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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

Month

March 2011

Only in my sleep

I have a huge curiosity for what Blobette will look like at full term. You have to bear in mind that pregnant women get inundated with unflattering images of growing in-utero babies with swollen heads and teeny arms, and all the proportional grace of a T-rex without the claws and the sharp teeth. It takes a while to get used to the fact that eventually, out pops an actual baby. Who will hopefully look like the best version of both of you because – let’s face it – we are all secretly rather vain creatures.

I must be mulling over this more on some subconscious level, because I’m finally starting to see her in my dreams. Usually in semi-nightmarish situations. For instance, there was that time I dreamt I could not breastfeed.

Here I was with the newborn, first day back in the house, and… nothing. I plop her on, and she’s looking at me accusingly as if to say, “Is this a joke? You know I’m not falling for that again.” And then… nothing.

And because my perfect newborn baby girl is a mutant with a brain of epic proportions, I’m asking her for feedback. “How about if I do this?”  I ask. “Or this?” And she’s looking up at me and shaking her head. Nup, she telepaths because she can. It’s not working, man. Let it go

Or how about the other dream where I’m giving birth. Except I’m still in the house in the main bathroom with the tub, and there’s two midwives with showercaps on, who insist on getting into the tub (fully-clothed, thank heavens) with me. Of course, there isn’t enough space for the actual birthing mother to stay in the tub, so I step out… only to turn around and face my newborn, sitting on the counter next to the sink, ensconced in the corner between my Clarins Younger Longer moisturiser and the tissue box.

Except she’s HUGE. One moment, she looks like she’s 4 months old, and then she looks like she’s actually 4. And she’s also fully clothed and clean and kinda looking expectantly at me.

And I, too, wait. Any moment now, I think. I’m gonna feel this rush of maternal love and goodness wash over me and I will be overjoyed. Except nothing happens. She’s sitting there like a lump, and I’m standing there, looking at her and willing myself to love her. It’s the most dreadful feeling. Meanwhile, I’m wondering why her hair is black and coarse and spiralling like tight corkscrews, and why her mouth looks a little like Tony’s mouth – except fixed on upside down. And wait… hang on… she looks like a cross between two very Chinese classmates from primary school.

And looks nothing like either Tony or me.

And I wake up both times with a HUGE inadequacy complex. I cannot give birth, cannot breastfeed, and cannot love my child because I am a shallow, shallow woman. I am going to be a stinky mother. STINKY!

Guilt has already set in.

The mummies who spoil market

For the unschooled, “spoil market” is a rather bizarre but efficient Singaporean turn of phrase to describe one who’s raised the standard so crazy-high that the rest of us look terribly inept and sloth-like. And while I can wax lyrical about its use in economics and in everyday Singlish, I’m really here to talk about the kind of yummy mummy we’d all cheerfully like to howl at because they’ve gone and taken away our whinging rights.

You know the type. They’re the ones still jumping around in the gym. Shovelling sand into a concrete mixer at 28 weeks while they’re breezily building their stone house from scratch. (I’m looking at you, Mrs McIn-.) Climbing and trekking insane distances while sporting a to-die-for tan and the cutest baby bump. (Another true story.)

Today’s sermon included the bit about Mary getting immaculately knocked up and then taking a walk to Elizabeth’s house to talk shop. Sounds alright, until you figure out that Elizabeth lived 100km from Mary. Which is about the equivalent of walking from Canberra to Goulburn, or Seremban to Port Klang. 

Considering the average walking speed is about 5km/h, I’d say Mary probably covered the distance within 4 days, if you take into account

  • her footwear (not sponsored by Nike)
  • the terrain (arguably worse than the pothole-ridden roads in Canberra/Malaysia after a heavy downpour. Also, uphill.)
  • the 10,000 toilet breaks
  • the propensity for pregnant women to
    • forget what they’re doing halfway through a chore
    • fall asleep at 7.30pm in the middle of dinner, and
    • trip over their own shoe.

But wait, there’s more! Because after the chinwag which lasted 3 months, she waddled back! Presumably to make dinner for Joseph. (See Luke 1:39-56)

I get tired and grouchy and sleepy after shopping. In an air-conditioned mall. Wearing shiny Diana Ferrari supersoft shoes. My idea of exercise lately is to sweep the room with a glance, and then make a beeline for the endorphin-inducing chocolate. The biggest workout I get is in my sleep. Last night’s Crazy Pregnant Hormone Dream included running around a 6-star hotel trying to get away from a sticky ex-boyfriend, because he couldn’t understand that we’d broken up and I’m now happily married to Tony and 6 months pregnant. I woke up exhausted and in a sweat… and barely 6 inches from where I left off when I fell asleep.

Phail!

And then there’s the real iron women who truly inspire. Those who’ve had babies in the middle of war. Who do it under threat of persecution. Who do it alone. Who do it poverty-stricken and starving, and yet have love and will enough to spare. These are the ones who put things in perspective, and make the quibbles about optimal labour positions and listeria-laden soft cheeses and the evils of high-heels sound shallow and irrelevant in comparison.

These, I think, are the true Yummy Mummies. Salut!

The mile high (birth) club

Just found out during the week that there’s a chance I might be flying to Melbourne some time this month for a meeting. Which naturally got me thinking:

If I were 37 weeks pregnant and my meeting was in Malibu instead of Melbourne, what would Blobette’s nationality be if she announced her arrival on the plane?

Believe it or not, I had dedicated half a blog post in the past to this rivetting topic. And because that old blog’s pretty much dead at the mo, I’ll let you have a peek:

The one about the airplane birth

It was reported a few days ago that some woman gave birth to a baby on her flight from Germany to Atlanta. That sparked a few “me toos”, not the least of which was a Brazilian woman who gave birth to a baby girl while on a flight from Auckland to Santiago on Good Friday.

Which of course raises the most obvious question. What kinda passport is airplane bubba entitled to? And does that get determined from the time the baby emerges, or when the umbilical cord gets the snip?

“What is the baby’s nationality?” “Oohhh Australian! No, no wait… Indonesian! No wait hang on… Singaporean – well, what a wasted effort that was! Shoulda stayed home!”

And a few others:

  • Aren’t there regulations against heavily pregnant women flying?
  • Geez… how often does this kinda thing happen.
  • No epidural. I don’t care how far down those seats claim to go. That must’ve hurt.

So here are some answers:

  • Nationality: It all depends. But the United Nations considers a child born in-flight to have been born in the airplane’s registered country.
  • Regulations: Generally, yeah. Even un-clucky moi has heard that pregnant women are not advised to fly in their last trimester. But in the case of Good Friday’s Brazilian woman, she emphatically denied she was pregnant – even when her water broke. What’s a jaga to do?
  • Frequency: British Airways reports about once a year. Freak out.
  • Ouch: Not going there.

So does that mean Blobette might get an English passport if she was born on board a Virgin Atlantic flight? Or how about American citizenship after a gruelling American Airlines flight? Quite possibly. (Although from what I’ve heard about the airline, perhaps choosing to fly with AA remains the bigger and stranger question.)

In 2009, a Malaysian woman had apparently scored free flights for life with AirAsia because of her special delivery on board a flight from Penang to Kuching. But if you think that’s an interesting way of getting free international flights for life, think again. British Airways doesn’t have the same headline-stealing policy, and neither does Air Canada.

Different airlines also have different regulations regarding pregnant women and flying. Apparently, Qantas requires a “fitness to fly” doctor’s certificate for pregnant women up to the 35th week. Thereafter, preggers can only be cleared to fly by Qantas’s Director of Medical Services.  Singapore Airlines generally accepts all pregnant women up till their 35th week unless there are multiple births involved, in which case it goes down to the 32nd week.

As for me and my doctor, he tells me short trips are a-ok and he was cool with international flights up until 8 months. But I’ll personally be steering clear of long-haul flights, mostly because I can’t afford the time away but partly because the idea of a 15 hour trip all up is quite the turn-off. So sorry, guys – won’t be visiting Singers this year.

Bargain booty braggin’

Have been pretty well-behaved on the baby-mamma retail front, aside from that lapse in judgement when I decided to go on a pink binge and dress Blobette as a strawberry field (more on that later).

Still… the change in season has prompted an upgrade in wardrobe – partly because of the need for warmer clothes, but mostly because Blobette has decided to Live Large. Coupled with the proverbial Nesting Instinct that kicked in circa last Friday, and I ended up shopping for most of this long weekend.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

RRP for items above: $59 + $387.15 + $29.90 = $476.05
Actual spend: $9.84 + $75 + $10.20 = $95.04

w00t, I say. w00t!

Letting go

Watched Eat, Pray, Love yesterday and had a hormonal meltdown not even 1/16 through, which resulted in snotty sniffles and unintelligible gibberish about “running out of time” while Tony sat beside me, patient and bewildered, stroking my hair.

The nutty: wasn’t because of any grand Elizabeth Gilbert epiphanies (in the form of the delectable Jules) that came snaking out from the screen before me to soccer-punch my sensibilities. Hardly. Like all nutties – and pimples – I think I had been ticking along for a good while, and I probably rented something as rama-rama-ding-dong and self-indulgent as EPL to perhaps find the words and the impetus to throw a dribbly and pathetic tantrum – which I further ruined by repeated admissions that I was probably sloshed with mumsy hormones, sodon’tmindme.

So what set me off? There is the one freaky coincidence – the fact that the author, at age 31, had known her first husband for 8 years and been married for 6 before she went epiphanising. But that’s where the similarities end. Unlike her, I loved turning 30 and it didn’t loom over me like a death sentence. And as much as “having a baby is like getting a tattoo on the face” (irreversible and kind of a big ask, commitment-wise), I think I’m ready. Or at least, more ready emotionally and spiritually than she was.

Still, there is a smidgen of something in all her moaning that I can identify with whole-heartedly. The quest for self. The awful sense of ending something in my life and embarking on something new and wholly irreversible. Have I given my freedom my all? Did I capitalise on my independence? Will I regret the fact that we didn’t do a round-world trip and spent oodles of cash, cashing up on experience instead? Would I have days where I’d yearn to trade in the child for a semblance of my former self and life?

The thing is, I have exactly 15 weekends left before my due date. Less, if you count the fact that I will be a beached whale in June. And I am – we are – investing the last vestiges of our precious couplehood fixing the computer and watching re-runs instead of living big and loud. Stupid, I know. My days are a mind-numbing hamster run of meetings and frustrations and stress and cracking the whip and balls in the air… but in the grand scheme of things, they are not what matter. Not even to the people who gave me the balls in the first place. How Ecclesiastic.

15 weekends, before Tony and I cease to be just Tony and I. Yesterday, I mourned its impending end for the very first time. It’s time to grow up.

To the tune of Lola

Waaaay
Back when thoughts of labour
Were still kinda far…
Back when I was still a-grappling
With the notion of being a
Momma
Mom-mom-mom-mom-momma

FertilityFriend
She thought the least  I could do
Was to get some sort of prep
By enrolling for pre-natal yoga
Y-O-G-A-yoga
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yogaaaa…

[Cue guitar riff]

Now, I’m really not a hippie
And I didn’t understand
How I could get much exercisin’
Just by raising my hand
And breathing
Yoga!
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga

But this much was kinda obvious
As you probably know
When it comes to psycho-motor skills
I’m rather “unco
Oh my yoga
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga!
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yogaaaa!

[Another fancy guitar riff]

I turn left at “right”
I breathe out at “in”
I can’t meditate
‘Cos I fall asleep instead
But I’ll ne’er forget what teacher said

She said, “Look, birth is natural.
We are well-designed.
The trick is trusting that your body knows
More than your mind
Oh my yoga
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga!”

And it’s comforting to hear
(Though it might seem dinky-dong)
Still, I’ll be going for my yoga
All pregnancy long
Oh my yoga
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga!

Yoga!
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga!
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga!

Yoga!
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga!
Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga!

All in a day’s work

User acceptance testing complete for big milestone of The Project – check

Recommendation report for recruitment written and ready – check

Effective trouble-shooting by trumping What She Knows with Who You Know – check

Wearing work shirt inside-out until about 4.30pm – check

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