The Happy Baby Project

I’ve been quiet over the last few weeks because life has changed somewhat, and it has something to do with the little wriggly person that’s been growing inside me. Yes, the HPL is having a baby!

And while I’m wildly happy about it now, there were times in first 12 weeks when I really struggled to remind myself of all I’ve learnt about being positive. Of course I appreciate how lucky I am, and what an exciting thing is about to happen to us, but my body’s reaction to the news wasn’t exactly pleasant. And it took this wonderful blog post by Caroline No to give me the strength to say IT’S BEEN BLOODY SHIT! I’ve been a bit rubbish at this pregnancy stuff! And finally – who cares!

My skin decided it didn’t like the preggie hormone or the preggie hormone didn’t like certain foods anymore and broke out in giant red itchy spots all over my chest, neck and face, which might or might not have been hives. I got teenage acne. I developed an agonising pain in my right buttock which turned out to be my pelvic girdle pinging out of place, making walking nigh on impossible. I found myself sobbing like a heartbroken teenager for hours on end, once hysterically laughing and sobbing at once, not knowing why. I felt nauseous and fat and bloated and frumpy, unable to squeeze into my old clothes but not big enough for maternity gear. I ate three burgers in a week. I missed wine and hangovers, still do. And don’t get me started on itchy boobs and cracked nipples and giant wire-less maternity bras which make cycling to work an interesting exercise in pot-hole avoidance and agonising bouncing droopy pendulous bosoms….

A cumulative force of utter exhaustion, the need to cry repeatedly and teenage acne-like skin meant I lived as a hermit for weeks – not even wanting to go for a walk and covering my face when I saw anyone including a man reading our meter: “Don’t Look at Meeeee!”.

There were sudden periods of anger, an unbearable urge to snap. The Poor Chef got the brunt of it, being the only person in my vicinity for much of the time. You put a wine glass in the dishwasher the wrong way – YOU IDIOT!!! You didn’t put the plant pot in the right place – YOU RUINED MY BIRTHDAY!!! And how could he understand the raging hormones that were filling my body with negativity and fury and sadness, when he was just really really happy?

But on the cusp of 12 weeks things got better. I got my energy back, which built up to something like hysteria when I realised I could finally socialise and actually see my friends again (lunches and walks along the Thames best – drunken dinners not to the most fun when you’re sipping on Schloer all night and wondering why everyone’s laughing at an unfunny joke). My skin cleared up and my hair went from greasy to full. I contacted friends, I felt positive, I started thinking about the future. And The Poor Chef came out of hiding.

And then this week we had the scan. I was a bag of nerves, wondering if it was there at all, or alive or deformed, or multiple. But then we saw him (for we call him “he” after the scan but we don’t know if he is a she yet of course). What a gorgeous wee wriggler. He was tiny, of course. But with a round little belly and a lovely face with big lips. And beautiful frogs legs and two feet, which he kicked in the air before turning his little bottom towards us. I can’t feel him yet but my tummy is getting more solid and I love the little reminder that he’s there, wriggling and waiting.

So now it’s different. I’ve told people which really helps. I’ve bought a few bigger clothes and am enjoying better skin and shaking off the indignity of the last few weeks. I’m loving my new body – the round curves, the bigger breasts, the hardening belly. I’m so proud of my body, so impressed at its strength and the way it seems to know exactly what to do. I can see why women who’ve given birth often want to do marathons  afterwards – and I feel the same – because I love my body in a way I never have before and I’m amazed at what it is capable of and I want to get fit, not just work out at the gym to lose weight, but get stronger and faster and show myself what my body can actually do. I feel womanly and dare I say a bit beautiful.

I am already aware of competitive mum syndrome and what lies ahead. There are the I’m-still-a-party-girl mums (I stayed up til 2am and wasn’t tired at all! Yes the baby is two weeks old lets book that girls’ holiday to Ibiza!). There are the body-beautiful mums (I’ve not put on ANY weight! In fact I’ve LOST weight! Who’s the first for botox?!). There are the capitalist mums (I’ve just bought the most fabulous baby papoose to match my bugaboo pram travel system in a neutral colour to match my tastefully decorated nursery!). And there are the this-is-totally-natural-to-me mums (vitamins? I didn’t bother with those. Epidurals? I’m just going to power breathe with my doula).

So what sort of mum will I be? Well who knows. But I’m not pining my party days any more. In fact I’m loving getting to bed at 10pm and being cosy under a woollen blanket on the sofa. My favourite recent purchase is a great pair of sheepskin slippers.  I’m looking forward to my body getting big and round because I have a feeling it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be doing and I really want to take care of it from now on. And I believe what my child really needs is our unconditional love, and a favourite cuddly toy which is soft and old and worn, and being read to all the time, and its grannies and granddads and aunty and uncle teaching it about life and the world and where it came from.

I know one thing for sure. This is the biggest adventure of our lives and its one that I’m finally ready for. And sometimes it will take all I’ve learned about happiness and positivity to keep me going when times are tough, but the joy this little thing will bring will teach me more about life and love than I ever imagined possible.

So wriggle away wee man, we love you very much, and we can’t wait to meet you in March!

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16 responses to “The Happy Baby Project

  1. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS. xxx

  2. Brilliant blog and unbelievably exciting! xxx

  3. That was so utterly lovely. Congratulations!

  4. Oh bless you, I had a pregnancy just like that too (except I carried on feeling dreadful until, ooh, week 37, when I went into labour). You are fully entitled to say it’s shit, because it just is. Some people feel uh-mazing; others of us have to just stagger through it. It’s worth it in the end.

    And for god’s sake, ignore all those maternal tribes: it’s just their insecurity oozing out. Do it how you want to do it. Actually: do it how you can bear to do it. It’s not a political statement, it’s your life.

    So excited for you xx

    • Thank you!!! I just had an argumemt with a pregnant woman about whether or not it is OK to eat smoked salmon – mental! Oh and the forum on Baby Center? Makes me cringe and / or feel terrible each time i read it!

      Totally agree with what you say, just have to remind myself of it sometimes! x

  5. I have to say this post brought a tear to my eye as someone who fears I may never experience this. So beautifully written. BIG congratulations x

  6. I’m happily an “unhappy pregnant” I felt awful for 4 months, just starting to feel better now at around 18 weeks but I wish I could have the same great attititude about my body! I just feel really fat, even though I don’t really look pregnant to anyone who doesn’t know I am finding it very weird having this expanding middle – and boobs – and bum – and everything really! Hoping I will get used to it soon or just find a better way to avoid mirors!

  7. Glad I ran across your blog!!!! I totally agree with ya…pregnancy SUCKS!!! We are 11 weeks with our second now so I am right in that nausea/extremely tired stage. AND I gotta keep up with our 9 month old! :)
    With the first, I threw up every single night for 18 weeks. I secretly wanted my husband to get a stomach virus. My back killed. THEN the hips started to kill me too! I had the same thing you did with my right hip, and still do, it’s terrible!! It’ll make you hobble around for a while! I then proceeded to go into labor at 32 weeks. They of course had to stop it by sending me home with a med that brings your blood pressure down to the “almost dead” level. So I felt like a dead fish the last 2 months. If you want someone to sympathize with you, come see me at http://www.birminghambell.com and we can keep up with each others bumps! And talk each other down from punching all those A-holes out in the real world! :)
    CONGRATULATIONS BTW!
    -BELL

  8. Aww, what lovely news! Have been a massive fan of your blog for a while now its so nice to see all the positive changes in your life.

    P.S. I also kind of owe you a thank you. Your blog on love and admission as to how you met The Chef prompted me to try the same method and I’m now loved up for the first time in my life! So… THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

    x

  9. Congratulations! I’m due in march too. Let’s get fat together :-)

    P.s – my skin got better, and now its bad again. Oh, and hives are apparently linked with having a boy.

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