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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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hormonal

8 is the natural number following 7 and preceding 9

Sing it with me – “It’s the Final Countdooooown! DOO-DOO-DOOOO-DOOOOOO! DOO-DOO-DOOT-DOOT-DOOOOO….”

We are 8 months today, if you’re following the second ultrasound and ignoring the other dates the midwives have since flung in our general direction. (“29 June! 25 June! 4 July!”) Not that it really matters, as friends and colleagues who have recently spouted babies can attest. Each baby has its own clock and the turkeys decide they’re done when they’re done.

I have five business days left in the office. Seven, if I’m going into the office this weekend. Eight, if I’m sneaking into the office next Saturday to clean my desk. Today, we had work drinkies and it was just surreal to think that this is my second-last official Friday with the office folk for a long time. I think I grew fonder of all of them just by the sudden realisation that I won’t be sharing their collective company for a while. It was almost an Oprah moment, really.

Anyhoo, while I’m relatively bulbous but still not at the “get out of my body puh-lease” stage of my delicate condition, I thought I’d reflect on what I’ll miss most about being pregnant.

The inside of my belly-button

As disgusting as this sounds, I have to say that one of the most cool-weird things about being pregnant is the fact that I can check out the full splendour of my belly-button. I’ve always had an innie. Now I have a flattie with a slight upper-lip pout. And because the skin in one’s belly-button is still rather unspoiled and untouched by age and harsh elements, it’s a five-cent piece of almost-virgin skin that’s soft as what I’d imagine a baby would feel. Uber weird and too much information? Probably. But I’m going to miss my new belly-button.

Random strangers, talking to my tummy

Note to new migrants: if you’re having a tough time integrating in Australia, go and grow a human being. Because there’s no better ice-breaker, I reckon. One ceases to need shared history and culture to easily bond with another when one is so obviously experiencing such a universally common part of life – growing one. I’ve had more smiles, goodwill and conversation starts from strangers thrown my way in the last 4 months than in the 8 years I’ve lived in Australia. Mostly because people around me suddenly have something obvious and fun to chat to me about.

Letting it all hang out

As far as pregnancy diets go, I subscribe to the “well-rounded” theory. Which involves eating what I normally eat, except 30% more of it. So none of this avoiding-everything-till-all-I-have-left-is-bread-water-and-beetroot rubbish. She needs nutrients, I need nutrients, and as long as I’m not being stupid about food hygiene, I say bring it on. Also, chocolate, ice-cream, cheese and curries fall into the She Needs Calcium category. So let’s have more of that, please. And the bestest, bestest part about being pregnant? Licence to wear fat clothes. I’ve not sucked in my tummy for the last 7 months since I found out about Blobette. Do you know how AWESOME that is???

Happy Hormones

The crazy work year I’ve had has made me cranky in parts but overall, I’ve been goofy-glad. I sing more. I dance silly jigs even when someone’s looking. I laugh very loudly. And I’m as gooey as a teenager with her first crush. Of course, a part of me is aware that once these hormones switch off, I might plummet into post-partum depression and be Ultra-Bitch from Hell. But until then, I’m swimming in so much oestrogen and isn’t my man gorgeous and isn’t everyone just being wonderful and funny and I love everybodeeeeee…

I like the way you move

I love that I can feel her groovin’. I say this, even though she’s now big enough to wake me up in mid-slumber from a well-placed kick at 4.00am, and even though neither of us can agree on a good sleeping position. (I cannot stay on my right side as it feels unnatural, she protesteth much when I lie on my left. Neither of us can stand me being on my back.) There’s nothing like a sudden wriggle to remind the self that she is a separate being, already with a mind of her own, already with instincts apart from mine. It blows my mind, but in the best posssible way. Most men get to pee standing up. Some women get to feel this. I think we win.

I’m sure there’s heaps more, but these are the ones that spring to mind with each passing day. I know some women have it tough, and I know having babies isn’t for everyone, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant thus far. It’s been da BOMB.

Schizophrenia on bus 200

I’ve been travelling to work on the bus this week, and am starting to learn that 8.00am is the Witching Hour on ACT roads. 15 minutes before and after, I can get a seat on the bus easy. But today, I found myself standing.

For about 40 minutes.

It started out innocent enough. Until making my life in Australia, I’ve been a public transport bunny for most of my commuting life. Suffice to say, standing on buses and trains in Singapore is about standard when you’re the 3rd most densely populated country in the world. And with enough government-funded Courtesy Campaigns for the last 30+ years, we’ve been conditioned to try and give up our comfy bus/train seat for those who need it more.

It didn’t dawn on me until about 20 minutes into the journey that I’ve finally arrived. I’m one of them. I’m the Expecting Mother, for whom seat nearest to the door should be abdicated. Phwoar.

(The fact that my feet were starting to kill me softly had a little to do with that shiny piece of enlightenment. But I digress.)

While I revelled in my newfound sense of entitlement, clearly the passengers of bus 200 did not get the memo. And so the brain chatter went something like this.

“Relax. You’ve stood in buses plenty of times. It’s not all about you.”

“But I’m pregnant! And there’s a sticker! On the window! That says I get a chair!”

“You’re not going to turn into One Of Those Women, are you?”

“What are you talking about?”

“The kind that carries on like the world owes her a living because she’s now knocked up.”

“Well, maybe they owe me a little..?”

“Stop being such a baby, and suck it up. You’re pregnant. You’re not a bloody invalid.”

“But… look at all these men! Sitting down! In their fancy suits! And the women are standing! Most of the people standing are women! CHIVALRY IS DEAD!”

“Stop glaring… you’re embarrassing me…”

“DEAD, I TELL YOU! YES, YOU! I’M LOOKING AT YOU! AND DON’T PRETEND YOU DIDN’T SEE ME! I’M STANDING NEXT TO YOU, AND THIS IS NOT A BOWLING BALL UNDER MY DRESS – ALTHOUGH IT WEIGHS 11 POUNDS!”

“Stop it…”

“YOU PONCY LITTLE MAN! AND YOUR SILLY IPOD! MY FEET ARE KILLING ME! AND YOUR TASTE IN MUSIC IS HORRID!”

“Okay, now you’re just being unreasonable…”

“I WANT TO RIP OUT YOUR PRECIOUS IPOD EARPHONES AND SMACK THEM OVER YOUR $200 BECKHAM-WANNABE HAIRCUT LIKE THEY’RE MINI NUNCHUCKS!”

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you say that…”

“NUNCHUCKS! RAWR!”

and so on. 

Thankfully, someone deigned to get off the bus right then, and this beautiful teenage girl with lioness hair flowing down her back and beautiful big breasts that still point to the sky promptly floated over to the newly-vacated seat, and waved me over.

And I sank into the seat, ever so thankful. And feeling, for the very first time, like a hormonal pregnant woman with fat feet.

I drive to work tomorrow.

Food baby gone berserk

Maybe it was the horrid day at work that made me repress stress with food. Maybe it’s just baby + water retention. But I practically inhaled tonight’s dinner (tiger prawn linguine with spinach, capers, salmon and chilli). And I now have a massive belly that looks positively bulbous.

Which, of course, made me hit the interwebs to figure out if

  • other 13 week olds can look as bulbous as I do tonight
  • other bellies fluctuate as drastically as this – Roseanne Barr one day, Twiggy another
  • someone has made a proper weight-gain chart for pregnant women.

Answers to the above: Yes, yes, and yes.

Work stress. Everyone has it, but coupled with hormones, perpetual hunger pangs and general inexperience with how big/small you should be at which stage, it’s sometimes harder to judge. I suspect the old habit of “finishing everything on my plate” kicked in tonight and as if on autopilot, I steadily steamed through the whole dish while mulling over today’s work incident and getting crosser and crosser. Aussie helpings are ridiculously large – always. And I really should have been paying more attention.

But I didn’t. So now I look like Mother Christmas.

That will teach me. :(

Emo Demo

To add insult to injury, my latest party trick is to get rather weepy over everything and nothing.

Skip ahead to Kaz Cooke’s chapter on baby distress leading to emergency C-section, and my eyes start to water.

Watch Hamish Blake cradle the tiniest puppy dog on Talking About Your Generation, and the corner of my lips start to droop.

Oprah gives away the latest VW Beetle to each and every one of her 275 show audience. I whimper.

Seven o’clock news bulletin about a world gone mad – the usual, really. But I’m about prying my eyes open with toothpicks to keep from openly sobbing.

Cerebrally, I’m writhing on the floor in humiliation from the emo overshare, and on occasion, can just feel myself tipping away from the right side of The Reasonable and Proportional Response. Which only makes me get even tetchier for living up to the World’s Oldest Cliché of a blubbering, hormone-riddled pregnant woman, but hey. Don’t knock the stupefying power of raging hormones. It’s the same as the Sudden Drowsy – hits you like a drug, and before you know it, you’re curled up in bed sound asleep before most seven-year-olds, or dabbing your eyes in the name of “hayfever” because someone might have been an absolute cow to you at the shops. Whatever.

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