Robyn Wilder's having another baby! And she's writing about her pregnancy for Mush every couple of weeks. Here's the seventh instalment, in which, according to our friends at Babycentre, her unborn child is roughly the size of a pineapple. Ouch.
Well, here I am at 32 weeks pregnant. Just to remind you, I am a small, overweight woman with a baby measuring 3 weeks ahead - so, on me, 32 weeks looks and feels a lot like 332 weeks. Everything hurts. Morning sickness has returned. I’ve developed carpal tunnel syndrome and the tips of my (swollen) fingers are now numb. My stomach, liver and other internal organs are all squished together like Northern Line passengers at rush hour, which means that heartburn and an upset tummy are things I experience on a meal-by-meal basis.
It would be nice if, at this point, the universe would let up and plonk me at some tropical poolside (in the shade, natch) until the baby arrives. But that’s not the case. We have had a death in the family; we have illness in the family; the heatwave is not treating me well, and my two-year-old son has recently discovered his rebellious side.
So this is how I am coping.
1. By scaling down everything
And I mean everything. Parenting now looks a lot like just watching TV and saying things like “hey, can you go down to the bottom of the garden and fetch Mummy a flower, please?” Cleaning is perfunctory, and does not take in anything outside my maximum radius (so, toys still litter the floor). Work takes place inbetween naps. Meals are largely of the frozen variety. I am picking my battles, saving my energy, and playing to my strengths. And I’m sparing very little thought as to what this looks like from outside. Because it won’t be forever.
2. By prioritising self-care
This has been a bit of a battle. I tend to treat any physical weakness of my own as a character flaw, and I have to stop. Being heavily pregnant in a heatwave alone is no joke, so I am allowing myself mulitple little naps a day, early nights, and lots and lots of fluids. I am turning down social events and letting myself rest. Because it’s not flaking out, it’s self-care.
3. By keeping my eye on the prize
Perhaps surprisingly, this is the hardest stance of all to maintain. I am hot and tired and itchy and I can’t think straight. At this point I just want to go into hospital for a nice lie down; the concept of being energetic enough to give birth (and then! Oh blimey! Parent a newborn and a toddler!) is totally beyond me. So instead I’m looking at photos of my son as a baby and remembering his wonderful squishiness, and allowing it to occur to me that I will have two of these little squishy people, and I’ll get to watch them interact, and that is somehow enough to help me rise out of my funk and look to the future.
Thirty-two weeks, though. Eurgh.
Mush brings you anecdotal and light-hearted guides on what you can expect when pregnant and in the early years of your child's life. For more official advice and newsletters detailing your baby's development, both before and after birth, we recommend signing up to Babycentre.