Arnold to explain.
For me, anyway, my mostly winter pregnancy has been a dry and sweatless existence. Of course, I can’t engage in high intensity sweaty exercise while pregnant. But outside of the gym, there are many other occasions where I would miss sweating. A golden rule for pregnant women is not to overheat, which is why catching a fever can be dangerous. Ideally, you should try keep your body temperature fairly constant, which means no intense exercise, no prolonged sun-bathing, no hot baths, no saunas or steam rooms and no jacuzzis. In other words, no sweating! How lame is that? You best believe it when I say post-pregnancy, things are gonna get heated. Like Robert Hays in Airplane sweaty, like from the windows to the wall sweaty. I am gonna make me sweats, sweats til I can’t sweats no mo-ore, a-la-la-la-la long!
From around the second trimester onwards, pregnant ladies are advised not to twist or bend over, never to use your abs, and not to sleep on your back or stomach. For realz. At first, some of these rules seem a little silly when baby is only the size of a kumquat. But as it starts to grow into a prize-winning watermelon, the reasons become a lot more obvious, and a lot less optional! It’s a mobility thing. Pregnancy often feels like 30 going on 90. It’s the simple things in life that we miss the most. Like bending and twisting and jumping and hugging and squeezing and all those things that I can’t do! Who knew we use our core for so many things! I can’t even cross my legs anymore. Do you know how hard it is to put on socks?
So there you have it, I miss pumping iron and doing sit-ups more than alcohol. True story, and one of the many benefits of pregnancy in your 30s and not in your teens or 20s, ha! As it turns out, alcohol has been the easiest thing to give up from the long list of pregnancy no-nos. A drink is the last thing I wanted during my first trimester puke-fest and honestly, oxytocin is a much better drug! That being said, let’s not get carried away here. It’s not like I’m never going to drink again. I do really, really love wine, and espresso martinis, and aperol spritz, and G&Ts, and negronis, martinis… As I near the end of my pregnancy, I am (finally) starting to look forward to (lightly) drinking again postpartum. Cheers!
Last but not least, in case you’re wondering what I’ll be having with my glass of Barolo, close your eyes and imagine a big-ass, stinky-ass plate of unpasteurised, mouldy AF cheese! Give it to me baby, uh-huh, uh-huh. Most people know that when you’re pregnant you can’t eat brie and camembert, but that’s just the tip of the unpasteurised cheese iceberg… The cheese I miss the most is beautiful, on-every-menu-in-London-just-to-F-with-me, burrata cheese. Creamy, dreamy burrata, slathered in olive oil and topped with freshly sliced black truffles… Oh my days, see you on the other side!