Friday, 16 September 2011

Things I have enjoyed about pregnancy

As many of you know, I am now over 38 weeks pregnant, so well and truly in that stage of pregnancy where I may be having a baby anytime. Being so close to the end, I have been reflecting on what I've enjoyed about pregnancy, and what I haven't. This is what I’ve enjoyed:

The scans. Given that we haven't had any bad news in any of ours (and I appreciate that if we had I would feel quite differently about them), the scans have been a thoroughly moving experience. The 12 week scan was especially special as baby moved his arms and legs, resulting in Tane and I looking at each other as if to say "there really is a baby in there!" It was cool.

The random cravings. These have been quite funny at times, and I have rediscovered food that I hadn't really eaten in years - cheese, fruit by the tin, and hot chips. Mmmmmm. Given I'm a person that tends to stick to my favourite foods when selecting what to eat, it's been quite fun having cravings for foods that take me in all sorts of directions. Of note, the entire avocado I ate on toast in one sitting, and the short-lived Big Mac phase.

Feeling baby kick. This is something I still enjoy, even now when he's been kicking for months and sometimes leave me feeling a little winded.

Speculation. What will he look like? Whose eyes will he have? Will he have much hair? The speculation about what he'll be like has been great fun.

It's interesting and exciting. It really is, going through so many changes in such a short space of time. I don't just mean physical changes either, but emotional changes that Tane and I have gone through to get ready for baby - things like moving to the ‘burbs, starting to notice what brand of pram other people have (whereas before they were all prams to me), and having discussions about swaddling. Pregnancy has opened an entire new world of things to think and talk about, and I am very, very excited about having a baby.

Getting excellent advice from other women. While there is a flip side to this (see below), I have enjoyed much of the excellent advice that many other women have given me about pregnancy and baby. I have also learnt a lot about other women's experiences, and found out new things from my Mum about my own birth and her pregnancies with me.

Things I have not enjoyed about pregnancy

Getting bad or disempowering advice from other women. This is the flip side of my last point, the bad or disempowering advice that some women give.
Being told you might miscarry if you walk on your feet in a certain way, or anecdotal theories plucked from the back streets of the Internet.
Being told about labour by some women in an unhelpful way. Some ladies are great with advice, and I hope to put their advice into practice. Some women, though, seem to just like telling gory stories and watching me squirm. Being told by some women about how bad it will all get, just wait, I'll see. I don't doubt that labour will be hard and agree that 38 weeks is harder on the body than 28 weeks, but when tired and sore at 28 weeks it is not helpful being told that it will get much, much worse. Especially when it didn't get much, much worse (touch wood thus far), just more waddling and less energy.

Worry about things going wrong. This is one aspect of pregnancy I haven't enjoyed, that little nagging voice in the back of your mind about what could go wrong. I understand though that this is a part of parenting as well, so may never be free of this one!

Being judged by others about food/drink/health. This isn't true for all people, but there are times when I can feel the judgement coming my way from someone who disagrees with food or drink I am consuming. And, sometimes the person judging may be in the right (ie Big Mac phase mentioned above), but that makes it more annoying, not less!

Feeling soooo tired some days. I really have had an easy pregnancy so can't really complain, but some days I feel like I have just run 15km although all I have actually done is walked to the shops. The only times in my life I'd ever felt like that before was when I had actually run 15km.

Gendered clothes. Earlier in pregnancy I got very frustrated at baby clothes being so clearly divided into boys' and girls' sections. Not only does it make no sense and have no basis in nature, but the pink/blue divide appears to be one giant marketing ploy. This rant aside I have become more wearily accepting that this is the reality of the children's clothing market, but I still don't like it.

The baby industry. Shops like the Baby Factory and Baby City have a lot going for them, and I have spent a great deal of time (and money) in them over the past months. At risk of sounding overly cynical, though, it seems that there really is a baby industry centred around making mums-to-be feel that they are somehow failing their unborn children by not buying certain things, or buying cheaper versions or things like cots. Because of this, it is impossible to know how much you actually need something. Navigating the baby industry really was one area where I really did appreciate the advice of other women who have had kids themselves.