During my first pregnancy, I was 16 weeks pregnant at Christmas time. I had a teeny bump at that point, more of a thickening really. I was scared to even sneeze in case I hurt the baby and was catching 10+ hours of glorious sleep a night, whimsically unaware of what was to come, delighted in the fact that our planned venture into parenthood was happening the following spring.
This time around though, I am going to be just over 29 weeks pregnant. I feel like I look like a bloated sea lion…. possibly at some angles even like Ursula the sea witch. Plus, this time was completely unplanned so I have not mentally made the choice to give up the usual things you sacrifice during incubating an infant. Things like, oh I dunno… your body, sleep (albeit that’s been long gone for 18+ months by now), alcohol… brie.
Christmas parades in front of us pregnant women as a form of mocking torture. I seem to be surrounded by endless occasions and parties where everyone gets dressed up and indulges in drink after marvellous drink, drink I am badly in need of … because this time around I know exactly what I am letting myself in for and, as much as I am looking forward to meeting our second born, I am also petrified and very much in need of some dutch courage. Irony at its best!
The other evening, I went out for dinner with some old work friends. They had lovingly altered their plans from being just a cocktail evening to incorporating some form of dinner so that myself + bump could come along and join in before they ran off to their booked booth at a swanky cocktail bar… literally, they RAN… the side effect of motherhood is that when you get to go out out, you run to the bar… no messing!
I felt so jealous. I love these girls, they are gorgeous inside and out. But I was so green with envy of them as I watched them teeter off down the road in high heels. For one, they wore high heels! And glamorous outfits full of sparkle for Christmas time and had lovely slim figures that filled them to top all else off. Ursula here was wearing her one trusty wrap around dress that she discovered in a charity shop two months ago*, complete with thick woolly tights and sensible brown flat boots. I felt frumpy and ridiculous yet thankful I hadn’t worn sparkle to continue the theme for the night as I would most definitely have resembled a christmas bauble!
They ordered drinks. Massive jugs of cocktails, one of them filled with my all time favourite of Long Island Iced Tea (SOB!) whilst I tried to show enthusiasm as I slugged down my pink strawberry daiquiri mocktail.
NOTE: All mocktails taste of fruit juice. They are coloured to look like cocktails but essentially, they all taste of a fruit juice mixed with lemonade. It’s like trying to eat a piece of fruit instead of chocolate for dessert… better than nothing yet still completely depressing and unsatisfying. Even the word Mocktail is being highlighted whilst I type this as being questionable for spell check… its not even a word nor possibly even a concept that is acknowledged in the world of vocabulary!
So, I dealt with my feelings by doing the only logical thing a pregnant woman can do. I ordered a burrito. It made sense to take solace in the fact that hey, I may not be able to drink delicious concoctions of tingle inducing alcohol, but I can indulge in some carb laden dish with melted cheese and pulled beef without any guilt or regret. Except, I did feel the latter as soon as I had finished because it became wedged somewhere around the baby and I became aware that the nearest I was going to get to a tingle for the evening was that of acute heart burn. Which I did… somewhere around 1am.
Walking around in town on a Saturday night after 8pm with a blossoming baby bump is an amusing experience as well. People part the ways for you… some in a very exaggerated fashion that leaves you wondering if you have farted and not known about it (very possible… subconscious flatulence is a common pregnancy side effect… I swear). At first I thought I was being paranoid but when a group of ladies chose to walk along the curb and risk oncoming traffic so that I could have the pavement to myself, I began to realise a recurring theme. Another small gathering who were smoking outside another bar briefly locked eye contact with me as I passed, which then quickly faltered onto my baby bump. Cue lots of flapping to get the smoke away from me and more dodging out of the way. All rather considerate really, but it just added to my feeling out of place on the night life scene. I felt like I should have been clanging a bell and yelling ‘Unclean!’ at one point. It was a relief to get to my friends and not be alone.
I was home by 10.30pm, paid my friend for babysitting and sat down on the sofa with a hot chocolate, a little more bloated and a little more sad than I was before I had left for the evening. To add insult to injury, my dear PB was out on a swanky work do where he and his co workers were also dressed up to the nines and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. And heaven knows they all deserve their time out, they all work hard and deserve to let their hair down more than anyone I know. But it just felt that little bit more like I was on my own, feeling frumpy and sad and as if I was missing out.
I know there will be a time where I can fit into a dress and feel confident again… it’s just the idea of all the hard work that lies before me to get there that is daunting (that includes pushing a baby out, recovering and then skipping burritos for the foreseeable future). I know there will be a time where I will be able to drink my own weight in cocktails if I want to… the irony is I won’t because the idea of coping as a mum with an enlarged liver and a dehydrated brain makes me recoil in horror and want to drink mineral water for the next 20 years. And I know that the majority of all of these thoughts and feelings are singular to myself and myself only, no doubt exacerbated by a hormonal surge brought on by the growth of the tiny little person who is happily residing in my tummy.
But, for now, I am grieving the times I used to be the pretty girl in the sparkly dress. I am missing my long island iced tea and the funny and tipsy chats I used to have from the inside of a group of girls as we teetered down the street in high heels. I could feel guilty for feeling this way, some would even think me ungrateful and irrational. But, I see it as being human. By no means am I saying that I don’t want to be pregnant or have this baby, I am merely acknowledging that the sacrifices we make to bear them can hit us smack in the face sometimes.
And this time, I felt it. Right between the eyes.
*I have nothing against said wrap dress being from a charity shop. Nor really even anything against said wrap dress as it is nice and comfy and relatively flattering to wear… for a sea lion of course.
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