15 June 2016

Things people don’t tell you about being pregnant

I have to put a disclaimer down with this blog post. I have had an extremely easy and very low risk pregnancy – I am that pregnant person that everyone hates. I have had no morning/ night/ afternoon/ all day sickness, no food aversions and very few waves of nausea. In fact, my nausea could be overcome with one or two deep breaths.

That said, there were some unexpected things that no one told me about…

There is that one symptom that will make you think, “I can’t do this”: Mine was the constipation. The inability to poop – yes, pregnancy is very glamorous. The cramping was so unbearable that I would find myself curled up on the bathroom floor, cursing and swearing that I would never do it again – ever! I recall messaging a friend, “why didn’t you tell me!”, only for her to respond, “Hahaha, I don’t even remember that part”. The scary part? She was right – you forget.

Pregnancy hormones are real: I thought that the whole preggy-hormone thing was a bit of a myth, until I lost it with my husband. There have been a handful of times where hubby and I would get into a little disagreement and, out of nowhere, something would take over my body, and the small tiff would turn into something resembling an atomic bomb going off. All the while in the back of my mind there a logical-part is screaming “shut up, you are going to say something you regret! Shut up, it’s just hormones”.  I now have an arrangement with my husband, when I say “walk away” – he walks away. It is a cue to him that the pregnant-witch is about to come out and his darling, logical, wife is about to disappear.

Feeling your baby move: “It is magical, there is no better feeling”, we all hear that part. The part no one tells you about is that it is weird. Yes, downright, plain, weird – freaky even. The first time I felt our daughter move I thought it was my clothes rubbing against my skin – it tickled, so I scratched and readjusted my clothes. Her movements have now progressed to feel more like a muscle-twitch – it’s even freakier. If you were born prior to 1990, think Alien (the movie) – there is something inside of you that wants to come out.

There will come a day when you can’t get your shoes on – and it will be earlier than you anticipate: Mine came around 27 weeks. Out of the blue one morning, as I bent down to put my shoes on, it was just so uncomfortable, I couldn’t do it. My husband had to put my shoes on. Things have been getting increasingly uncomfortable since then.

Your baby is protected by fat, skin, organs and amniotic fluid, take a chill pill: Part of my job is event management. This means carrying stuff, moving tables and chairs around, and being on my feet for long periods. I had people telling me I shouldn’t pick up banners and need to sit, which made me extremely paranoid. Eventually, thanks to some friends, I realised that I am pregnant not dying, and that our little one is happily incubating underneath fat, skin and organs, and in amniotic fluid – she is well protected. This doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind, but rather for you to trust your instinct and rely on your gut regarding your capabilities. Also, AND VERY IMPORANT, I have had a low risk pregnancy – talk to your doctor/mid-wife if you are concerned.

You will have amazing skin – or you’ll look like a 13-year-old version of you: I look like a teenager. In fact, I can’t recall my skin being this spotty when I was 13-years-old. I have read apps, books, blogs and articles on how to improve my skin and have tried every remedy recommended by Google – nada.

Pregnancy symptoms are not “timing” related: You will read about what symptom to except during which timeframe. Read it, take note and throw the timing part out the window. My skin problem has persisted throughout my pregnancy. That and the fatigue. People said that I will have a burst of energy in my second trimester, I am now at the start of my third trimester and ready to go to bed till this kid comes out.

The pregnancy glow – you might have it, but you won’t feel it: People will tell you how you are glowing and how gorgeous you look, but you might not actually feel it. You will feel bloated, tired, uncomfortable, and irritated – everything but “glowing”.

You can keep on moving: I joined a fitness studio about a year before falling pregnant and have carried on training throughout my pregnancy (and plan to do so till I give birth and beyond). This has helped greatly with the fatigue, stress-levels (especially as I can’t drink wine) and general feel-good levels. Again, PLEASE NOTE, I didn’t fall pregnant and then decided to start exercising, I was exercising beforehand, so my body was use to it. I also exercise at a studio where I have qualified trainers ensuring that I exercise correctly, and that baby and I are safe.

Everyone wants to talk pregnancy: I walked into a training session last week and one of the attendees’ asked me how far along I was in my pregnancy, I politely answered, and then spent the next 10 minutes having to listen to when his wife was pregnant. He showed no signs of moving along so I had to rudely interrupt for the sake of the other attendees. It happens – a lot. People tend to think it is all you want to talk about.

You become a belly: No more how are you doing – it becomes how is the baby. People don’t hug you, they pat the belly. You are no longer a person, you are a belly. I am fine, thank you for asking.

Belly grabbing: Now this hasn’t happened to me, touch wood. The only people who have touched/hugged my belly have been friends and family. I think it’s because I have the “touch me and you die” look [so not complaining], but most people warn you – expect the belly grabbers to grab. Random people, who you have never met, let alone seen, will invade your personal space and touch you, pat you, smack on the belly.

Things people say when you are pregnant – and it is just annoying!

The prophecy of doom: “Your life will never be the same again” – you hear it – a lot! Most people will say this with complete love and awe in their voices, but then there are those who say it like they are delivering the prophecy of doom. There have been a few times where I had to prevent myself from asking, “so then why did you have children?”

You just wait till your little one is born: The biggest problem I have with this statement is that it is often said in a condescending way, like I am a brainless twit. I agree, you have no clue what a situation is like until you are in it, but you also don’t need to put your hand on a hot stove just to console someone who accidently burned themselves.

You don’t understand tired until you have had a newborn: Like my current state of tired means absolutely nothing? I believe there are different kinds of tired. For example, there is the stressed-kind, the ‘I partied too hard’ kind, the newborn kind, etc. Some tired you can handle, some you can’t. I would imagine that you are absolutely exhausted as a new parent, but surely when that little face looks up at you cooing and smiling, the tiredness must be all worth it? And if you really want to start comparing, you have no clue what depressed-tired feels like. Put that in your pipe and empathise with the different kinds of tired.

Enjoy {insert your favourite activity} while you can because you will have to give it up: Why? Just, why? Why must my husband stop playing soccer (once a week) or bowls (on the odd occasion)? Why will I have to stop going to gym? Sure, it will take us some time to adjust to a new little person in the house, but I see no reason why we should give up our favourite activities indefinitely – and don’t give me the “you just wait…” crap. Reality is that as parents we actually need to put our wellbeing first. If our needs and wellbeing are not taken care of, how can we be expected to take care of someone else’s? Just think about it.

Just wait till your baby is born, your cats will no longer matter: These people I want to slap in the face with a chair. I am not ignorant, I am fully aware of the fact that having a two-legged, non-furry, baby demands more of your time, but neglect the kittens completely? Not in a million years! My husband and I have spoken about the integration at length, and we will do our best to make the transition for our kittens as easy as possible. After all, they were there first – and will forever be our fur-babies.

I can’t see you as a {insert gender here} mom: Huh? Say what? Firstly, what does a “boy mom” look like? Secondly, I get there is a difference between boys and girls, but we are raising adults and to my knowledge, boy or girl, you need to teach your child the same principles.

And the last, but certainly not least, another gender comment…

You better be having a {insert gender preference here}: When we found out we were pregnant I had this idea that we would do a gender revealing with all of our loved ones. Then it started, “oh, I hope you have a {insert gender} / we need a {insert gender} in the group / we really want a {insert gender} / you better be having a {insert gender}”. Say what?! So if our HEALTHY, HAPPY, bouncy, baby has a penis, he will mean less in your life? The gender revealing idea went out the window quite quickly and I was left in a state of hormonal tears most of the time, captured by fear that my baby won’t be loved as much or, that somehow, I would’ve failed cause my baby is not a specific gender. 

17 July 2015

An unwanted trip down memory lane

I read a heart-breaking article this morning about a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide – all because the 'cool group' saw her as fat and ugly. This brought back a rush of memories from my own school years, memories that still sting 14 years after leaving school…

I can’t remember much about my earlier years in Primary School, but I do recall wanting to be a part of a group of girls, the cool group, and them voting no on me joining the elite. At that point the school library became my haven – I lost myself in between the pages of whatever book I could find. In my last year in Primary School I was put in charge of the library, I think Head Library Prefect would be the correct translation. I was told by my peers that the only reason why I had the title was because I was sucking up to the teacher. No dears, the reason why I had the title is because you banned me from your group, because you were the Wolf Pack.

Eventually I entered High School, with high hopes that I could leave my lone wolf status behind me, but things proved to be more challenging that anticipated.

My first year I was bullied so badly that my mother had to intervene. The bullies, being ‘sport heroes’ of our grade, nearly got away with it and it was only after I threatened the principle with my mother, that he actually reacted. You see, my mom has piercing blue-eyes that, when angry, would make Lord Voldemort quiver with fear.

I found myself floating from group to group and eventually settled down into a group halfway through High School. This is it, I thought. Friends. Belonging. Acceptance. BFFs 4 life. When you are a teenager that is all you want.

It was only in my last year in High School that I found out that my “friends” were getting together over weekends – and I was never invited.  

I’ve been told that my school experience sharpen and made me the person that I am today – sure, but it doesn’t take away the sting, even years later, so imagine what it felt like at 12.

Today, at the age of 30-something, life is very different. 

They say that as you get older your friends become fewer, this isn’t so, my friends have expanded and I can honestly say that I can pick up the phone, at any time, and phone any of them and they will be there. No 'but', 'maybes' or any questions asked. They are not fly-by-nights, nor friends from school. They are my friends, the true kind. Heck, 14 years later I even belong to a Wolf Pack. ;-)

My message is this, don’t lose hope. School isn’t forever (even though it feels like it), hang in there and walk out with your head held high cause you survived.

Teachers open your eyes, take notice. You see these children every day, act. Parents talk to your children, open the lines of communication, teach your child compassion. 

Bullying isn't just a child hitting others or being verbally abusive. It is a  real or perceived power imbalance. It is subtle. It is hurtful. 

14 November 2014

A loss and gain situation

If you are a regular reader of my blog (or know me), then you will know that we lost one of our kittens in May this year (and may I add, unexpectedly. Very, very unexpectedly). I am often struck by the big gap Tulip left in our house and our hearts, she was tiny for a fully-grown cat but had a larger than life personality.

My husband and I spoke of getting a companion for Meeko (Tulip’s sister),  but somehow we always found an excuse to put it off to later, the end of the year, well, maybe in the new year. Till one day, not so long ago, we got a call from our regular vet asking us if we are ready to adopt, as someone just brought in a kitten that was found at the local hospital. We were happy to meet him and then decide. There wasn’t much time for the “deciding” part because we left the vet with him – and a stock of special kitten food.

It has been quite an emotional rollercoaster. The reasonable part of my brain knew we were under NO circumstances replacing Tulip, but that didn’t take away the emotions. It didn’t take away the fear of whether or not we were doing the right thing for Meeko, give an equal amount of attention to both (i.e. not make Meeko feel replaced) or the fact that I so badly wanted Tulip back – followed by guilt of “but does that now mean that I can’t love this kitten”.

My reality is that I would do anything, ANYTHING, to have Tulip back, but I can’t, and I would never exchange our new kitten for anything. And that is the reality of losing something you love dearly and gaining something you love. It is conflicting, it is confusing, but perfectly normal.

One thing can never replace another, some things can’t be undone (or redone) and you will never forget, but you will create new memories. This experience has made me realise that life is a bit like writing a book. Tulip is a part of our story, she is the chapter before this one. Nothing can erase that, nothing can change it but the story must continue.

The story of our fur-kids continues with Meeko and Oliver. The orphan who found his forever home and the human who found the capacity to love another, again. 

Meet Oliver; 

05 June 2014

The death of Wimpy coffee

Wimpy coffee and I have walked a long happy road together. The sweet, caffeinated taste of the famous favourites, since 1967, carried me through long Sunday hours at my part-time job. I was a student and, like most students, my favourite past time was staying up until something-silly-am – shower and hit the gym, not to train, but to work (I was a part-time receptionist).

The first hour and a half was torture and then the employee from the Wimpy next door would come in a bring me my saviour in a red cup. It was routine, they knew as soon as they get in, take a cup of coffee to the blond next door.

That was how my journey with Wimpy coffee started.

As I entered the world of adulthood, responsibility, work and no more something-silly-am shenanigans, I came to rely on the strong caffeinated  taste of  the famous favourite, since 1967, to kick start my day (at random point during the day).

Of late, I have noticed that the strong taste of caffeine has been dying a slow death of pure milk. How is milk going to keep me going? My mom in-law, you must love mothers – they always have the best advice, suggested that next I ask for an extra strong coffee. Of course! Extra strong coffee is guaranteed to contain all the caffeine an adult woman would need to function.

This morning I popped into Wimpy, “One cup of famous Wimpy coffee, please. Oh, make it a mega, extra strong please, loads of caffeine, thank you”.

That first anticipated sip… was dreadful. I sipped again and again and again, but the taste wouldn’t change. The famous favourite, since 1967, tasted like nothing but glorified milk and water with a dash of, what taste suspiciously like, jik.

More than half the cup remains untouched.

Wimpy coffee has died. RIP my dear, dear old friend, my saviour in a red cup.

Wimpy coffee, famous favourite, since 1967 to 2014. 

21 May 2014

In memory of Tulip

Our dearest Tulip

I’ll never forget the day we met you…

We went to Kitty & Puppy Haven to meet Meeko, her picture drew our attention because of her raccoon-like features. When we chatted to the volunteer and she suggested we get two kittens, we didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’, but first we wanted to meet the raccoon-like kitten, we would choose a second kitten in a bit. We didn’t realise our second kitten would choose us. 

We entered the enclosure and Meeko ran away, something she still does today when strangers enter her home. We sat down patiently waiting for her to come out, instead you came. You trotted to us, tail in the air, and climbed onto Craig’s lap, you purred and climbed, clearly saying ‘take me home’ and we knew we would.  

A week later, I fetched you and Meeko. 

To my surprise, once we got home, it was Meeko exploring her new surroundings and you who hid under the bed. I left you, knowing you would come out when you were ready and you did, when your human-dad came home. He sat down and you crawled all over him – you had that ginger-bond with each other.

We did everything, Tulip, everything to keep you safe, to protect you and your sister from harm. We thought of all external factors that could hurt you, take you from us, but we didn’t know it would be an internal factor that would rob you from us.

The vet said it was pancreatitis, an asymptomatic disease, which caused internal bleeding. We lost the war – a war we didn’t even have time to prepare for. A war that came down on us in a matter of minutes and was over in a few hours.

The house is empty without you, Lulu-Bear. Our hearts are broken.

We miss your purrs, the cheeky meows, your morning cuddles and evening kisses, the way you showed off your tail – the longest tail in the world (I know, I measured), playing fetch with you, watching you play with Meeko and try to sneakily sit on her (to pin her down), your squirrel run, your little smile, your mischievousness, you batting your treats across the floor, your tail (everybody’s favourite toy), your lucky paw and dirty little nose, and your 3am wake up calls. Yes, Tulip, I would give anything to have you wake us up, every single morning, at 3am if it meant that I could have a few more years with you. But we won’t. Our time with you was too short.

Thank you Tulip for the time you spent with us, for the memories, the laughter and paw-kisses. You will forever be in our hearts. We love you – always – forever and a day. 

09 April 2014

16:05 - it's time to walk down the aisle

The joke between my hubby and I was that I would just rock up on our big day and him, the moms and my closest girlfriends would’ve planned everything. I wouldn’t need to do a thing. As it turned out, having gone through planning a wedding, I am quite a control freak, a Nazi about detail and planned everything down to the last second.

After setting the date, selecting a venue, getting quotes and choosing suppliers, I started getting the ‘what time must the food be put out’, ‘what time should we be there…’ questions. The only answer I had was that the ceremony would start at 4pm, but no, suppliers wanted to know what time they must be there – I don’t know. 

The best way for me to establish who must be at the venue and what time – and what needs to happen when, was to create an Excel spreadsheet and work it out. Work it out I did – down to the last minute cause that’s what brides do, right?

Turns out not a single one of my friends or past brides (that I/the suppliers knew of) had such a detailed programme of events. Oh, don’t get me wrong, most knew what was happening in which order, but the actual time? Not a chance! Weddings have a dynamic of their own and things happen which you have no control over. True, but it turns out that I got quite twitchy when I didn’t know what time the next step would take place – or what the next step would be. 

My programme of events soon became colour coordinated (based on who is responsible for what) and had notes column (of things the responsible person MUST NOT FORGET).

This programme of events was not only emailed to every single person involved, but printed out and put into (pretty) folders and given to people. 

Ok, perhaps the exact time stamps were a bit much, but in my defense, I thought that is what brides do. The suppliers loved knowing what time they must be where, what the order was and what they were responsible for. They loved that there was no need to run around (after people) and that things went smoothly. Give your supplier that – in which ever format you prefer.

My matron of honour and MC were put in charge to ensure that things happen smoothly, flawlessly and 'on time'. Do that. Have responsible people do the running around so you can chill. My matron of honour was amazing in lining the ladies up for their hair and make-up, and our MC was brilliant in ensuring that everything went smoothly.

But be flexible. Weddings do have a personality of their own, but things somehow work out. Plus, you've left people you trust in charge. 

In case you are wondering… Things didn’t happen exactly according to the times on the schedule. In fact we were about two hours ahead of schedule with hair and make-up, which wasn’t such a bad thing, as I got to do a mini-bridal boudoir shoot with the photographer.

We remained ahead of schedule for pretty much the whole wedding, which was great, cause instead of starting the party at 21:30, we started at 20:57. 

About the scribbler

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Lover of cats, books and red wine. Wife and mom-to-be.
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