Not so blooming marvellous

I was just having a long-overdue clear-up the other day when I came across the handbag I used when I was pregnant. A few of its contents included: 
  • Empty chewing gum wrappers
  • Small jewellery box (empty)
  • A packet of tissues
  • Parking receipt from the hospital
  • Boarding pass
  • Three packets of Rennies
  • Business card for the local beauty salon
  • Fan

This seemingly harmless array of bits and pieces got me thinking back to my pregnancy, and how it wasn’t the beautiful, soul-enhancing experience I was expecting. A close friend of mine had loved every minute of being pregnant, so I couldn’t wait to have my turn to glow and bloom. Maybe if I’d been growing just one baby inside me it would have been different but I felt let down by my pregnancy. I loved my bump, but my love affair with the state of pregnancy ended there.

23 weeks
Let’s look at those items again…
Chewing gum wrappers - I suffered from terrible morning sickness 24 hours a day from week six to week 22. Got to week 12, thought, ‘hurrah the sickness is over’, and then continued to be sick at least once a day for the next ten weeks. When the nausea hit in a big way (most often on the train into work every morning), some chewing gum would keep the sickness under control for the ten minute journey, if I was lucky!
Small jewellery box (empty) – No-one warned me about the constant fear. I spent all 37+2 weeks of my pregnancy with a feeling of terror in the pit of my stomach that it was all going to go horribly wrong. Superstition took over, and I had lucky rituals I couldn’t and wouldn’t break. This box held my two good luck charms – a small brass bear my dad brought me back from Berlin when I was about ten years old, and a piece of rose quartz a friend gave me when I was trying to get pregnant.
Hospital parking receipt – I seemed to most of my pregnancy at the twin clinic at Lewisham Hospital. On the plus-side it was reassuring to be monitored so closely, on the downside the endless hours on the uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room dragged terribly, and the parking was extortionate. 
Boarding pass – A dream trip to New Zealand was booked before we got pregnant, which we still went on, flying out when I was 14 weeks. 29 hours on a plane with awful morning sickness was not fun, but was worth it to see NZ and my brother. At least I got to be sick somewhere else for a change.
Three packets of Rennies - I had dreadful heartburn and gobbled anything that might help. Typically it was at its worst when I was lying down, so I would struggle to sleep (something I wanted to do almost all the time). I glugged Gaviscon out of the bottle and got through bottles so fast I started getting them on repeat prescription.
Business card for the local beauty salon – So many aches and pains. I took myself off for a few massages while I was pregnant (with non-scented massage oil, as anything smelly made me sick). A pedicure just before I had the babies was just the ticket, as there was no way I could have reached my own toes, and I had to look at them for hours lying in my hospital bed for eight days and nights.
Fan – Being pregnant with twins over the hot summer months made for a rather uncomfortable time. I tried to avoid getting on the Tube as much as possible, and luckily my train journey into the office is relatively speedy, but the fan came in very handy in times of need. It was a great weapon to wield when every miserable commuter on the train was avoiding my eye so as not to have to offer me their seat. A bit of huffing and fan waving piled on enough guilt that someone usually caved eventually.

37+2 weeks

And then there was the insomnia, the constant tiredness, the sore knees and ankles, the uncomfortable feeling of a baby bouncing on your bladder. But of course, the two beautiful babies at the end of it made it worth it. So when you’re reading this in a few years time Miss E and Mr A, go and make your lovely mum a cuppa, as she deserves it, don’t you think?

This was written for Josie at Sleep Is For The Weak‘s Writing Workshop. I chose the prompt, ‘What eagerly anticipated experience turned out to be a complete and utter let down?’.

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