Pregnancy: the glows and the lows
Imagine being hungover all day. And night. And then the next day. And the next night. And the day after that. Yes, that’s morning sickness.
Of course, it varies from bump to bump. The most common early symptom of pregnancy, morning sickness can strike any woman as quickly as you can say "pass me the bucket". Some women just feel a bit seedy, sort of like having two or three champagnes instead of one. Others get the full Kate Middleton treatment and suffer severely. If you've never been through it, the only way to relate is to think of that one morning when you learnt your lesson about alcohol the hard way. It makes you shudder just to think about it ... and you haven't touched peach schnapps since.
But surely it’s all smooth sailing once you pass the magical 12-week mark?
Um, no – sadly, that's just the beginning. And it's not the only side effect you're going to experience. Some will be awesome ... others, not so much. Here are a few things you might notice as a mum-to-be.
1. Fat feet. It seems a baby doesn’t just grow in one’s tummy – perhaps it does a bit of circuit work and occasionally has a holiday in one’s foot. First time around, it’s very easy to believe that it’s actually possible to live life as you know it, but you’ll just have a lovely little Demi Moore-ish belly. Your bump will be so balloon-esque – tight, round and detachable looking. Easy peasy. Pass me the Vogue for a little shoe-spiration and I’ll hit the chain stores in the morning.
But all of a sudden, your high heels transform into wedges, which turn into ballet flats, which turn into thongs. And before you know it, you’re wearing Havaianas (and occasionally a naff-looking pair of bedazzled sandals) like it’s your job.
2. Fat face. No matter whether it’s your first or your last, at some stage of a woman’s pregnancy, she thinks, “I’m so lucky I haven’t got a puffy face”. But you do have one – or you will – and no one’s telling you because you’re giving the gift of life. And while friends will ogle at your cankles, no one will ever admit your entire face looks like Lara Flynn Boyle’s lips. Believe it or not, this says something (I’m not sure what) about lovers and friends. They love you, puckered, puffy and all.
3. Puffed. Speaking of puffy, you’re not only puffy – you’re puffed. At 30 weeks pregnant I was working at Channel Nine, when I had to climb three flights of stairs. I was carrying a peanut butter sandwich, a can of Coke and my puffy face, only to have to sit in a meeting with my boss and three other blokes from the newsroom. They must’ve thought I’d climbed the TV transmission tower to change the beacon – I was sweaty, puffed, embarrassed ... and hungry.
4. Maternal faking. There's nothing worse than being handed a baby when you’re expecting your first baby. Oh. God. It's a baby. It’s so little. It’s jerky. God. It’s going to cry. Need to laugh casually as if I do this all the time. Yes, ha ha, I’ll be a great mum, don't worry about us! How am I supposed to look after one of these things? Eek. Someone take it. Smile. Look around. Catch someone’s eye. Someone save us ... me ... it.
5. New vocab. Dear pregnant person, you’ve entered a foul web of descriptive language you didn’t even know was out there. Call me immature, but I just feel sick all over when people mention words like discharge and plug. Vomit.
6. Sleep - well, the lack of. Nothing will prepare you. And even when people try to help get you ready, they’ll say, “Get all the sleep you can before it arrives!” Um, bit hard; I have a belly bigger than Kenny's and my bladder has been squashed to the size of a corn kernal.
7. You start seeing a physio. Back. Neck. Shoulder. Hips. They’ll know your life better than you do.
8. Sex. My girlfriend Izzy, seven months pregnant (with quite a compact and endearing beer belly-style bump), was having sex with her husband one rare but lucky evening. Then he started laughing. He finally told her, “I feel like I’m having sex with a truckie”. Hot, no?
9. Giving birth. It doesn’t matter how it happens, it’s no picnic.
But it’s not all bad. Honestly, the best thing about pregnancy isn’t just the ‘glowing’ or the way people genuinely insist on carrying everything from your groceries to your sunglasses. It’s better than that.
1. Instant boob job. Enough said.
2. Sleep. At some point, for a few weeks at least, your body will allow you to fall into the deepest sleep you’ve ever known. It’s a slumber, not a sleep. You’ll be like that guy you once sat next to on a long haul flight who slept the entire way. Heaven.
3. Maternity jeans. Despite your best intentions, they’ll never make it to the back of your wardrobe. The ol’ stretchies will always be there for you. My friend Sarah was sprung wearing hers last week; her ‘baby’ is now three.
4. You don’t need to suck it in. For nine whole months. Bring it!
The days are long but the weeks are fast. In nine months, it’ll all be over. Women rebuild their bodies and their, um, faces. Life goes on. So as hard as it can be, treasure the long days and the sleepless nights.
I mean, really, it’s not that bad. You may not even get a puffy face.
Pregnant? Join other women who are expecting around the same time as you in the Essential Baby forum.