Dear future pregnant self,
The midwife who came round yesterday because it seemed I was in labour said there are things you can only know about pregnancy and birth in hindsight.
No offence, maybe you’ve improved on this if enough time has elapsed and having a child has changed you, but we kind of suck at learning from our mistakes.
Remember how past self kept shaving our head when long hair is clearly our thing? Or how the bulk of virtually every paper she wrote at university was written the night before its deadline? No?
Shall I list the relationships that were flirt first, think later – one after the other? Aha, thought I’d get your attention with that one. You know I’m right. It’s time we learned ourself.
Before I jump into the stuff you need to remember if you are pregnant again, congratulations on managing it a second time round. You’ve clearly either been avoiding trawling the archives of this blog or life with the creature is so nice you thought you’d do it twice.
Now, on to the pearls I wish to pass ye:
You don’t have a due date
I’m not saying this to be funny or superstitious or anything. Admittedly, I’m a little preoccupied with the whole postdates pregnancy thing right now, for obvious reasons. If you look at the date on this post, you’ll remember it’s not the creature’s birthday yet.
Seriously, though, you’ll do yourself one hell of a favour from the start if you ignore any dates written in your maternity notes.
I don’t care what maternal instincts you think you’ve acquired, especially having done this before, no woman has the clairvoyance to be certain of when their kid is going to drop. So don’t go telling yourself, and certainly not anyone else, that you have a “feeling” this baby’s coming early.
Being “early” or “late” has squat to do with your feminine worth. It doesn’t mean your body’s more efficient or that you’re morally significant one way or the other. No one’s giving you a medal for when you have this baby. The baby is the prize.
And really, if that’s not enough for you, I’m not so sure about you having moved on to conceiving a second alien. But hey, I’m not in a great position to judge.
Oh, on this point too, ignore anyone who exclaims that you haven’t had the baby yet like it’s a revelation and possibly something medically or spiritually wrong with you. Most likely these are people who won’t be waking up to feed your child at 4am so their opinion is a lot of hot air.
Get comfortable in your body
Nine months didn’t sound like a long time last time you were knocked up and, to be fair, it’s going to go a lot faster depending on how old the creature is now. But I thought I’d remind you, it’s a long time to feel disgusting or in varying degrees of ill-health.
Hopefully the self that existed between you and I managed to get fit like she promised so you’re not starting off feeling and acting like some grey aqueous substance someone sloshed on a dinner plate.
But whether that happened or not, please, please, please exercise and eat well. And don’t be stupid when doing anything that might trigger SPD (aka temporarily mash up your pelvic girdle).
And if you love ourself at all, book in lots of maternity massages and even think about regularly seeing an acupuncturist.
Of course, this is me hoping that she who bridges the gap between you and I has managed to make more money and that there is childcare in the picture. If I’m wrong, take a moment now to laugh at my wishful thinking.
But really, almost two trimesters of feeling like you’re going to throw up vital organs is not cool. Sort it out.
3. Don’t bother trying to induce labour
Sorry to come back to the overdue thing, especially since I’m only reminding you of three points this time round. You probably don’t remember how it ticked me off.
I’m thinking that maybe you don’t have as much time as I did to waste Googling all the old wives’ tales but in case you remember one or two from back now, smile at them and discard them.
I’m not saying this because nothing works (who knows what does?) but you need to do this for your mental health.
This baby will not come out until the magic is ready to happen. I don’t care how dilated you are, how soft your cervix is or how low the baby is lying. It will happen when it’s going to happen (if it’s going to happen – I recognise that we may have had an assisted delivery in some form)
I’m not telling you what to do, but you might think carefully before having all those membrane sweeps next time you’re ready to drop the bowling ball.
And you should do the acupuncture because it makes you feel less like a half chewed piece of dried fruit, not because you think it’ll jump-start things. If it does, bonus. There’s a fair bit of research behind it.
It’s not that you shouldn’t do anything. It can help to feel like you’re proactively part of the process. Just don’t get your hopes up while you’re doing these things.
I know how uncomfortable you’re feeling but do we really need to add that kind of stress on top of it all?
You will never carry this baby again. You will never feel its little wriggles inside you or touch the imprint its tiny foot makes through your skin again. You will never be able to hold it quite so close to you, knowing that your voice is the strongest one in its life. There is something sacred in this time. Don’t waste it.
Circus Queen is up for a MAD Blog Award. To vote, visit http://the-mads.com/vote.htm, enter your name and e-mail address, select “Circus Queen” in the Best Pregnancy Blog category and click “Submit”.