Claire Bates is basking in the beautiful glow of an idyllic pregnancy. Kinda. In the first of our series of the ‘Diary of a Real Mother’ she muses the ‘joys’ of waddling, waxing and wailing.
I think I’m going to call it my Mongolian. It’s definitely not a Brazilian and it’s waaaaay off a Hollywood.
Mind you, looking at it through my youngest’s duck-shaped, somewhat misty, toy bath mirror, makes things a little more difficult.
Now the question is, what do I do with it? If I wax it, will the consultant think I’ve tried too hard? If I leave it, will they think I’m a slutty German shot-putter type who dreams more of Olympic gold than a neat bikini line? Dilemmas, dilemmas.
That’s it. I’ve decided there is nothing glamorous or gorgeous about pregnancy, childbirth or motherhood. If I read one more book that talks about the “inner connection” and “deep, meaningful bond” between me and the wriggling, kicking, riverdancing child inside me, I think I’m going to scream – or show someone my belly button, which is infinitely more scary!
Don’t get me wrong, I can coo at babies with the best of ‘em and I love my bump, but the rose-tinted view of pregnancy perpetuated by matronly midwife types and, let’s face it, your mother-in-law, is a little far from the truth.
Take the conception, (‘oh purleeease don’t’ I hear you all cry). I had a friend who swore that if I lit a pink candle, thought ‘pink’ while we were doing the deed and then “lie dreamily in the afterglow” thinking….. you’ve guessed it dear reader, pink, I would get a girl. OK, so we’d had a few Chiantis, I forgot the candle, forgot to think pink but definitely did lie dreamily in the afterglow (for afterglow: read drunken haze) – and he’s a he.
So, after the 20-week scan, instead of an afternoon manically clearing the shelves of Monsoon Girl in a sequinned, organza-fest, I had an afternoon in the Basra-like sweltering conditions of my loft removing bags and bags of blue stuff from its carefully sealed tissue paper. Our first son – I’ll call him Number One – arrived on Boxing Day 2002. Our second – I’ll call him Number Two – arrives around September 2.
I’m having a C-Section (hence the fretting over pubic hair etiquette – I really don‘t want to be attacked by a man with a dry razor), but not through choice. I’m actually being a real sulky brat about it. Having done ‘natural’ labour (why do they call it natural? Car crash pain is so far from anything natural I’ve ever experienced) first time around, as much as it hurt, I know I can deal with it, so I’d really like to do that again thank you very much. But the docs seem to know what they’re doing (especially the young gorgeous one with good pecs and clammy hands), and because of various long and complicated medical reasons, I’m having the chop.
Not that my husband – I’ll call him Bloke – seems to think it’ll be anything worse than an afternoon at the dentist. We were watching Holby City the other night (Warning: Do not watch Holby City when pregnant. Everyone dies at that place) and a particularly bad actress was having a particularly bad labour. I have to confess I winced a little and looked away, only to find Bloke staring at me in disbelief. “It’s not like you’re going to have to do labour this time love;” he chipped in, helpfully. No. Just have major abdominal surgery, and – horror-of-all-horrors – wear a wee handbag for two days. Easy.
You’d think having ‘helped’ me through one birth he’d have learnt that men simply cannot ever moan about any pain, however bad. Ever. Let alone diminish the feat of their wife going through it all again. Bless him. He wants four children. But if I was an Army officer and spent six months of every year away, I’d want four too. I think it’s because he’s an only child that he wants such a large family…. Or that he likes seeing the love of his life wheezing and rolling onto all fours to get out of bed every morning.
We moved house last week and those nice removal men broke our bed. Nice. So at 36 weeks‘ pregnant, I‘m sleeping like a student on a mattress on the floor while those lovely ’helpful’ people at the bed store take “4-6 weeks madam“ to bring us a new one, even though there‘s a gazillion in the shop. Go figure…..
Naturally, when cooking the darling bun in nature’s oven, you need to pee at least four times an hour, including at night. I woke at 3am today, desperate for the loo and actually considered peeing myself. For one short, frantic second, the thought of hauling my belly off the mattress, onto my knees and, worst of all, from knees to feet, was about as appealing as well, a C-section.
There are positives, of course there are. I get free dental treatment, so I was able to ‘benefit’ from two and a quarter hours of excruciating pain in Dr Needle’s (honest, that’s his name) chair last month. Oh, and I didn’t have to pay for my prescription for the pile cream. So that was nice.
And then, there is the ‘joy’ of total strangers feeling your belly. GET OFF ME!!!! You wouldn’t touch a woman’s belly if she weren’t pregnant, so what makes you think she loves it now? Bloke reckons he’s going to get me a T-Shirt printed that says: “Do not touch. She got a brand new batch of pregnancy hormones this morning and it WILL get ugly”.
So on the whole, I’m loving my 40 weeks and can’t wait for the joyous day that the boy with a shortlist of 11 names makes it into the world. I’m being facetious of course. I actually can’t wait to meet my perfect little boy. (Because he will be). I’ve forgotten the crying, the sleepless nights, the pain, the going to the supermarket with a) rusk b) dribble c) puke d) all of the above in my hair. All I can remember is that it is a joy and a privilege to be a mummy. I can’t wait.
Now, if I can just work out how to see to get the hair removal cream down there….