Pregnancy affects everyone differently. I was expecting and looking forward to weird and wonderful cravings and sending my partner on midnight trips to get me my fix like in the movies, and feeling all zen and mother earth. What I actually got was a bit neurotic and wacky.
Looking back I was pretty cream crackers. Here are a few of the mad things that I felt and did.
The Raging Beast
When writing this post I asked Si if he could recall any funny or crazy things I did when I was pregnant and his response was that I was “full of rage at the beginning, both times round”. I have the potential to be pretty fiery at the best of times but I did have a colossal amount of psychotic rage going on, in those first weeks especially. It wasn’t even rational fury it was crazy ass, slapstick, ridiculous level rage that resulted in Si bursting out laughing a number of times and me then getting more angry or crying!
Feelings about labour
So I’m sure its completely normal to be worried about the birth, the pain, whether everything will go to plan etc., but I was full on obsessed with dying in labour. I was certain that my broken body would give up and I would die birthing my child. I didn’t just have normal concerns that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain, but rather that my body was so damn pathetic that unlike the millennia of women whom had birthed before me, my feeble bod would become a useless lump that would self destruct and give in. Looking back this is actually quite sad, like I believed not only that I wouldn’t be mentally strong enough but physically weak and incapable of carrying out its biological purpose. Like some kind of inferior woman.
Preoccupation with how baby will look
So normal people worry about their child being well and healthy and the birth being without complications. Me? Of course I absolutely had those concerns too but a not so socially acceptable and rational worry I had was that I would have an ugly baby. I mean who has that kind of worry? I’m sure it crosses everyone’s mind but for some obscure random reason its all I could think about. I’m not a vain person or anything myself so I’m not sure where it came from. Or why it manifested my mind but it did. I was certain I would have an ogre of a baby and that I would not be like a normal mother and find them beautiful. All children are beautiful, childhood itself is a beautiful thing and as someone who loves children and has always worked with them this plagued me. I didnt want to be a horrible person judging on appearance, especially as I wouldn’t normally. I’m sure people do worry about this and don’t voice it as it makes you sound like a vain and shallow mother with some kind of narcissistic personality but pregnancy seemed to remove any social filter I had and I was willing to discuss this thought process with absolutely everyone. It was genuinely something that worried me.
Baby wants Ice cream
I was well excited about having random cravings that I could look back on and laugh. That I could tell my kids about and could send Si on midnight scavenges to acquire for me. Unfortunately my only real craving was for something quite normal, but impossible to acquire! 2 distinct ice creams! With both my pregnancies I had this constant desire to have a lemon ice. You know, those bright yellow ice creams you can only get from the ice cream van in the height of summer probably stuffed with all kinds of E numbers. There is nothing natural giving them that colour that’s for sure! When I was pregnant with Ravey it was easier as I was due in December so had a good stint in the second trimester where I could attempt to fulfil this craving. But acquiring a lemon ice in the winter, well that’s a near impossibility. But what I did find was an amazing stem ginger mini pot of Jude’s ice cream when I went to the Dulwich picture house cinema. I loved it, it settled my nausea at a time when I felt sick all the time. This one trip to the cinema and ice cream discovery lead to an obsessional pursuit. I needed that ice cream. I looked everywhere. I scowled the internet looking at all supermarkets and online retailers to see where might stock it. Nowhere! I went to the official Jude’s ice cream site and it turned out they didn’t make this flavour in large tubs to buy in normal shops. I was beyond distressed. I felt like I wanted to barf all day and the more I thought about the ice cream the more convinced I was that it was the cure to all my ills. To make matters worse the cinema was quite far so not really worth the trip to get some and it cost £3.50 for what could best be described as a two mouthfuls size tub. So I did what any crazy ass pregnant person would do. I contacted Jude’s ice cream direct. I gave a full-on sob story about my first world problem of not being able to get hold of this stem ginger holy grail and my absolute need for it to cure my nausea. I convinced myself that the lovely people at Jude’s would hear of my terrible plight and would sort me right out with a stash out of the goodness of their hearts. They did not. They told me they could deliver tubs to their local vicinity but that they couldn’t help me. I am ashamed to say that I was actually angry with them. I felt it was their duty to provide a public service to me in my hour of need. Hahaha. I had to fight the urge to not reply with some guilt trip. Obviously looking back I am ashamed. I really must have sounded like I thought the universe revolved around me. Like some kind of queenie needing stem ginger Jude’s by royal appointment. I don’t know how my partner managed to not laugh in my face.
The emotional weight of the world
This was something I really struggled with and I think I am not alone. It started in my pregnancy, a real sensitivity to any news stories of world events that were emotionally upsetting. Especially those involving children. The usual charity adverts had me sobbing away on a regular basis. But it quickly developed into a far more serious and persistent traumatic experience I would keep reliving.
I vividly remember it started with a documentary I watched with Si about Eric Clapton. What I didn’t know was that an awful tragedy befell him at the death of his 4 year old son. I was merrily watching this documentary which I thought was about his musical career and WHAM, out of nowhere came the sucker punch that his 4 year old fell 50 stories out of the hotel room window when in the care of it’s mother. Its the inspiration behind ‘tears in heaven’. This floored me. I didn’t see it coming and I literally hysterically cried for half an hour. Si was trying his best to comfort me but in fairness this was a full on emotional breakdown. I couldn’t get it out of my head. From this programme I spent months after this having intrusive thoughts about it plaguing me. I would be going about my normal life and BAM it would pop back into my head and I’d be a wreck.
Once bubba had been born this struggle with intrusive thoughts only got worse. I had to switch off all news bulletins on my phone and generally boycott the TV news which I religiously watch each day, in fear of any horror headline involving children that would terrorise me. It became pretty severe happening on a daily basis. Obsessive intrusive thoughts about things that could befall my children, which would just jump into my mind when I was randomly doing completely unrelated stuff. It worried me and I thought I might need to seek help, but thankfully after about 6 months it subsided.
Baby hormones fuck with your head!!!
Nesting like Marie Kondo on crack
We’ve all heard of nesting right? When you have a compulsion to tidy and make the house ready in the weeks leading up to giving birth? Well I think I had a spot of that, but mine was more like Mary Kondo on Crack, tidying and organising the most ridiculous things with absolutely no regard for safety or logic. Let me share some of these with you.
At about 8 months pregnant with my first born Si found me up a ladder standing on the top platform trying to stick up alphabet stickers around the top of the new babies room. I’m short and the ceilings are high so I was having to stretch out a fair deal. As you can imagine Si was trying to get me down, telling me off and looking at me like I was a crazy woman. I on the other hand was oblivious to any part of this being ill thought out and I wanted to do it.
In a random desire to ready the house for the arrival of our first baby I really felt the nesting urge. But not to do anything that would actually make a difference to babies life or the presentation of the house, but bizarre random jobs. Si came home from a late shift at work one evening to me in the hallway cupboard surrounded by hundreds of ribbons I had collected over the years. There I was hunched over a box I had sourced for the job, I imagine looking like Golem, frantically reeling up ribbons in neat little balls. Obviously Si asked what I was doing and I recall with clarity answering in a shrill and crazed voice that “I need to tidy all the ribbons….there are so many ribbons… all mixed up and tangled”. Si full on cracked up in my face! I must have looked and sounded like a mad person.
I don’t know about others but being pregnant gave me a silly sense of indestructibility and a complete disregard or sense for safety at times. I took silly risks I didn’t need to in the pursuit to Marie Kondo ‘spark joy’ the shit outta my house. All the drawers looked ace!
I decided at about 8 months pregnant that the layout of my bedroom just wasn’t doing it for me and decided to move all the furniture around, including whole chests of drawers complete with clothing in them. Si was furious when he came home, completely understandable to be honest, I could have done myself a mischief or brought on labour and all I could say was that I had asked him to do it and he hadn’t and what had he expected me to do? I would hazzard a guess the answer to that would not be to do it myself! Absolutely daft and irresponsible of me.
About a month before our first born was born I read something about the chemicals in new clothes and fragrance in detergents causing allergies, and had a panic that I must wash EVERYTHING! You know how it is with a first born, you buy so much stuff, we had also been bought lots of stuff and my friend had donated bags and bags of clothes from her little one. Over the space of 24 hours we had a tsunami of hundreds of tiny babygrows, outfits, bedding and blankets all over the house. It was early December and awful weather so not a great time to dry said washing. Its was hung and sprawling over everything in every room. We were trying to get about our life, eating dinner, watching TV with baby clothes draped over all the furniture and surrounding us.
Pre birth working mum guilt
I think its actually very common for mums to worry about returning to work towards the latter part of their maternity leave but mine started before baby had even arrived. I was still at work and maternity leave hadn’t even started yet and I was already having constant worries about going back and how I would be able to leave the baby. This was a really challenging thing during my maternity leave as I spent so much mindspace and time stressing and worrying about this, counting down every single day, that it took away from my ability to really be in the moment and fully enjoy the time with my bubba to its absolute fullest. It’s something so many mums feel and something I will discuss at greater length in another post.
It is said that the hormones in pregnancy can give you wacky dreams. My neurotic mind did not let me down here. I had lots of weird dreams but two in particular stand out as they occurred one night after the other.
The first night I dreamt my baby was a full on toddler size and physically pulled himself out of my womb and proceeded to get up and walk over to my mates. We were in a pub and it happened in the bathroom and my toddler beast new born baby came out fully clothed in dungarees and left me on the floor and went to join my mates at their table. When I joined they all wanted to know what his name would be. In the dream this was totes normal and not experienced as in any way weird to anyone other than me.
The next night I dreamt my baby just fell out and was the size of a finger and I had to wrap it up like Thumbelina in leaves and flowers and keep it in my pocket to stop birds and other animals eating it.
Both an absolute Freudian field day! Make sense of those freaky dreams as you will!
Pregnancy is a magical experience with all the fun and excitement it brings. The time is full of wonderful thoughts and memories but it can also be really hard and full of a whole lot of crazy. This was just me but I’m sure I’m not alone and that privately many pregnant women have these experiences which they feel unable to share or discuss out of fear of not fulfilling the image of the graceful and glowing mother earth figure.
Lets own our pregnancy neuroses and speak about it!