Dec 26, 2012

The Last 40 Weeks.



I had high hopes of looking back on the last 40 weeks of being pregnant and coming away from my reflections with some words of wisdom from which to conjure up a post for the blog.  And not just any kind of blog post, mind you.  It would be a post that perfectly encapsulated the highs and lows of pregnancy in words that would just speak to each and every one of us.  Something that I'd re-read in future pregnancies and find instant calm and reassurance with each paragraph.

But, you're wiser than me, aren't you?  Because you know already that by 40 weeks, there's only one word on your mind and that would be 'out'.  There's also only one way to spend the day and that would be lying down on the sofa with changes in position only to access your wallet to get your credit card details in order to seal the deal on a few Boxing Day online bargains.  Food wise, last minute 'eating for two' meals have backfired because there really isn't any room for that extra food to go.

Despite the paucity of quality content, I'm still determined to write this post because if nothing else, it's going to be the only reliable record I will have of this moment of my life.  If there is a rule about blogging, perhaps it is that when writer's block threatens, just make your next post all about you, you, you.....  Nothing like a bit of honesty to clear the air.

Around 18 weeks
The first half of my pregnancy was very goal orientated.  It was all about making it to the next week, the next scan and the next trimester.  Getting to the next sized fruit on my 'What To Expect' app wasn't only cheesy, it brought a smile to my face each Thursday morning.  They were the kinds of smiles that helped me worry less about the negative 'what ifs' and instead focus on the positive 'what will bes'.

Around 20 weeks
Getting to 20 weeks was a huge relief more than anything else.  Relief that all was well with bubs, relief that I was feeling more human than I had in months and relief that I didn't have to poke my belly out (too much) to see my bump.


As per my agreement with Mr SSG, the baby shopping could now begin in earnest.



I started off with sensibly priced, practical purchases that had Mr SSG's full blessing.


Before moving on to a few things which, while still on this side of practical, could also be tactfully described as being chosen for my benefit more than the baby's.  These had Mr SSG's blessing - somewhat.

Then I got into the swing of the shopping for baby business and bought all kinds of things that were quite clearly all about me.  Some highlights include:


Books by favourite childhood authors that I took to reading aloud during the winter.


And this drum, tambourine and maracas kit.  To make tummy time that much more musical....

Around 24 weeks
I would be lying if I said that I didn't think about the way my body looked as the pregnancy progressed.    On the one hand I was so excited to be finally looking pregnant, that the extra kilos were actually there for a reason.  Then there was the other part of my brain preoccupied by how long it's going to take to get back in shape after delivery.  There was also a part of my brain that was bizarrely disappointed to be sitting out the peplum waist trend but that's a tale for another day.....

One thing that really surprised me is how early I had to stop running.  You know how I am about running.  Not in it for speed or distance but rather as a part of my daily routine wherever I am around the world.  Treadmills, roads, footpaths, I'm not fussy - so long as I got that run in at some point of the day.  As it turns out, I had to stop completely around 22 weeks.  I felt a bit ripped off because I didn't even seem to have that big a bump to be bouncing around as I ran.  There was obviously a lot of hidden bump though because I could feel a pretty big bounce with every foot fall from that point on.  Listening to my body had finally become a phrase I paid more than lip service to.


Remember all my maternity fashion posts and all those clothes I bought for my work wardrobe?



Well, the best investment on a cost per wear basis were my $90 maternity bathers from Speedo.


Followed closely by the items in the $20 - $39 price range from the maternity ranges at Big W and Target.

Around 29 weeks
That's not to say I didn't love wearing those pricy Citizens of Humanity 'mom jeans' or all that Isabella Oliver but in the last few weeks, it hasn't just been comfort that's been a priority.  Any piece of clothing that allows you to hold onto the towel rail whilst pulling it on will always be chosen over anything requiring both hands free when dressing.  I don't know where my centre of gravity is these days.


Being visibly pregnant doesn't just change the way you treat yourself but the way complete strangers treat you changes as well.  For the better, I might add.  And even in a city as brash and big and bad as Sydney.  You are immortalised as a special pregnant woman triangular icon on the priority seating area at the front of the bus.  And people will shift seats to make room for you to sit there.

Around 34 weeks
Strangers at the grocery checkout will spontaneously start conversations with you.  Ladies who were previously stoic and ruthlessly efficient as they scanned and packed the items belonging to the customer in front of you lose their reserve when it's your turn.  After politely enquiring about your due date and the gender of your bump, they share their 'tales from the trenches' with warmth and a reassuring smile. Their smiles reach their eyes and crinkle their corners at the realisation that though it all happened so long ago for them, they still remember those moments as if they happened yesterday.  At cafes, young waitresses smile and touch your arm like an old friend as they tell you how well you look for so late in the pregnancy.  I walk a little taller after those encounters for obvious reasons but the random conversations with the check out ladies almost bring tears of happiness to my eyes.


Amongst all the things that you can get anxious about with being pregnant, I bet you didn't think the timing of when to start your maternity leave would rate that highly on the angst scale.  It did for me.  Right up until that last day, even while I was at my work baby shower, the guilts had their hold on me.  I was barely 34 weeks!!  Aside from getting car sick on the way to work, I was doing fine and as fit as a fiddle.  I felt like a fraud heading off as early as I did.  Initially I'd only chosen 34 weeks because it was suggested as a suitable time by someone who felt that many women make the mistake of starting their leave too late.


In hindsight though, it was the right time for me.  Fortunately, I didn't have a medical indication for starting leave that early but the weeks of wellness and relatively good mobility I had at the beginning of my leave allowed me to wind down and enjoy myself with Mr SSG and my family before my size and other symptoms caught up with me.

I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to see and do things I wouldn't have been able to with work.



Attending weekday brand presentations and living the life of a part time fashion and beauty blogger.


Getting to see Donna Hay on a Thursday evening.


Having a spontaneous yum cha lunch with my mum and aunty.  Just because we were in the area, we felt like it and we could.


Writing this post has ended up being quite a trip down memory lane for me.  40 weeks is a pretty long time and it's been like writing about my year in review as well as the pregnancy.  In some ways, the year only really began for me at that point.  I was in this holding pattern for such a long time before then.  Waiting for things to end and then waiting for things to happen.


This pregnancy has enriched my life in many more ways than it has restricted it.  The love, peace and happiness it has given me through the many beautiful people in my life has been too much for any one person to just hold it close and not share it all themselves.

After what seems like years of awkward emotions when faced with the pregnancies and baby news of others, I now find myself in a place of genuine happiness and excitement for those around me.  Reading  celebrity baby news in magazines is something I shouldn't be doing anyway but it's become a guilty pleasure that at least gets a chance to be indulged more often than my Royal Wedding obsession (hurry up, Prince Harry and make an honest woman out of some lucky girl when you're not deployed to Aghanistan).  The friend on facebook who only ever updates me to slip in an announcement of the clock work arrival of yet another baby in with her generic Christmas message now evokes a comment of genuine happiness on her behalf.

I am ashamed that I even have to write this down to acknowledge how deeply my experiences last year have affected my ability to enjoy the happiness of others.


Reckon it's about time to conclude this post.  I really should be giving you some kind of pearl of pregnancy wisdom, shouldn't I?  Something that will stay in your mind long after the memory of reading this post has faded.

Let me see.....

Pregnancy is one of those life experiences that has both challenges and enriches you.  It brings out the best and worst of all your personality traits.  While you may approach pregnancy armed with volumes of pre-reading and anecdotes from the women in your life, there are only two things you need to remember:

  1. No two pregnant women are alike and and no two pregnancies are alike.
  2. Expect the unexpected.  You'll cope much better when the carpal tunnel syndrome and cankles you were so sure you'd get are replaced with the headaches, permanent mouldy taste in your mouth and total body heat rash you do get lumbered with.
Oh, and Jenny McCarthy's observation that everyones' weight gain will balance out at the end.

If you're looking for more practical advice, I have this to say.  Go out and live your life as if you weren't pregnant (within reason).  Live each day fully and without fear of what a test may show or whether you will 'make it' to next week.



Grab those Tim Tams when you see them in Martin Place and smile for the camera as you do so.



Take that ridiculously expensive handbag out of its dust bag and orange box and use it.  Go out with it and do things you wouldn't be able to do if you were holding the handlebar of a Bugaboo instead.


And in addition to not forgetting the sunscreen, remember that you can still have fun without champagne and sushi.  It's just nice to know that for me, it's a single digit countdown until we can all be together again.

22 comments:

  1. Not long to go now to sushi (and a baby)! Are you going to post a 40week picture?

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  2. Your cheering squad ready to coach you through labour & to welcome baby SSG.take care xxxxx

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  3. I loved this post!!!
    You look so good pregnant, and I am super excited for baby SSG!
    I'm also really glad that people on public transport were nice to you and gave you a seat! I've heard such horror stories where people refuse to move!!
    xxx

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  4. My darling SSG, you look absolutely gorgeous. I've loved following this journey with you. I understand completely about the 'out' part- Carter was 41+ 3 and I was going crazy! I even had acupuncture to try and get things going! All the best sweetheart! xx

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  5. Amazing post!! thanks so much for taking us with you on this journey! I'm thinking about starting a family soon so this post was really helpful/insightful for me! Good luck and I can't wait to meet baby SSG! xx

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  6. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I feel so excited to know that in a matter of days (perhaps even hours?!) Baby SSG will have made his debut into this world. Thanks for sharing the journey with all of us.

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  7. I don't normally comment (though I always enjoy reading your blog) but there was one line in your blog that really resonated - "I am ashamed that I even have to write this down to acknowledge how deeply my experiences last year have affected my ability to enjoy the happiness of others.". This. I know the feeling all too well. As someone who is single and childless in their early 30's, it has been incredibly tough to hear friends announce their engagements/pregnancies this year. I am, of course,incredibly happy for them but that happiness is tempered by the fact that I wish I had similar news. Then I feel like an absolutely awful and selfish person for feeling that way. Anyways, it was just reassuring to read that I am not the only one. It is amazing that as different as people are, we can all experience similar emotions - it is a great equaliser. Wishing you all the very best with your pregnancy and am looking forward to reading your motherhood posts. x

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  8. Hi Jo
    Thanks for your comment on the blog today. I'm glad that what I've written has helped you feel that you're not alone in the way you may feel sometimes.


    Take care and best wishes for the future. Embrace whatever it may hold!


    SSG xxx

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  9. Hello Su!


    Thanks for your lovely comment. Hope to have news very soon...


    SSG xxx

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  10. Hello L!!


    Best of luck with your own journey.


    SSG xxx

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  11. Hello dear Rhi!


    I'm willing to do what it takes!


    SSG xxx

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  12. Hello Michaela!


    Thank you! I would have made them move if they didn't... all those hormones and all...




    SSG xxx

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  13. Such a great post SSG, so many wise words. I've loved following your 'Soooo....' blog posts and can't wait for baby SSG to arrive. I will have to remember that this post exists to read over it when I'm eventually at that stage myself. Wishing you all the best :-) xx

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  14. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Can't wait to meet baby SSG.

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  15. I love this post! I feel we may have had a similar experience as I said 'yep' at the end of every sentence! Thinking of you at this exciting/anxious/glorious time xx

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  16. Lovely post good luck with the srrival

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  17. Long time lurker via VF wishing you all the very best for your imminent arrival xx

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  18. Love this post. Looking forward to the next 40 weeks and beyond :) thank you for sharing your journey with us. X

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  19. I really enjoyed this post! It's nice to read about the good side of being pregnant. All the best with the birth, cant wait to follow the next part of your journey! x

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  20. Are you seriously at 9 months already? OMG!!! Where did the year go? Wow. Best wishes SSG. Cant wait for the news. New Year baby?

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  21. Beautiful post. I a, so glad your pregnancy was a good experience. You are already a wonderful mum.
    Best of luck - talk soon x

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  22. Beautiful post and HUGE congrats on the arrival of your new bub!
    x
    Michelle
    www.michellesstylefile.com

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