Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pregnancy (again), Christmas, birthdays and botox

I've done all of my Christmas shopping, barring a couple of things that actually require me to get off my fat backside and venture into the heaving throngs of Central London. Something I've been putting off but is looming. For the record, Boots use way too much packaging. One set of items were in a box so enormous that I asked the delivery person if he hadn't made a mistake, because I had certainly not ordered something that large. Turns out if was mine, containing two small items, the rest full of brown paper bunting to make up for the enormous amount of room in what could have housed an American-style washing machine,

The Internet is great - it's how I do most things these days. There's always the annoying business of actually having to wait for the stuff and ensure you are home to receive it, but at this time of year this seems a small price to pay compared to getting bashed around by people who haven't yet noticed my enormous belly.

Saying all of this, I hate the entitled pregnant woman or person with the pushchair who expects the seas to part in her wake. I don't want to be one of those, so I often wait for people to go in front of me, and act very surprised when someone holds a door open for me. "Who me? Why thank you kind sir," my ever-so grateful expression conveys. I'd probably chuck this Pollyanna act were I to have a long tube journey every day and some able-bodied person sitting in a disabled seat was pretending not to notice me.

This debate rages still. I appreciate that people wait for a seat and everyone feels entitled to one, pregnant or not. But pregnant or not, I've also always considered those disabled/old people/children seats as lucky temporary respite before someone who fits into one of those categories comes along, at which point it is my duty to jump up and offer it to them. I just couldn't sit there while some person with a bad leg or enormous pregnant belly stood nearby. It would make the comfort of sitting pale in comparison to the burning guilt.

On the subject of being pregnant (is there any other for me right now?) I loathe those sloganned crappy T-shirts that say stuff like, 'Kick me baby one more time,' or 'Baby on board,' or 'Funky Mama.' Maybe these are aimed at very young enthusiastic mothers-to-be who are oblivious to the stretchmarks and gravitational pull that is about to befall their young elasticated bodies.

I don't feel like a Funky bloody mama. I feel enormous, occasionally still a bit nauseous, and my body is doing things that are foreign and rather revolting. There are women out there who claim to love being pregnant. I like to believe that these women are either deluded or lying. For me there is no great pleasure in the physical aspect of pregnancy, other than the knowledge that at the end of this rather strange journey I will get to meet the next addition to our little family.

With my first pregnancy I showed properly (as in got a visible bump) at about 4.5 months and only started finding sleeping on my back uncomfortable well into my second trimester and most certainly in my third. With this one I showed already at around 6 weeks and have had difficulty sleeping on my back from the start. My doctor tells me that a lot of this is down to my stomach muscles being knackered from the first pregnancy. See, that's another thing those first time T-shirt-wearing enthusiasts have got to look forward to.

The good thing about subsequent pregnancies is that you don't have to sit through the whole NCT class thing again. Personally I think anyone that tells me I should think twice about having serious pain relief when I pass the equivalent of a watermelon through my vaginal passage is to be viewed with some suspicion. The key word for me, and I believe what should be for every women in this situation, is choice.

These classes strongly suggest you prepare a birth plan ahead of time, and for the first-time mothers, having never given birth before, who honestly knows what they are going to be capable of in terms of such pain endurance? I say, yay if you can push that bugger out without it, but what a relief to know that it's there if I want or need it.

Anyway, bygones. Don't get me started on the whole breast is best thing. Yes yes I know, it's wonderful and great if you can nurse, but again, for women that cannot due to whatever reason, mostly physiological issues, it would be nice to be able to give your baby formula and enjoy those early weeks without the tremendous guilt that you are in some way a bad mother. Why is it that people have to have such absolute and rigid thinking on such matters when our bodies, and indeed life itself, are anything but simple?

Julia had a wonderful 2nd birthday party this past weekend. She had some idea that it was a party in her honour and beforehand there was a lot of talk of cake, balloons , and presents. Nice to have those kinds of concerns, as opposed to say, worrying about what is a good age to book in for your introductory session of botox, or whether or not you qualify for a concession ticket at the zoo.

Christmas is also way more exciting for me personally now that I have a little person. I've always enjoyed it, but at some point it becomes something you do, and you kind of go through the motions. At least this has been my experience. With Julia it's like being a kid again - decorating the tree, choosing stocking fillers, trying to remember what I liked to receive (and almost never got) when I was a kid. And having to remind myself that Tinkerbell makeup, the entire 'New You' collection, and my mother's velvet high heels, are probably not suitable gifts for a two-year-old.