Archive for October, 2009

Odds and sods

Well, apparently being with child does not excuse you from having to work really bloody hard. Which is to say, that’s where I have been these last few weeks (again! Am sorry! Bad blog monkey!). Phew, it’s been intense. Though I don’t actually have to go out filming these days- which is great, taking into account the darkening, chilling days and wintry rain- I do have to sit in the office with the phone glued to my ear and my fingers typing themselves down to bloody stumps, setting up other people’s filming and trying not to tear my hair from its follicles. Same old stress, same old Sausage Factory.

However, being with child does mean you get banished from the office when swine flu strikes . When it comes to flu season, my office is effectively a huge open plan cesspit housing more than 60 people. We all share equipment- not to mention air- bounce from desk to desk, leave our germy handprints on the kettle, door handles etc. The air is given a good stir by a number of large a/c vents, which allow for the fact that there are no windows which open.  So it was hardly surprising when people started dropping like flies in the last few days, peaking yesterday.  Only one is a confirmed swine; a couple of others seemed pretty ropey (and I’m annoyed with them for coming to work. Swine Flu Matyrs can go straight to Room 101, by decree of me and The Bean); others I’m sure were over-egging their colds or suffering from an acute case of Mondayitis.

“You shouldn’t be here!” yelped one caring colleague with panic in her eyes, and before I knew it I was being bundled homewards by my boss. I felt special for about an hour, until an e-mail came round telling everyone to leave, and work from home until further notice.

So now I get to work in my slippers and stretchy trousers for the foreseeable future. Which is very nice actually. I’ve surprised myself today by getting an awful lot done, and not switching on the gogglebox once. My Facebook uptake has in fact been lower than normal, and I’ve certainly spent less time gossiping- none at all, in fact. I’m wondering if it might perhaps be essential for me to work from home until I start my mat leave in 2 months time….

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In other news, all is well Bean-wise, and not much else is happening in my life, other than growing a new human. She’s very active in there, and there’s nothing so delicious as feeling her kicks and prods, which range from squirmy sensations to full on belly-shakers. It’s also fascinating when she muscles her way to the front of my bump (which is now, to my relief, decidedly A Bump), and we can feel with our fingers little knobbly bits which must either be a head or a bum. Oh, the indignity of being a fetus…

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It’s my sister’s birthday today- the sixth one since she died. She would have been 22, and that’s something I can’t even begin to get my head around. I’ve been feeling OK all day and have decided to go with this feeling, and not succumb to guilt or force myself into a grief-hole. Strange how I never can tell how I’m going to feel on these “special” days- anniversaries, birthdays and so on.  The bottom line is, I wish she was here every day, not just on her birthday.

Navel Gazing

Like all women I know, I’ve always been weight conscious, with varying degrees of success over the years. I’ve never felt happy with my body shape, even when I was verging on underweight a couple of times. Before I was pregnant I truly believed that I would limit my extra calorie intake to the apparent 200 extra calories you need per day (that’s 2 slices of toast, people). I was anxious to stay slim and convinced my usual body-image fretting would not subside.

The first trimester of this pregnancy saw these good (/twisted) intentions fly out of the window. When you’re going to vomit unless you eat something, NOW, and then again two minutes later, and when anything but salt and vinegar crisps smells like the devil’s breath to your crazy pregnant nose… well, you eat the jeffing crisps, don’t you.

During this much more fun, much less insane (goodbye, nausea, I don’t miss you at all!) second trimester, I am still eating more than I normally would- and more than an extra 200 calories a day- but I’m not out of control by any means. The main difference is that I eat without guilt. I eat things I’d normally avoid, like sandwiches- CHEESE ones no less. Party on dudes. I make trips to the bakery especially for a cake. I don’t let myself go hungry, ever.  I’m actually horrified at the thought of applying the usual hunger-is-good ethos while pregnant- it just can’t be good for the baby (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).

My overriding feeling- and it’s a thrilling one- is of complete freedom from the usual body identity parade.  I can’t be judged on the usual criteria of what is officially attractive. My body is a completely different shape from the acceptable norm. (For god’s sake, my behind- usually the largest part of my body by a long way- now looks positively deflated compared to the various, ballooning lady lumps out front. My bottom, for once, is taking back seat).  Whilst I’m pregnant, I’m out of the Fat Race, and it feels wonderful. I’ve realised that women only get complimented on their figures at two times in their lives: when they look thin, and when they are pregnant.  I’ve been thin at times, but it’s much easier to be pregnant- backache, cytitis, crazy breastfeeding dreams and all. At the moment I love my slightly comical body shape and don’t have a speck of neuroses over whether I look big in a certain outfit or whether my stomach is sticking out when I sit down (I’d be stuffed if I did).

 But I suppose I’m not completely free. The only reason I don’t worry about my shape is because I’m pregnant, so I’m “allowed” to not be thin. It’s the sad truth that once I have given birth (and shovelled down all the foods I’m not allowed to eat while pregannt: smoked salmon, pate, brie…dribble…), I’ll be dieting. Because we’re so trapped in this ridiculous belief- and it is ridiculous, and completely arbitrary, but impossible to rid ourselves off- that thin is best. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should promote the belief that being hugely fat  looks nice- it’s obviously healthier to be slim and so, yes, a body that is  healthy weight looks more attractive.  I don’t think that’s abitrary. But we don’t simply think a healthy weight is more attractive, do we? We think that thinner you are, the better you look. And despite myself, begrudgingly, I sign up to that lie too. I’m intelligent and liberated, but like most women I can’t make myself believe that looking good is simply a matter of being healthy and fit, never mind if your thighs are a little thunderous or your waist-hip ratio unwaspish.

So I’ve no doubt that I’ll be back at war with my waistline once I’m no longer pregnant. But for now, pass me the birthday cake (a not-so-subtle pointer towards the fact that it’s my birthday tomorrow, yippee!) and let me enjoy the ceasefire.

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In other, less self-obsessed news: all seems to be well with the Bean. She’s kicking quite a bit now, and it’ the best feeling. And, after many moments spent with baited breath and his hands planted across my belly, G finally felt a kick (two kicks!) last night.  In terms of measurements, heartbeat, and overall edibility, the recent scan showed all is well. I love the fact that her thighs are looking like little chubby sausages. (If only I could guarantee that she would always love her own thighs, chubby or not…).