Friday, April 30, 2010


This is sort of one for the ladies because pregnant or not they I am sure can relate.

A few days ago I was on my way home from work and I had decided to multitask and do a few errands en route home. The first was to bring a couple of empty boxes home. We are moving soon and I thought it would be good to collect boxes and slowly bring them home in order to minimize the chaos and stress of moving (up until a few days ago my plan was working well). I also decided to buy a new pair of shoes. I had tried them on during my lunch break at a different location and they didn't have them in the colour I liked so they put them on hold at a location that was on my way home from work. Perfect, or so I thought. So now I have two empty boxes, a new pair of shoes, as well as my bag and of course my increasingly large and awkward baby bump.

The walk to my apartment from work is literally 15 minutes. However, I must add in the minor detour to the shoe store and the slight up hill incline I face going home, in order to give a truly accurate perfect of what I was dealing with. Although I was walking a little slowly it was completely manageable up tights started slowly moving down my legs. At first it was mainly just annoying because as I walked the crotch of my stockings was getting lower and lower and I didn't have a free hand to hike them up with. I should also clarify that although this happens with regular stockings, maternity stockings don't have a strong elastic waist, they are meant to sit under your belly. This fact seemed to speed up the rate at which my stockings were lowering on my legs. Before I was half way home the crotch of my tights was at my knees. Walking with my legs closer together only seemed to make it worse. If I didn't do something soon they were going to be around my ankles, so I was forced to put my boxes and bags down and step off the sidewalk (but still in public view) and fully, without grace or class hike up my stockings. I was a ridiculous sight to behold I'm sure; women with too many boxes/bags and a good sized belly, pulling her tights up and trying to adjust them without fully lifting up her dress and exposing too much. Needless to say when I got home I practically ripped the stupid things off and threw them in the trash. Good-bye and good riddance to maternity stockings!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I love seeing my girlfriends!

Having moved to the West Coast a few years ago I was forced to leave many of my best friends. However, I have been very lucky to have had lots of visitors. This year alone we had many close friends come for a visit which has been fabulous. They have though been men for the most part but yesterday I saw one of my very closest friends and she knew how to make a girl feel good about her growing baby bump.

The boys have expressed congratulations and some excitement but there is nothing like the excitement of seeing a girlfriend that you haven't seen in awhile; especially when you're 6 1/2 months pregnant. Women are curious and interested in a way that most men just don't seem to be (aside maybe from one of my boys who happens to live in San Fran-he asked me all the same questions as the girls and I love him for it). Women want to know details, and hear all about the little things that are going on with your body and the growing baby. They are interested, really interested in something that interests you personally a lot. It's proabbaly because they will be going through the process of pregnancy at some point or simply that sharing the biological characteristics is enough to make you curious. It is something that men just cannot share with us.

My own brother was not that interested in my baby bump or pregnancy. No there is nothing like the screaming excitement of my fellow ladies to share and enjoy this journey with. So I say hooray and thank you to my girls; your enthusiasm means the world to me and I am grateful for it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Judgement Day

One of the greatest joys of being pregnant is knowing that you are going to have a child to take care of and raise soon. However, this is also one of the scariest and most surreal things about being pregnant. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant she is already starting to make important decisions about her child's life and this is when other peoples opinions become a lot more then just other peoples opinions. You can help feeling a little judged because after all it's now very very personal.

I actually had a women say how cool and normal her pregnant friend was for having a glass of wine at a party. This was stated directly after I turned down an offer of wine. Sorry am I supposed to drink while pregnant because you think it makes a pregnant women seem cooler and more relaxed. I realize that in Europe and some other countries drinking a small amount is considered safe during pregnancy but why should that matter to me. This is my decision and no ones concern but mine, my husband and our doctor. Some people think that women need to be extremely careful about what they put in their bodies during pregnancy; while others think that women are too uptight these days and it would healthier to be more relaxed and balanced in their approach to eating and drinking. My only point is that it increasingly clear that one way or the other everyone has got something to say on the matter.

It seems to be that people have got very serious opinions about child rearing right from conception. I have noticed that when people ask me if I have a doctor or a midwife, some people raise their eyebrows a little too high when I reply that I have an OB. It seems that it is very 'in' to have a midwife these days especially in Vancouver where I live. People are also very interested to hear if I have a doula or not; something I never heard of before a friend in Toronto became one. People might not out and out tell me I'm making the wrong choice but through looks and pauses their opinions are subtly or not so subtly relayed to me.

Friends, family and strangers have also expressed their varying opinions about natural births v. cesareans and the use of drugs during delivery. I have a pretty clear idea of how I'd like things to go down on the magical day in question; however I am also very aware that things change and that you have to be somewhat open to last minute changes in birth plans when for example the baby is in distress. It is interesting to hear how passionately people will state what is the right way or the wrong way to give birth, even if they have never done it.

The same goes for breastfeeding. This is an extremely controversial topic that brings out passion, rage as well as guilt and sadness. The standard is that breast milk is the best for the baby so if you as a women are unable to or choose not to breastfeed does that make you a bad parent? As a teacher I've seen some things that make people bad parents and I wouldn't personally group not breastfeeding into that category. I would love to be able to breastfeed and probably this, more then labor stresses me out because it is possible that it won't work out and when I think of how personally disappointing that would be, complied of course with the new mothers guilt of "I've let down my baby", then to add to that the knowledge that friends and family may be judging's almost too much to take.

I guess this is just something I have to get used to. Now that I am pregnant, my body and choices are not just about me. I felt this responsibility right from the start and I have tried to educate myself about prenatal care and have done the best I can to make decisions I feel good about. It can be hard knowing that the people you love and even the strangers who don't know you, now suddenly because you are pregnant feel entitled to judge your life and choices.

Can't wait to get into all the judgement involved in the actual raising of a child, I'm sure no one has an opinion about that right...? All I have to do is look to facebook and a post about who's last name a child should receive to know that when it comes to children, passion and opinions run high in our society and judgment right or wrong runs deep.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Love and Hate

Let me start by qualifying all pregnancy complains with the statement that being pregnant is already one of the most wonderful things that I've experienced in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

That being said let me proceed with a new hate. I hate the fact that at six months pregnant my feet are already swelling. It is terrible. I'm supposed to be getting a lot of exercise, whatever that means considering I'm not supposed to do anything too intense or that could include falling and now that my belly has rounded out nicely my centre of gravity is off so the list of activities that could include falling as greatly increased. Anyways, walking and swimming are my two main sources of physical activities these days, especially walking cause it requires no planning. However, walking which I used to be able to do for hours and hours has lead to my terrible swollen feet and ankles. Hell, even when I'm not walking for exercise (i.e normal walking, not my dorky power walking on my lunch breaks) my feet still swell. Everyone seems to have a solution to this problem. First, avoid salt, cause my diet's not already hugely restricted; avoid crossing my legs, because I'm not still dealing with numb bum on a regular basis; elevate legs, cause my desk at work is for sure designed of that. Thanks world but your advice on this one has not turned out to be particularly useful, although I will try all these things anyways. So far the best solution is running shoes (no matter what I'm wearing, if I'm walking I'm wearing running shoes) and a cold water foot soak before bed (painful but truly effective). I learned this one on the hike I did across Spain. If anything is going to teach you how to deal with swollen feet it's walking 750km in 30 days. Anyways this is yet another mild inconvenience that has come with creating and carrying life.

Now let's move onto my newest love...

I am feeling kicks all the time which is absolutely fabulous. I used to only feel them in the evenings when it was quiet because they were very mild but now I get these fun little bursts of life throughout the day. My husband has felt a few from the outside but he isn't getting what I am that's for sure. He said last night that the kicks were a sort of pay back or secret joy that only I get which sort of counters all the tough stuff like being fat and having swollen feet. I have to say I agree and I have a feeling that this is one of the deals with motherhood. We, the women have to deal with some difficult things but we also get some amazing bonus' that the men folk cannot experience. I think I can handle that, in fact I think I feel a little lucky to be a women right now despite some of the challenges I have and will encounter along the way.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Baby Brain

So I haven't done a lot of research on this subject, however, from what I gather baby brain is yet another symptom of pregnancy. Basically baby brain is when pregnant women and or new mothers become extremely absent minded and forgetful. So of course whether real or imagined I am most definitely feeling the effects of new symptom.

I have been volunteering on Tuesday mornings at a school for about 3 months. This has been part of my schedule and it's something I really look forward to. Well... not this past Tuesday. It wasn't until I arrived at work that I realized it was Tuesday and I was supposed to be volunteering and it was too late for me to go because of the extra time it takes me to get there and then be back at work for the afternoon. Damn. Now I'm not the most organized, with it person in the world but when it comes to work or volunteering which is a form of work I consider myself very reliable; this is not at all like me.

At work these days I find myself to be extremely forgetful; the classic example of going into a room and immediately forgetting what I was going to do or get when I got there as become my new routine.

I'm finding that I have to read directions or instructions multiple times in order to take in and retain the correct information. For example I was convinced that I would miss the opening for applying to the public broad because I thought that the window was a week. It took me checking a third time to realize that I had a month and nothing to worry about. What is that all about?

So perhaps this is just how life will be from now on; checking and rechecking, making lists only to loose them and make the same list again. Sounds fun right? Now I can't wait to see how that works with the baby around this exciting new symptom can last for some women up to one year after the baby is born or at least that's what 'they say'. Perhaps this will be part of my new persona, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pain in the Calf

As I have mentioned before, sleeping has changed dramatically during pregnancy. I have had to adjust to more frequent bathroom breaks, sleeping on my side and just plain waking up for no reason. But the other night topped all when I awoke from a deep sleep with the most intense calf muscle spasm I have ever experienced in my life. I was powerless to stop the sharpest pain my calf has ever felt. I think I may have even screamed a little. I tried to relax and it did pass but would you believe that it happened again; because it did! Twice in one night, what did I do to deserve this?

I recall having experienced a similar pain a long, long time ago and I had heard that this is somewhat common during pregnancy but I hoped that it wouldn't happen to me. That's a good one right?

I did a little research on this calf pain phenomena and despite what people say there is no evidence to connect it to anything. Most people will say that it means you are low in calcium and that you need to drink more milk. Or that it's a result of extra weight and stress on the muscles and that stretching and massage are the keys. Although these are fine and good things to do, the calf spasm still remains a mystery to the experts and so I cannot predict if or when it will happen. I can never be sure when I go to sleep if I will be attacked in the night by my own muscles or if I will be even a stay for another day or two.