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”
Greg: “Says here the room HAS to be properly ventilated. PROPERLY. VENTILATED. Was it properly ventilated Suz?”
Mum: “This is ridiculous, we’re ringing 111, she can barely speak”
Greg: “Yep, ring 111. Explain everything that’s happened, she might need to go to hospital”
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.