Preg-a-mama

It’s no good. Quite simply, it’s not going to do up anymore. Whether its your favourite jeans, your work skirt or your lovely summer dress, failure to zip the zip is a sign of one thing – time to shop for maternity clothing.

And if the last thing you remember of maternity clothing was the flouncy, floaty high-necked horrors that Princess Diana wore or the outrageous, belly-busting-out clothing (or lack thereof) of the heavily pregnant All Saints, time and style has thankfully moved on. Pregnancy can now be celebrated in your own style rather than covered up in swathes of billowing flora or exposed to the elements in bra top and combat trouser combo. You may not be quite up to the Duchess of Cambridge ’s designer style but her more relaxed pregnancy outfits are distinctly on pregnancy trend. And if even that isn’t quite your style, the revolution that has occurred in pregnancy jeans means you can get any style (skinny, boot cut, flare etc) in pregnancy form (that is, with the vital expanding soft waist line) or alternatively go to work looking stylish not stumpy. Every type of clothing you may want to wear when pregnant (including work clothes, wedding dresses and fancy dress outfits!) are out there and the links below give you an idea of where to shop, whatever your budget.

Isabella Oliver

Seraphine

Mamas and Papas

Topshop

Tiffany Rose

Oh and almost every high street and online shop worth visiting has a mat section!
Thank god someone somewhere figured out there was a market out there gagging for stylish maternity clothing.

The Dividing Line

The dividing line between the maybe and the definite that is the 12 week scan is poignant and important for many reasons. Not least, at 12 weeks the likelihood of miscarrying dramatically reduces, albeit not to zero. Prior to 12 weeks, it is a different story – 1 in 4 pregnancies miscarries within the first 3 months. It’s the reason there is a cagey hush around declaring pregnancies to friends and extended families prior to 12 weeks. It’s the reason the maternity clinic will only see you once prior to the 12 week scan.

With one in 4 early pregnancies miscarrying, there’s a good chance someone you know has had one, but there’s also a reasonable chance that they haven’t told you.

Miscarrying still holds a taboo about it, which, at least in the UK, still means its difficult to talk about. Perhaps its because we are a stiff upper lip society – things go wrong, oh dear, nevermind, chin up, move on, lets not talk about it anymore. Or perhaps its because there is a view that somehow you have failed – in body or perhaps in mind – perhaps my body isn’t healthy enough, perhaps I didn’t want it enough, perhaps I could have done something differently. Or perhaps it is because we need to grieve for our loss but there is no way we have in society to do this – no funeral, no memorial service for this tiny part of us and the loss of a future it represents.

If the 12 week scan represents the line between maybe and definite, miscarrying represents the line between giddy hope and quiet grief. If it happens to you, it is not your fault, you are not to blame, you and your partner are as much victims of nature’s strange ways as your unborn baby. And you’re entitled to be devastated. We must learn to listen, to support those we love through the loss, to allow them to grieve and, if they want to, to talk.

And we should also help them to be hopeful for the future; because 3 in 4 pregnancies don’t end in miscarriage, which means there is a strong possibility that the next pregnancy might be successful.

I blame Demi

I blame Demi Moore and Annie Leibowitz. Ever since ‘that picture’ of a blooming, butt naked Demi appeared on the front cover of Vanity Fair , everyone in the world thinks they’re entitled to get their baby bump out for the world. Well, some people look lovely and the pictures are a glorious celebration of impending motherhood.

And then there’s these…

What were they thinking?

Size doesn’t matter

I apologise for the overtly London bent to this post…

The Baby on Board Badge is a rite of passage for those preg-a-mamas who live in the greatest city on the planet. Transport for London will send you a ‘Baby on Board’ Badge if you contact them (TFL) and you wear it with pride (when you get past the 12 week point).

In theory, it indicates to fellow tube, bus and train passengers that you are expecting and could do with a seat.
Ha.
In practice, there is a significant portion of the population who are clearly blinded by the sun glinting off the badge; who can’t read; or who read it, register it and then look awkwardly about the carriage willing anyone else to offer up their seat to the lady with the badge while they busy themselves with the crossword. And they will never ever give up their seat because, goddamnit, they have paid as much as that lady has to travel, and there are plenty of other people who could also give up their seats and, frankly, they’re a bit tired too. Besides she doesn’t look very pregnant.

I’m not in anyway suggesting I’m whiter than white when it comes to leaping out of my seat for any lady sporting a bump (there is always the ‘pregnant or just fat?’ possibility). But now having been pregnant, I can only apologise to all those I didn’t get up for- I had no idea it was so flipping knackering. I had no idea I would feel like my body weighed a ton and felt like I was permanently wading through treacle. I had no idea that while the 7-9 month bump is obvious, it is the first six months of bump that depletes you of energy and nutrients to the point of exhaustion. It is those early months when you desperately want the seat on the train but look decidedly not pregnant. And it is in those early months, that the people most ready to offer up their seat to you are women who’ve been pregnant and understand how flipping exhausting it is, even when the bump is minimal.

So if you see a lady who’s pregnant, please give up your seat. I can almost guarantee she’s more knackered than you even if she doesn’t have a massive bump.

I’m being stalked

I’m being stalked. Someone is watching almost every aspect of my life and filming it…

Philadelphia

Volkswagon

And finally, every single tiny detail of this one…

SMA

I liked it so much I bought the song.

Thank you, Mr Advertising Man, every one of these is a little recognition that I’m not nuts.

The 12 week scan

There are moments in pregnancy you’ll remember forever; moments that you can recall in an instant – if you’ve read some of the rest of the blog you’ll know Waitrose and Finchley Road Station are two such personal moments.

But there is another moment. A dividing line between the ‘maybe’ and the ‘definite’. As you lie there in a darkened room holding your better half’s hand, there appears on the screen in front of you: a little movement; a small, coiled, human-like shape; the distinct outline of a head, a nose, perhaps a hand. There he is. 7cms of tiny human. Tucked safely, warmly away in your belly.

And right there, right then. It all changes. And you have the first picture of your baby.

Another sign (WARNING: Post contains graphic detail)

If I wanted any other signs to convince me or any one else that life for my pregnant self was about to utterly change, the sight of me in my best work heels, suit skirt and pressed shirt honking up in to one of the clear plastic bins on Finchley Road Station should probably do it.

Evening sickness. Winner.