You’ve spent the last 7 or 8 months caressing your bump, watching it grow day by day, enjoying the first flutters and, later, the hiccups, somersaults and kicks. You’ve been religiously checking out the pregnancy books, websites and apps to see what stage baby’s at now: how big it is, whether he/she/it has finger nails or eyelashes yet, whether it’s facing the right way and is preparing for ‘launch’. Pregnancy is magical but, as with all good things, there does come a stage when enough is enough.
You haven’t seen your feet for months. Bending down is nigh-on impossible – in fact, you have been known to get a little tearful if you drop something on the floor, and putting on shoes and socks each day seems like an insurmountable task. All you want to do is sleep but, ironically, you can’t get comfortable enough to put together more than a few hours. It must be nature’s way of preparing you for the sleep deprivation that’s to come. So, you lie awake staring at the ceiling, fantasizing about painting your toe nails, or enjoying a nice cheese board with a glass of wine…
The problem is you’ve spent the last 7 or 8 months focusing on one date – your due date – the date on which your baby is going to make an appearance. Everything has been planned and prepared with this date in mind: the nursery, your maternity leave, family are on hand to help out… but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that this ‘due date’ is a fallacy. It’s like waiting for Christmas as a child, except this ‘Christmas’ could move at the last minute. It could come weeks earlier or (yes, that thought that you’ve been trying to put out of your head) potentially up to two weeks later!
You feel a bit like a ticking time bomb and the worst of it is, people start to treat you like that, too. Friends are suddenly reluctant to commit to outings with you, just in case. People constantly text you to see whether there are any signs of the big event, but they keep their distance to make sure they’re not called upon to be an emergency ambulance, or worse, midwife. The people you do see often chirp up with useful quips such as “Oh, you’ve not had it yet then?”, leaving you biting back a sarcastic reply: “Yes, I had it last week but just decided to stick it back up my jumper for today!”
While people you know may be staying away, when you’re out and about suddenly everyone is your new best friend! Strangers approach you in the street, asking when you’re due (bringing back to mind that date you’re trying hard not to focus on…), requesting a feel of your bump (why does pregnancy suddenly make your stomach public property?!) or helpfully suggesting old wives’ tales that may just help to move things along (it worked for their next door neighbour’s niece, after all).
You know that you really should be making the most of this time – maybe reading books or magazines, sitting with your feet up (or balancing on an exercise ball, because that’s the only comfortable place to sit), watching a few DVD box sets and generally taking it easy. However, the real injustice is that the ‘nesting’ instinct may well have kicked in by now and you can’t relax because, no matter how cumbersome and ungainly you feel, you’re suddenly overcome by an urge to scrub skirting boards or clean windows – tasks that are neither easy nor appealing at the best of times!
All in all, there’s no easy way to get through the late stages of pregnancy.
It’s uncomfortable, you feel huge and incapable of doing anything, you’re fed up and no-one, but no-one, can say or do the right thing… but when that elusive date does come along and you welcome your baby into the world you will look back and laugh, because it’s so worth it.
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