16 October 2017

The Perfect Pregnancy?

*Please note, this was written a good two months ago. At least, I started it then in one of my rare productive periods. I am now no longer pregnant, and am now the proud owner of a beautiful baby boy! Expect a blog post about that in the next year. I mean, I'll aim for sooner, be we all know my limitations.*

When I was younger I used to put a pillow up my t-shirt and waddle around and pretend to be pregnant. Not because I had an overwhelming desire to be pregnant at eight, but because I thought that pregnant women were the most beautiful, fascinating creatures. To me, they were magical. Now that I am actually one of those pregnant creatures, I don't feel beautiful, or fascinating, or even magical. I think my body is doing something miraculous, sometimes I'll just stare down at my stomach in utter disbelief that there is a tiny human being growing in there, but I don't feel particularly miraculous. I feel tired. So tired. 

It's my own fault for falling into the social media trap, I spend half my life on Instagram and Facebook, so it was very easy for me to fall for the image of social media perfection. It was even easier to make myself feel bad for not being the same as the pictures of perfection that these accounts portray. I have not spent my pregnancy dressed as though I've waltzed off the pages of Vogue; I've spent my pregnancy mildly sweaty, living in leggings, and looking kind of homeless. I have not been an avid yoga attendee; I've been an avid attendee of my bed. I spent the first five months of my pregnancy trying not to throw up and failing miserably, I had a brief month where I felt vaguely energetic, and now I'm just utterly exhausted. My back aches, and my adorable child is definitely sitting on a nerve somewhere because I can't walk for longer than ten minutes without a shooting pain travelling down my right leg. I wanted so, so badly to be one of those pregnant women who just smiles and glides their way through pregnancy; who eats all the right food, does all the right exercise and who doesn't dress like they've just rolled in their closet and thrown on whatever shit actually fits. I, however, have not eaten the right food. I have spent the first five months eating barely anything, and then the rest eating food that I spent the last two years avoiding. The changing body image has been a very difficult thing for me to wrap my head around. I spent over a year and a half losing five stone, which was really fricking hard. Like, really hard. Now, when I look in the mirror, I see my face as it was, my ankles are swollen and I feel desperately unfit because my lungs are being crushed. It's been hard, I won't lie, and it's been a massive adjustment because I had gotten used to liking the way I looked, then slowly, I've watched my body slowly morph back into the body I desperately wanted rid of. It's been a bit of a strain on my confidence and my mental state, but at the same time, I'm utterly, utterly obsessed with my bump. I can't go a day without stroking it, or holding it; hell, I can't even go an hour without touching it. I always hated my stomach, and now it's my favourite thing to hold, it's incredibly odd. It's a bit of a catch-22 situation; as much as I'm a bit devastated that the body I worked so hard for has changed completely, I don't regret the events that have made it change. I think it's important to say; regardless of any negative feelings I might have felt during my pregnancy, I know how lucky I am to have been able to get pregnant and have a safe pregnancy. I might have thrown up a lot, but apart from that, I was pretty blessed.
See what I mean? Belly cupper.  

The main advice I'd give to  anyone expecting is this; don't put pressure on yourself to be like anyone else. You do whatever you want, or need to do. If that means getting up for sunrise yoga classes, fair play to you, you mad woman; if it means eating an entire tub of ice-cream, more power to you. You are the one who is pregnant, you look after yourself however you see fit. Obviously, some semblance of a healthy approach is ideal and you should look after yourself the best you can, but don't put pressure on yourself to live off kale salad and smoothies, mostly because kale is horrific. I read so many pregnancy books and had such high expectations for how I wanted my pregnancy to go, but you really can't micro-manage your body, whatever your body wants to do, it will do. You can make life easier for yourself, but you aren't going to be able to completely change how your body reacts. I spent the first five months trying everything to get rid of my sickness, and while some things helped, the nausea was not to be defeated. I desperately wanted to be more like the women on Instagram who seemed to flourish and thrive in pregnancy, and look completely fabulous, but I have slowly come to terms that I just don't have that in me. And that's fine, it might not be what I wanted initially, but once I realised that it's not reasonable to expect to be like that all the time, I was happier for it. If you spend 95% of your time looking like leggings are the only thing you have in your wardrobe, and the other 5% looking put together, then you're doing well. Every time I actually manage to make an effort I feel like I deserve a medal, which just makes it more special. 
Besides, we may as well all get used to never looking put together again, babies have zero tolerance for nice outfits. All it means to them is they have a better looking target to spit and poo on!

I'll leave it there, and I'll hopefully chat to you soon. If you fancy keeping up with my craic, I'm on Instagram forever, which you can find the link for on the side or here, or on Facebook, which is linked here. I imagine they'll soon be filled with baby pictures because that's just the kind of person I am.
Hope you're all well,

Becca xo

UPDATE: since writing this post, I have had a lil baby boy, spoiler alert, he's perfect.
The best thing that's ever happened to me. Or Elijah for short.

26 April 2017

What to Expect When You Weren't Expecting.

I mean, once every four months is almost as good as once a week, right?

So, as is the way, life has happened and derailed any sort of semblance of a blog plan that I had. Let's catch up, shall we?

Over Christmas I had felt a little nauseous, but I put it down to eating trifle and chocolate for breakfast, because let's be honest, that isn't ideal at the best of times, let alone everyday for at least a week. I know, grown up choices are something I'm SUPER good at. I thought nothing of it over the Christmas period, until it came time for us to leave to go back to England, and then I realised my monthly gift was late. Being that I am usually super irregular (which I like to use as an excuse for my lack of timekeeping in real life too, it's obviously an inbuilt genetic flaw) I would normally think nothing of it. This time though, this time I just knew it would be different. It's a very odd feeling to just know, in your bones, that you are about to change your life forever in the most massive way possible. 
I tried to push it to the back of my mind, half hoping my period would show up, half hoping it wouldn't, when eventually I realised it was time to just accept the inevitable. I didn't want to be that girl who gives birth in the toilet because they 'didn't know' they were pregnant, especially since I already knew the truth. So, in the very glamorous aisles of Asda I decided it was time to find out once and for all. I bought a pregnancy test (and a DVD because self control is for the weak) and scurried home. As my luck would have it, the first test we took came up with the weakest positive ever, so weak, in fact, that my fiancé was convinced that it was just a false alarm. I wasn't as convinced. The next morning off, we took another test and it was a full-on, lights blaring, sirens flashing, holy shit this is completely positive. As soon as we saw that, we knew we had to go to the clinic, because OF COURSE it just couldn't be straightforward. I had an IUD, which is an implant designed to last 5-10 years and is 99% effective, obviously our child was just very determined to show up. The main issue with still having the implant in though, is that it can increase the risk of a miscarriage if you leave it in, or take it out. We went for a scan to see where the implant was resting, and the first time we saw our Bean on the screen, I knew then that I would love this little blob for the rest of my life. This tiny little life was already the most important person in the world to me, which made the reality that something could go wrong even more terrifying. Thankfully, everything went perfectly, and that tiny blob has now grown into a much bigger blob, apparently they are now the size of a Heirloom Tomato (thank you Google). 

There's so much about pregnancy that I had literally no idea about, I knew about morning sickness and all that fun stuff, and I knew from Kim Kardashian that my ankles could swell into balloons and that I should avoid flowery dresses and the Met Gala, but everything else was just part of a terrifying learning curve. For example, I didn't know that morning sickness is a myth. There is no such thing as morning sickness, that shit will haunt you all.day.long. I never knew I could feel so nauseous, or be so sick in all my life. As soon as we realised we were pregnant, the sickness hit me like a tonne of bricks. I couldn't eat what I used to like, anything I did eat came back up, my favourite foods were the work of the devil. I'll not lie, it's been shit. I miss actual meals that stay in my stomach for longer than 20 minutes. The other thing I didn't quite anticipate was the aches and pains, I mean, I knew there'd be aches, but I sort of thought that'd be much later down the line. Wrong. That shit starts about 2-3 months in, and there are muscles that hurt that I didn't even know existed. There's this one particular pain, it's called 'round ligament pain', and it feels like my muscles are tearing themselves apart, which, I mean, they sort of are, but why must it hurt SO MUCH? And my hips hurt. I feel like I've turned into a decrepit old woman. My main issue is actually my mental health, if I'm honest. I went through quite a low patch when I first realised I was pregnant. I just felt very...down, I guess is the best word for it. Not because I was sad I was pregnant or anything like that, just because sadness just sometimes happens to me. With all the extra hormones floating around (and there are SO MANY hormones), it was a lot to deal with. The pre-existing issue of my depression and anxiety has left my partner and I concerned about post-natal depression, because chances are I'll be pre-disposed to it given my history. At this point, all we can do is keep an eye on my mood and hope for the best, which is cheerful. The other issue I had was my changing body shape. The feeling of bloating started really quickly with me, and given how hard and long I worked to lose five stone, watching my body get bigger was a little hard for me to deal with, if I'm honest. Now I love my bump, but every so often, I'll look in the mirror and see something that's gotten bigger and I'll panic just a little that I'll never getback into shape. Vain, but true.




I'm tired, my hips hurt, I make noises when I try and move, I am finding it hard to bend down and get back up, and if I sound like I'm complaining, that's because I am, but I am also deliriously happy. Sometimes, when I'm walking to work, I'll just start smiling like a crazy person at nothing in particular, because I am so excited for the next step. I cannot wait to meet this little person that I have helped to create; I could spend hours imagining what they will sound like, how they'll behave, what they'll look like. I wonder if they'll get my curly hair, if they'll get his beautiful eyes, if they'll be as stubborn as the two of us, if they'll be as goofy as him, if they'll have an obnoxiously loud laugh like me, I just can't wait to see what kind of person they grow up to be. I'm terrified that I will have a role in forming this tiny human; all I can do is hope that I am half as kind, and as wonderful my parents were with us, because my childhood was a dream. They allowed my sisters and I to make our own decisions, and be our own people, even if they didn't necessarily agree, and even if they thought I swore too much (sorry Dad). 



There are things I wish I could change though. Obviously this wasn't a planned pregnancy, and I don't entirely love the stigma that surrounds that, and I don't love the extra layer of 'holy shit, this is happening quickly' that it has added. I wish I'd had more time to sort things out, I wish we'd been married because my family is quite traditional, I wish we'd already been moved home in a less stressful manner because I am dreading every second of that, I wish I'd been a wildly successful author/screenwriter, I wish we had more money, I wish I'd saved more, I wish we'd a house sorted. I wish there were people here who aren't. There are so many things I wish I'd been more organised about. I sincerely hope this child doesn't get my scatterbrained ways, because Lord help them if they do. We have to move home and start new jobs in the matter of months, which I am exceptionally stressed about because I really do not do well with new people and places (thanks social anxiety!). It took me at least a year to get settled into England, and now I have to do it all over again. That's the other thing that I am dreading; leaving my friends in England. I have met some of my favourite people here, people who I want to know for the rest of my life. I have changed my life over here, for the better, and I have made terrible life choices here, and some fantastic ones. Even though I know we have to leave, I am a little devastated at the thought of actually doing it. 
Despite all these wishes and worries that are sometimes completely overwhelming, I know that we are surrounded by people who will love this child unconditionally and who have always supported us in everything. The timing might not be perfect, but given my inherent lack of timing, it was never going to be perfect, and we might not be married, but that won't affect our ability as parents, or make us any less devoted. All I know, is that I have never known such fear and such excitement in all my life. I am beyond awed that I can play a role in creating and shaping another human being. I'm so excited to begin this whole new chapter.

I'm pretty sure that's enough babbling now. I hope you're all well and fabulous, I will (maybe) chat to you again soon. Hopefully. I'm working on getting better!
Too cute not to get. Child has no chance!
Becca xo


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