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Here’s a few things I learned about giving birth. I’m obviously very aware these won’t all apply to everyone, birth experiences can be highly divisive. A bit like the music of Cliff Richard. Some women walk away with nothing more than a grazed fanny while others have a torrid time and like to tell everyone about it at coffee mornings and school fetes. But these are what limped away with. These and at least 5 gooch stitches. I’ll be keen to hear if anyone agrees…

1. You know that nicely written, well thought out, concise, colour co-ordinated birth plan you’ve got there? See if the local pet shop want it as hamster bedding.

My birth plan was probably the most basic of them all, and I still stuck to it in no way whatsoever. I’d recommend turning up at the hospital with a piece of scrap paper which reads ‘meh, get it out without me dying’.

2. You will hear the positives of opting for a water birth. You will request a water birth.

You will be told you can have a water birth provided everything goes smoothly. You will get to the hospital only to be told the thermometers have stopped working. You won’t get a water birth.

3. Don’t listen to your favourite music while it’s all kicking off.

I used to love Ed Sheeran’s ‘X’. Now it reminds me of drifting in and out of consciousness, hearing Greg & the midwife deliberate whether or not Ed should feature more rap on his tracks and I get all punchy.

4. The promise of an epidural can be terribly misleading.

So, my vagina decided to scream its way to eight centimetres dilated in less than 5 hours and it smarted a tad. Because I’d been told the water birth wasn’t happening, I opted for an epidural to try and calm the situation down a bit. After being told to expect a gradual build up to pelvis-shattering pain, I instead got it pretty much immediately… and it wasn’t a barrel ‘o’ laughs.  Now, I’m no novice when it comes to watching Keeping Up The Kardashians and I’ve seen the episode where Kourtney (the fucking miserable one) gives birth. She opts for an epidural and barely bats an eyelash extension, however three hours in with mine, I was wielding a numb, wangy left leg and the pain had subsided a grand total of fuck all. I was really wondering what the Dickens had happened until the midwife gently informed me ‘It doesn’t actually work for a lot of women sweetheart. I had three, they did nothing’. Well, cheers United.

5. You may gyrate on a hot water bottle so hard, Television X would hire you on the spot.

6. Maybe if you’re feeling a bit crappy, don’t decide to ‘preen’.

The day I gave birth I’d felt poorly and stayed in bed all afternoon. Presuming baby might rock up in the next couple of days or so, I spent Saturday night fake tanning and painting my nails. When my waters broke twenty minutes later I got streak marks in my bronze coating and ruined my paint job yanking my cacks down. Nurses had to be warned I hadn’t bled all over the sheets each time they entered my room and that in fact, ‘she just fake tanned before she got here’.

7. You will be prodded, yanked about, jabbed within an inch of your life and won’t notice.

Greg kept wincing during my labour, normally when people approached my with something sharp, and I just thought he was being a sap. He’s ordinarily quite hardcore, being someone who once took 27 spinal injections in one sitting, and I couldn’t understand why he was suddenly being so pathetic. Two weeks down the line I still had scabs and bruising from the things they were sticking in me. Turns out when you’re giving birth, the nurses are all about haste and a lot less about not being brutal.

8. You will have entirely coherent, calm thoughts in your head. And be able to say ‘nghhhhhhh’ out loud. 

9. You will moo.

10. If you scream, you’re probably someone who wears wrist supports while typing or can only sleep with hypoallergenic pillows. You don’t need to scream.

11. Until baby’s head’s full-on squeezing through your box. Then you do. 

12. Gooch stitches are almost more soul-destroying and painful than anything else involved with pregnancy/labour.

Going for your first poo after you’ve been sewn up is more squirmy than finding out Edward Scissorhands is carrying out your next cervical smear.

13. Pelvic floor exercises will become your new best friend. 

14. When your baby’s plonked on your chest for the first time you’ll be flooded with the following:

Happiness. Relief. Love. And a sudden flash of “OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT oh it’s a baby, yeah it’s OK everyone it’s a baby”.

15. Midwives may ask you stupid questions or say stupid things.

It’s probably because they’re shattered and been staring at your ever expanding lady bucket for the last few hours. Mine asked me what I was scared of after a particularly exuberant moo. I responded “I’m not scared of anything. It just FUCKING HURTS”.

16. There will be one specific spot on your birthing partner’s hand which you will want to squeeze/drag your nails over.

No other spot will do it. They will try to offer up other body parts for you to grip. You’ll say no (through gritted teeth). They’ll end up with minor burns. Tell them not to worry, Greg’s disappeared in 12-14 days. Use Savlon.

17. Your body may not let you cry. 

18. Sweary in real life? Expect to surprise yourself.

After being mute for around 10 hours, the only sentence I mustered was ‘oh my gosh’. Most cordial I’ve ever been.

19. There’s not that much blood and poo.

I’ve got a bowel condition & got through it without one single squirt. I did do a big fart at one point though. Blood… I’d say there was enough to make a small milkshake.

20. Prepare to agree to the one thing you said you’d never agree to. No, not anal.

I was adament I didn’t want forceps. I’d heard horror stories about babies’ heads being yanked about, atrocious tears, infant death and in NO way was I happy about it. After three hours of pushing and hearing my baby was back to back, face up and point blank refusing to make his grand appearance, I was told forceps were needed. It would take three pulls, along with some pushing from me (like I hadn’t already done enough, pffft) and he’d be out. With an end finally in sight, it was like music to my ears (although nothing by Ed Sheeran) and I agreed through a haze of exhaustion. Despite Greg wanting to hear every bloody potential danger; “Well sir, baby could die, there’s the threat of cerebral palsy”, he came out in three hefty yanks and I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t said yes to the one thing I was dead against, I’d still be there now. Mooing like a trooper.

21. This makes me it all worthwhile (no you shut up)

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6.

Today, a man tweeted me to say just because he’s a bloke, it doesn’t mean he couldn’t ‘understand’ what it was like to be pregnant. 

He ‘understood’ what it was like to be pregnant.

Oh thank goodness! 

Probably a lot like all us women who ‘understand’ what it’s like to be chopped in the bollocks. 

So! Man on the internet. Let’s go through this checklist, and you can let me know what YOU’VE experienced in the past nine months. I’m really keen to hear your thoughts, seeing as you ‘understand’ what it’s like… as opposed to just sympathising or empathising.  

- Getting the sweats and perspiring to the point your bum cheeks make your newly acquired preggo underwear sodden.

- Three months (if you’re lucky) of being sick, feeling sick, being on the verge of being sick, wondering what you can do to stop being sick.

- Bleeding gums. Either, just because they feel like it or because you’ve eaten so many dry biscuits (to prevent the sickness) your teeth feel like they need to escape your mouth.

- Your boobs looking a little bit crapper. That’s annoying isn’t it? Your boobs used to be so nice too. 

- Your stomach expanding. I haven’t developed stretch marks but I’ve heard it can be quite an adjustment to get on board with. Maybe you had them?

- Needing a wee every 10 minutes. And then running to the toilet, only to squirt out urine that’d only be sufficient coming out of Max Clifford’s micro-penis.

- Swollen feet. The sort old ladies squash into those manky grey shoes.

- A human bending, kicking, poking, stretching you from the inside. Which actually isn’t terrible at all (as you’d know of course), until it gets quite large and then like to run it’s fingernails down your innards.

- Anaemia. The usual, y’know… feeling light-headed, close to fainting, in desperately need of food, the shakes. I’m sure you’ve stocked up on your iron though.

- Sleeping in a throne of pillows! It’s quite fun if you just imagine you’re King John from Robin Hood, all majestic and hairy. One pillow either side of your hips and two behind your head. Do you find it helps you sleep through and not wake up with your baby suffocating you? Me too, me too.

- Three toilet trips a night. 

- Horrendous calf cramp, which apparently is nothing to do with mineral deficiency but more about your baby pushing on your nerve endings. Silly baby. 

- Sciatica. Do you have to cha-cha slide away from things in public too? Or risk screaming in part pain/part laughy-spasms too? Embaz isn’t it LOL. 

- Weight gain. That extra chin’s a bastard isn’t it? Probably makes your Adam’s Apple look a bit less bulbous though so, men win there! 

- Cravings. I hope your wife/girlfriend/lady in your life nips out if you fancy a bath sponge/piece of charcoal/rubber duck to gnaw on. 

- Being told you can’t do anything. No caffeine, nothing that might pull on the tummy, no Mr whippy ice-cream (I know, right?), YES you can go out with your friends of an evening but obviously no drinking and don’t go anywhere with slightly boomy music because the baby may not like it, oh and YES you can go to a spa but no going in anything bubbly or hot and of COURSE you can eat out but avoid basically all the really nice cheeses and fish courses and pate and oooooh runny egg and hey! Why not go to the zoo! Oh but actually, you *might* contract something so probs best to avoid and seriously, no sitting near the emergency exits on planes otherwise you’ll get moved to an appropriate seat. Dull isn’t it? Have you found it dull? 

- Mood swings. I bet when you cried because you just really wanted pizza and it wasn’t ready in the oven yet and then you did a big laugh because you realised how mental the crying was eeeeveryone around you took delight in mentioning how the mood swings ‘must have kicked in!’

- Heartburn. Apparently some people have to swill Gaviscon like ALL day. Are you one of them? Maybe you’re having a hairy baby!

- Being mega, mega tired because of the cramps, pillow throne, excessive weeing, possible suffocation thing. Have you found it hard to be chipper in the day because you’re snoozy? Have you found it annoying when people say ‘Oh, well it’s all good practise for when baby comes!’. HA. Funny isn’t it. Really aids the mood swings.

Anyway. I’m sure there’s a few things I’ve missed. I actually haven’t had a torrid time during pregnancy nor experienced a lot of the above points, but I’m sure you have. And I COMPLETELY understand.

Can’t wait to hear all about your labour.

:)

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After four years I’m falling out of love with Twitter a little bit and it saddens me. When I first signed up, it was as a way to escape the mundanity of living with someone whose conversation bored me to a stroke. I had a small group of friends who made (and still make) me laugh ’til my tummy hurt but felt I needed more, and unsurprisingly, knew Dover wasn’t ever going to be the place I’d find it. Unless I wanted to spend my days with Running Keith, the local weirdo (his impression of Pokemon’s Pikachu IS LOLS).

Within a few months of joining I’d ended the aforementioned relationship from Dullsville, landed my first journalism internship, moved to London and found a whole new plethora of people whom I considered to be my sort.
I felt at home.
I felt comfy.
I could be silly. Yes, silly! I’d write something and not have half my home town correcting me or adding an earth shatteringly hilarious ‘LOL’ underneath it. Or have my mum come home from town and say ‘I saw so-and-so earlier, they said you’re talking about vaginas on Facebook again’.
I made work contacts.
I found the person I, one day, hope to marry (thanks to a mutual-first-Twitter-now-real-life-friend)
And still even now, I come across (not like that) new people every day whom make me all jolly. Or if sat on a particularly hot train I click on to see a photo of a seal riding a skateboard, my mood’s lifted. It can be totally brilliant and a teeny, tiny dose of social interaction that I need to get me going.
All of that aside, recently (and there’s no other suitable word for it), I’ve found it ‘aggy’. Everyone’s angry. Which makes me angry. Or catty. Or snidey. Or retweeting what I consider to be wholly inappropriate photos of dead bodies.

It used to be the case that just the jokes were inappropriate. That you’d wince but favourite them all the same. They were on the cusp of being rocky, but you wouldn’t get away with saying anything similar on Facebook so they were hilarious. And really, they weren’t all that bad. Nowadays, I feel more and more like scrolling down my (ordinarily pretty tame) feed will have me wincing, not at a Karen Matthews quip, but at a photo of a hanging dog or the corpses of innocent civilians in Gaza. And, while I appreciate media shouldn’t shy away or censor atrocities, I don’t need to see it while I’m eating my fruit and yogurt at 8am so I can spend the next twenty minutes worrying about how on earth I can become more involved in both Amnesty International AND the RSPCA. And probably Save The Pissing Donkeys And Their Wonky Hooves while I’m at it.

I tend to keep my follower count reasonably low and block anyone who bothers me pretty sharpish, best way really. In turn, I haven’t had any troll-y hassle since I worked at LOOK magazine and a bloke hounded me and a co-worker, threatening to follow us home. He must have really fucking hated peplum skirts and high street fashion, s’all I can presume. Sadly though, I live with someone who has a follower count of 142k and OH LORD social media can be a car crash when people with an I.Q lower than 7 have access to a keyboard. Greg only has to tweet ‘grass is green’ and someone, someone will respond with a way in which he’s incorrect. Or a twat. Or a dickhead. Or a ginger prick. And yes he can be a twat and a dickhead and a ginger prick but that’s for me to call him. Last night he complained about poor service at a fast food chain and the responses were *laughable.

*kick yourself in the box painful

“I’m sure the people of Gaza feel sorry for you #firstworldproblems”

“I’m surprised you’ve got a girlfriend if you take her to eat there”

“OH LOOK AT YOU BEING HORRIBLE ABOUT PEOPLE WORKING ON MINIMUM WAGE. #UNFOLLOWED”

And my favourite:

“Not bothering to reply to a charity that requested your help is bad service! (retweet THAT one)”

Now, the tediousness of Greg’s tweets are a running joke in our house as it is. He has to keep them extremely friendly and basic with lots of exclamation marks just to reduce the likelihood of him offending anyone/ending up in The Daily Mail sidebar of shame, and if it wasn’t for the fact I’m about to be the mother of his baby I wouldn’t follow him. And last night really pissed me off. One, teetering-on-irked opinion and he was suddenly Putin. The tweet regarding his lack of response to charity was the final nail in my angry, pregnant coffin and demonstrated perfectly why certain people need to stay away from social media. I totally understood the tweeter’s frustration, it must be awful to volunteer for a cause close to your heart and feel as though you’re getting nowhere, but bowling in and launching your fury at someone who gets, I would guess, 100 charity RT requests a day is unnecessary. And guys, I hate to break it to you, NO-ONE CARES ABOUT CHARITY RETWEETS. Very few are beneficial. And just to state, prior to people jumping down my throat (see? Already covering myself) I work in social media so yes I do know what I’m talking about. For once.

There’s no particular point to this blog post… I’m not about to go cold turkey on Twitter (I think I’d get the sweats) or make my account private, I’m just a bit ‘urgh’ with it all. Let’s take it back to when Twitter wasn’t a big clusterfuck of arguments or anger or horrid photos or abuse. Let’s go back to thinking ‘bloody HELL this person should do stand-up!’. And let’s all attempt to locate our sense of humour or stick to Facebook. That would be great wouldn’t it?

Yes, yes it would.

So my body’s now five months in to putting together lots of skin and bones and cells and nerves, I’ve emerged unscathed from twelve weeks of sickness and am now fully immersed in the throws of ‘blooming’. While it’s great that mums and baby books portray how fabulous this stage can be and hint at a few niggles, I thought I’d pop down a few of the ailments I’ve personally experienced that most definitely crop up and most definitely make pregnancy an adventure.  

1) The Allergies.

There’s the frequent sneezing, the mini cough, the runny nose, the dry eyes and the occasional rash. But the best thing happened three months in, when I treated myself to a spray tan just on from my 12 week scan, in what I thought was a well-ventilated room. Fast forward an hour and a half, I was lying in bed feeling like I’d swallowed a family of piranhas and was struggling to speak. My mum (and Greg via Facetime in The States weren’t too helpful);

Mum: “I can’t believe you’d be so stupid, you’ve clearly had a reaction! Did you even Google it to check you can have spray tans done?”

Greg: “I’m checking now Sue, I’m gonna presume she just went ahead & booked it”

Me: “N…”

Greg: “Says here the room HAS to be properly ventilated. PROPERLY. VENTILATED. Was it properly ventilated Suz?”

Me: Ye…”

Mum: “This is ridiculous, we’re ringing 111, she can barely speak”

Me: “N…”

Greg: “Yep, ring 111. Explain everything that’s happened, she might need to go to hospital”

Me: “I…”

Mum: “Yes, hello. My daughter’s pregnant and STUPIDLY had a spray tan”

Greg: *shouting* “In a room that probably wasn’t properly ventilated”

Mum: “In a very small room, and now can’t speak. She’s really struggling. *pause* No, her airways seem fine. *pause* No she’s not coughing. *pause* Let me just ask her. Are you feeling agitated Susie?”

Me: “Well I wasn’t until you both starting driving me insane”

Mum: “She says yes but for other reasons. *pause*. Ok, Susie I need to feel if you’re clamm… OH MY GOSH YES, YES SHE’S CLAMMY”

Greg: “Brilliant”

Me: “THAT’S MY FAKE TAN”

Mum: “Oh that’s just her stupid tan”

And end scene. Neeeeext!

2) Restless Legs

You plop into bed super snoozy, get mega comfy and then while your torso’s quite happy to sleep, your legs are acting as though they’re a Directioner trying to chase after Harry Styles with a knob-on. 

3) Body Temperature

You get more red-faced than Tilda Swinton in a sauna, then suddenly colder than Nigel Farage’s heart at the drop of a hat. There appears to be no middle ground, which can be a bit of a pickle in the British summer time when it’s both drizzly and sticky mcstickerson. 

4) Sciatica

Now this can be a real bummer and I presumed it’d be something I’d struggle with during pregnancy because I get it in every day life anyway. Last time it struck I had to cha-cha slide away from a post-office counter while trying not to squeal like a horny pig. 

5) Bleeding Gums

I look like I’ve had a Chelsea Smile forced upon me every time I finish brushing my teeth. At least it makes my toothpaste suds a nice girlie pink, that’s always quite a pretty treat. Sometimes it creates a marble effect.  

6) Wind

This, in fairness, has disappeared now and thankfully the worst of it struck while Greg was away otherwise he may have had no eyebrows left. Every single afternoon/night in the first three months of pregnancy I’d have a balloon gut. People would gush ‘Oh look! You’re actually showing now!’ and I’d politely smile, all the while very aware that if I stepped a few metres out of earshot I could fart the ‘baby’ into the stratosphere. 

7) No Sense Of Balance, Direction or Space

When I first read this I very much doubted it would happen. I presumed clumsier women would probably suffer, while me? I’d still easily be able to trot along a balance beam should life require me to. 

Yep.

The other day I tried to twice step over a printer cable. The first attempt saw me wedge it between two toes and the second, fall arse over tit. Every day while walking the dogs I trip over at least seven tree roots and I nearly knocked myself out on my bedroom wall last week because my brain didn’t register I couldn’t just walk straight through. I’ve also shut my own breast in a car door. Hip-butted the washing machine more times than I care to remember. Nearly knee-capped my dogs. The list is endless.

8) Baby Brain

It really does exist! I made Greg pretend to be a baby the other day so I could put a pair of trousers on him (not as part of a weird Channel 4 sex documentary, just because it seemed funny at the time) and I spent a few minutes trying to get his flailing legs in trakkies. Once completed, he stood up and began heading for the stairs while I sorted out some washing. I shouted “Oh, did you find some trousers to wear for training or do you need me to grab you some?”. He slowly walked back in the room, muttering “You do remember just putting these on me don’t you? Like, just now…”. Ah, that 12 seconds is a right bitch on the memory. 

 

 Obviously aside from all these moans and groans, pregnancy can be lovely. My hair is fuller and bouncier and people have been mentioning how well I look (although that might be the Tilda Swinton sweats as opposed to a healthy blush). I just think before we actually experience it for ourselves, all the buzz words fly around and we take it for granted that’s how we’re going to feel. There’s the glowing, the blooming, the feeling womanly, the rush of femininity and it can be a bit of a surprise to find, no, a lot of the time you feel the exact opposite. It’s all a very small price to pay considering I’m building an actual human inside my own body and I’m very much aware of that, I’d just quite have liked a heads-up that there was a possibility once every so often I’d look in the mirror and think ‘oh YUCK!’ as opposed to the Mother Earth-y ‘Yes, I’m growing but it’s MARVELLOUS’. I disagree that you have to take everything pregnancy offers as a gift, some elements should just be what you tolerate to gain an amazing, life-changing reward at the end. When you’re walking round your house with what feels like jetlag, one nipple hanging out your boring maternity bra because it’s already too small, along with blood for gums you don’t want to be smiling like the women in the Boots Parenting Club leaflet, you’re just happy to be a bit gross and one step closer to being a mum. 

 

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It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, so big ol’ apologies if it’s tripe.

As some people know, when I first started writing this, I tended to wang on about the fun that came with being single, only to become very much attached. Then I wanged on about Daily Mail features but got a bit preoccupied writing a book and moving house. And now I’m four months pregnant which means I have to be pure and calm and not talk about willies or vaginas ’til my offspring have left for uni or work or a gap year around Thailand if they fancy being a massive stereotypical 18 year old twat.

On the subject of being with child, when I was spending the first couple of months in bed dying of what some people call ‘morning sickness’ and what I like to call ‘eight weeks of feeling like I’d rather be buried alive with fifteen furious stoats and an emotional Michael Barrymore’, I tried to spend as much time as possible researching impending motherhood, plus what surprises I might be in store for throughout pregnancy.

The information available wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Just in case you’re curious, not got anything better to do tonight, your porn won’t load, you unfortunately stumbled across this by chance; here’s what I’ve learned while being preggers so far, from both the cyber and actual real-life worlds. I can’t promise I won’t mention baby-related stuff again in the next few years I’m alive, but I do here solemnly swear to not become one of those women who post daily “AW BABY KAYDEN JAYDEN BO JUST DID A SMILE!” with the photo of what looks like a red-faced, scrunched up alien trying to work out if they left the iron on.

 

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Pregnant women think they’re dying a lot.

“I had this twitchy eye thing going on so I went to A&E and they said it was just where I was tired”

“I kept waking up in the middle of the night feeling hot but when I went to hospital they said it was nothing to worry about”

“I sometimes need to go for a wee, IS THIS OK?”

Gosh. If you want to pat yourself on the back for being quite a normal person, read up on what pregnant women go to hospital for. I appreciate some expectant ladies have previously had complications or are extra cautious thanks to pre-existing medical conditions but some are just mental. For about a month I had what felt like a constant lump in my throat. Not nice, but I gathered it was probably a symptom of nausea/acid reflux and battled with drinking plenty of water to help ignore the sensation. One night I thought I’d Google it, which turned out to be a bigger mistake than turning up to a Halloween party, age 12, as a coffin. Every single woman who’d written about her experience had visited A&E, every single one. The same happened when I Googled ‘tummy spasms’. After that I stopped Googling.

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Step away from me. Now.

I didn’t think constant belly touching would bother me, I thought it would be all cute. As it turns out I’m whittling a wooden/barbed wire tummy contraption while having my boyfriend train up an attack hawk.

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Everyone loves a horror story.

You’ve bumped into someone and they’ve just been made aware you’re pregnant. “Oh AMAZING!”, they’ll gush. “Eugh, I hope you don’t have a thirty six hour labour like me”, *cue descriptions about flaps going flying and anal tearing*

Strangely enough, I’m aware childbirth isn’t likely to be as fun as going on Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks. I know having a small human smash through my clunk might bother me a bit so I probably won’t make any plans to go raving or eat out at Hawksmoor. Just, y’know, in case I can’t give everything my full attention.

Please don’t go into the details of your labour. The baby has to come out, so why scare other women just for the hell of it? Also, you’re not in full-blown labour for aaaaaalllll the hours you’ve listed, you’re just being dramatic and no-one likes a drama queen. So please move away and leave me and my currently still-intact vajayjay in peace.

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You can’t afford everything. 

HEY IF YOU’RE HAVING A BABY THEN YOU’LL NEED TO SPEND TWENTY EIGHT THOUSAND POUNDS BEFORE IT’S EVEN HERE YES OF COURSE YOU NEED THIS RAINBOW COLOURED PORTABLE BABY MONITOR WITH WIFI, BUILT-IN MASSAGE FUNCTION AND VIBRATING JET PACK ARE YOU SOME SORT OF KAREN MATTHEWS FAILURE?

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Yep, bodies are likely to change. Thank you for taking black and white photos.

I couldn’t be more pleased to see ‘normal’ women championing each other’s bodies. Especially post-baby as I’m sure quite a few struggle with stretch marks, weight gain, weeing when they sneeze etc, but I’ve found a few of the articles a bit… cringe. I’m not here to harp on about what I don’t know, or berate knackered mums for not doing their best, far from it. But I do struggle to sympathise with those who state pregnancy’s an excuse to pile on the pounds and be lazy, only to cry their figures aren’t what they used to be. Nowadays all evidence points away from eating for two and instead states regular, gentle exercise is useful along with a balanced diet, so why not just do that? Of COURSE if you fancy chocolate or a doughnut go ahead and eat it, but if developing cellulite after sitting on your bum for 9 months alarms you then I haven’t really got a response you’ll want to hear.

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Cry baby

For the entirety of pregnancy, if you dine out/go shopping/wander round a park and hear the dulcet tones of an infant screaming, everyone in your company will utter the dreaded words “oooh, that’ll be you soon”. No-one ever does it when a baby’s happily gurgling or looking cheerful… nope. See that baby over there crapping itself and having a shit fit about in public? That’s what you’re experiencing for the next 18 years and your life’s going to be miserable and you best not feel sad about it because you shouldn’t have got pregnant should you?

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Oh good. Plain again.

Maternity clothes were apparently designed for my boring cousins Helen and Teresa, who spend a lot of time at garden centres and have probably never been within ten metres of a penis. If you like shapeless t-shirts and nautical stripes then you can blow the budget. If you like anything that makes you feel sassy with confidence and be all Tyra Banks then you’re screwed. I nearly box-kicked a Topshop employee into a rack of statement jewellery two weeks ago because she simpered ‘it’s just, no-one really cares about what pregnant women wear’.

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Keep names to yourself.

We’ve decided not to tell anyone names we’ve got in mind anymore because whenever we do, there’s always at least one option people like to hate as much as they hate Fred West. And tell us so. Complete with pulling an expression that resembles a confused Ed Miliband in a choke hold.

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And lastly, oh my giddy aunt. Morning sickness.

‘Morning’ sickness for me was more 23 hours and 40 minutes sickness. There was the constant sweating, the constant retching, having to eat dry crackers to stop feeling like I had the world’s worst hangover to the point my mouth would bleed, the aforementioned acid reflux and huge mouth ulcers. Because I felt poorly all hours I also only had a maximum of two hours’ sleep for just under two months and spent most nights sweating on the sofa, crying and gnawing on anything that stopped me feeling like I wanted to die. Now, I can’t really remember how horrific it was, but know the feeling of utter helplessness teamed with exhaustion isn’t one I want to experience again any time soon. Having what’s technically a two month stomach bug is literally the crappiest thing in the world and anyone who goes through it and keeps a full-time job deserves a medal. I, luckily, work from home and even venturing into the garden made me want to bawl. I would say that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far. Morning sickness is a big ball of arse so give your wives and girlfriends plenty of pats on the head and don’t expect them to look anything more than a 2/10 for the duration of the first trimester.

 

So there you have it, the wonderful knowledge and wisdom I’ve acquired so far on my journey into being a mum. Hopefully my next instalment will be ‘Wow, the rest of pregnancy makes you feel dead sexy!’ and ‘psssssh, it turns out contractions are a bucket of piss’. Fingers, toes and umbilical chords crossed (although not in a harmful way).

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I was at a ball the other evening (I know, I’m basically Naomi Campbell minus being a total nutslug) and some friends and I were discussing our new obsession: Storage Wars. If you’ve been trapped in Simon Callow’s beard and haven’t happened to watch it, then I’d like to confirm it’s the best television programme in the UNIVERSE. Think of Paul Burrell with Princess Diana memorabilia up his bum and you’ve got my happiness level upon finding the next episode on Sky planner.

Anyway, it made me have a think about some of the other things that fall into the ‘I really like it but I really shouldn’t’ category. So here’s like, a pocket-full… there’s many, many more…

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1) Squeezing spots

That little yellow dot. The bullseye of the spot world. The second I catch a glimpse of a mound on someone’s back/shoulders/face, I’m on it like Michael Le Vell on an underage teen (allegedly).

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2) Celine Dion

She is a French angel. I’m not threatened by her amazingness but I’m not not threatened by it.

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3) Fitspo posts on Instagram

I don’t get a frothy vagina from exercising. It’s quite fun and I do it so by the age of 40 I’ll still be able to see my own feet and won’t have an arse crack which smells of soil and brie. Check out my Instagram timeline though and it’s *full* of tanned bodies, exercising tips, healthy food and rainbow coloured gym clothes. Why? Because it makes me feel as though I’m on Laguna Beach in hot pants, eating avocado and rollerblading. When really I’m in Milton Keynes. Eating noodles. And watching Storage Wars (OBVS).

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4) Leaving drinks in my bedroom

I’m tidy, and have an obsession with cleaning kitchens. But I also have a tendency to leave cups of drink peppered around my bedroom ’til they grow a nice little mould layer and I have to sliiiiink downstairs and get rid of the evidence before my boyfriend tells me off for being a skank. He might have a point.

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5) Playing football

As a bloke, you can go play in the park with a football and that’s just fine. As a girl, you can either play for a proper woman’s team or that’s IT. You don’t just go down the park with a ball. You don’t. (If YOU do then can you shout me so I can come?) The best thing about living with a boy is that he has a ball and we can go kick it in the woods. Makes me happier than a fat person being allowed to wear a t-shirt in a swimming pool.

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6) Old men with ponytails

I imagine them to smell of Gandalf, knowledge and pipe smoke and I want to stroke them. If they also happen to be American then they get 15 extra Brownie points.

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7) Putting every single call on loudspeaker

It makes me feel like Kim Kardashian in an emergency. Speaking of which…

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8) Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

I’d say 98% of people would rather wipe their bum and find blood than watch an episode of KUWTK, and I understand that. But I love that the smallest problem can make Kim do an open-mouthed cry and by the end of the episode, she’s earned enough money to get over it.

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9) Cotton-Eye Joe

It is IMPOSSIBLE to feel sad when this song comes on. Anything that’s SO terrible it makes everyone lose their inhibitions works for me. I once watched a boy at school choke on some potato salad and do a sick during a Christmas party because he was so happy this song was being played. I think that says a lot.

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10) Laughing and discussing other people’s Facebook statuses

“Had a lovely day with the fam. got up early did washing took kids too mums had a roat dinner (LOL thanks mum!) came home n snuggled on the sofa wiv hubby. Bliss”

Screen-shotted. Sent to all my friends. Have a great laugh.

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11) Clicking on Daily Mail articles with ‘WARNING: Graphic Content’

Oh good. A photo of dead children. Yep, that’s someone hanging from a bridge in Mexico. Oh awesome, a soldier shooting a naked civilian in the face why did I click on this again? Why am I on The Daily Mail website? Why am I such a horrible human? Why does it always rain on me? Is it because I lied when I was 17?

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12) Disliking anyone who talks about the forces

I don’t dislike the forces. I just hate people talking about it. I’d sooner high five your nan in the face than listen to you bleat about ‘our boys’.

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13) Thinking bad thoughts about girls who innocently write ‘wifey material’

If you do that one more time I’m going to have sex with your boyfriend.

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14) The nickname ‘babe’

My tummy feels a bit like fuzzy felt when someone calls me ‘babe’. It feels a bit less fuzzy when ‘baby’ gets used. Fuck right off to drown in a swamp if you’re even contemplating ‘princess’.

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15) Frankfurters

I know they’re made from cow eyeballs and pig gooches but they’re YUMMY cow eyeballs and pig gooches.

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‘Lads’ mags promote sexist attitudes and behaviours. They normalise the idea that it’s acceptable to treat women like sex objects.’

The above quote comes from the mouths of UK Feminista and their #losetheladsmags campaign. And to me, a past Nuts employee and feminist, it’s way off the mark.

Women (and men) all over Twitter are currently getting themselves into a bare boobed clusterf*ck on essentially, the right to show the female form. It’s been suggested that supermarket staff can successfully sue employers in respect of forceful exposure to pornographic material and that environments where these sorts of magazines are hostile and offensive. In my mind, this is a gross overreaction. I find salmon a huge threat to my wellbeing but I’m not about to kick off #losethesalmonitsmellslikerottingbilge campaign.

As a feminist, I don’t much care for men shouting at me to whack my flaps out when I’ve popped out to grab some loo roll from Tescos. I don’t appreciate being called a slutbucket or whorebadger. I’m not keen on the negativity put upon the promiscuity of women, while men are free to pump a whole catalogue of vaginas and get a high five from their mate Darren. But what I have absolutely no problem with, are grown women choosing to take their clothes off for money, for a specific audience to enjoy looking at them in their own homes.

Having spoken to Nuts’ readers on numerous occasions over Twitter, I can safely say none have ever appeared sexist or given the impression they view women as a walking set of norks. Some, strangely, idolise glamour models… but that’s their prerogative. I like Marlon Brando, some bloke in Wigan likes Lucy Pinder bent over a motorbike. It’s a matter of personal taste.

And where does it stop? If certain individuals aren’t happy with publications featuring breasts, do we also ban Men’s Health & Men’s Fitness showing naked chests? Do we stop Torso Of The Week in Heat? They’re all bodies. And if UK Feminista want us all to be treated as equals, then photos of scantily clad men shouldn’t be readily available for women to get frothy over either.

In a day and age where magazines supposedly ‘for the sisterhood’ circle rippling cellulite and suggest ways in which to not look like such a massive fat biffah, lads’ mags are at the other end of the spectrum. They promote curves and feature happy models. Yes they’re airbrushed and might still portray unattainable figures, but at least their waif-like thighs aren’t torn to shreds by the vitriolic words of other women.

If I were to really pick holes, it would be that the girls maybe aren’t given enough of a voice within the mags themselves. I wholeheartedly believe that readers would jump at the chance to dribble over hot women with something to say, rather than a voiceless set of tits… and maybe that’s something to look at. On the other hand, I still feel as though a certain cluster of feminists would get their knickers in a twist over any sort of opinion coming from a woman who shaves her beef cave and wears make-up. But it’d be nice to give it a go.

As women, we shouldn’t feel as though we can’t have smokin’ bodies we want to show off. You shouldn’t be considered a certain type of woman if you like being sexy. We should all be able to whip off our clothes and recite Proust. And if men want to stick around while we do so, then that’s just wonderful. I vote save the lads’ mags… they’re harmless, tongue-in-cheek and a great promoter of the sh*ttest tattoos currently in existence in the UK. Leave ‘em be.

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