As I write this I am two days overdue (although it will be four days post due date that this goes live). I am going to post this regardless of whether I have had the baby in that time or not because this is more a reflective post on the pregnancy as a whole, rather than anything to do with how late she is. If you read my post on the second trimester, you will know that I have already learned a lot about her personality while she has been in utero but here is another thing to add to the list; she doesn’t take after me because I am early for everything! I was actually born two weeks past my own due date, but I joke that that is why I am so punctual now – to make up for it!
Although I am more tired than I have ever been before, napping about twice a day on top of sleeping in in the mornings, I can really only look back on this pregnancy as a positive experience. I am miserable and fed up and just so excited to meet her in person but pregnancy is such an amazing and magical thing. I am sure there are women reading this and rolling their eyes having had an awful time and I will fully admit that it has not always been easy; I have had a lot of bad days, but I have a feeling that once I meet her it will all be forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t exactly jump at the prospect of getting pregnant again tomorrow and starting all over again but I do find myself looking back at this time since August and feeling pretty amazed at all that has happened. I feel incredible.
Body image is something that goes hand-in-hand with pregnancy, I think. It has been probably about ten years since I was happy with my body and since I left my teens, I have struggled with self confidence in that respect. I have always worried about what clothes were flattering and what covered my problem areas. Once I got pregnant I knew I would gain weight and I would happily make jokes about how great it was to be able to eat what I wanted and not care, but I knew deep down that this was something that could haunt me. I know how my brain works and overthinks. I decided to make a conscious effort to not let it worry me. It was all good when it was just the gentle swell of a baby bump but I could feel anxiety bubble up as I noticed my arms increase in size, the addition of an extra chin or two. It wasn’t even that noticeable because it happened so gradually – until I saw a picture from a few months previously, that was! I made a conscious decision not to weigh myself for the duration of the pregnancy. I hadn’t weighed myself for a while leading up to it but I could estimate about where I was when I began. People would ask if I gained much weight. There was a game we played at my baby shower where one of the questions asked everybody to guess how much weight I had gained. (What a bad idea!) I was supposed to reveal the answer but the truth was I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know. Some people were a little shocked by that. Was I not curious? No! I am a vessel carrying a human life. I am trying to grow a healthy baby. I don’t need to be worried about a few extra pounds.
I told myself that I would weigh myself on my due date so that I could see how much I gained throughout the entire pregnancy, as opposed to obsessing over it week to week. They estimate that the average person gains two stone (twenty eight pounds) and I have exceeded that. I was a little shocked, to be honest, because everybody keeps telling me how I am so neat and I ended up having to get an ultrasound to check the baby’s size because my bump is measuring small. Add that to the fact that I am only five foot tall and you would imagine with me gaining so much weight, I really should be being rolled around at this stage!
The other day I posted this photograph to Instagram. Not to show off or to attempt to be sexy (I definitely gave up on that one a few months ago!) but to empower myself. We pregnant ladies shouldn’t be worried about numbers on a scale or how long it is going to take for the weight to come off after having a baby. I delete every Instagram page I see where people showcase their amazing two weeks post-partum bodies that look chiselled and skinnier than I ever was even before the pregnancy. Our bodies are incredible and every day I think about how amazing it is that my body knew how to carry a baby. It knows exactly what to do all by itself. It has created life and soon it will bring that life into the world. We shouldn’t be giving any fucks about a few stretch marks or lumps and bumps (although please remind me of this on my down days in the coming months). I don’t love the way my body looks but I do love what it does and that is an important thing to remember, I think.
Not directly related but something I get asked a lot is about my vegetarianism during pregnancy. I have been a vegetarian since I was fifteen so we’re talking thirteen years. It is second nature to me and not something I usually harp on about but those who know about it have been quick to ask about how it has affected me since I got pregnant. Have I had to take up meat? Have I been craving it? The answer is absolutely not. I haven’t craved it once! I do eat a lot of meat substitutes like Quorn, and a lot of veggie burgers like the Strong Roots ones (I’m obsessed with those!) but I definitely don’t have an incredibly healthy diet either. I think that being vegetarian means I eat more vegetables than the average person because they come in my burgers or in the curries I order from Bombay Pantry etc. but do not for one minute think that I eat clean! Especially not since getting pregnant. I have used that as an excuse to eat what I like.
My iron levels were something that concerned me a little though. At my very first hospital visit at twelve weeks, the doctor warned me that I should really try and up my iron because babies are like parasites that suck all of the goodness out of your diet for themselves. My cousin isn’t a vegetarian but she struggled with her iron levels throughout her pregnancy so I thought I might be in trouble. Thankfully I had a blood test done a few weeks ago at the hospital and the nurse commended me on how great my iron levels were. She was really delighted about it, so fellow vegetarians, don’t let this be something that worries you about pregnancy. Nobody is going to make you sit down and eat a steak! Plus there are many other ways to get iron and protein into you besides through meat!
It is funny because I’m finding that as I edge ever closer to the birth itself, it is getting more and more surreal. We have been talking about this baby nonstop for nine months, so much so that it feels like she will never actually arrive. I have these random fleeting thoughts like ‘maybe she’ll just never come out’… which is obviously not going to happen! Or I find myself sitting here and then thinking ‘Jesus, in the next week or so I’m going to be sitting here with her on the outside of my body instead of the inside’ and the thought just absolutely blows my mind.
I have also found the thought of the birth itself getting scarier by the day. I can’t explain it. Two weeks ago if I felt a niggle or a twinge, I would think ‘oh I hope this is it!’ and frantically Google whether or not it was a sign of labour. Now as we have surpassed the due date, I panic whenever I think I feel something, like please! I’m not ready! It’s funny because I feel that way but at the same time am so fed up with being pregnant and am just dying to see her little face in the flesh!
This journey has been magical, even if you have read my post 37 Weeks Pregnant – Everything Hurts and I’m Dying. I still think pregnancy is amazing and I know that there are things that I will miss about it. None of the physical symptoms, of course, but I will miss our secret connection. The little kicks and turns nobody but I can feel. Waking in the night to feel her throwing a dance party inside of me. Getting to know her personality as she grows. Her likes and dislikes when it comes to food and drink. Obviously, some of these things will continue on once she is born but there is something that feels so bonding about being the only one directly connected to her right now. I have already begun to understand the deep love of a parent. I remember as a kid my mam and I would always have “I love you more” fights but she would always end the argument with “There is no greater love than that of a mother to her child” which I always hated and thought was a load of shit but I’m starting to think she could be on to something.
I am not sure when my next blog post will be. Perhaps the baby will sleep all day long and I will be bored and posting regularly, or perhaps I will use all of my time just staring at her for the foreseeable future, but I promise I will be back! If you want to keep up with whether or not I have given birth yet, you are best to follow me on Twitter (where I regularly rant about the pregnancy) and Instagram (where I will post her best photos). Thank you to all of you who have been checking in on me daily to see if I am in labour yet and good luck to all of you who are following alongside me in their pregnancy. Feel free to get in touch about anything!
So, if I haven’t given birth by today (Friday), let me know your guesses for her birth date in the comments.