Sceptimum

One sceptical mother (of two)

Archive for the category “Pregnancy”

4 types of WTF – buying for a new baby (the sweary-weary edition)

With under 4 weeks until my due date, we have spent the last few weekends running around the shops trying to buy everything we need when – and this is the fun bit – we have no idea what we need.

Many of the shops and baby websites supply check-lists of essential items for newborns. This would be helpful if they didn’t appear to be written by the sort of people who recommend you take 12 changes of outfit, 3 weeks’ worth of food and a full thermal sleeping system on an overnight camping trip in summer. I can see that a decent supply of nappies and wet-wipes, for example, are a pretty essential buy. I am just less than convinced that we will also need a “Baby-On-Board” car-sticker, a white-noise generator and a wipe-warmer.

We’ve managed through trial, error and copious levels of swearing at idiocy to cull the lists and come up with a few basic rules along the way. Whether you are buying for yourself or someone else, here’s a few tips on sorting the necessary wheat from the organic-biodegradeable-nonallergenic-biodynamic-chaff for when you are buying for a new baby.

1. It’s HOW fucking much?

If you thought a new home was a big purchase, you have not seen the list of stuff you are expected to have for a baby. If you go for new options and want to buy the items that get the best reviews, expect it to be expensive. Like, bed-wettingly so. Prams – I’m sorry, “baby travel-systems” – routinely come in at over a grand, and that wet bed may come with nearly a two thousand dollar price tag before you have  even put a new mattress and sheets on it. You can easily lay out $200 on a swing to soothe your child but many babies won’t have a bar of them and you could end up with another expensive pile of junk in a room already filled with crud you barely use.

The solution? Embrace any offers of second-hand items you get and use them to evaluate what you actually want and need. Even if you do end up deciding you want something with different features you won’t have splashed a few week’s wages on something you – or the child – turn out to hate.

2. What the fuck is that?

Prepare to learn a new language. Nothing on baby-related lists gets a simple and honest description and you will end up googling the fuck out of everything to work out what the hell they were going on about.

It took me a few searches to work out that a burp cloth is just a small piece of cloth that could, more accurately, be referred to as a spew rag as you use it for mopping up vomit. Or that a cellular blanket is not to keep baby’s first phone warm but a simple breathable woven blankets for their crib and for swaddling on colder days.

Apparently I also need a receiving blanket (does it issue receipts?) and some bunny rugs.  I still don’t know what a bunny rug is, and why a cellular blanket can’t do whatever it is it does, but according to several lists I need three of them. Is it an image thing? Am I expected to go out and kill rabbits so my child can lounge naked, 70’s porn star style, on their skins in front of the fire? I have no fucking clue.

3. Are you sure that’s a good fucking idea?

It can be tempting to just go mad and chuck stuff in the basket when you have a list a mile long, but it pays to have a think before you grab that item and tick it off the list. Baby shops will cheerfully sell you stuff without informing you that the products have massive drawbacks or are downright dangerous.

Some examples? Walk into any baby shop and you’ll find cute cot bumpers, baby pillows and fluffy bassinet blankets galore. What they don’t mention is most hospitals and most medical research recommend avoiding all these in early infancy due to the SIDS risk of the baby getting stuck under them.

Less deadly but with definite potential to be unpleasant is your choice of thermometer. Before purchasing, check how you are expected to operate it. You can’t use an oral thermometer on a very young child, and underarm readings take an age in addition to being unreliable, so you may be stuck with the remaining option – rectal.  And – here’s a fun fact I discovered – rectal insertion of thermometers can apparently have the fun side effect of instantly causing epic-in-your-face-insta-poos which sounds like NO FUN AT ALL.

4. Do babies have fucking hooves?

 ...do babies have hooves?

These are for hooves, right?

A final note on buying when you have no idea what half the crap you are getting is or why you need it.

If, like us, you have been lucky enough to get lots of pre-used items from helpful friends desperate to reclaim some space in their home, have a good look through them before you do any shopping. Case in point; we were recently looking through the second-hand newborn clothes we have been gifted and found loads of what looked like oversized floppy socks. We looked at them, bemused.

“What is this shit?”

“Socks? They’re not socks?”

“They don’t look like socks. They’re kind of… big. Lots of extra space. For really big feet. Club feet? Or hooves? Do babies have hooves?*”

“…I really fucking hope not.”

 

They don’t. We worked it out eventually. They were mittens.

Times flies when strangers are probing you with wands

If anyone is wondering where I have been for the last couple of weeks, the answer is “being poked relentlessly by strangers dressed in scrubs”.

Not that there was any emergency (or I was up to anything kinky), it’s all just standard mum-to-be care complicated by a child as contrary as its mother. At around the 20th week in Australia they do a fetal anomaly ultrasound scan examining the fetus in detail, checking the heart and internal organs and measuring all the various bones including the spine. Normally this should take 30 minutes or so, unless your child is uncooperative and in wrong position the whole time.

Transvaginal ultrasounds are pretty much like this.

I’ve spent about 10 hours over the last few weeks at the doctor’s or in the hospital and the child’s nickname is now officially “Little Fecker” so you can draw your own conclusions as to their cooperation levels. Little Fecker has clearly inherited both my hatred of posing for photos and the bloody-minded sense of humour from both sides of the family.

To get most of the pictures they need the child needs to be lying flat and relaxed face-up or down, but Little Fecker apparently felt in a V with hands by feet was the correct way to pose. And, lacking a bribe of a lollipop if they behave, all I could do was bump my uterus around a bit in the hope of changing their position.

So began the 2-day St. Vitus’ Dance Disco Epic that was last week. I jiggled and joggled, walked, danced and pranced, all the in hope of maneuvering the child. No change. I sprinted up and down stairs. No change. The technician jiggled my belly so violently my glasses fell off. No change. I danced to Baby’s Got Back in the hospital bathroom completed with Beyonce-style butt-jiggling. The child moved to an even less suitable angle and started kicking me in the cervix.

After 3 hours, they tried the joy that is a transvaginal ultrasound which would have worked if Little Fecker hadn’t moved to sit on it, giving a wonderful shot of their arse. After 4 hours, they sent me home to come back in the next day. After 6, they called in the most expert staff member they had, who basically turned me upside down on a hospital bed, and punched my belly and other bits with the various wands until the Little Fecker finally let us get the angle we needed.

It took nine attempts at scanning from various angles, spread over 7 hours in hospital, to finally get the pictures that fdoctor needed. And the result, finally given to me after another 2 hours waiting in a doctor’s surgery where I used the wait to come up with ever more pessimistic and far-fetched reasons (“The child is deformed. The child is a quadruped. Oh fuck, it’s actually triplets.”) for the hospital insisting on the thoroughness of the scans?

The child is in great shape. The little fecker.

I’m not fat, I’m… well, fat.

I’m 16 weeks in and I don’t look pregnant enough.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a “I wish to bodypaint my tummy with spirals and run around rejoicing in the womyn-ly* curves of my mystyryos* lyfe-bestowing* belly” thing.  I’m just sick of being too big to look good but too small to be pregnant.

Rejoice in my belly, bitches!

This is mainly my own fault for knowing how best to hide my beer gut. As a natural apple shape (or as I see it, a beer barrel) who likes her food and drink (also a cheese barrel) my abs have been missing in action since my early 20’s. I’m an Australian size 14 (that’s about a UK14-16, or USA10-12) and most of my clothes are a little loose on the waist and designed to skim gently over my porkier areas.

So, at 16 weeks in, I’ve just edged out of my normal clothing comfort-zone and pushed into the “maybe you should try the next size up”. Which is great in some ways, as I haven’t needed maternity gear yet, but crap in others as I just look like I have really let myself go**. I keep catching sight of my tubby tummy and thinking “you need to lose weight!” and then remembering that I only get to lose weight in 5 months after some of it has ripped its way out of my vagina.

And it turns out I was completely wrong about my expectations of weight gain during pregnancy. I figured, if I was looking at a 3kg(7lb) baby, plus a little extra for placenta and fluid, then my probable healthy weight gain should be about 5-6kgs. I was off by about 100%. The average recommended weight gain is 11kg to 16kg (25lb to 35lb) and, even for someone who is already over-weight like me, they recommend gaining between 7kg and 11kg (15lb to 25lb).

Where the hell does all that extra weight go? As it turns out, a lot of weight in infrastructure, and the child itself is about a quarter of the gain.

kgs pounds
The actual baby weight. Skinny damn baby in a huge fucking house, I tell you. 3.3 7.3
The placenta (do not eat, no matter what people say). 0.7 1.5
Amniotic fluid – like a bouncy castle for your kid! 0.8 1.8
Muscle layer of uterus (womb) growth as it Hulks up in preparation. 0.9 2
Blood volume increase (about 20%) making you fecking boiling hot at room temperature. 1.2 2.6
Retaining ALL the water – lots of extra fluid. 1.2 2.6
Boobs! Pass Go, go up a cup size. 0.4 0.9
Does my fat look fat in this? Some extra fat for breast-feeding stores. 4 8.8
Total extra weight 12.5kg 27.5lb

All in, that’s an expected gain of about 12.5kgs, of which only 4kgs are actual fat.

It’s one hell of lot of belly to get used to, mind.  I have read various admonitions that I should be fine with, or actively rejoice in, my change in shape.  If being curvy is so bloody womanly, how come no one ever told me to embrace my beer belly, hmm? Where the fuck were “the feminine is a curve” people when I went to the USA for 4 months and gained 5kgs in beer and grease weight? Well?

And truth be told, while I am a long way off doing a Demi Moore and posing naked (you can all breath a sigh of relief), I’m not that fussed about the gain. I’ve put on about 2-3kgs and there’s more to come. It’s for a good reason and I’ll cope fine with looking pregnant. Once I finally look pregnant and not just plain old fat.

* It’s more mystical if you misspell everything, apparently. I know this because of my Wimmin’s Intuition

** Please note: I’m a firm believer that you should work with your shape and your health, and know that size 12-14 is my fit-and-happy weight. Over that, I start to look and feel bad. I’m not saying it’s everyone’s ideal. Whatever size you are, provided you are happy with it and think you look good, more power to you.

“Fun” ways to announce your pregnancy

We’re now hitting the point where we need to tell people there’s a child on the way. I am so not ready for this. I am a chronic over-planner and stage-manager so in an ideal world we wouldn’t tell anyone until a month after the whole thing was over and we had a child to show them in a, “And here’s one we made earlier!” style.

But, at 15 weeks in, I’m getting to the point where my usual fat pants are becoming slim-fit, my dietary restrictions ruin every dinner invite and I’m running out of excuses to avoid alcohol. (“I’m on antibiotics.” “I’m ill.” “Fuck it. I’m a recovering alcoholic who has converted to Islam.”) The families have been told, a few mates are in the loop (hi guys!) and my boss has the heads-up, so it’s time to started spreading the news.

But how to tell people? The flat-out “I’m pregnant”? Or the coy “we’re expecting” –  but expecting what? Mail? Santa? That Keith Richards will be made pope?  I could try  “there’s a bun in the oven”, but that risks disappointing friends who were hoping for baked goods.

So I googled for ideas and, as always with everything pregnancy-related in the internetz, found endless amounts of totally-fucking-unhelpful crazy. Here are just some of the “fun” suggestions:

http://katersart.deviantart.com/art/Here-s-Johnny-188786758

Or you could carve your way in through the door and scream, “…I’m PREGNANT!”

  1. Install an infant’s car seat in the back seat of your partner’s car and see how long it takes for him to notice.  Or, you know, he could decide you have kidnapped and murdered a child and he’s next on the list. Or he has stolen a car identical to his. Or you have finally fucking snapped and require a refreshing break in a mental ward. The possibilities are endless, frankly.
  2. Video the result of your home pregnancy test, upload to YouTube and send the link to loved ones. If you really love them, would you send them a video of you dipping sticks in your pee? What if they are eating at the time? Does this really sound like a “fun” idea for anyone who doesn’t have some really specific fetishes?
  3. Invite people over for dinner and bring out a platter of baby foods jars and sippy cups of apple juice to wash it all down. Why wait until after the birth when you can alienate your friends with a complete inability to manage anything adult now? (This is also a great way to tell your boss.)
  4. Put a bun in the oven and when your guests arrive, open the oven to show them what’s inside and say , “Look what we’re cooking! What is that?” And they will say, “A bun. Moron.” and look at you oddly until you explain.
  5. Ask your partner to get the milk out of the fridge for you but instead of the regular milk jug, leave a breast pump or a can of baby formula in its place. Like suggestion 1, but with the added advantage of putting them off their morning beverage, and your cooking, near indefinitely.
  6. Have restaurant waitstaff bring out a special wine list where the only selection is a vintage from the year your baby is due with a description like “a unique blend of the very best of a special couple.” Are you just trying to turn everyone off food and drink? Because it’s fucking working. And the waitstaff is probably pretty nauseated too. And a vintage from the year the baby is due is either going to be a) impossible for most of the year or b) vinegar. That said, I do admire the passive-aggressiveness inherent in this one. “Want wine? Fuck you, if I can’t drink alcohol you’re not even allowed read the wine list in peace. Fuckers.”

In the absence of the urge to purchase car seats and breast pumps, or to send videos of my pee to those I love, I will probably just go with a simple, “I’m pregnant”. Although I may add “bitches” at the end. Just, you know, to make it “fun”.

As an aside on announcing things, a few people I know in real life are reading this (hi guys!), and have asked if will I go public and pop my name on this blog. The answer is no. While I have no shame and no issue tying my name to my words, given this blog is going to contain a lot of anecdotes about both Himself and The Child, I’d rather not tie their good names to what will doubtless be the giggling, ranting and swearing of a sick and sleep-deprived brain.

So, while if you know me it’s obvious who this is (and I don’t mind people referring people on) I’ll be keeping names firmly off this site. I’d rather not have any of The Child’s prospective friends/partners/employers google their name to discover naked bath-time photos and detailed descriptions of their bodily functions.

That, and threatening to go public will probably be a brilliant way to get them to tidy their room occasionally.

Baby’s first mosh pit

Last week I wrote about how I suspected I was brewing up a budding Keith Prodigy in my uterus.

And yesterday I spent about 8 hours at Soundwave watching ALL the rock and metal, including some light moshing to a 2 hour Metallica set.

Interestingly, while most of the pregnancy guides are careful to ban any form of fun on the grounds that no one knows if it’s dangerous but it *could* be so best not to (seriously, I have seen this argument applied to everything from riding a bike to jogging to dying your damned hair) not one mentioned metal concerts.

And, to be honest, I would have completely ignored them if they did. I stayed back from the crush, stayed hydrated and my worst injury of the evening was inflicted by my own steel-capped boots rubbing the hell out of my ankle. Some people stay at home knitting baby booties. Some like to attend pre-natal yoga classes. Others like to go to gigs while they still can and don’t have a small child they need to take care of. More power to all of them, as long as they are not judgemental arse-bags who try to ram their uninformed opinions down other’s throats in the guide of “medical advice”.

So yes, baby’s first concert was in utero at Metallica (sadly, not a Nirvana gig, appropriate and all as that would have been). At this rate, my kid is going to rebel by listening exclusively to manufactured kiddy-pop and joining a religion that bans dancing. But not until they are at least teens, oh no. I intend to inform them that no one knows for sure but it’s possible that crappy manufactured pop makes you deaf and religion gives you anal warts. 

Choon! And other inappropriate reactions.

I went for my 13 week nuchal ultrasound scan last week. This scan comes under the heading of “not fun but highly recommended if you are 35 or over” which I am.

In combination with a blood test and a family history questionnaire, the nuchal scan assesses the chances of some chromosomal conditions – including Down syndrome – occurring in the fetus. It’s not diagnostic and can only give you odds based on the various results (1 in over 300 is good, under that not so much). If your odds are bad you’ll be referred for another more invasive test, probably an amniocentesis, which give definitive results but come with a small risk of miscarriage.  I haven’t got the results and have to make yet another doctor’s appointment to get them. (I am very happy I live in Australia where short doctor’s appointments are usually free; go Medicare.)

So, not a happy-joy-time scan but one fun side effect was that we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. And it really wasn’t what I was expecting.

Career option for The Child, no 1 – replace aging Keith Prodigy.

In yet another “the movies get this so wrong” moment, the heartbeat wasn’t the  normal watery slow “wub-dub wub-dub”, but a Doppler scan made of the various sound frequencies found and all layered together. The result, at a healthy 130 beats per minute, was a catchy multi-toned electronic wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub worthy of a pumping dance floor at 1am when the wusses have fecked off home.

(Don’t believe me? Listen to someone else’s one here.)

I found my head bobbing along appreciatively to the speeding beat. The Child themselves didn’t stop moving during the scan. They were mainly upside-down while throwing shapes so it looked like they were also getting into it.

All the articles and books I have read so far talk about the amazing and intense reaction you will have to hearing your child’s heart beat for the first time. Words like “magical”, “ecstatic” and “transcendent” and are thrown around. No one mentioned interest followed by the urge to go clubbing, but there you go.

And The Prodigy are playing Sydney next month. Think I should take it as a sign and buy some tickets?

What You Should Never to Say to a Non-Mother of Childbearing Age

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Yes, this! I get that pregnancy and having kids is hard but some Mums make it sound like it’s actually ruining any happiness they have in life.  I’m pregnant and not exactly all gung-ho-go-go-happy-baby-hormones about it, and every article I read on having kids makes it sound less worthwhile and more like torture. Luckily I’m also very hard of hearing so I’ve decided to just stop reading the prophets of unending poo and doom and slide out the batteries in my hearing aids when they decide to bend my ears on it.

Also, I have discovered the best reaction ever but it’s not for the faint-hearted. When people start getting their schadenfreude on by giving absurd examples of how your life will change with mountains of poo and lakes of wee and permanent penury and NEVER sleeping again just look horrified and say, “Oh wow. I had no idea. Are you saying I should abort?”

 

No food please, we’re pregnant.

If we needed any more proof I am a terrible mother-to be, the evidence is in my stomach. I  have just broken the pregnancy eating guidelines by accident. Again. Third time this month, by my reckoning.

The culprit in this case is my lunch – a chicken schnitzel wrap. It’s not as if it looked particularly evil, being stuffed to the gills with loads of different veggies and minimal mayo. None the less it was a no-no, something I completely forgot when I left my office to forage for food. I wanted salmon sushi – oh, how I want salmon sushi – but remembered the You’re-Pregnant-Bitchface list of things I can’t have include raw fish. What I forgot is all the other stuff that gets pushed off the menu once you actually apply the list.

As an adult or an egg, these chickens are out to get you.

Meet your new nemesis. If you are pregnant all chickens are now out to fucking get you.

The Don’t-Eat-While-Up-The-Duff list doesn’t sound too exhaustive at first. No unpasteurised juices or dairy products. Soft and blue cheeses are off limits (sob!). So are raw eggs. And pate (double sob). Raw fish and any refrigerated shellfish. Undercooked meat. Salami, processed meat, cold meats generally. My old and excellent friend, Mr Alcohol. They also recommend washing the hell out of all fruit and veg, skipping buffet and bain marie items and avoiding pre-made salads full stop.

It seems pretty reasonable, you think. Surely I’ve can beat into my fluffy fatigued omni-starving pregnancy brain into remembering this small list of off-limits items. There are some things I’ll miss in there, it’s true, but not an unreasonable amount of foods to take off the menu for a few months.

Or is it? It’s only when you think about how that list will work in practice when you are out and about you realise how many easy eating options are suddenly on the naughty list. Meat that has been cooked but is now cooled is right out, especially if it’s chicken, so unless you’re a vegetarian most pre-made sandwiches are off the menu before you have even checked if the cheese is safe to eat.

That’s where my poor old chicken schnitzel fell down – I wanted a hot schnitzel, but they had none left so I took a wrap, completely forgetting that the reason I wanted it hot was the “no cooked but cold meats” prohibition. I was half-way through when I remembered it and you know what? I just sighed, and finished my fucking sambo.

The term undercooked meats actually means anything other than incinerated-until-it’s-well-done, making me less than popular at roast meals and barbecues, especially as I have turned my nose up at the pate, cheese and salami board passed around. Swordfish and shark are out due to mercury levels, which is reasonable, but they also recommended you don’t have more than two servings of tuna, salmon, crab, white fish – any fish really – all the while admonishing you that fish oils are something most prospective mothers don’t get but are needed for brain development.

They recommend you avoid food from a bain marie or a buffet table. And don’t think you can just get proactive and bring in your own – if you’re having leftovers at home, they must be under  a day old and reheated until they’re at tongue-burning temperatures.

And if you’re preggers chickens are really out to get you; cooked but cooled their delicious flesh hide naught but listeria and DEATH, and pre-stuffed poulty you cook yourself may have so much DEATH even 2 hours at 200C won’t kill it, and unless their eggs are completely cooked, you are apparently rolling out the red carpet for listeria and salmonella both.

And raw egg? It turns out that it’s in loads of stuff, from mayo to dressings to delicious desserts. I’ve just discovered the tiramisu I had last week was off-limits, as was the gelato the week before. And I don’t care, because they were fucking delicious. In fact, I have no idea about the dressing used in my wrap was okay for me to eat. Did I ask if it contained raw egg? Did I bollocks. I was tired and hungry. I just finished the fecking thing.

And that’s before you even look at all the advice on what to eat for a healthy pregnancy because there are five million tons of crazy out there and all over the internet. One magazine I read insisted I needed to be eating help, chia and seaweed by the bucketload, because apparently I need to both build baby’s brain and be able to shit ropes. Another recommended “whipping up” a warm chicken salad for work lunch, because most people can cook at their desk – just bring in a camping stove if you don’t have access to a Masterchef kitchen! Several suggest going completely organic to get away from pesticides and other nasties, because as someone with a small and terrifyingly expensive child on the way who will need to take almost a year off work my main goal at the moment is to spend as much money as I physically fucking can. Twats.

I will try not to do it again, but I will not be berating myself for today’s slip-up. My pregnancy diet plan is less about obsessive eating and more about chilling the fuck out. I eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg in a varied diet with minimal fast-food or frying, and I take a multi-vitamin. I’ll be grand, thanks. Assuming the chickens don’t get me.

“I wish I could be pregnant forever and ever and ever…”

…said absolutely fucking no-one ever.
"Oh, see if you can get Jazz FM while you are up there?"

“Oh, see if you can get Jazz FM while you are up there?”

We went for our first scan on Monday, which was interesting. The scan was all fine and good – it looks about the right shape (like a small alien or a kidney bean, let’s face it) and has a decent heartbeat going on at 168bpm.  Even better, they were able to get a decent reading from the outside of my abdomen and we didn’t have to go with a trans-vaginal scan which is no fun whatsoever.

(A trans-vaginal scan, for those of you fortunate enough not to know, is when they get a white wand, cover it in gel and jam it right up there and give your bits a good thorough jabbing until they have a decent image of what’s going on. Or get the signal for Jazz FM, whichever comes first.)

An outside scan is still not completely pain-free, even if your cervix doesn’t get shunted about your abdomen like bumper car being driven by a boy racer. In the movies, they always show the scan gently gliding across the belly on a screen of fairy dust and sparkles. In real life the gel is fecking cold and the screen is angled away from you and the ultrasound operator has to give a good hard press down on the abdomen to get a decent pic so it’s less glide-y and more pokey pokey.

Also you have been told to drink 2 litres of water in the previous hour (I cheated and drank about 1.5ish as I am not a fecking camel and started to feel ill) and are not meant to pee for 2 hours before hand (again, cheated and peed with an hour to go) so they are effectively hammering down on your full bladder as you try desperately not to pee on them. The woman operating the scan was very reassuring; she must have used the words “normal” or “good” at least 10 times in 3 minutes so I suspect she gets a lot of very nervy patients when people are at this stage. Perhaps making them less nervous makes them less likely to pee on her?

It all went well but, according to the measurement from crown to tip, I am wee bit less preggers than I thought, so my due date is now Aug 22-ish. I had originally calculated for the 15th, then the doc said the 18th, and now we are at the 22nd. They keep pushing it back. By the time we get to the third trimester, it’s probably going to be pushed back until October sometime, probably pre-Christmas, or definitely 2014 at the outside.

I am going to be pregnant FOREVER.

Spitting mad

They warned me about the boobs. They warned me about the nausea. They warned me about the fatigue, and increased appetite, and the heightening of my sense of smell to the point where walking past people wearing cheap perfume is an exercise in restraining myself from shrieking, slapping them and then spraying them with a hose.

Image from GreenGypsies on Etsy - http://www.etsy.com/shop/GreenGypsies

Drool signs. Not just applicable to dogs, apparently.

In fact they warned me about a whole bunch of things (vomiting, heartburn, flatulence, food cravings, headaches, dizziness,  fainting, frequent urination, drooling, and more than I ever needed to know about vaginal discharge, thanks) pretty much all of which I have thankfully managed to avoid. Nothing like spending your days dribbling, belching, farting and throwing up to give you that much-mentioned “expectant glow”.

But they didn’t warn me about the worst bit of being pregnant – the endless badly-spelled new-age horseshit wankology that goes with it. It’s all over the doctor’s surgeries, and the pregnancy magazines, and the websites and the forums and the guides.

There are the usual standbys, so shite there’s no point even getting annoyed about them: chiropractors,  homeopaths and iridologists, spiritual healers and twats with magnets shilling their expensive and ineffective wares.

Some are more practical. I can see the point of massage and even aromatherapy smells nice. But do you really need to spend all that cash when there’s a small child about to arrive? There’s also endless pleas to take up meditation, which seems a little sadistic. I’m not convinced developing a reliance on a need for silence and inner calm is a great idea when you are going to have a newborn in a few months.

Some just go right off into la-la-land when you need them. There are the doulas (birth assistants) who stress they worry about your spiritual needs in labour rather than the fact that you are CURRENTLY FORCING A SMALL HUMAN OUT OF YOUR VAGINA. Or fairly sensible books like What to Expect telling us not to get our ankles rubbed because reflexologists are worried it could bring on labour. (Overdue mothers, frankly, wish it were this fucking easy.)

Others abuse the poor English language in their endless quest to extract money from the wallets of unsure pregnant women. Today I saw a flyer for an alternative pregnancy class with a “wholistic approach”. I can’t tell you how much makes me want to slap them.

I can cope with the nausea. I can cope with enormo-boobs of doom, and the fact that my pre-natal vitamins make me want to hurl them right back up every morning, and the constant urge to eat. I can even cope with dribbling, fainting and vomiting, if I really have to. I just don’t think I can cope with another 7 months of being chased by alternative therapy suppliers just as I get too fat to run fast. Maybe projectile vomiting on command may be the way to go after all.

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