My new title: Working mom

I went back to work this week. Well last week really, but my weeks all still roll into one along with my days, and actually… where has 2016 gone? On Tuesday and all week, I had messages of support from friends around the world, on twitter, facebook and every other way people could contact me flood in. Everyone sent me ‘strongs’ – which itself begs the question when did we invent new verbs? – but they sent me those, and wished me well on my first day back to work. They said I’d cry, and that I’d be ok. That it’d be over in no time and I can be back with my baby.

And how was my first day back?

It was freaking awesome.

Mothers everywhere are rolling their eyes (or, perhaps they’re silently nodding to themselves, while avoiding eye contact with anyone else at the risk of being judged). Well judge me all you want. My first day, and first week back at work was amazing. It could have been the heels, the dress and the makeup, (it certainly wasn’t the traffic) but I’m going to pretend I’m a little deeper than that and say it was the coffee.

I didn’t cry (back at it with that Ice Queen label) and I only checked our cameras (yes, we have cameras) twice the whole day (don’t ask me about the rest of the week). The worst part of the day was driving in horrendous traffic. That part about my old life I didn’t miss.

Am I cold? How could I possibly have enjoyed being away from my little girl?

Come come. Lets be real. Its not about enjoying not being with her, but rather – enjoying being me again. I’m not a mother at work. I’m just me. I don’t forget about my baby girl in the same way I don’t forget about my husband while I’m at work. I’m just doing what I’ve done for many years. I work. I do it because I enjoy it (and it pays the bills, except when you’re on unpaid maternity leave, then it doesn’t pay the bills that well. A great idea at the time. At the time).

And so no, my answer is no to all the people who asked me ‘was it hard?’ No. It wasn’t hard to go back to work. I like work and I like working. And mothering is sometimes a damn lot harder than work is. But don’t get me wrong, its not easier to be at work than it is to be at home. They’re both full time (full on) roles. And I think all mothers will agree that if we could be two versions of ourselves, we would be. One that could stay at home, and one that could be at work. One that could be me, for me. And one that could be me, dedicated purely to my girl and my husband. I want to be both but I also want a money tree, and a 36 hour day with at least 12 hours of straight uninterrupted sleep. But we can’t have all that we want so for now we have to be ok with a little bit of balance, and a whole lot of team work. We’re going to do the best we can, to offer Elle the best of us both, while ensuring we both remain true to ourselves.

Raise your eyebrows, and subtly suggest again that I stop working, or talk amongst yourselves about how I love my day job, or how surprised you are that I wanted to be a mom so much, but now I’m working on my career again. My love for my little girl and desire to be the best mom I can doesn’t end because I work. In fact, it amplifies the morals and values that I want to teach her about money, respect and success as a woman, while also making those three hours a day with her (yes, I know its so little) so so important. And yes, the novelty of heels and meetings may wear off and I’m sure I’m in for some challenging days ahead as I try to balance a career and a child, but for now… Damn it feels good in heels.

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How to baby

I’m writing this post for you, dear reader (from Canada, Australia, the UK and SA – yes, I see my stats and know who you are!) but mostly for myself. If I’m lucky (crazy/stupid) enough to fall pregnant again and survive those (hellishly long) 9 months before welcoming a small pink baby human into the world again, there are some things I need to make a note of to recall when the time comes.

How to baby:
Firstly – you will lose your shit. At yourself, your husband, even your new baby. It’ll be a moment. Or many moments. Your sanity returns… to a degree.

What happens in the night, stays in the night. Words spoken, thoughts thunk. We’re all tired and all go a bit loopy at 5am when we haven’t yet slept.

At some point in those early days at home you will cry.
Cry because the miracle is here, and that it’s yours. Cry because it’s yours for the rest of your life and that is a massive responsibility. Cry because it’s your problem to try and settle it and you don’t think you can. Cry. Without a because.

If the baby doesn’t want to feed – tickle his/her cheek, massage his/her hands or undress the baby. This undressing technique may land up in tears (baby’s) so approach with caution.

Nappies. You will change more nappies than you can ever imagine. You will be an expert nappy changer. Stock up with more nappies than you think you’ll need. It probably still won’t be enough.

You will smell like milk. Your baby will smell like milk. The couch will smell like milk.
You may also smell like curry. I’m not sure why.

The White noise app. Just keep it downloaded on your phone.

Infacol, Apollo-kol, Colic Calm, Telemant. Whatever you use, the winding in the first few weeks is a bitch. Remember the tap is light, slightly to their side and on the nappy line. It will eventually come out. When they’re like 10 weeks old… just keep tapping.

Give them the damn Bennetts. Every new mom battles the Bennetts guilt battle. But.. Happy baby, happy mom. Start again tomorrow. Give them the Bennetts tonight.

Nipple cream. You don’t (contrary to what you think on day 4) need to keep a tube of nipple cream in every room of the house. You do stop needing it. But before you stop, you will cry from pain. It too, shall pass.
Blooms nipple cream is the only one. You too shall promote it to any listening new mom as it is that miraculous.

Nighttime feeds. A valuable nugget of advice I received about 5 weeks into this (but that has since changed my life!) is – don’t change their nappy at the night time feeds!
A) it’ll wake them up. Then you have to settle them again. (some basic logic in that one I guess.. and that I clearly was lacking between week 0 and week 5) – unless ofcourse you need to wake them to feed them and 2) They eventually learn not to poop in the night so its a bit of training too.

These three tips compliments of my paediatrician.

3, 6, 9, 12 – day or night. Feed them on these hours. Just until they’re back at their birth weight again.
Feed for 10 minutes a side. Burp in between.
It is not an open buffet. Their sleep is as important as their feeds. If they fuss, or spit up, they miss out. They need to go back to sleep until they’re at their birth weight.

Limit your guests. It’ll save you from exhaustion. It’ll save your baby from overstimulation.

Let your baby sleep in its own cot from as early as possible. (Preparing for onslaught of co-sleeping moms here. I guess its personal choice).

You are not a human pacifier. If you behave like one, you’ll need nipple cream in every room!
Just give them a dummy. You know you’re going to land up doing it in a few weeks anyway. Leave it too long they may never take it. Then you’ll be more sorry than if you’d given it to them in the early days. You seldom see a 6 year old running around with a dummy. You’ll wean them off it. Eventually. (Theory yet to be proven)

A Nurture One cushion will be the best purchase you make. Just trust any mom who has owned one. (this tip isn’t sponsored)

Purchases – do them all pre-baby. I am 10 weeks down and still don’t have a cot mobile or a nappy bag. There is NO time nor headspace once the baby arrives to buy things. Unless they’re online.

Online shopping. Download the apps, and get comfortable with shopping online. A pram, no matter how fancy, doesn’t make grocery shopping an easy task.

Freezer Meals. Just do it. Make them yourself, order them in. Arrange it before you have the baby. You don’t need more baby clothes or flowers from friends. You need food. (ok, you do actually need flowers. More on that later).

Finally. The antenatal whatsapp group. Handy sometimes, annoying most times. Every baby is different and comparison will be the thief of any joy you have.

The pregnancy weight gain (and loss)

*3 weeks post partum*
Today I wore a pair of jeans from before. Before I had a baby. Before I was pregnant.

It took 9 months to grow a human and 3 weeks to shrink it. I kept my jeans on for one outing of a little over an hour and then came home to change back into fat pants (also known as joggers in the fashion world). The jeans fit. They just weren’t very comfortable. But we take our wins where we get them.

*7 weeks post partum*
Because as it goes, with a newborn and with Instagram scrolling, I’m finishing this blog post 7 weeks post partum. And 4 weeks on since I started it. Its not that I battled to find the words to explain myself, but rather… well, Instagram.

Unfortunately that miraculous shrinking that took place after 3 weeks stopped there. 12,5kgs up – I’m 8,5kgs down with a stubborn 4 to go. And by stubborn I mean, thank God I’m not another 9kgs up as I have definitely left my eating well habit back in September 2015.

Everyone (most people) know I have a small obsession with weight. No one else’s, just my own. I weigh myself every day. Twice a day actually (close your mouth). I suppose its an obsession with the scale really. Yep, I don’t even step on the scale after a shower as wet hair weighs more than dry hair. A theory I have never actually proven but it makes sense no? This doesn’t mean I have an eating disorder. Quite the contrary really. I have no self discipline to have an eating disorder and I like food (all the food, the bad food) too much. I just like to know what I weigh. Every day. Twice a day.

I weighed myself every day during my pregnancy. And I watched, with great trepidation, as I approached and exceeded numbers that I had ever been before nor imagined I’d ever be. Yes past that dreaded first year syndrome weight, and into the next ten of kgs. Luckily, and I really mean luckily as I wasn’t exactly careful, it stopped there and didn’t reach into another ten. It was frightening seeing those figures on the scale. But not frightening enough to stop eating scones for lunch. Woolies take my money – just take it.

I didn’t gym during my pregnancy. Well, I did. I sat on the exercise bike in trimester 2. Trimester one was rough, emotionally and physically, and by trimester 3 I was just feeling enormous and uncomfortable. I yoga’d, but lets be honest that was just a peaceful hour of stretching more than a workout. I’ve never really understood Savasana (I’m not a real yogi) but when you’re pregnant. Its a great cuddle with a pillow on the floor while noone judges.

Being a new mom is difficult, for so many reasons we’ve all read and heard about – sleep deprivation, incessant crying, 3 hour cycles of Groundhog Day. But no one talks about, or takes as seriously as me clearly, is what the hell to eat!

So you finally give birth and yay! You can eat sushi and drink ALL THE WINE. Except you can’t. Well you can on the sushi and possibly you could on the wine too, but you don’t because that’s stupid with the incessant crying and the sleep deprivation.

What no one tells you is all the things you can’t eat. Chocolate, tomatoes, dairy (DAIRY? I mean, dairy!!), coffee (coffee? Yes. I haven’t had a cup of caffeine in 6 weeks + 4 days. If I’d known life after pregnancy would be this, the morning of my labour I would’ve had a coffee instead of a hot chocolate. What was I thinking? Oh wait, I was in labour and I probably had some ill logic that chocolate would make me feel better). I didn’t even finish it.

So between feeding, burping, changing, and instagram stalking, there are little functioning hours in the day to eat. Or to eat real food. So there are rusks. And there are biscuits. And there are handfuls of milo cereal (no milk. That dairy thing. Clearly I ignored the chocolate thing). And after your mom visits, there is also millionaire shortbread (she makes the best kind!) Before you know it it’s 3pm and you’re only changing out of your PJs to prove to your husband who’ll be home in 3 hours that you did. Lunch? Agg I’ll just have another rusk then.

I’ve lived on jungle juice (juice that’s packed with sugar and rehydrate that really just keeps a new mom ticking over and functioning because she hasn’t seen caffeine in weeks!) and biscuits for the past 40 days.

While I certainly wasn’t careful on my pregnancy weight gain up, I’ve been disgustingly bad on the way down. But now shit is real. I still fit into those pre-baby jeans…but I wobble. My boobs are remarkably large (I scoff in the face of my pregnant self, as she has nothing on my new mom self!) and I haven’t swiped my card at the gym since about March. Yes I know I had my baby 3 months later in June, but some people are better at that exercising shit than others. I am an other.

I have no idea how to successfully shed the extra kilos and convince my body it prefers muscles that work to rusks. And I have little idea how I’m going to possibly consider eating meals at lunch time. I even miss the chicken salad poison that I could get at the office canteen. Poison it was but at least it was ready to eat.

The scale may drop in kilos but let’s be honest, thin skin has nothing on toned skin. Which isn’t a saying like brown fat looks better than white fat (which it does and I really can’t wait for summer so that I can bask in the sun and at least bronze up this postpartum belly that remained untanned during the summer of 2015 thanks to baby human growing inside that was light sensitive – according to google.)

So I may be bronzed in 6 months time, but that isn’t really a plan to post-partum myself to health (yes I know post-partum isn’t a verb). I’ve pondered this a while (as its now 9 weeks since our baby human joined us) and my natural inclination would be to juice detox and then hit up Kayla’s workout. But according to doc I still have a few weeks to go before I do any core training (something about muscles weaving back together) and I can’t imagine functioning with a newborn on a juice detox. I recall the struggle well. I think it’d be easier to drink ALL THE WINE instead.

So, for now I’ll have another rusk with a cup of tea (only made to dunk the rusk into. Its rooibos and its black) and look at pictures of my former self in my former life, with smaller boobs (hips and waist) and get back to you once I have a plan.

 

 

Pregnancy: the original brain sapper 

I always promised myself I wasn’t going to let pregnancy affect my day to day.

I’d wear heels. I’d continue to socialise. I was certainly not going to overheat. (I realise now trying to control a bodily function while pumping twice the amount of blood through you is daft but these were my pregnancy goals.)

I certainly wasn’t going to get ‘porridge brain’ and I wasn’t going to blame anything on it (because I wouldn’t get it).

Pregnancy is by far the most all thought consuming thing I’ve ever done. Barring falling in love where every thing like green grass or something stupid like a crane  will lead your thoughts to someone.

Two nights ago my husband was telling me about an article he had read – the intricacies of sales pitches and understanding power struggles in the work place on a subconscious level… Something I’d normally be fascinated with and debating about. But I didn’t have an opinion. I was busy wondering if grey will make the nursery feel cold in winter.

THAT was what I was thinking about.

Just for a change.

And by for a change, I’m being sarcastic. It is ALL I think about these days. Not if the grey will make it cold, but rather: The baby. Has it moved lately? Was that a kick? I hope it’s going to be ok. Omg, I have so much shit I need to buy. I’m never going to have Mark to myself again. What am I going to do all day for four months of maternity leave. I wonder if we can get Netflix. Will watching Netflix make me stupid? Is four months enough time with the baby? We need to sell that double bed in the spare room. I need to find a compactum. Where am I going to get 3 grand for a baby monitor. Blockout blinds – I need a quote. Shit, another braxton hick contraction. Damn that hurts. I wonder if anyone will mind if I just crouch into child’s pose. Crikey Kim, pay attention to what this person is saying!!

An internal battle surges. Pay attention. Don’t trip. Try wear heels today. Don’t eat all the cake. Don’t BE STUPID.

Except… when you make the colossal fail and forget to show up at a friends child’s birthday party, take ice cold showers, wear Havaianas to work and lean forward on your desk in a manipulated downward dog position while hoping your CEO isn’t in the boardroom behind you – you realise: the pregnancy has won.

I am all the things I didn’t want to be.

I am basically barefoot, pregnant and with porridge for brains.

The lists

What’s more overwhelming than washing your hands in a public restroom to discover there’s only a dirty towel to dry them with? Receiving the forwarded baby/hospital bag/hints and tips lists from well-meaning friends and acquaintances via email.

What’s so scary about a list? you may ask. When I received the first one, just named ‘Baba list’ it was preceded with a whatsapp message asking me if I was ready for it. Actually list number 2 (and 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3) were also only  sent after I had agreed to receive them. Because, you really need to be mentally and emotionally ready for the list before you attempt to read them.

The Baba list I had been told about when the sender (previously mentioned as Mrs M) had her first baby (baby m) five years ago. (Yes, that’s how far behind I am, but anyway). She had received the list from a friend, and we had agonised (mostly laughed) over its contents and tried to determine how much of it was serious. Apparently for the writer, all of it was. It’s a different story when you are receiving it. For yourself. As a heads up to what’s in store in a few months time.

The lists are not just shopping lists – although they are in a way because after reading it and quietly screaming between your two ears, you realise there’s a fair amount you’re going to need to go out and buy. ‘The list’ is a list of items, of all sorts from nappies to creams and divided between ‘for the hospital’, ‘at home’, ‘for the baby’, ‘for you’, ‘for the medicine cupboard’ etc.

Still doesn’t sound scary, right? Right.

It is not the items (some of which you don’t even know what they are), but rather – it’s the descriptions that accompany each item that will scare the shit out of you and wonder if there’s some way you can bypass the next few months (years) and why you didn’t seriously consider adopting a 14 year old.

For example
Nappy rash creamdon’t put rash cream on at every change. Use an emollient like baby bottom butter (from Waitrose)/vaseline/ natural balm to provide a protection barrier from the wee & poo and only use nappy rash cream when there is a rash. There are many different types and they all vary in their protection. These are the main ones and are listed in order of strength: Sudocrem/Drapolene, Bepanthen, Metanium

Nappy Rash. Remind me what that is again?

As these lists have done the rounds before they landed in my inbox, there are also the additional notes to the descriptions (that the original writer of the list wrote) that you need to decipher your way through.

Like this

Microwave sterilising steaming container – these are fantastic! Quick and easy to use. You can also use Milton sterilising liquid, but it can apparently irritate baby’s tummy ☹ . Buy the Medela steaming bags for travelling! So convenient and you can take them away with you etc.

Which would be fine and dandy if I knew what you did with the sterliser bag or container in the first place. I know I know, to sterlise. But what happened to hot water?

Then there’s just the outright scary parts to the list (no list is created equal and to be fair, this was only found on one list. She’s an honest lass, but this put my head into overboard spin mode).

“Course Salt a huge packet, every time you go to loo you need to rinse with salt water. I found its great to make a sports drink bottle with the cap you pull up as after the loo you just squeeze the salt water over the area to rinse”

Now I haven’t really given much thought to how I’m going to deliver our baby human, I’m still hoping that by osmosis is an option. But when I read about the need for a salt water concoction that I need to have in a squeeze water bottle by my bedside, my available options seem to diminish to just the one – convertible please.
So here I sit, with at least four different lists, a dry mouth and the strong will to burst into tears. I need to programmatically consolidate the advice, create one list, and go shopping. I need to feel in charge of what’s going to happen next.

So I email the lists to Hawk. He’s good at making order out of confusion, but apparently this one is for me.

And so I open excel (who doesn’t love an excel list) and wade through the notes, through the comments and with Google at my side to understand what ‘Telament colic drops‘ are used for and when.

The baby kicks me. I want to kick me too. I am scared beyond words by the enormity ahead of us of being responsible for a baby human in the real world. It’s bad enough trying to remember to not eat deli meat while baby h is on the inside! Knowing what to do once he/she is on the outside is almost too daunting for me to deal with. I think about wine. I count how many weeks are left, how many days. And I refer back to the lists. No one comments that it’s scary. No one comments that you won’t know what the hell to do. No one mentions wine.
These moms who write these lists and are so damn good at having babies.
And then I find it, towards the end of list 3.2 headed: life-changing (really? You think?!)

“It’s incredibly testing on your relationships as its uncharted territory, you’re tired & everyone has an opinion & some ‘helpful’ suggestions. So all in all, easier said than done but try to….rest when you can, accept any help that is offered by family and friends, accept any meals cooked by anyone!, and prepare for being patient and understanding about what you is going through. Every day is different, the baby will change its routine & so when it’s bad, know it won’t last forever, and they do grow up & sleep through the night!”

It doesn’t put my mind at ease. I’m still panicked. The excel document has 6 tabs, and there seems like an awful lot to buy that isn’t available through any online shops (when does clicks go online??).

But at least one list was honest. Which means perhaps I’m not entirely kak at being pregnant.

Pregnancy fashion and the lists

‘Oh my gosh Kim, look at your boobs’

And then the group of 3 girls and 2 guys discussed my boobs, their size, and how one should get a mould made of their boobs while pregnant to take to their plastic surgeon a few years later to recreate them with silicone.

My boobs weren’t a bad size to start with so, no – I probably won’t be making any mould or going to any plastic surgeon (She says now pre-breast feeding and droopy mom boob happens, while she continues to believe in the strength of doing flys). But this isn’t about my boobs.
This is about what I was wearing. You’d think, that for such a comment to be made – I was wearing a plunging neckline showing them off, but I wasn’t. I was just wearing a normal vest top.

Deciding what to wear daily is not my favourite part of my 24 hours – doing it pregnant has probably been one of the most challenging parts of the whole pregnancy. (That and the lists, but I’ll get to that).

I stopped being able to do my shorts and jeans up somewhere around when my hip bones started shattering – about 16 weeks in. My solution was easy – the masterful hair elastic trick. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out, and as long as my shirt was long enough, we were all good.
Somewhere around 20 weeks I decided to give up on shorts (probably when I had to come off a Maldivian beach and back to the office) and so I opted for dresses. I’m a dress wearing kinda girl anyway and my wardrobe is full of them. I was never into tight dresses as I’ve always felt self-concious about my tummy (pah! oh if only I knew then what I know now!) so really – it made perfect sense. They should all fit.

That was until I whispered into my work-person’s ear “please come to the bathroom with me”. This wasn’t a girly moment skinner session. It was a plea for help. It was because I couldn’t fucking breath as my rib cages were being crushed into my lungs by the strength of the pseudo scuba fabric my dress was made from. She unzipped me. And I stood in a bathroom cubicle trying not to cry. I left early that day. Just so I could get home and take my dress off. Its been banished to the guestroom cupboard now along with any dress that isn’t designed like a sack.

I was in H&M on the weekend (all 26 weeks of me) and along with a handful of maternity jeans, dresses and tops, I eyed a pair of ‘normal women that aren’t growing a human’ leggings. Or Jeggings. You know, stretchy pants that any women, 26 weeks or not, should be able to wear. Should.

I grabbed a pair one size up, because I’m realistic – I’m about 6kg’s heavier since September’s surprise, and the baby human is growing in my tummy but also in my ass, plus while the hip shattering may have come to an end, I know the outcome was that they’re wider and so I’m not under any illusions about size.
Until there I was. Desperately clawing at a pair of black leggings that were stuck half way up my thigh willing them to slide up higher over my 26 week ass. They didn’t. And I was too exhausted to pull them back down again. It was the ultimate Ross and the baby powder/cream/leather pants moment. I left them mid-thigh for a while – placed my head against the cool mirror and thought, 14 more weeks… What the fuck am I going to wear!!!

Half naked Kim is something that happens a lot these days. More often than not on my bed and in tears, the occasional dressing room moment is creeping in too now. Mostly its after a long hot day in the office (or on set) – where the discomfort of knickers cutting into my side, bra’s that are too tight across my rib cage, or feet that are aching just for being attached to my body cause me to leave said office or shoot-set, arrive home, strip naked and land up on the bed with declarations to the ceiling  of “I am not equipped for this!”. Granted, this is followed by half an hour in the pool – the best invention ever to ease the discomfort of being large and wearing tight clothing. Now… If i can just work out how to be in a pool constantly for the next 14 weeks.

Pregnancy fashion is a mission. I’m a girl who still wants to look decent. I want a good-fitting bra that is still pretty (no, I don’t want to have to wear a nursing, non-underwire beige bra thanks). I want a pair of knickers that don’t cut into my hips (you think I’m kidding, I’m cutting off circulation with all my existing pairs) and I want to look fashionable while I grow this human.
But apparently in South Africa, I must be the only woman that feels this way as retailers just fail to offer beautiful fashion, in bump mode. Suddenly everything is dowdy, its soft stretchy fabrics and ‘basics’.

After my fashion director said ‘its about the accessories’, and quickly avoided the subject of assisting me with my fashion crisis, I’ve taken to pinterest. What I discovered wasn’t life-changing, but it did indicate that being pregnant in winter is a whole lot more easy on your clothing imagination than if you’re pregnant in summer.

 

In winter, you have leggings, boots and blanket wraps. You have JEANS.

In summer… you have…. a lot of being hot.

I’ve never been one to wish away Summer. In fact I’ve always been the opposite, wishing the whole year could be dedicated to shorts, sandals and dresses! I have more than once whined to Hawk about trying to design a life that means 8 months in SA and 4 months abroad to avoid the dreaded winter. But suddenly, I’m craving the winter. An increased body temperature plus having NOTHING to wear will do that to you.

 

5 months in with baby H(uman)

The past 5 months have been both a blessing and some miserable horrible curse that is bestowed upon women and called a miracle.
Yes, that is (perhaps a tad over) dramatic – but seriously, no one EVER told me how difficult being pregnant would be.

Lets start at the very beginning: morning sickness.
Which really isn’t limited to the morning. I had this impression that I’d wake up, feel nauseous, possibly throw up (but only if I was of the very unlucky small group of women that this happens to) and then get on with my day as I harboured my secret waiting for the 12 week scan before I made my announcement.

That’s what I expected.

I did NOT expect morning sickness to resemble day 2 of that horrible 2 day hangover from the wedding where you danced all night and had more champagne than you had food. Where you crave ALL the hangover food, but can’t eat any of it. As I lay on my bed announcing to my husband that undeniably ‘I was going to die’ and that ‘this isn’t worth it’ – I tried to remember that I had actually wanted this (husband subtly-perhaps not so subtly- reminded me too) and that I had, in the build up to this surprise, paid a lot of money to get myself into this state.
WHHYYYYYYYYYYY?

While keeping my shit fairly together, refraining from falling asleep in traffic, at my desk or in those charming meetings about meetings every corporate suffers from, there were the scans. Which, apparently, don’t always go according to plan. Something I’d never considered either.

All jokes aside, falling pregnant is just the first part – staying pregnant, or in fact, having a healthy baby and pregnancy is a big challenge too.
As a 34 year old, I have heard countless times ‘you’re still young’ when people heard that we hadn’t had children yet and put it down to our careers and travel ambitions (I may have assisted in leading them to believe this was the reason). However turns out, 34 isn’t young. At ALL. And your risk of having an issue with your pregnancy increase exponentially after 30.
Yes, EXPONENTIALLY.

Women at 35 have a 1 in 270 chance of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. That seems pretty high to me.
At the fetal assessment clinic, a place I came to know rather well by no desire of my own but rather the life that was thrown at me, I was told that they will detect a problem with the scan in 1 in 5 of the people they see. And quickly – I went from being an expert in infertility to becoming an (self-taught) expert in chromosomal abnormalities and accompanying procedures in which to detect them.

There are syndromes out there that will make you very grateful you are just you. At your desk job. Sitting in traffic. Buying milk. Be grateful. Every damn day.

Hips, knees, ankles, groins and groans.
I knew that the baby grew inside of me. Obviously. I had just never given it thought about what would happen to the fairly compact frame (and by compact I mean considering my height) the rest of me exists in.

Oh my actual F! I can safely say I have no pain threshold (something I had never really thought of before and no guesses for what type of birth I’m electing for). Between 16 – 20 weeks were some of the most painful nights of my life. Could my bones actually be breaking as I walked? As I lay on my side? As I turned over in bed? Had this happened to ANYONE before? Or does every women just keep it to themselves?

WOMEN! Hear me now. It is our duty to tell each other the truth. Yes, we may cause the extinction of the human race through too much honesty. But really? Save a fellow woman and tell her the truth about the pain.

And while at night, my hip bones shattered in my sleep – by day, my thigh gap ceased to exist. Not that I had a skinny bitch thigh gap to start with but suddenly walking is really awkward. That duck walk pregnant women do? That waddle? That isn’t to do with the baby. That is the attempt to feel normal because walking with one foot in front of the other means a weird rubbing together of thighs.

And then the announcement. The moment you feel risk-free to tell everyone (or you’re showing and don’t want the girls in your hometown to run into you and think you got really fat at Christmas).

Opt for a cheesy Facebook moment? A group whatsapp message. We went for the one-by-one approach and from the reactions of some of our bests – you’d think we were telling them THEY were pregnant. There were tears, there were screams… but my personal favourite was “HOW??”. Well… how do we answer that? Do you really want to know? (After the one-on-one approach became too emotional – to watch others elate in a joy that made our joy look like we’d only found R5 in our jeans pocket, we opted for a facebook photo announcement and let 186 people like our photo instead).

So, 16 weeks… announcement over, first trimester done. Nausea?.. oh wait – not so fast…

Apparently pregnancy will just play tricks on you, like when you’re about to order sushi and then you remember you can can’t and your friend sniggers in your face because you sniggered in hers as you crammed your mouth full of salmon rainbow rolls a few years ago. Yes, just when you’re think you’re fine you’ll find yourself bent over a toilet bowl in the Waterfront Ladies thinking ‘who can I phone to come fetch me and save me from this agony’. That is.. before you find old jellytots in your bag and you weigh up your options of ‘die in the Waterfront toilet cubicle’ vs ‘die from eating old jellytots’. I took my chances.

Never say you’re fine, or that the nausea is gone. It is never gone.

Week 11’s bumpie (because a bumpie is a thing in the world of being pregnant) is all about ‘OMG! I’m so showing already’. No 11-week pregnant self. You are not showing. You had a toasted cheese samie for supper because that is all you could eat because you were suffering the longest hangover of your life. Your 23-week pregnant looks at you and says ‘wow, I really was thin. Why did I complain so much about being ‘fat’ before (pregnancy)’. And suddenly it dawns on you. Your body will never be the same again. It is fucked.
You start following Kayla’s movement and her army of #bbgmums and swear to yourself that you’ll be one of those mums from June. But lets be honest, I barely managed Kayla before I had a child and with enough sleep. How the hell will I #sweatwithKayla post-partum. So fucked.

You cry. Because you’re starting to not be able to put your takkies on anymore. Because your hips hurt when you sleep. Because you wanted this and now you’re being an ungrateful cow and you’re moaning more than necessary to people who really don’t care.

But mostly because everyone else is so good at being pregnant, and you seriously kak at it.

Apparently these are pregnancy hormones. Its hard to tell really between the sobs and the Kit Kat.

Retail therapy MUST be the way to fix things. It fixes everything.
This is the worst idea that ever happened to a pregnant person. NOTHING fits. Nothing. Your bra doesn’t even fit. Everything looks like crap. And your feet hurt from walking around the never ending Waterfront.

The solution – shop for the baby. We need a pram, so lets start there.

Suddenly I’m looking at offroad trail running 15kg heavy prams because… you know, after I have the baby and join Kayla’s army, I’m going to go on 10km trail runs. In the middle of winter. (When my baby is due). Even though I’ve never done a trail run before in my life.

Stupid idea buying a pram first. Stupid.

Yoga.
Pre-natal yoga will help calm all this shit down and also help with the pain. Pre-natal yoga will also make you giggle as 17 pregnant women caress their bellies and do hip rolls. (Why is noone else finding this even a little bit funny?). I’ll just keep my hands on my hips thanks. I think they’re safest here. I’m not so good with the caressing my belly thing. (Officially I am not the hippy type. I’m not sure what breathing in to the centre of my baby is. But I’ll keep doing the yoga just for the stretching).

And so here I am. 24 weeks along and lying on my bed in fat pants, looking down over my belly that contains a baby human that is already 30cm long. My stomach has already stretched so far that for the first time in my life I can actually see the bottom of my belly button and I wonder how those girls from high school that I’m friends with on Facebook could look so damn glamorous and stylish when they were pregnant. I work at a fashion retailer. Surely, I too – should look glamourous. Instead I’m bursting out of a bra that I promise fit me 4 months ago and had to take my (maternity) jeans off as soon as I got home to change into these (even) fat(ter) pants.

Then it moves. The baby moves so much that I can actually see its bum/head/elbow/knee make a lump through my stretched skin. Its not the first time it moves. It happens all the time really (the worst being mid conversation – because no one else wants to be told the baby just moved. And I certainly don’t want to become that woman who tells people it did). In fact, I liken all this tossing and turning around my stomach that the baby Human does to motion sickness.

I’ve learnt so much about being pregnant, while being pregnant. I can hardly say I recommend it because it is really hard. The stretching, the aches, the crying at an answer given to a Quora question. Through the gritted teeth of ‘advice’ you didn’t ask for about drug-free child birth (that you won’t be doing), the endless hours researching prams, and the evening oilyness after drenching myself in bio oil in an attempt to save my skin from the doom of stretch marks (that are apparently 70% hereditary anyway – mom, please tell me you didn’t get them!).

Being pregnant is really the least amount of fun I’ve had since the day I was retrenched. Actually that was more fun as we had champagne.

But when it moves. And when it kicks, as its just done now. That kinda makes it cool to think that baby H(uman) will be with us in 4 months time.

Maldivian moments with the Baby Human