I was supposed to be sitting down to write a piece as part of the blog tour on Parenting and Creativity. My piece was going to be about coming to terms with the anger of discovering the feminist line of “women can have it all” that had been pushed on me in the 80s and 90s had turned out to be a complete and total lie. I’d spent 18 months or more being angry about it and then having to work through it. And I had lots to say on the topic. Instead, something parenting related happened to me that completely paralysed all creativity. For so far, a month.
I had a pregnancy related complication – nothing so rare that they didn’t know how to pick it up or what to do with it, and there are very safe treatments and tests. And I’m okay now (on maintenance and being monitored and managed) and the baby is fine. But it was quite the experience to live through. It turns out, it’s not very reassuring to have your GP call you after hours, send you to the ED and call ahead so that when you arrive, they triage you straight through and you already have 2 nurses setting up an ECG for you in the bed you are about to live in. I feel like you can judge how serious things are by how nice to the nurses are to you and they were all super nice to me the whole time I was there.
But bottom line is that what I had was life threatening and shit got really really real. You know when life suddenly tunnel visions and everything else is just a blur and you suddenly know exactly what is important in life, and to you, and therefore that everything else just isn’t? Yeah that. I was in that space for I guess about 48 hours and I learned a lot of things about myself. And about life. And even though, by the time I went home I was fine and everything was okay and had the best possible outcome, it was really hard to get my brain to change out of that gear and go back to Life. And you know, all the stupid little decisions like what carpark to choose and which milk to buy.
I also experienced some anxiety issues whilst in hospital. I discovered THE WORST place to be in a hospital is in the overnight observations ward called Medical Assessment. Especially if you’re a germophobe. Also, they don’t cope well with pregnant women who aren’t there for hyperemesis gravidarum aka they forgot to feed me for very long stretches of time. The lovely nurses did smuggle me out all kinds of tiny packets of biscuits and cakes. And once, whilst waiting for a nuclear dye scan, I got a airplane snack pack-like meal.
So, by the time I got home, my brain had been beaten about a fair bit. It felt like it had glitched into a hung screen or like it was buffering before it could stream again or something. It felt broken. I lost the ability to read fiction, to edit or proof, to slush read!, and even to sew or knit. And I couldn’t handle much TV above a cooking show. Normally my response would be to dive into a Gilmore Girls rewatch but I couldn’t face the speed of their dialogue and also the whole drama of that overarching plot.
Oddly though, I suddenly had great capacity for paperwork and book keeping. So weird. I think possibly because that kind of work doesn’t require any creativity and I suddenly had this new focus of being able to be ruthless and decisive about things. I was able to tackle two overladen and spilling all over the place in trays and just steadily work through it all piece by piece. I actually found myself using the GTD process of collecting, collating and processing the way it’s supposed to be applied. I still don’t know how someone who is starting from scratch can seriously get their whole life into GTD in just 3 days. I’ve been at it for 3 or 4 weeks now and I’m only just almost on top of it. But I’ve been suddenly able to pick up a piece of paper, ask myself what it is, decide if I can just bin it, actually delegate it if not, or do it if it would take less than 2 mins. And my onset of ruthless decisiveness has helped me just make calls on things. Like, say, if I no longer have the ability to answer a question (like, I didn’t record crucial information so couldn’t move it forward without knowing that), then I’m not suddenly going to have this information if I leave it in my in tray (leaving it there for 2 years hasn’t helped) and it’s likely to not even be relevant anymore. So I did this thing where I just filed it and moved on with my life. OMG. So liberating. And in so doing, I’ve managed to almost completely sort out all my paperwork, finances and royalty reports. Jobs that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a fork than do instead of anything else that is creative, normally.
And in being ruthless and decisive, I’ve managed to learn how to delegate. So much so that I want to get even better at delegating. Sometimes, it’s just admitting to yourself that you’re procrastinating on actioning something because you have feelings related to that – an email you have to write or a question or favour you have to ask. I’m really lucky to have an awesome and enthusiastic team of peeps at TPP – I wouldn’t have been able to get through a lot of what’s been going on this year if I hadn’t been able to rely on them for help getting things done. And it turns out, it’s not a negative to admit the ships too big to be run by just one person these days. When you suddenly take ill, it’s actually really useful to not be the only person with access to the email accounts and other admin things as well as not being the only person who knows what’s going on. Up til now it’s been both scary to let other people see the warts and all and also, I’ve not wanted to ask people to do boring jobs. And all that does is slow you down and sabotage the potential. As you can see, I’ve really jumped on board with this delegation thing – because it also turns out, it’s easier to write someone else’s scary email for them when you don’t have the feels. I knew this, having been other people’s admin person before. I guess I just felt bad asking other people to do things for me that I was personally capable of doing (if I actually had 48 hours in every day).
So suddenly things are moving forward at TPP in several directions at once. It would normally feel scary but doesn’t because I completely trust the team. And this being immersed in the whole paperwork thing enabled me to do some things like set in place spreadsheets for calculating complex problems for ongoing bookwork upkeep rather than reinventing the wheel each time. Something I might have been doing until now, ahem.
I am now just slowly feeling like my brain is unlocking from its screen freeze. I’ve managed to get back to some editing. I’m almost completely on top of all intrays and inboxes. I’ve not yet got back to crafting or reading yet but I think in the next couple of weeks that will happen. I’m very keen to maintain some GTD processes though. In preparing for a newborn’s arrival in about 4 months, I’d like to have as much as I can be on just ticking on over processes. I definitely learned with my first one that writing things down and preparing as much as you can when you have the time available in order to be able to pick up and action a small thing later in a small window of opportunity, you can kinda stay on top of things. If you can not sweat the small stuff!
, mental health
We’re about to head off and see a movie for maybe the last time at a cinema in a while. Maybe not, who can say? But also it’s going to be a great way to spend some Sunday time.
It turns out that hanging around at 38 weeks is a lot like showing up to an exam an hour early (in case your car got a flat tyre). Those who went to UWA, it feels like showing up for one of those big exams at the Undercroft – there’s all that lush grass and flowering trees and a cool breeze but all you can do is worry about sighting your friends so you know you’re at the right place at the right time, but not wanting to talk to them cause they’re just going to be running through some equation or other that you don’t want knocked out of your brain and you’re wondering if you should use the bathroom now or in 45 minutes and whether you should eat something even though you feel a bit sick. And the knowledge that in 4 hours, it will all be over and you’ll feel relieved, but worried how you went, and then moving on to the next thing.
The waiting game. I’m frustrated and bored and sore and uncomfortable and irritated and over it but also really aware that when this is done, I’m only at the starting line. People say you should rest up and sleep now – if fucking only I could! I’m not tired most of the time until I’m keel over and sleep where I’m standing tired. And there are NO SLEEP POSITIONS LEFT! I actually dread going to bed now cause I know I’m in for 4 to 6 hours of tossing and turning and pulling a muscle or feeling sick cause I’m on my back and checking the clock to see how much I just slept. I had two positions left – sleeping on my left side and sleeping on my right side but my right side has almost filed a complaint. My shoulder and arm hurt. And now my right hip has started crying out in pain after just one hour of “sleep”. I’ve moved to using a pillow under it but even so, my thigh cramps pretty badly. For all the bullshit people tell you about “you wait til the baby comes and you get no sleep” I say Whatever Man, I’m running on, as Jonathan said the other day, Jetlag state anyway. I’ve not slept a good night since March. And I rarely get more than 2 hours in a stint anyway. At least my body won’t hurt so much in the act of trying to sleep.
My hands are so bad now that I am really limited by what I can do. Today they are so swollen I can’t really bend some of my fingers and I look like I have man hands. I never realised how much like my dad’s dad’s hands I have. Maybe it’s just the knuckles. I used to think I had my mother’s hands. This week has been a bad one for them anyway. They were so bad Wednesday that I was in a very very bad place – not just with the swelling and numbness and pins and needles (it feels a bit like constantly knocking your funny bone) but with shooting pain through my middle fingers and through my wrists. C stayed home cause he didn’t think I was coping. It was a tad pathetic, I guess. But not being able to take care of your basic needs is never a nice place to be (luckily I wasn’t quite there but it was close). I have no real grip, I can’t open a jar or a bottle, I can’t shut the front door, I can’t really drive. A couple of days I couldn’t even type – on a good day I can use my fingernails to poke at the keyboard, all my fingertips have been numb for weeks. If I think about that too much, I get a panic attack at the claustrophobia.
Actually, something that has surprised me about this journey has been how much I’ve had to deal with claustrophobia. It’s not really something I thought I had an issue with but it’s been something I’ve really had to manage the last few months. And especially in the dark, small hours of the night.
But now, there is really very little left to do. I’m mostly packed for the hospital. The baby’s room and crib are set up. I can’t craft, I can’t write. I can do very little at all that requires hands, which is pretty much everything. And I hate everything that I have recorded on my Foxtel IQ. There are no movies I want to watch and holding a book is nigh impossible. I am ready to be done with this now. Which is of course how nature talks you into the next thing, which sounds completely unpleasant.
I always thought women referred to this stage of pregnancy as being like a beached whale because of their size. Turns out there’s a lot more aimless, listless lolling about than I expected. Which is to say, I’ve started taking *more than one* nap a day! And I HATE napping! Course, I’m also only sleeping between 3 and 5 hours during the night night so the napping is less optional and more just falling over asleep for periods of time. Earlier in my pregnancy, if I fought the nap, I got morning sickness. Now, if I fight the urge to nap, I just find that time passed and I was not conscious during it. The other day, I was sitting, working at my laptop and then I woke up 2 hours later.
And this whole moving slower thing? I really hate it. I’m used to a brisk walk when I know where I’m going, sure my husband thinks I walk slowly but his legs are twice as long as mine. But now, I miss pretty much any conversation he’s trying to have with me when we’re out and about because he’s up ahead talking into the wind 5 paces in front of me. I’m really annoyed by people who get annoyed behind me on the street cause I’m walking too slowly. It’s not like I can waddle any faster, what do they want? A gold star? And old people! Who think they own walking in whatever direction they want cause their old? I don’t really have a tight turning circle these days. Last night, I totally walked straight into the doorjamb as I turned to leave a room – you’d think you’d get used to being this size eventually. But you don’t.
But I think the hardest thing I’m trying to accept, is my waning energy levels. Everything takes me about three times as long now. Which means if I try and put a hard day in, I pay for it by not being able to do anything for the next two days. I never really realised how much I took for granted my ability to just dig deep, pull an allnighter, whatever and deliver to a deadline. My business model, as Tansy calls it. I work well under the pressure of a timeline and I might have got lazy relying on my ability to just pull it out of the hat when I needed to. So it’s not really surprising that I kinda thought I’d have all the time right down to the wire to get things done before the baby comes. I didn’t really plan on actually being less effectual. Normally, I really would have had enough time to complete my to do list in this last month. And I gotta say, I do not like that I’m struggling to do so – and not because I don’t want to do the work but because I physically can’t. I’m used to being able to force or command attention and concentration when I had to. Falling asleep or just not being able to have a clear mind are not things I can accept! I’m definitely struggling with the having to relinquish that control. And of course everyone is so quick to tell me that I should get used to it cause that’s how it’s going to be come next month. But that’s fine – for next month. I’d scheduled that into my planning. *After* I’d finished this to do list.
And on top of that, my carpal tunnel has worsened. I have been unable to sew for a week and there have been days where I have been unable to type as well. I’d planned at least some of the last days of my maternity leave (ha!) for hanging out on the couch and crafting. Sadly for me, I’ve been banned from any crafting until after the baby arrives now. Which also leaves me wondering what the heck am I supposed to be doing, other than napping?
I still have a bunch of things to finish off:
- Rosaleen Love’s Twelve Planet Volume
- Kaleidoscope Pozible campaign
- Phd Proposal to submit (even though I am now on leave)
- setting up the baby’s room (it’s sort of started and it’s fine for when the baby comes but it’s not like in the movies)
- spring cleaning my house (yeah, even I can admit this one is now in the land of the never never)
- slush reading/general admin/tax stuff/finances etc
And since today and yesterday were highly productive, by late pregnancy me standards, I’m hoping I’m not in beached whale mode again tomorrow
I do have some good news. It mostly looks like I did not have anaphylaxis. I ended up in the ED last Monday morning – as per the instructions of my doctor, and Twitter. I don’t recommend showing up at 6.15am – it’s right before they switch shifts and it meant that I ended up hanging around for 3 hours (sure they could also have been checking I wasn’t dropping dead) and for peeps with anxiety, it was not a fun time. I think I also managed to get checked for preeclampsia about 3 times last week. Anyway, I eventually got cleared and sent home. I did have a few more instances of the claustrophobia + panic + not being able to breathe thing. And I started to get a rash (not having one when I went to ED was one of the reasons they eliminated the allergic reaction) and I’m still not overly convinced I’ve not had heightened sensitivity to salicylates lately. I started to try and pull them out of my diet, which has been hard cause I’m almost left with nothing to eat. But thought this might also help with the pain in my hands which has been unbearable some days. Anyway, today my doctor’s visit has it leaning towards being rhinitis and I’m trying some over the counter stuff for that.
I’m on the countdown now – both for meeting my deadlines and to meet The Deadline and very aware that the end of this brings me merely to the beginning.
I feel a strong need to record things here about my pregnancy so I have a place to go back to when biology conveniently does its mind wipe erase. I’m really indignant about that.
Yesterday was a bit of a rough day. No husband to provide access to rational thought and to give me a hug. Just me and my body that was somehow trying to play the enemy. I’m still struggling with getting enough sleep. I’m now at the point where I celebrate getting 6 hours in two blocks of sleep as a huge win. Often I have to settle for 3 to 4 hours. But I’d started to get a bit of momentum and the night before last I was having a really great sleep when I woke up at 3.15 with my throat completely swollen shut. I’d had a bit of what I can only describe as pregnancy induced sleep apnea. I’ve had sinus issues since I hit 5 weeks along. So I figured it was that. And every now and then I get jolted awake as I struggle to take a breath, I guess. But this was different. I woke up and my throat was closed and it didn’t dissipate instantly – I could still breathe through my nose though. Being alone in the house, I got quite scared and wasn’t really sure what to do.
It’s quite funny in that in the cold harsh light of day, you’d call an ambulance or you’d go to ED. But at 3am, and when you’re pregnant, you get quite irrational. And you second guess yourself – I didn’t want to disturb anyone at that hour. And I didn’t want to drive to the hospital by myself. And I was worried that maybe I was overreacting and would look silly for making an issue out of it (hysterical, emotional pregnant lady etc). And by the time I’d got as far as looking to see what the wait time would be like at the hospital, I figured I’d be dead if I was going to die, right? And so I’d wait it out. Where wait it out meant wait for husband to wake up in Sydney and call him and cry on the phone. (Aside: I do have a nasty habit of doing that to people, I remember doing that to my mother when I went to live in Israel for a year and got lost on my first day in Haifa and almost ended up in Tel Aviv, so I sobbed on the phone to her about how much I hated it – culture shock, it passed – and she was like “I’m 27 hours away, I wish I could do something!!!”) Poor husband does very well at going from asleep to being cried at in 5 secs. I think that’s his training kicking in. And we agreed I’d not go back to sleep and would go see a doctor first thing. I ended up taking a Polaramine (sanctioned by doctor previously) and did get a bit of sleep at about 6am.
And? Well. When I saw the doctor yesterday, he thought the most likely thing was that it was anaphylactic shock. Which was a bit left field. I’m still not overly convinced since it feels like I’ve had milder symptoms for a couple of months. But, I’m happy to go with the “let’s just avoid nuts for now” recommendation – I’d had pistachio nuts before bed. Not a nut I have ever had a problem with before. And up til now, my allergy to nuts did not give rise to anaphylaxis. He pointed out that your reactions to an allergy scale up with exposure. And you know, pregnancy does weird shit to you. And in retrospect, I forgot about it at the time, but I had my second AntiD injection this week and it’s possible that has interfered (they monitor you straight after in case you react to that). So. That was fun. If it happens again I’m supposed to call an ambulance. And I might need to carry an epipen.
So there was that. But you know, that’s only partially how I roll. And why I was amused when people were warning me with “you wait til”s when pregnant – cause I ain’t the run of the mill. My Crohn’s is of course gearing up. Course it is. And that’s no surprise. I had that flare up caused by anxiety for my *hen’s night* for heaven’s sake. And that is NOTHING compared to November for me, right? So I was expecting this wouldn’t be a happy horse and cart ride in the park. The next part of this story is cut for TMI but to say that pregnancy and Crohn’s flare ups do not mesh well together. And I was quite miserable yesterday.
On the upsides, I’m still low in iron so my midwife has prescribed B12 to take as well (that’s a no brainer, cause, Crohn’s) so I’m hoping to feel awesome by like tomorrow. That’s how it works, right? And at this point, I am popping so many pills that it’s almost equivalent to the futuristic not having to eat anything, just take a pill, where the pill is actually about 12 different things. And much as I was terrified to go to sleep last night (even though the doctor reassured me your body wakes you up if you can’t breathe, as it had done the night before), it didn’t reoccur. So yay. And also, I think I’m quite happy with that medical practice – I’ve yet to actually move to a GP down here and I kinda need to decide that before the baby comes.
So, you know. This is me. I don’t do things by the book. It’s just how I am. The baby on the other hand has been fantastic – doing all the right things, growing well, very active. All good.
So my plan was that I would work my six months on my PhD, turn in my candidacy proposal (at my uni you get accepted into the program and then you have 6 months to write your project proposal which needs to be accepted for you to gain candidacy) and then go on my mat leave Oct 1. And that meant from Twelfth Planet Press as well as my Phd. Go on leave. Hiatus. Do not work. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
And then somewhere along the line this plan became, hand in PhD proposal, go on mat leave from PhD and then finish up a whole bunch of TPP projects, have baby. I don’t really know why I haven’t accomplished more in the last 6 months, especially since I’ve been working full time on all this stuff. Which is to say, I don’t give myself slack for the fact that I felt sick for a large chunk of my pregnancy and tired for the rest of it. There was a lot of napping (!) in the beginning and now there is a lot of not sleeping and walking around in a zombified state.
(Seriously, WTF biology? In what universe does it make sense to prepare a woman to go in to a year of not sleeping with … not sleeping? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make her sleep lots?? I can’t stand it when people keep telling me to rest up and sleep now cause you won’t sleep later. Can’t fucking sleep more than 4 hours in a block of time. And OMG the discomfort. Let me tell you, 1 crying baby waking me up at night versus peeing every 3 minutes, hormones that keep me WIDE AWAKE for 19 hours a day, pain in my hands and elbows, numb fingers, not being able to sleep in any of my preferred sleeping positions, pulling muscles when trying to roll over? Yeah, uhuh. I’ll take the baby.)
Anyway, suffice to say, I got a lot less done than I thought I would. I didn’t factor in my moving more slowly. That never really occurred to me. And I still have at least 5 major projects to deliver before I deliver. And I’ve been stressed out a bit about this in the last couple of weeks. Especially since my PhD proposal is still not really in any good shape – I have 7 days left to finish it. I’m not sure if it can be done. And I have at least 3 books I’m hoping to get to print as well. Ahem. And some other stuff. And then stuff I wanted to get ahead on before I do have the sleeping in one hour blocks thing going on.
And then Thursday night happened. And as we’re driving up the freeway at 10pm, I’m thinking about what an idiot I am. And what really would be the worst case scenario if I don’t meet my deadlines. And really WTF was I thinking about not taking 6 weeks maternity leave, let alone 4? And the whole, “what would I do anyway if I wasn’t working?” is not the real question – the question I should be asking is, what am I doing to myself, and my body by pushing so hard? And why?
So in theory, I’ve slowed down. Slowed my brain down, anyhow. I’m not going to panic about not meeting deadlines. I’m going to work when I can and do what I can and see what happens. And I’m remembering that I have people I can delegate things to and I’m working on handing that over. But you know the most annoying thing? The hardest thing to get myself to do (and this is the real reason my PhD work is behind) is to read. I avoid to do items that are “Read X” like the plague. I’m a publisher and I procrastinate on reading. Sigh. And then of course today, after only getting to bed (not sleep, but at least into bed) by 4am, I was reading cause that’s kinda low energy stuff and geez the reading for my Phd is really fascinating. Sigh. What am I going to do with myself, huh?
, Twelfth Planet Press
I’m guessing this will be the first of many in this series.
Up front I’ll say that there is a happy ending to this story.
Thursday night, we had a bit of a bub scare. I’ve pretty much clued on so far that this whole gig is rigged so you lose. And when you embrace that, you can kinda let it all just roll off you. I guess that’s the expression I’ve seen a lot on the many mothers I have known. (it could be the same expression for: yeah I’m too tired to fight the power of oppression but I did spit in your sandwich and use two day old tuna).
Anyway. The info I’ve been given is that even at this stage of the pregnancy a baby is supposed to move a certain number of times an hour and a day. And that if I notice the movement slowing, I should follow a series of steps ending in giving the midwives a ring. So we record Galactic Suburbia on Thursday night and I’m drinking lemonade during that two hours. After the episode, I go and hang out on the couch and watch TV and then I’m sewing and whatnot. And after a while, I realise that I don’t remember the baby moving. I think about it, and the last time I remember was with my morning fake coffee. Which is weird cause I’d had that sugary drink and didn’t remember the baby moving at all during the podcast. So I mention this to C and he says, “have some ice cream.” Aside: seriously, it IS pretty cool that a solution to a problem is icecream. Normally, that solution would be inappropriate to apply.
I have a bowl of ice cream. Nothing. *THAT* is really weird. So I say to C, “Nothing!” And he says, “You’re supposed to wait 30 minutes. Have another bowl and wait 30 minutes.” By now, I’m starting to feel a bit ill. And panicky. But I have the second bowl of ice cream. And no movement. After 30 minutes, C comes in and checks on me and then hands me his phone with the number already dialled. I called and had a chat and the lovely midwife, after asking me questions said I should come in because I probably wouldn’t sleep well if they didn’t check it out.
I felt a bit silly about it. But the longer it went with the baby not moving, the more worried I felt. But I felt really bad about dragging C all the way up to the hospital at 10pm when it was probably going to be nothing. Not for the first time was I glad I’d married the right man – I’d gone to the bathroom and put shoes on and when I came out, he’d packed a bag (workstuff and toiletries for him and my laptop for me) and when I apologised about the whole thing he reminded me of a recent example where he had followed the SOP for an incident even though he was mostly sure it was a false alarm and that I didn’t need to explain such things to him.
And so the reality of choosing a hospital an hour drive from home kicked in – 45 mins at that time of night but 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs in peak hour. I began to think I would not like to be in labour and having to make that drive in a hurry. Or on my own. And I got maybe 1, maybe 2, kicks that whole drive in. I felt sick that whole drive up. I tried to make idle chatter but I just felt ill. What if something was wrong? What if we weren’t going to be in, monitored and sent home in an hour turnaround?
We showed up and it’s quite odd to go to a hospital late at night. I think ER makes it look much more exciting than it is. We headed to maternity and the lovely midwife whom I’d spoken to on the phone took me under her wing, busied me into a room and set me up. This is the second time we’ve been there at night (the tour for the birthing class being the other time) and I just kinda expected more noise/activity. C said I meant screaming. And um, yeah. It was basically silent. And it’s not like there weren’t other women there – the midwife said my doctor had been in about 30 minutes earlier to do a c-section so had been informed I was coming in. But we didn’t see anyone other than the three nurses who fussed over me.
They attached monitors to my belly – one to monitor for any contractions and one for the heartbeat – and took my vitals etc. It was a real relief when the heartbeat was located. It wasn’t instantly and I suspect actually the baby was facing inwards and that was the problem. They tracked the heartbeat and baby movements for about 15 minutes or so and whilst I couldn’t feel those movements at all (weird), it was really reassuring to hear that steady heartbeat. I was really glad that they didn’t make me feel silly about coming in – they reassured me that they thought I would feel better if I just came in and got checked out. It seemed like they had never thought there was an issue and maybe I’m not the only person who freaks out about what a friend called later “baby having a lazy day”. And for the 15 or 30 minutes of their time to just put a monitor on and make me feel better, with some kind bedside manner, well I felt much more reassured about coming back for the real deal and also about that long drive.
And then they sent us home.
And we got home at about midnight. And the baby held a jamboree in my uterus for about an hour and a half after that. Course it did.
I did though, nearly get my purple book two weeks early. Though on debate, they decided it better I wait til the pre admission appointment week after next.
(Thank you to everyone who was talking to me on Twitter during that experience. I really appreciated your support.)
Tags: adventures in babyland
This week is a bit of a countdown for me as by Saturday, the baby is deemed cooked enough to be able to be delivered at the hospital I have chosen rather than at the women’s hospital specialising in preterm and emergency type deliveries. It is a big milestone because it says the baby is able to survive outside the womb etc.
I had my doctor’s appointment yesterday and started working on my birth plan. I have to say that choosing a doctor is one of the most important things (and privileges) to me. With my various and unrelated medical issues coupled with some mental health concerns, I chose a doctor that my sister recommended since a friend of hers with complications had seen her and my sister had seen once or twice during her own pregnancy. I prefer to see women doctors. Something that became obvious to me when I was first sick with Crohn’s disease is that women’s parts and women’s hormones can affect progression and symptoms of diseases differently to men and if you don’t experience those quirks, you may not instantly account for them. Or understand them. Which was the case for me describing issues with exacerbation of my Crohn’s symptoms at certain times of the month to my first few (male) doctors.
I instantly liked my doctor on the first appointment when I asked her if it was true I was having a “geriatric pregnancy” – a term, by the way, I have only heard male doctors use. She scoffed at the term, rolled her eyes and said, “oh yes, cause you’re *so* ancient”. My GP had given me the same response. Instant bond.
Yesterday, I had a frank and open discussion with her about things and my concerns. I’m so happy with how supportive she is – she’s very professional and calm and cool but also very funny and concerned that I have the experience I want. I haven’t yet asked if there is a teleportation option though, which is really the experience I want.
What strikes me most about pregnancy so far is how much difference there is for me in knowing something intellectually versus experiencing it emotionally. For me, I guess a lot of my feminism was intellectual. I’ve argued for and believed in it vehemently since I was very young. And my views have not changed. But I’ve come to understand a lot of issues at a deeper level, having not really thought a lot of them through at more than an intellectual level. This is something my friends had warned me about. But it’s still quite something to actually live through.
Obviously there is all the judgment stuff that you experience. You can’t walk five steps without people having to tell you how to do something, based on how they did it. As though all experiences are the same. That’s been my first lesson – my pregnancy experience is mine, and unlike anyone else’s. For a start, I have Crohn’s disease. I went in with a few symptoms which pregnancy heightened. I have food allergies and intolerances and am vegetarian. All of which means that the ways in which I can deal with different symptoms and issues is going to be complicated. So many people told me “you wait til [insert horrible symptom or craving] happens” and you know? Most of that shit didn’t. I didn’t have heightened sense of smell (my smell is already pretty heightened normally), almost no smells turned my stomach (maybe I couldn’t stand peppermint for a bit?), I haven’t had any real cravings (like, maybe strawberries? And I would have eaten maybe 3 or 4 punnets in the last 8 months?), in fact I’ve had almost no appetite for most of it, I felt nauseous constantly til 22 weeks. I felt very tired for a lot of it. In fact, I’ve only really started to feel *good* in the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, the midwife said she thought that was the first time I’d said and sounded that I felt well the whole time. I haven’t had much swelling though I have had carpal tunnel. And I can’t much sleep. And so it goes.
But this whole thing has taught me that experience is individual. And whilst advice is helpful, it’s not always useful or applicable. I think also there is a difference between people who are genuinely listening to what you’re going through and providing a supportive ear and some suggestions versus the people who just want another chance to work through their own horror story by downloading it on you or by trying to one-up your experience. With the latter, I am developing a technique whereby I smile and nod and flick elevator music on in my head. That’s the *polite* and *feminine* way to deal with the driveby when really I want to be able to just tell em to piss off. But you know, that would be “aggressive*.
I have a new respect for women who try many times for a successful pregnancy. I always understood the emotional turmoil of losing a baby. But I never really thought about the physical aspects of that. After going through my first trimester, and being aware that mine was not even the most extreme of experiences, I began to think about women who try and miscarry multiple times. I do not think I could go through that 5 or 6 times and feel so unwell each time only to then have such a devastating outcome (on the other hand, I was lucky in my pregnancy so how can I really understand the flipside? Of really wanting a baby, of carrying it inside you to term and not being able to?). And the physical strain as well of being pregnant – I now look at women who have 5 or 6 babies and I just marvel at how much toll that takes out of you physically – the pregnancy, the birth and the feeding afterwards. (And bearing in mind that not everyone has the same experience as me, I guess if you have relatively few symptoms and easy births, this whole thing would be a lot less taxing and a lot more enjoyable).
The freedom of choice is something that is at the forefront of my mind right now. There are a lot of choices. A lot of ways of doing things. A lot of things to prioritise. And a lot of options and methods which will only become apparent as to which one is right for you and your baby when your baby arrives. We took our parenting classes and we listened to a lot of things. I was most interested to note that whilst last week’s class on feeding stressed that it’s everyone’s choice whether to breastfeed or formula feed, no time in the class was allocated to going through the formula feeding option. We throw the word “choice” around a lot but we attach the act of judging to it in the subtext. I’m already aware of how much judgment others like to place on the choices you make. And I know this is only the beginning. Something I’ve been working on in this pregnancy is learning to set my own boundaries and enforce them. But the thing I’m realising I really need to work on is giving myself permission to feel the freedom in my freedom to choose. To make my choices and not be weighed down with the imagined judgment from others about that choice. Because if I can’t do that, I am not truly free. And I’m learning, that in this game, I will always lose.
Tags: feminism, pregnancy
First of all, it’s important to realise that the absence of formal prohibitions against committing art does not preclude the presence of powerful, informal ones. For example, poverty and lack of leisure are certainly powerful deterrents to art … It’s commonly supposed that poverty and lack of leisure did not hamper middle-class persons during the last century, but indeed they did – when those persons were middle-class women.
As for the leisure .. Emily Dickinson seems to have had it (although she participated in the family housekeeping and nursed her mother in the latter’s last illness), but according to biographer Gordon Haight the time of the famous Marian Evans (later to become George Eliot) was demanded, through her late twenties, for managing the household and caring for her dying father … Marie Curie’s biographer, her daughter Eve, describes her mother’s cleaning, shopping, cooking and child care, all unshared by Pierre Curie and all added to a full working day during Madame Curie’s domestic years, which were also the beginning’s of her scientific career.
Nor does the situation change much in the twentieth century. Sylvia Plath, rising at five in the morning to write, was – as far as her meagre work-time went – fortunate compared to Tillie Olsen, a working-class woman, who describes the triple load of family, writing, and full time outside job necessary for family survival.
Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women’s Writing (University of Texas Press, 1983)
We haven’t really fully decided what’s going to happen post-baby. In our first broaching of the conversation, my husband asked me what I was thinking of doing and I told him my plan was to submit my PhD Candidacy application on time (due Sept 30), hopefully get candidacy, and then go on maternity leave. He nodded. And then I said I was planning on withdrawing from my degree for a year once the baby was born. To uh, you know, do the thing you do with newborns. And my beautiful husband stood there, and looked at me and said, “Really? Uh … are you sure … are you sure you will be happy doing that?” Frankly, he looked really skeptical that that was a good plan for me and I possibly kissed him.
*Obviously* I’m not taking time off Twelfth Planet Press! When I stated such, he nodded and seemed much relieved. (Seriously … how is it that I ended up with the perfect person for me, who actually understands me?)
But in all seriousness, I’m preparing for the next chapter in my life. I’m well aware that my life is about to change. And I’m also really aware that I can’t expect myself to perform the way (or in the timeframe) that I am used to. At TPP, one of our focusses is to support female writers. And a big part of that has been to be ensure that we understand that timeframes for writing for women with family commitments need to be flexible, longer and understanding. Life happens. And it’s really easy for writing to fall off the radar when more pressing matters have to be dealt with. And when you haven’t published for three or five or ten years because you’re raising or caring for your family, well, it’s really easy for everyone else to decide you don’t write anymore. We have a few projects in the background at the moment working on supporting writers who are just going to take longer than commercial timeframes demand, because that’s the way it is. And I’m really proud of them, even if I don’t get to talk about them yet.
But that’s also why I’m not as hard arse an editor as I should be about deadlines. I’m way too soft with writers about meeting their timelines, and I think that’s possibly a weakness of mine. On the other hand, we’re all grown up professionals. And writers who are serious about writing, will write. And the rest are not. I make back up plans and I work with what I have. But I certainly don’t think that creativity being stuffed into 1 hour of writing before the kids get up or the last 10 minutes of lunchtime is going to be improved by hardlining.
That said, that pushing creativity into the hour before the baby wakes up, or grabbing a spare 10 minutes where I can find it, is going to be me soon (again, I guess, since that’s how I ran TPP when I had that pesky day job). So in preparation, I have been carefully planning what the heck I’m gonna do. I’ve blocked out a good chunk of time assuming I will be completely nonproductive (it’s possible I haven’t given myself enough time – Oct to Feb/March at the moment, thoughts?) And I’m trying to get ahead of that big block of down time with some titles finished early so that we can still roll out our books on time. A few authors got advanced warning of my news – I’m pregnant, you have to write faster! – so that we could bring forward some deadlines, shuffle some others around. Everybody’s been really great about it and I’m completely overloaded at the moment with work. If it doesn’t get done, it’s on me.
I don’t know how it’s going to go. But what I do know is, if you really want something, you find a way to make it work. And for now, I’m clinging to my plan
Tomorrow is the beginning of the new round of the 12 Week Body Transformation program and I’ve signed up again. I’m doing so under medical supervision and with a promise on a handshake that I made with my midwife (and then signed off by my OB) that I not put on any weight in this pregnancy. It’s a pretty daunting thought. Don’t pregnant women *have* to put on weight? Aren’t you supposed to be a whale? Aren’t you eating for 2 etc?
Many years ago now, when I was having an anxiety meltdown, Tansy said to me – you have to work out *how* you can do [particular thing I wanted to do but had decided I could not, due to OCD] and figure out all the things you need to set in place to make that ok. What she was saying to me, and what she’s said many many times since is – figure out and set goals for things you have control over. It’s not reasonable to say “my goal is to win [X] award or publish [so and so] or create a viable business” but it *is* reasonable to set high standards for the fiction you buy and your editorial processes in order to publish the best work you can possibly publish. *That* is something you can control. And it turns out, *that* is also something you can be proud of. The rest, you can’t control so what is the use in stressing about it? I’ve taken this advice and I’ve clung to it. When I start to freak out about something, I look at what I *can* do about it and I focus on that. If noone is buying any of my books this week, I look at what I’ve personally done to promote them and what I could be doing. And I do that.
So in the face of all the media hysteria that gets thrown at you about leaving having babies too late, I looked at what I could do, given that I can’t halt time. I looked at the factors that were within my control – I lost 15kg. I ate better, consistently. I reduced my intake of alcohol. I exercised. I didn’t take up smoking. I don’t know whether these made a difference but I do know that they gave me things I could focus on, healthy things that would improve my quality of life, even if that’s the only benefit I got.
And now here I am. 37. Pregnant. And getting bombarded with all kinds of other scary risk factors and statistics. Having a higher BMI increases the risk of complications later on in pregnancy. And given my family history of diabetes. And my own potential health complications. The best thing I can do is be healthy in this pregnancy. I believe my midwife called it ‘body sculpting” – I guess whereby the sculpture I produce at the end will be a baby? I sorta feel bad that said baby will have been made out of ice cream, chocolate and gummy bears. But probably that’s just the funny things my brain does to random shit I hear.
There’s no doubt that eating well will help me feel better and make the best baby I can make. It’s been rough so far as I have had no appetite at all, felt sick pretty much most of the time, and can’t stand the taste of water. This has meant I’ve mostly eaten glutinous carbs which have also made me feel sick due to Crohn’s stuff. I don’t see how you are supposed to only eat 200 extra calories when pregnant yet also stave off morning sickness by never having an empty stomach. How does that even freaking work? Carrots don’t quite seem to cut through that empty growling abyss in the pit of my stomach. And with my heartburn issues, there’s a whole bunch of food that I used to be able to eat that I now cannot. And so, being a vegetarian with gluten and lactose intolerances now having to avoid anything acidic … you see why toast with honey is the option, right?
Anyway. Here’s to morning sickness abating (any day soon!) and moving on to that whole extra energy thing I hear is supposed to kick in (any day soon!). I’m signing up to the next 12WBT with the goal of not putting on any weight and of getting fitter in preparation for this whole labour thing I’m trying not to hear so much about. Mostly I’m looking forward to someone else thinking through the balanced diet thing so that I start to feel better. (Incidentally, the 12WBT has a pregnancy plan option which adds in the extra calories, gives a range of meal options with pregnancy safe foods and pregnancy workouts).
So that’s me telling you the goal, as per pre season task 4. I’ll probably check in once a week on this. I start tomorrow.
It turns out, the world is a really dangerous place, eatingwise, we just never knew. As I mentioned before, I got me the OCD which is related to my anxiety stuff. And so I have a pretty darn strict set of food related hygiene rules. Trust me, I annoy everyone I live with with them. But actually, most of them are pretty standard – they’re mostly what you would do in a commercial kitchen (a lot of illness at home can be attributed to incorrect food handling).
Anyhoo, pregnancy brings with it a whole new set of food rules and I gotta admit, for someone who is in therapy for their food rules crazy (among other things), even *I* think this shit is out of the park. Let’s see … no soft cheeses, no processed meats like salami (I’m a vegetarian), no smoked salmon , no uncooked eggs of any kind – so, no poached eggs, no hollaindaise sauce, no chocolate mousse, no commercially made custards, no exciting desserts out at restaurants – no prepared salads and no unwashed salad leaves including the prewashed salad mixes you can by at the supermarket. No sushi. No eating prepared food that has been sitting around for more than 24 hours, including at your house ie no leftovers from more than 24 hours ago.
The world is completely unsafe for pregnant women! Seriously, we should look into that! My developing theory on this, by the way, is that “pregnant women” – the subgroup in society – is a moving target. So you’re never really inconveniencing the same people for more than 9 months. And then they got other things to do and so get distracted. But really. This shit is just ridiculous.
I already have a bunch of eating issues – I have some food allergies (nuts, sulphur) and intolerances (dairy, gluten, deadly nightshades food group (tomatoes, eggplant etc)) and then some other foods I avoid because of my bowel diseases (meat, seeds, grains). And it turns out, that all the foods I’d been relying on to eat to fulfill my daily nutritional requirements as a person are in the above group pf outlawed foods whilst pregnant. And further, that when restaurants cook for vegetarians, they add only the above, banned for pregnancy ingredients. Over the last weekend, I ended up eating meals like – boiled pasta with butter stirred through it at a very nice Italian restaurant because they could not remove the soft cheese out of any of their vegetarian options and when I asked well what did they have for pregnant vegetarians? all she could offer me was pizza. At the con hotel, there were three vegetarian options on the menu two of which were chips. And the third had uncooked eggs. There was also a buffet meal option but the food looked like it had sat out for quite some time. The soup of the day remained creamy mushroom for the entirety of the con which raised other concerning questions. I took to stealing boiled eggs in their shells at breakfast in order to be able to eat something at lunch.
So over the weekend I lived off bread, muesli bars and eggs. I dunno about you but there’s some kind of fucked up irony where you end up feeling gross, bloated, unwell and wondering when you last ate protein, cause you can’t fucking eat anything in case you accidentally kill your baby. All these stupid rules leave you thinking … but now I am eating a stupid arse unbalanced diet. How is this right??? Seriously. How?
I’m lucky because my friends have been travelling with me at cons for a while and they know my Crohn’s gets triggered and we’re starting to pinpoint how this happens. Mostly because I am a difficult eater, and I don’t like to be openly difficult so I will tend to eat things I know I shouldn’t just to fit in. I eat too much gluten and it doesn’t end nicely. This time round Terri and Tehani made sure I got gluten free options by including it in the Coles runs they did to source food (how lucky am I to have such great friends?) and I didn’t feel as bad as I usually do.
And it begs the question, has part of why I’ve felt so horrible in my first trimester been because in order to follow the stupid “don’t leave your stomach empty” rule to supposedly avoid/manage morning sickness, the easiest thing to grab is gluten filled carbs? You’re supposed to only eat 200 extra calories whilst pregnant but bugger me if I can figure out how you do that AND maintain a constantly non empty stomach. When you have that raging hunger abyss in the pit of your stomach, a carrot stick just ain’t gonna cut it.
I read an article on an online news site yesterday which said that women who eat (primarily) junk food whilst pregnant are more likely to have babies who are addicted to junk food. And I thought – fuck off! When you rule out all the fucking healthy shit I’ve been eating in the last year because of risk of listeria, what the fuck else does that leave you?
So. Yes. Welcome me to the world of never can win, eh? The guilt and shame of being a pregnant woman and being constantly at fault. It’s delightful.
At the con, I drank a juice and halfway through I thought that maybe it was fizzy – maybe it was? maybe it was supposed to be? maybe it was reaction with my mouth (I had a minor flare up over the con and my mouth was full of ulcers, hello not being able to eat properly, and my tongue gets funny). Anyway. I panicked cause I thought maybe I had drunk off juice. And I asked those around me, “OMG have I killed my baby?” to which I got two very matter of fact “Nos” from Alex and Rachel (love you both). This is what we do to women with all these fucking rules.
I’m assuming a whole bunch of these posts I’ll make on this grand adventure of realisation to the extent of women’s body policing and sexism I am about to experience you’ll nod and tell me you told me so. And sadly, that’s just how it’s gonna be, I spose.
One of the most infuriating things for me in the first trimester was that whole not telling anyone thing til you hit the 12 week mark. Actually, it’s had me raging mad for weeks and weeks. It’s a whole lotta bullshit, that, that serves to make other people feel better and bright and shiny about my experience. There’s no way that shit is about me.
For example, on news that I was indeed pregnant, I discovered, much like getting engaged, I was suddenly completely behind on everything. Apparently, if I want an OB (and I do, see yesterday’s post about some potential complications plus my age etc), I need to book in with my Dr of choice at 6 weeks or else they get booked out. And I’d know which doctor I want because … ???
I couldn’t book an appointment with my GP until I was 7 weeks along and the OB doesn’t see you until 10 weeks so that’s a long time to go in your beginning stages without really any advice, guidance or help if it’s your first time if you don’t tell anyone. Am I supposed to have just gone to a couple of books and muddled through on my own?
And of course, no matter how much I tried to be all “hey this is not a thing until like 8 months along, I can totally just go on with my regular daily life like nothing is different, cause that’s what I’m supposed to do, right?” I felt dreadfully ill most of the time, unbelievably tired, I have a cold that doesn’t go away (8 weeks now – I think it’s just another pregnancy symptom and it does allow me to not have to supersmell all the time), I can’t sleep and then I need to sleep all the time, and pregnancy brain … I was dropping balls all over the place. And … I’m supposed to just … offer no explanation?
BUT … I’m also supposed to suddenly go off coffee (that one is hard to hide in an office situation when you are known as the local caffeine addict snob), alcohol, soft cheese, unknown if unwashed salad, prepared salads, uncooked eggs, smoked salmon, anything that has been in your fridge for more than 24 hours etc etc (try looking unsuspicious at a convention with that list). And what the fuck is with every vegetarian option at a restaurant being pregnancy unfriendly??? Seriously?
You know what? I’ve just felt like a big fucking liar for the last 2 months. This whole not telling people means you have to lie, all the time. How is that more palatable? And people get suspicious (I’m sure a bunch of my Twitter followers picked up on the clues) and start asking you outright, like “Why aren’t you drinking coffee, Alisa?” Which is like … if I was going to tell you, I would tell you, right? But instead I had to look people I really like and respect in the eyes and lie. It made me feel like shit, every single time.
And here’s what makes me angry about that. You don’t tell people you’re pregnant in the first trimester “in case something happens”, right? I’m going through this experience regardless of whether or not you know about it. I’m on the train and it’s left the station. No matter the outcome, this is real and valid to me. Now if I tell you and then I have to … untell you? … then you have to deal with the yucky unhappy icky things related to “something happened”. If I don’t tell you, and something happens, you get to go on with your life and not deal or interact with it. But for me, I was already on the train, regardless, I have to go through it. And the not telling others is about sparing them “unnecessary” emotions.
So, if you don’t tell anyone and you can’t talk about being pregnant, does that mean it’s not really real until the second trimester? If people don’t want to hear about it til they know it’s “stuck” then … what is it when it’s the first trimester? Not something we want to take seriously until we know for sure it’s going to work out happily? We don’t want to be a part of the unhappy stories of first trimester pregnancies. And for me, then, the whole discussion about how evil murderers women are if they have an abortion in the first trimester becomes so unbelievably fucking hypocritical. YOU DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT ANYWAY!
One of those, either way women’s experiences must be denied, things.
It won’t surprise you then that I decided “fuck that” and did it differently. There’s no way I would have made it through that first stage without my friends. I did need the reminder that “this too shall pass”. I needed suggestions and help on finding ways to make it through the day. And what’s normal and what’s not. And a shoulder to cry on. Most of that, of course, was C, who has been brilliant and kind and patient and got himself a loyalty card at the pharmacy round the corner for his midnight runs already. One night, he gave up rugby training to lie in bed and hold my hand and watch DVDs all night with me cause that’s all that was left that could be done. I also had to tell a few people I’m working on projects with because I became flaky and unreliable at working to deadline and I needed to be watched, with that suddenly unreliable pregnancy brain. It was really clear something was up. There really was no way to hide it. Plus, in publishing you work on 12 to 18 month timeframes and I have a huge chunk of time about to come up in which I won’t be working, really. And I needed to start troubleshooting on that with authors.
I can’t imagine not being able to access and lean on my sisterhood. I think that must be one of the cruellest ways to control women – to shut them down and tell them they shouldn’t share (and validate) their experience with anyone. I don’t think I would have made it through without my friends. And I feel very angry that anyone else should have to feel that they should have to be able to do it on their own.
Incidentally, thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday’s post – I think there is a big difference between drive by lobbing of advice bombs and being engaged in a conversation in which you’re invited/asked to share your experience.
I’m snuggled into bed at Tehani’s house and am so so tired but so happy to have been to Conflux 9 this weekend. After half a week living with my friends, they’ve got my morning sickness figured out and my Crohn’s sorted and I’m feeling halfway decent after weeks and weeks. I’d been looking forward to this weekend for lots of reasons – seeing my friends all in one place, getting to launch Asymmetry, and FINALLY being able to tell people that I’m having a baby!
I’m having a baby!
I’m not very good with keeping my own secrets and I’ve been wanting to explain the loooooong period of sickness and redeem my very unreliableness. It’s been a really interesting process, both I guess, internally and socially. And I’m sure I have more of this “interesting” to go.
I’ve had a pretty rough time of the first trimester. If I knew it would be like this, I’m not really sure I would have signed up. Some days I was really quite immobilised by it. I quit my job 2.5 weeks early (went part time for one of those weeks) because I felt so ill and because I needed to sleep 3 hours at lunchtime after coming home from work about midway into my first trimester. I had days where I had about 1 hour to check emails and work on my press outside of my day job and needing to sleep (and I HATE napping). Morning sickness kicked in at about lunchtime to 2pm ish and increased steadily by bedtime. I’m still pretty much worse in the evenings and just not interested in life (generally) after about 7pm. That made being at the bar at the con til late an impossibility for me this con. But c’est la vie. I also have been suffering some side effects of Crohn’s which have been very painful, and interfered with any joy in life including sleeping. So it’s been a fun time (where fun is the opposite of a good thing).
I think this weekend, we’ve pinpointed some symptoms that are not morning sickness but Crohn’s related on top of it and so managing those as well as the other seems to be helping.
It’s been interesting how people are so quick to judge, though, how I’m going in relation to their own experience. The one thing I’ve learned so far is absolutely guaranteed that my experience of my pregnancy, and how it tracks, is going to be informed in no way by any one else’s. At all. And I’ve pretty much stopped listening. But it’s still *really* irritating how people have a need to share.
As well as my Crohn’s, I have a couple of other issues to manage through this. I have an Rh negative blood type so there’s stuff for that – that whole thing all my life where doctors and my mother have said “you know you have negative blood, right? And that that will cause problems when you have your babies” has finally arrived. But luckily they have antibody injections you can have now so that just seems like a monitor and manage situation.
The other is a bit more serious. For the last 8 years or so, I’ve had an anxiety disorder. It’s manifested in the OCD but also in mild panic attacks and depression. I’ve always been aware that depression can be exacerbated by the pregnancy/birth process and I’m aware of issues with my anxiety that may magnify through this and beyond. So I’ve been really managing my mental health with this in mind – mostly sticking with monthly visits with my counsellor, whether I really needed them or not, just to have someone really know me and be able to monitor me when I may not be able to. And also … just in case … etc.
But I’m quite fascinated by the number of people who feel a need to … is initiate the right word? … new people on this path. The number of people who feel a need to make comments like, “your life is over/going to change now” or “you will never sleep again” or “it’s going to be so much worse than you can imagine”. It might make them feel somehow triumphant, that they survived this death defying obstacle course but it’s really not a nice thing to do to someone with an anxiety disorder. I mean, really? You think I know nothing about pregnancy and child rearing that I haven’t been stressing about this for the last 5 to 10 years and that’s why it’s taken me this long to do this? I mean, really? What? I’ve never known *anyone* with a kid or just ignored *all these really obvious things about kids*? I’m a pretty organised, plan oriented, research gathering kind of person. You’d have to not know me very well to think I just woke up one day and thought “hey this’ll be fun” and leapt in, feet first, with no preparation whatsoever.
I’m going to start being much much more assertive (I was going to write “rude” there but actually, it’s them who are rude) about patrolling my boundaries. I need to for my mental health and there is going to be NO touching my stomach without asking, I am stating that now.
My aunt gave me some really great advice which was to pick one or two good friends who’ve had babies and follow their advice and ignore everyone else. And I think that’s really wise. Her other piece was – you’ll discover you’re not superwoman but you’ll also discover you’re the only one who cares. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. I’ve been really struggling with this for I guess 2 months now. I had pregnancy brain really really badly. I’m not used to not being able to rely on my head, in the face of anything. And here I was doing shit like making a cup of tea, carrying it out of one room and appearing in the next without it and no idea why. I lost words, they were just not there when I went to use them. I forgot how to do things. I became very clumsy. And it was *awful*. And then I resigned from the day job and it almost all went away. And I thought … shit, I was trying to do too much, I have a limit. And I did not like that. And, between you and me, so far, I’m not really enjoying being pregnant. I’ve kinda hated it, to be honest. And by extension, the world (more on that tomorrow). And I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m not going to be one of those women who love pregnancy and can hold down a day job and clean their house and cook dinner and run a business and be sweetness and light to everyone and everything. And I’m thinking that I might have to come to terms with being ok with that.