I wish I was big… no little… no…

You spend your entire childhood wishing you were old enough to do grown-up stuff and then adulthood hits and BAM, what you wouldn’t give to make it all go away again. Like Tom Hanks taught us in Big, it’s not all white tuxedos and trampolines in your New York apartment. Being an adult is difficult and boring.

One of the scariest things about becoming a parent is how firmly it insists you commit to adulthood. You have to (try to) keep a steady income, you have to keep the fridge stocked, you have to write a will! I think I’m going to faint. Having said that I’ve never been much of a dependant, although financially my parents have bailed me out a good few times I did move out of home when 17 (dumb idea but I did it anyway) and I’ve been stubbornly independent since my preteen years. I think growing up in what was essentially a household of adults (my brother being seven years my senior) made it quite difficult for me to relish being 12. I always wanted to be part of the gang and (as I saw it then) that gang was my parents and brother, enjoying each other’s company as equals. If I knew then what I know now it probably wasn’t like that at all. I’m sure my brother was a typical stroppy and immature 18 year-old and my parents probably got on his tits a fair bit with their inherent parenty-ness. But I just saw them as these older, wiser, freer people sharing jokes and sharing wine and I wanted to be part of it. I hated being young.

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I will finally know how my older brother felt having to share absolutely everything all the time. Sorry, Bryn!

Of course as soon as I graduated from university, thrown out into the big bad real world, I really started to appreciate being someone’s child and have had far more of a mother/daughter relationship in my twenties than I ever did as a teen and I think that’s fairly normal. They were my rebellious teen years and although I was never cool or edgy and the label ‘rebel’ probably wouldn’t have been easily applied to me, I was certainly expressing myself and that often meant ignoring everything mum said. It’s a rite of passage.

Now my own son is but a few weeks away from splash landing and I’m excited as can be but I’m also grieving my status as just ‘child of’ as I prepare to also become ‘mother of’. It’s a whole different kettle of fish and there’s no point pretending otherwise. I told my mum about this feeling of loss I’d been experiencing in a time where all the emphasis is on my impending gain, and she had to admit she’s considered it too. She was wondering if I’d still want kisses and cuddles and to be mothered when I’m a mum too and the truth is, I suppose, I don’t know. I can’t imagine my relationship with my parents changing that much because we’ve always been so close, even when I’ve tried to deny it. I can’t possibly predict how I’ll feel; my emotions have so far been entirely unpredictable, although that is in great part to do with a hormonal roller coaster that no amount of PMS can prepare you for. The truth is, though, the older I get the more I appreciate long lasting, meaningful relationships of all kinds and the relationship I have with my parents, particularly my mother, is no exception. I will always want hugs.

I’m determined not to let the last few weeks of pregnancy be riddled with crippling introspection and a desperate rush to tie up every last loose end before the baby arrives. I instead need to take the time to appreciate being the baby before it’s all over. This is fairly easy when so many people are treating you like one and you’re too exhausted to focus on much more than sleeping and shitting.

I’ve not been freaking out about not partying like Andrew WK anymore. I’ve long made my peace with almost definitely never attending another sex party (or even having regular sex) again. I don’t lament festivals or gigs, magazine launches or wanky industry dos. I’ve had a lot of fun in London over the last 8 years but in truth it’s usually all very samey and I wake up with hangovers that make me yearn for a life by the sea with dogs and babies and homemade lemon curd. But I have been nervous about days when I just can’t be arsed; when I just want to sit in my bedroom on my own for a few hours and do my nails and listen to Blur. Days when I don’t fancy heading straight home from work and instead take myself on a detour via shops or friends or the cinema. What if I just want to go for a walk/swim/run whenever I bloody feel like it? That’s the sort of stuff that’s been freaking me out. Little acts of independence that were so easy but will now take planning and effort.

I will readjust, just as everyone else does, and it’ll be absolutely fine. But for the next few weeks, when I’m scheduled by every bloody pregnancy/parenting website to be nesting and getting everything in its right place, I will actually just be doing whatever I flippin’ feel like whenever I feel like, whilst I still can.*

 

 

*This probably involves quite a bit of housework, going to watch the new Bridget Jones on my own during the day whilst eating a massive ice-cream lunch and then a lot of napping. Can’t. Bloody. Wait.

Babymooning: stupid name, clever idea

Why call it a babymoon?  It’s like ‘babyccino’ or ‘mummy wine’, it makes something perfectly innocuous (like going on holiday when you happen to be pregnant) sound awful and like there will be bunting and Cath Kidston and forced smiles. But actually a relaxing, beachy holiday was exactly what Dan and I needed in the middle of this emotional roller coaster. Ten days of noses in books and asking each what we should eat next. Well good.

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We remembered to get one photo together! We forgot to not look like smug pricks! Yay!

The beach, for a start, is ideal. I thought I might get a gym like flare-up of body inferiority but actually I didn’t give a shit. I know I’ve usually got a waist. And even if I didn’t I know it doesn’t matter, it’s the beach and it’s the sea and so what? But the more pregnant I get the more at ease I am with being a different shape and weight, I don’t love pregnancy and I don’t think I ever will, but the whole odd-bod fear has just dissolved. Although presently I keep receiving kind comments about having a “neat little bump” still, so I’m aware that when my tan fades and I balloon over the next few weeks I mightn’t feel quite as Zen. Ah well it’ll all be worth it yeah yeah shuddup.

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Perfect beach attitude

Annoyingly, Sardinians and their tourists do not get their boobs out and this did upset me.  I love to be boobloose and fancy-free for a few days each year but there wasn’t a lady nipple in sight. I didn’t actually let this stop me but I didn’t feel nearly as relaxed as say, on Barceloneta, where the second your foot touches sand it feels completely natural to ping off your top and enjoy a couple of hours of not being ashamed of your disgraceful, disgusting woman breasts.  But I just sat, baps out, in the sea and piddled to my heart’s content as the lovely waves took the weight off my feet and back, and the empty horizon helped me stop thinking about everything and anything for just a few moments.  And then I dug a nice big hole in sand for my bump and lay on my front for the first time in weeks which was really satisfying. I hate lying on my side; it genuinely is one of my least favourite things about the whole business and I sometimes worry that the joy of finally getting to sleep on my back again in September will override my maternal instinct and I won’t get up to feed a crying baby. Dan, you are warned. Anyway if you can get to a nice sandy beach for a few days in your second/third trimester then bloody do it. It’s a real treat. We also accidentally hiked to a very Stanger by the Lake nudist beach where a leathery old Sardinian guy talked at me in Italian for absolutely ages, and then in German for a bit because he thought I was German, all the while with his cock and balls literally centimetres from my face. He was lovely and I was happy because I had my biff out in the sea which for me is nirvana, but I’ll remember that old, tanned, Italian winky forever because it was so close to my face for so long.

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Dan getting to know a baby seagull whilst i got to know some old dude’s junk

The real joy of a preggo holiday is just getting to reinvent your life around the inconvenience of being knocked up instead of awkwardly trying to fit

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er…#fitpregnancy

exhaustion/nausea/mood swings/blind panic/aching back/constant weeing/sobriety into your usual routine, and that for me is where the babymooning element comes in.  It’s a chance to change it up and actually enjoy being pregnant, however fleeting and unsustainable that lifestyle is. Trouble is that since I’ve had a break from doing that I’ve come back to reality and I really can’t be bothered now. I accidentally on purpose pissed away a slightly embarrassing sum of money trying to Lotto my way out of reality. I won’t do that again. It made it worse.

I’ll also add that I was definitely not a blissed-out hippie-woman for the whole ten days. Towards the end I had a few breakdowns of feeling irrepressibly sad and numb. Yeah sure nice stunning view whatever I just want to go home – tears building up behind my sunglasses and legs getting more and more lead like as my physical condition attempts to emulate my mental form. I’m not sure you can avoid these meltdowns even if your immediate concerns are only virgin coladas and dinner plans: hormones are just too powerful. It’s like smoking a massive joint and then trying to divert your way out of being stoned (or pulling a huge whitey as the case would be for me) by doing a Sudoku – you can’t just distract yourself from big chemical imbalances. They pass, it’s fine.

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Some mad cat and mice joint feast we saw in Cagliari. I just needed you to see it, really.

My top tips for babymooning are:

  • Get to the beach and get in that lovely big sea, it’s so soothing
  • Don’t buy loads of maternity wear for this one off exposure to proper sun, just get some cheap, loose dresses from Primark and some comfy sandals
  • Read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson and enjoy some entertaining and none too taxing edu. whilst working on your tannage
  • Get a load of podcasts loaded up, sometimes reading is just too much effort
  • Don’t get annoyed at yourself if you’re too tired to even make it off the apartment balcony one day because you’ll be not-pregnant again soon and that is when you will learn to paddleboard
  • Don’t plan too much: ‘beach, eat, sleep, repeat’ is quite enough
  • Don’t have a meltdown on top of a meltdown and get cross with yourself for being hormonal/mood swingy, just ride it out and forgive yourself for being a big dumb baby
  • If you can’t go away then at least try and take some annual leave, full-time work and being pregnant is super knackering and you deserve some serious sofa and telly time at the very least