(If your mind didn’t just automatically add the words, “We’re livin’ on a prayer,” to that headline, then I don’t even know how to relate to you, sorry…)
So, it’s 8am on Saturday morning. I’ve just eaten a bar of chocolate, and now I’m lying in bed with my phone pressed to my belly, blasting Taylor Swift to my unborn child, in a bid to make it move. Suddenly, it hits me (Not the baby, a realisation): this is IT, isn’t it? This is what madness feels like, and it’s all going to be downhill from here. There’s a glass of water chilling in the fridge (Because if the chocolate and music don’t work, I’m told that ice cold water will…), the midwife is about to be woken up with a panicked phonecall, and I’ve officially arrived in Crazytown.
I’m scared because I felt the baby move this time yesterday morning, but I haven’t felt it since then, and I have no idea whether that’s normal or not. And this is the problem for us first-timers, isn’t it?
They tell you the baby will develop a pattern of movement… but they don’t tell you when that will happen. I only started feeling what I’m assuming is movement a few days ago: should the pattern have established itself by now, or is it still too early? WHO KNOWS.
They tell you that if you haven’t felt movement in a while, you should eat some chocolate… but they don’t tell you how much to eat, or how soon afterwards you should expect to feel movement. Ditto the ice cold water.
They tell you that if these techniques fail, you should call your midwife… but, again, they don’t tell you at what stage you even need be worrying about this stuff AT ALL. I’ve heard some people say that movement doesn’t become consistent until later in pregnancy, but then again, I’ve heard other people say that any change AT ALL is a cause for huge concern. I’ve been told that those of us with anterior placentas will feel movement later, and that it will be “muffled” by the placenta at first… but I’ve also been told by people with anterior placentas that it doesn’t make the slightest difference, and that they’ve been able to feel their babies move from the moment of conception: so what’s wrong with ME, then?
And this is the question that’s been rolling around in my head for this entire pregnancy now: WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? Why do I seem to be so different from everyone else, even although all of the stats, and all of the medical professionals I’ve seen, tell me that, actually, I’m completely average?
I don’t feel average, though. I feel far, far below average, in just about every respect. Not only did I feel movement so much later than everyone else seems to, I also apparently weigh SO MUCH MORE than everyone else does at my stage, too. Last week I posted a photo on Instagram (Which I later deleted, because I decided I hated it: <insert eyeroll emoji>) and mentioned in the caption that I was bored with maternity wear already: almost immediately, I started getting comments from people who were amazed that I was having to buy it at all, and who wanted me to know that they didn’t buy any maternity clothes, because they were just so teeny-tiny all the way through their pregnancies that they didn’t even need it.
My first reaction to these comments was to feel a bit depressed to think that, even in pregnancy, being thin is still seen as the normal and desirable way to be. My second reaction, meanwhile, was, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?” Why can’t I leave my house without someone telling me how HYYYOOOOOGGGEE I am, while people who are about to give birth any day are apparently still wearing their normal clothes, and complaining about how loose everything is on them?
(To be fair, I did get one comment on that post from someone telling me I should just give up on clothes altogether, because by the end of the pregnancy not even maternity wear will fit me, and I’ll have to buy an adult onsie. Which was depressing in a different kind of way…)
I know that this is ridiculous, obviously. I know perfectly well that every pregnancy is different, and that there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by comparing myself to other people, but, at the same time, I feel like I’m constantly being invited to do exactly that: either by people who want me to know how much thinner than me they are/were, or by people comparing me to some idea they have in their head of what a pregnant woman SHOULD look like at this stage (Answer: NOT LIKE ME, apparently…). I know I’m being silly, but the frequency of the comments, combined with the shocked tone in which they’re always uttered, makes me feel once more like the odd one out, even although I know I’m not.
Speaking of being the odd one out: none of the supposedly failsafe methods of getting the baby to move worked for me (Just as none of the tried-and-tested ways to stop morning sickness ever worked for me…), but, that afternoon, the baby started moving, and basically didn’t stop for rest of the day. Then the next day? Hardly anything. The day after that, he was super-active again, and that’s been my week, basically: constantly monitoring movements without knowing what counts as “normal” at this stage, and worrying that if there isn’t any kind of pattern to those movements (Other than the “tons of movement one day, very little the next,” one), then how will I know if something’s wrong?
Anyway! Here’s my week 20 report card, for anyone who made it through that massive ramble…
Week 20 Pregnancy Symptoms
Yes, this week I gave a not-so-warm welcome to my arch nemesis, nausea. It hasn’t been nearly as bad as it was in the first trimester, thankfully, and so far it’s always disappeared almost as fast as it arrives, so I’m grateful for that, and just keeping everything crossed that it doesn’t get any worse!
I’ve also been having a bit of hip/leg pain when I wake up in the morning: I do have a collection of pregnancy pillows (which I’ll be reviewing soon), but our old bed just wasn’t large enough for them, so I’m hoping the new one (Which I’ll also be talking about soon!) will help with that!
Week 20 Pregnancy Cravings
As with all of my so-called cravings, I’m not really sure if this really counts, but I was reading something about peanut allergies, and how some people believe they’re caused by women not eating nut products during pregnancy. The NHS say that’s not actually true, but by the end of the article, all I could think about was salted peanuts, and how much I wanted some. Unfortunately for me, this was at around 11pm, and we didn’t have any nuts at all in the house, as I had a pretty strong aversion to them during the first trimester (I’m actually not a huge fan of nuts at the best of time, but the very thought of them made me gag in those early weeks!), so we had to get some the next day… by which point the craving had obviously passed. GAH.
Week 20 Pregnancy Purchases
Now that we’re past the halfway mark, we’ve started thinking about all of the many, many things that need to be done or bought before the baby gets here. So far this week, though, everything I’ve bought has been for me (whoops!), because, after proclaiming that I totally wasn’t going to be spending any more money on maternity wear, I … well, I spent more money on maternity wear, basically. Whoops, again.
So far, everything I’ve bought has come from ASOS, and the blame lies entirely with the grey skirt in this post, which wasn’t maternity, but which I had I had lots of other outfit ideas for, all of which I assumed were destined to go un-realised when the waistband of the skirt started feeling a little too tight by the end of the day. I immediately hit up ASOS to find a replacement (Because, obviously at that point I realised I just couldn’t live without a grey skirt in my life…), but alas, the only one they had in stock in my size was only available as part of a two-pack, so OH WELL, I guess that’s TWO new skirts in my life, huh?
To go with that, I also ordered a sensible black sweater, a sensible pink sweater and a not-even-remotely-sensible-but-oh-well-I-bought-it-anyway slogan sweater. Well, the weather IS getting colder: you wouldn’t want me to freeze, would you?
I was also sent this Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter, along with one of their Push Packs containing some labour room essentials. It’s a little too early for those, obviously, but I have been using the tummy butter, which is designed to help prevent stretch marks. As I mentioned on my Instagram Stories when I was opening this (er, I like to open my mail on Instagram, when I remember, so, you know, follow me there if you want to see some of this stuff arriving…), I don’t have any stretch marks yet, and have read that it can be purely down to genetics whether you get then or not, but I’m willing to give anything a try, and this stuff smells lovely, and is quite comforting to rub onto the bump at night, so I’ll keep using it and see how I get on.
Prior to this, I’d been using Rosehip Oil, which I got as part of a Shop Skincare beauty box. I liked it too, but, of course, the problem here is that I won’t know whether any of these products are working or not until the stretchmarks either appear or don’t, so I’ll have to report back at the end of the pregnancy!
Week 20 Pregnancy Fears
Other than the continuing movement/no movement obsession, I also had a bit of a scare this week when a press release dropped into my inbox telling me aaaallll about a very serious pregnancy complication that I hadn’t even known I should be worrying about. I started getting pregnancy-related press releases as soon as I announced I was pregnant, and so far it’s been a bit of a double-edged sword, because while some of them are of interest to me (Like the stretch mark cream above, for instance), I feel like others are just using my anxiety to try to either sell me something or get me to write about something, and, at a time when even an innocent comment can send me spiralling into a pit of anxiety, you can imagine what it’s like when someone intentionally tries to scare me.
Because this was a press release, and going for the hard sell, it contained a lot of very frightening statistics, plus phrases like “potentially life-threatening” and “difficult to identify,” and I didn’t read any more than that, because by that point I was underneath my desk, rocking back in forth and weeping. Ironically, the product they were trying to sell is apparently designed to “spare women worry” – LOLOLOLOL! I spent the rest of the day fretting about it, and now have yet another thing to add to my list of worries, so thanks, that brand: I was just thinking that I wasn’t quite worried enough this week!