Forgive me internet, for I have sinned. It’s been nearly a month since my last pregnancy update. It seems like such a long time putting it that way- like, I’m nearly a whole month more pregnant. In my defence, I’ve been busy preparing for actually being a parent. This month has seen antenatal classes, birth plans, hospital bags, maternity meetings and baby showers. All things that make impending parenthood seem very, very real indeed.
I’ve still blogged in this time, but I’ve made a foray into my first blogging love of film and TV. To be honest, I’d hit a bit of a wall writing about pregnancy updates. It never really felt as though enough had happened to write home about, aside from a wider waistband and slower gait. It didn’t help that I worked two six-day backshift weeks in this time- working 12-8 with one day off doesn’t allow for much spare time. Turns out a little break was exactly what I needed, and my (ever expanding) bump and I are raring to go.
Having a baby shower was a bizarre, surreal experience and not one that I ever thought I’d see myself. I rolled my eyes at them before and how Americanised we were becoming as like, a society. Turns out that, unlike presidential candidates, not all American things are terrible. For one thing, a party centred around presents, that isn’t my birthday. The beautiful tea rooms of the Butterfly and Pig were the perfect setting for all my nearest and dearest to gather and I honestly can’t believe just how generous everyone was. Aside from the riddy of being made to sit on a chair in front of everyone to open them, I loved everything we got. I left laden down with bags and cakes, and very happy indeed. I just can’t believe it’s been and gone: when I started my job I remember putting in for it as a holiday and it feeling like forever away.
It doesn’t feel like it, but I’ve now been in my ‘new’ job for eight weeks. In that time I’ve had both a 28 and 32 week midwife appointment. Scary, right? In that time we’ve also completed a course of antenatal classes that, at one point, was a tail-end of pregnancy thing that I never thought about until I got to single-digit weeks. It’s gone so quickly- from pre-labour to postnatal care, we’ve whizzed through it all. It helped that Ally was there. There hasn’t been much need for him to come to midwife classes and he’s been busy inheriting my nesting instinct. I can’t complain- we’ve got a shiny, new kitchen floor and our little flat has a glint of fresh gloss. Still, as much as I can relay information, I feel like I’ve been going through most of it myself.
A common theme of pregnancy thus far has been the realisation that I know nothing. NOTHING. I mean, it’s to be expected. Very few first time mums know exactly what to expect. It’s been a comfort that neither of us do, I guess. My usual approach of bumbling along until things eventually clicked wasn’t quite going to cut it this time though. With our lives mere weeks from being thrown into disarray, it’d be nice to arm myself with whatever knowledge I could get my paws on.
It was a little intimidating at first as I quickly realised how little I actually knew. Labour was a minefield that I knew I had to get through but I didn’t understand the mechanics of it. I can safely say, for better or worse- thanks to a plastic doll being squeezed through a plastic pelvis- I do now. The other mums knew to ask about pain relief, hospital bags, induction methods. My only contribution was “when are you too big to drive?”. Ally doesn’t drive and I’ll be damned if I’m getting a taxi at the risk of a £40 clean-up charge. In our first class, they took the dads and birthing partners into another room. Turns out Ally asked the same question. It’s nice to know we’re on the same learning curve.
In adding to knowing nothing about the birthing process, I’m also blissfully unaware of what I’m entitled to. Unfortunately I don’t qualify for maternity pay and get allowance instead- although this would’ve been the case in my zero hour hospitality job anyway. It’s paid through the job centre but still has to be processed through your employer. If you’re not sure what to expect, it’s all detailed on the gov.uk website. It’s not amazing, and the state of shared parental care/pay still gets my blood up, but it’s something. It was reassuring to chat through it all with someone too, and now I’ve got an official signed letter with my maternity leave and due date printed very clearly in black and white. Pretty much as REAL as it’s gonna get on that front.
In all that time I’ve still managed to fit in some socialisin’. After six weeks of bringing my own teabags to work I got paid, and treated myself to a swooshy new hairdo. I know, I know, I have a baby to think about paying for- but after ten years of home colouring I felt it was overdue. Since spending most of my twenties with an array of unnaturally bleached colours and half of my head shaved I’ve been taking it easy with the scissors and letting it grow. After two haircuts in three years, enough was enough. It was like wearing a permanent scarf and made me look like a stray from the Manson Family. A quick trip to BLOND in the south side and my locks were a lovely red balayage– as if my Instagram feed wasn’t proof enough of my autumn obsession, I went and got my hair coloured like a leaf. AND I LOVE IT.
I also had an overnight in Edinburgh with Ally (more of that to come). We went through for the John Carpenter show at the Usher Hall, but also managed to fit in couple-y dinners, graveyard walks, more ice cream than we could physically consume and a spooky trip beneath the city to its haunted South Bridge vaults. It was only an overnight trip but the change of scenery was exactly what we needed.
I’ve also met up with pals for coffee dates, been to not one, but TWO gigs, bought us some post-baby gig tickets (because there is life after labour and it’s not all baby), even made it to a couple of house parties and nights out. I couldn’t come up with a cute, funny and/or clever maternity Hallowe’en costume, but I still made an effort with my make up… I can never let the season go by unnoticed, it’s not in my nature.
After all, if I took away one thing from antenatal class it’s this: babies can sense when mums are stressed out or overworked and go into baby hibernation. When mum is content, baby’s content. Isn’t that what parenting’s all about, anyway?
TL;DR Highlights and Lowlights
Spending some much needed quality time away from Glasgow.
Refreshing my tired ol’ hair and feeling swooshy and- dare I say it- GOOD about myself.
Getting more and more organised by the week, or maintaining the illusion anyway.
Maintaining a work/life balance probably more successfully than I did before I got pregnant.
Feeling bigger and slower every day.
Being unable to stay awake for long periods without intermittent naps or straight up crashing out on the sofa.