The day we found out I was pregnant, we went to a friend’s birthday party in a bar. I asked for an alcohol-free beer, and was just about to pour it into my glass when I spotted the name on the label- “Evil Imp” or similar. Alarm bells rang,; there’s nowt evil or impish about boring 0% lager. A quick check of the alcohol volume revealed it was in fact 6%. I informed the barmaid who apologised profusely, said the labels of the teetotal beer and the super-strength one were deceptively similar, and said “it could be worse- I gave one to a pregnant woman the other day”. I raised my eyebrows in a “yikes! imagine that!” way, thinking, but I am pregnant. Of course she wouldn’t have been able to tell- The Bean was barely an embryo at that stage- but I did sort of feel like I was tricking myself into thinking I was really knocked up.
And thus began my career of feeling like a big fat pregnancy fraud.
For the first weeks, nothing really happens. After the initial midwife appointment, it’s a hugely uneventful time during which everyone (and by everyone, I mean the internet) reminds you frequently that the pregnancy is not a Done Deal yet and that it would be foolish to utter the words “we’re having a baby”. Given my previous miscarriage- which I didn’t blog about, but did happen last year- I spent much of this time believing that the embryo had died and it was just a case of waiting to find out. That I wasn’t really pregnant at all. At the scan, the sonographer said “there’s the baby” to which I shrieked “but is it beating? Is it alive?”. It’s as though I was holding my breath until that moment, feeling like it wasn’t really happening, couldn’t be happening.
On top of this, quite a few people presume that, since we’re not married, The Bean is a happy accident, when it fact this is very much a planned baby. When people express surprise when I tell them (and believe, they do ask), I feel sort of sheepish and delinquenty, like I’m not really qualified to have a baby, or like I’m pretending.
Look, I know I am not rational. I think we established this some time ago.
And now I’m embarking on the second trimester, Bump Envy has taken hold. A friend of a friend reportedly has, at nine days further on than me, a noticeable bump. A woman in my office three weeks ahead is positively blooming. I am jealous. I’m certainly bigger round the middle than usual; I have a sort of pillowy, distended stomach that sort of might be becoming something like a bump, but it’s unlikely you’d look at me and think I was anything other than fond of pastry. And even though I’ve seen The Bean on screen, it makes it harder for me to believe he/she is in there.
I can’t wait for a bona fide bump . Partly because it will be exciting, but mostly because it will be visual evidence which proves to me and those around me that yes, I really am with child, and not spinning some sort of elaborate hoax in order to get free dental care and prescriptions.