Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Bump in the Night

**warning: the following contains 'belly' photos

Last week, at a birthday party for a one-year-old, at least two mothers informed me, with much scorn in their voices, I was not 'showing' at all.

They then went on to tell me 'not to worry,' with my second one I will be showing straight off the mark.

How does one respond to this kind of comment?  It's like planning a wedding all over again.  Everyone has an opinion and feels within their rights and even obligated to pass on that opinion.  In this case, I am doing it all wrong because I have not 'popped' to their satisfaction.  That the 'belly' is a mark of some kind of achievement and I have failed.

It should be said, these women and I had never met before this occasion and so have no reference on which to judge whether or not I am 'showing.'

This was my first experience of a kind of 'mummy shame.'  I'm not a fan. Surprise, surprise.

To be honest, my changing body is one of the hardest bits of this experience for me thus far.  At the time I got pregnant, I was the fittest I have ever been in my life. I had worked for over a year to get there and it was finally a part of my everyday life.  I'm not talking about being 'skinny.'  I'm speaking of feeling fit in my body and mind.  Knowing what my body can and can't do.  Being aware of what was going in and how it affects my mood and energy.  Knowing that I could run across a train terminal with a full backpack and not die on the concourse.

I was in tune with my body.

Or so I thought.

Now, my body is harboring an almost completely independent being and it is really bizarre.  My body can no longer manage simple tasks like bending at the waist.  Getting dressed below the waist requires the kind of concentration I normally reserve for yoga balances (I have fallen over putting on my underwear more times than is comically allowed).  I give myself a mini pep-talk before descending the stairs EVERY TIME as I am now a tumble risk and I am inexplicably tired after a few mundane tasks around the house.

I have had to learn a lot of patience with myself and my body.  I am learning this little by little through my yoga class.  I attend a pregnancy yoga class but it's more a place to practice breathing than anything else. I still attend my usual class and this is where my 10 years of yoga practice and body awareness is becoming really important.

In the past, I had no question that my body could do what my instructor asked of it.  Now, I am amazed at what my body can no longer do and how frustrated I become when I can't follow the class in the same way I did before.  However, in that frustration I have found a deeper connection with my body.  I truly have to listen to my body and what it can't do.  Instead of serenely following along with the class I am mentally involved in creating variations of each pose based on those 10 years of practice.

Surprisingly, not being able to follow along in class is strengthen my yoga practice and my patience.  I find I am much more patient with myself and others.  It also allows me to take care of myself for myself as well as for the little being inside.  It's not a one way street.

All body connection talk aside, I still get a bit freaked out when Pruin starts kicking and wriggling.  At times it literally takes my breath away.  Not in a TOP GUN kind of way but in a what-the-hell-is-that? kind of way.

What will happen after Pruin enters the world?  How important will my fitness be to me then?  I don't know. I hope it is still a priority.  My fitness levels directly affect my mood levels so I hope it becomes a priority again. But we shall see.

Until then, dear reader, I leave you with the following evidence that I have in fact started showing...something.

Starting point
Halfway point

(preggo bum & thigh cellulite mercifully cropped out)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Pregnancy brain

I'm still here and still pregnant.  Here are some of the more public-friendly thoughts I've had about being pregnant.

F-Y-I: catching the common cold or whichever flu virus is currently incubating in the London Underground is a bummer and annoying when you're not pregnant.  When you're pregnant it is the Black Plague and lasts for weeks on end.  On the up side, it gives you lots of opportunity to engage those pelvic floor muscles during a sneezing fit when you absolutely do no want to pee your pants in public.  Of course, that battle is frequently lost before it even begins.

Pram shopping is a bit like searching for the right rental.  Interpreting the lingo is the first step in assuring you aren't wasting your time fawning over a flat/pram that looks great at first blush but will cost you double in the end due to 'plumbed for oven/cooker/washer/shower' clause/additional mandatory accessories available.

Baby on board badge--smug fertile declaration or passive aggressive plea for a seat? Or, when viewed off public transport, permission to judge and remark loudly on pregnant woman's scandalous behaviour  such as partaking in a cup of over-boiled mulled wine at the Christmas fair or lunching on a scalding hot sausage sandwich?  Last weekend I left the badge at home so I could partake in a bit of mulled wine on my birthday while viewing the town center Christmas lights without fear of disapproving stares. I'm really living on the edge these days.

There is definitely something moving around in my lower abdomen and it's not gas.  But it sure as hell isn't 'butterflies' either.  The description of first movements as 'butterflies in the tummy' or 'flutters' hacks me right off.  First off, the movement is no where near my 'tummy'.  Let's get our anatomy straight.  There's no reason to continue with the dialogue of babies in bellies as we all know they are not popping out the stomach on a hinge like Pregnancy Barbie so many years ago.  Second, whenever I read this description it sounds like it's being said by some breathy hippie waxing lyrical on the beauty of life while high at a music festival.  Maybe I missed the initial 'flutters' while hacking up a lung for the past month or maybe I passed it off as gas.  Or maybe after 15 years of yoga and modern dance I am more attuned to my body than most so these 'flutters' feel more like burly Mexican wrestlers slinging themselves off the ropes that is my uterine wall.  Whatever the case, something is alive in there and it's freaking me out a little bit.

We had our mid-pregnancy scan this week.  I have to admit it was a bit anti-climactic.  However, the baby did flip us off very clearly when the sonographer attempted to catch a glimpse of its face.  So that's fun.  Baby also has a head on the large side.  Attitude and a big head.  Double fun.