That Time When I Wasn’t in Charge

Every mum has their own vivid memories of childbirth; some which bring little shivers of joy when we think of them; others which deserve to be put into a secret box and never brayed of tongue again.

For me, the arrival of my wee angel and the shock that she was not after all, a he, are obviously my favourite memories of the experience.  But there is one other moment that I often think of.  It makes me laugh out loud every time.

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I still feel a trickle of mortification creep onto my cheeks when I think of it.  Because, that moment, just before my little one arrived, was the moment when I finally had to admit to myself, that I was not in charge…of anything.

I had to have a c-section. I was ready and prepared.

Everything was calm and organized and exactly how I’d imagined it would be. (I grew up on a farm, so have witnessed dozens of MamaCows go through this procedure, so I was stupidly sure that I knew the basic concept of what would happen!) The doctors would perform surgery and Mini-Me would come out the sunroof, as opposed to out the door.

I’d never had surgery before, so of course I was nervous.  As I lay there, looking up at the bright spaceship lights on the ceiling, listening to the murmurs of the surgeons and anesthetist and nurses, aware of the beeping machines around me, I had a sudden recollection of the story of a woman who felt everything as the anesthetic hadn’t worked.

In my obviously, absolutely calm, reasonable and logical mind, I realized that this would OBVIOUSLY be what would happen to me.

I felt cold substance on my leg, which jerked me back from my reverie.

“1-10?”

“Sorry?”

“On a scale of 1-10, how cold is this?”

“Erm, 10”

Cripes, where the heck was my husband?

“1-10″

“Still 10″

Ok, so now my fears were becoming a reality.

“Now?”

“8, I suppose”

Who should I tell that the anesthetic isn’t working?

What if I needed some sort of horse tranquilizer to knock my nerve endings out of action. I need to get my husband in so he can sort this…Hang on!  Who owns those legs?!

Two huge, gleaming, white tree-trunk legs are floating in front of me, just above the blue divide that Mr. Surgeon has placed above my belly.  Two very strong women are holding one each and I’m suddenly aware that the legs are indeed, mine.  There’s a serious amount of maneuvering being done beyond the blue, but the top half of my torso is happily oblivious.

And so I began to laugh.  Not a subtle giggle of course. A proper crazy woman, high on a cocktail of all of the anesthetic and other drugs that I assumed weren’t going to work.

And hence, my poor husband re-entered the room, just in time for the arrival of the Boss, to find his wife laughing like a bloody hyena.

Of course, the laughing turned quickly to tears of joy and all was right with the world again very soon afterwards.

I’d had my first ever surgery.  I’d had my first baby.  And I’d learned for the first time, that even though I thought I was in charge of things, I really and truly wasn’t.

I genuinely believe it was one of those precious moments of clarity and insight, It taught me one of the most important lessons I need to be a Mammy.

You might think you’re in charge.  You can pretend you’re in charge.  You might even convince others that you are in charge, but really, we never know when someone’s going to take control of your big white legs.

And when they do, be glad that they’re there to take control… and don’t forget to laugh.

 

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I am Stop Body Shaming the Bumps Mum

It’s Memory Monday…

Body Shaming happens to all women, of all ages, of all shapes and sizes, all the time…EVEN, believe it or not, during Pregnancy. 😲
Yes, Pregnancy…
You know that time when you are eating for two and are supposed to GLOW like a fricken Christmas Tree and your body is a temple of growth and nurture, for all to admire and be in awe of?

When you’re also a hormonal wreck, paranoid, vulnerable and particularly susceptible to tears? 😢😢

When you’re growing a PERSON inside of you; sometimes more than one, 😥and you are supposed to be officially exempt from giving a continental crap about your shape for the next year and more?
Yes. Even then.

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Body shaming the Bump DOES happen.

It’s not usually intentional, but it happens.
I have a confession to make.
During my last pregnancy… (and I mean last in both senses of that word!)…I did something mean. 😈
I got so fecking SICK of people freaking out when they saw the size of my bump, that one day I decided to have a little fun with it.
I was HUMONGOUS. (And no, I am NOT exaggerating. Ask ANY of my family or friends and they will smile a dim smile and nod in agreement.) And just to prove how big my perfect bump was, the photograph below was taken when I was 36 weeks. And I wasn’t quite as big as I would be at 39! 😂👇👇👇👇👇👇

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And she wasn’t cooked yet!

With Mini-Me, I showed at 10 weeks.

With Princess, I got to 7 weeks before I got fed up trying to hide my bump.

I have always been quite slim so in fairness, trying to hide a bump was never going to be easy, but even loose tops didn’t cover my little (or not so little) secret.

We never really got the chance to keep it to ourselves until after the 12 week scan, but hey!
So you can imagine how big I was by 30 weeks. I looked bigger than most expectant Mammas look at full term. I remember walking into a shop one day at 31 weeks and the look of panic on the shop assistant’s face when she clocked the BUMP was hilarious. She approached me and flew through the usual chitchat to get straight to her point.
“When are you due love?”

I couldn’t help myself my Pretties. It was out before I even thought about it.
“Ten days ago”, I answered, shaking my head and rubbing my big belly, “I’m hoping a walk around the shops will help get me started.” (added puffs for effect…pause as if wincing in pain…)

“Here let me help you!” I swear to God, she ran around that shop filling my wee basket so quickly, I really couldn’t keep up with her.

“All the best now Lovey, I hope all goes well!” she cooed after me as I left. I’m pretty sure she needed a strong drink after that. and yes, I shouldn’t have lied, but I was fed up.

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For almost 10 months, you become the property of the world. (and yes, it is 10 months…9 my arse.)
EVERYONE has an opinion.

You’re so HUGE!” (Really? I hadn’t noticed. Is that why my pelvis is dragging on the ground when I walk?)😐
“I was never as big as you!” (Piss off.) 😐
“Aw poor Maria. You must be scundered…” (No Deary. I’m just pregnant.)😐
“Well Tracy SAID you were huge but I didn’t think you were THIS HUGE!” (Yup. For this one, I had to kick my sister under the table to stop her from DESTROYING the unintentionally offensive woman.)😅
“Is it heavy?” (In fairness, this question was from a lovely friend who has bever been pregnant so it was a genuine question and I gave her a genuine answer…”Yes. I feel like I’m carrying an articulated fecking LORRY on my ladybits.”)
“I suppose you can barely move with that bump?” (No. I’m just back from Irish Dancing. I’m high kicking Higher than ever before!)😂
“Aaaaaaah you’re not THAT big!” OK, OK. Who am I kidding? I NEVER heard this one! 😅😂
“You must be nearly due?” (No I’m only 28/30/32/34 weeks…cue shock/horror/sympathy/panic on their face.)
And these are only the few I remember.And so maybe now, you understand why I played the trick.

Do I feel guilty? No, but I felt really fricken frustrated a few weeks later when I didn’t have the balls to go in with my even BIGGER Bump and I really wanted a certain cheese the lady stocked. 😆😆
But seriously, Stop it. We all need to stop it. (And of course I include myself in this. We ALL do it don’t we?)

In fairness, we don’t even realise we’re doing it.

The things we say to a pregnant lady are usually not intending ANY offence AT ALL. Of course not.
But if you’re going to say anything, try not to comment on the bump.
Tell her she looks glowing, even if you think she looks knackered.

Tell her she’s gorgeous, even if she looks like the articulated lorry she feels like she’s carrying.

Tell her it suits her. She might just need to hear that, but don’t comment on the size of the bump, regardless whether it’s big or small.
The Mammy who hears “You’re so neat”, might have spent the whole night up counting baby’s kicks, or panicking that her bump is too small compared to others. 😣

The Mammy who hears “You’re huge!” doesn’t need to be reminded. Trust me, she already knows. She remembered once she opened her eyes this morning and tried, like an upturned turtle, to get out of the bed to pee. 😅
So keep it positive and keep it off the bump.

And yes I know that many people don’t mind and maybe even enjoy the attention the bump brings, but unless you’re telling them their bump is gorgeous, just Ssssssh!
And then…THEN comes the Post Baby body Shaming but that’s another post altogether.
You’re beautiful and your bump is perfect. That is all you need to hear.

The S-Mum xxx

Thoroughly Modern Mammy – I am Say what? Mum

Rational thinking goes out the window the second a pregnancy test indicates a positive result.  

Logic goes with it.

They are replaced by panic and worry and fear.

 

From the moment the word “Pregnant” appeared on the little screen over 6 years ago, the sensible and calm me has been replaced gradually by what I like to call the “Hormental” Me.

 

And of course, we CAN blame hormones for our newly irrational, illogical and panicked minds…  But we can also blame ANOTHER factor.

 

People.

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When you are pregnant, people and the things that people say, when mixed with the hormones and genuine fears of pregnancy, create an explosive cocktail of mental mayhem.  Generally people mean no harm and their comments are 100% innocent, but what they say and what we HEAR are often two very different things.

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re so neat!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong.  My baby must be too small.  What if he isn’t growing properly? When is my next appointment? I wonder is it too late to ring my midwife? I must order a doppler online right now.  Why am I not bigger? What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re blooming!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too big.  I must have extra fluid. What’s wrong with me? What if there’s something wrong with the Baby? Or maybe I’m just fat. I must look like an upturned turtle. I’m huge. When is my next appointment? I wonder is it too late to ring my midwife? I must order a doppler online right now.  Why am I so big? What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re carrying so low!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too low.  I must have dropped.  I’m too early to be low. I’m going to go early. There’s something wrong with the Baby? When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re carrying so high!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too high. I must look like I have three boobs. Why am I so high? Should my bump not be lower? There’s something wrong with the Baby? When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Are you feeling lots of kicks?”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, when did I last feel a kick? I can’t remember. It hasn’t kicked today. Did I feel kicks yesterday?  How do I know if it’s kicks or just wind?

There’s something wrong. When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you look wrecked!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, she’s right.  I look awful. Why am I so tired? I’m too pale.  My iron must be low.  Can I buy an iron level tester online? There’s something wrong with the Baby.  When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh! You look AMAZING!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I should be sick.  Should I not be tired by now?  Why do I feel so well? What’s wrong with me? Oh my God, there’s something wrong with the Baby?  I When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

See the pattern?!

 

No matter WHAT people say, on certain days, your rewired Baby Brain will divert immediately to worst case scenario; to fear, to panic.  And this is completely normal.  It’s our brains preparing for the constant alertness of being a Mammy.  It’s instinct kicking in and it’s one of the ways we ensure that our little beans are as safe as we can possibly keep them, from the second they’re conceived.  

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If I had called Maternity every time I felt the urge to, I’d have been on the phone to the poor midwives 24/7.  Hell, I’d have moved into the labour ward the day I peed on the stick if it had been an option!

 

People say things to us, meaning no harm whatsoever.  We can’t help but over-think things.  It’s normal to overreact, especially when people make silly, albeit innocent, statements like the crackers above.

 

(But joking aside,  if you DO have a niggling worry or concern or you just feel like something isn’t right, DO contact your GP or PHN. Follow your gut… or bump.  You might be irrational and illogical and slightly hormental, but you’re also a Mammy-in-the-making and Mammy knows best.)   

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