Boris’s new rules have got me stuck indoors for the foreseeable and any plans for a baby shower or final farewell to my pre-mum life have been quashed – unless I can whittle it down to a lucky five keen to pin the sperm on the uterus, guess the baby photo or any of the other thrilling games you get to endure at a shower.
I’m not upset about the baby shower itself, I’ve never been a fan (surely worse than the actual labour, no?) and I hate being the centre of attention (says she writing a self-indulgent mum-to-be column), but it would have been nice to have a big pub lunch with my nearest and dearest, both men and women, before baby arrives. But alas, there are far worse things going on in the world and the baby will meet his/her honorary aunts and uncles and fellow little baby mates all in good time, and I’m sure I can do without a cake made of nappies for the time being. Plus, I’ve got about three outfits I can actually wear on repeat now as I’m still determined not to buy maternity wear – let’s see how that fares in a couple of week’s time.
The only thing I deem worse than a shower is a gender reveal party. A post on Instagram? Cute. But an entire party dedicated to it? Out of the question. For me anyway, if others want to celebrate the gender of their unborn, by all means fill your boots, or indeed your pinata cake with pink or blue smarties. Who I am to judge? Do reveal with caution, however. A gender reveal party that did take place in California this week went disastrously wrong.
Pyrotechnics were used to reveal the gender of a couple’s unborn baby which resulted in a wildfire breaking out in the El Dorado Ranch Park, burning more than 7,300 acres of woodland and causing utter devastation. So reveal with care, expectant parents. Stick to popping confetti balloons and cutesy cupcakes and save the pyrotechnics for Guy Faulkes’ Night, although that’s probably been cancelled too.
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In other pregnancy-related news, a campaign has been launched by the Mail On Sunday this week to end the trauma of women having to give birth alone under hospital visiting rules during the COVID-19 crisis.
As it stands now, I will be able to have my partner with me when I go into labour, but thousands of women have had to go it alone with no loved one by their side, which quite frankly breaks my heart and terrifies me that we might go into another major lockdown come November.
My partner hasn’t been able to come to any of my appointments or scans and while it’s not been a major issue for me (this is my first child and I don’t really know anything else than a COVID pregnancy), I don’t think I would have been as calm or happy about the situation if I’d had major health issues or god forbid, something terrible had happened at one of those appointments and I was there, scared, alone having to face it with no one to hold my hand.
I must admit, I was a bit miffed the week of our 20 week scan and the day we found out the sex of the baby as it was the week the pubs opened. So while he was able to go sink pints with the rest of Hackney, I sauntered into Homerton hospital alone, blue book in hand, feeling a mix of excitement and sheer terror. Thankfully, all was well with baby and he wasn’t really in the pub, but waiting outside ready to hear the news.
But if you’re a fellow parent-to-be, it’s worth checking out the campaign which sees more than 60 MPs demanding NHS Trusts lift the ban on labour restrictions. It’s been launched in conjunction with Screwed Then Pregnant, a charity led by women with lived experience of pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Their Instagram is a must-follow for mums-to-be and they are a fountain of knowledge if you’re worried about your rights. Go check them out.
Back to scans, and we decided to book a private one so that we could both see the baby together in what I thought would be a magical time of mutual tears, hand holding and general endearment. It wasn’t. We booked into the closest clinic which turned out to be nothing more than a conveyor belt of couples robbed of their joint hospital scans due to COVID-19. In and out in 10 minutes flat, the sonographer literally set an alarm on her iPhone to ensure we didn’t go over our allotted time.
We walked into the room that was decorated rather desperately with some Poundland fairy lights and token gentle music playing in the background. Said music turned out to be the theme tune from Edward Scissorhands, which my partner found utterly hilarious. I on the other hand wanted to cry as we watched our little human on the big screen to the sound of Edward F-ing Scissorhands. When the 10 minutes were up they proceeded to try and sell us an array of disgusting memorabilia of the day – fridge magnets, teddy bears that played the baby’s heartbeat when you squeezed its foot (I mean, what would you do with that?), subsequent images at a fiver a pop as you’re only allowed one despite already coughing up £70 for the experience. What I had thought would be a memory to be treasured forever turned out to be a capitalist baby nightmare set to the sounds of a goth with scissors for hands. Anyway, I’m sure we’ll look back on it and laugh, but for now I’ll stick to my solo hospital appointments.
Things keeping me sane at 30 weeks:
I’ve been doing the Positive Birth Company’s Online Hypnobirthing Course and I’m loving it. It’s been a real turning point for getting my head around the fact I’m going to have an actual little person here in a matter of months and the fact I have to get them out of me. My mum, who had both her children in the 80s and is a big fan of the epidural, thinks I’ve turned into a hippy, but it’s really changed my attitude towards birth and what we’ve been conditioned to expect birth to be – horrible, traumatic and painful.
The course is in fact really science-driven rather than imagining your vagina opening like a flower and no matter what happens on the big day, it’s making me feel really calm and even excited about birth right now.
I’m pampering myself and soothing my growing bump with their spa-like products. I can’t get enough of the Tummy Rub Oil, a blend of avocado, inchi and argan oil that smells devine and has become my post-bath ritual. As well as their cooling and soothing Lucky Legs spray after long walks.
Zara’s non-maternity maternity jeans
On a whim I tried on some trusty Zara flares I’ve had for about two years and was delighted to find that they are low rise enough to fit under the bump – another quick win for me in my quest to reduce my maternity clothes spend. Depending on where your bump sits (mine if admittedly quite high), they might work for you too and great post-birth. Plus, they come in all the shades, from white to black to mid-wash. I’ve been wearing mine with oversized vintage band tees and nonchalantly undone boho jackets, because, well, I can’t actually do them up.
I’ll end on something gloriously lowbrow because it seems my attention span for anything has gone out the window along with my waist. I’ve been binging the reality show, Below Deck, about a group of people who work on seriously luxury boats in the Caribbean and the Med and serve some of the most dreadful guests you’ve ever seen. It’s trashy, terrible and I love it. Wondering if anyone ever became a yachty with a newborn? Asking for a friend.