Love my babies, hated being pregnant…

I’m accompanying someone to their 12 week scan on Thursday. Very exciting as I’ve only ever seen my own babies in my tummy and that’s always a bit fraught with worry. The 3D scan we had of DD was especially cool, definitely one of the highlights of being pregnant for the first time.

Broadly, though, I have to admit I hated being pregnant both times.  When I first found out I was pregnant with DD, me and DH were so over the moon we took photos of me all excited, holding the little digital stick saying ‘pregnant’. She’d been a very long time coming.

A week later, the morning sickness kicked in. This wasn’t so good. It’s a very badly named condition that makes you think that you might be mildly nauseous when you wake up and you’ll be fine after a bit of tea and toast. Oh no. Not me. All-day projective vomming was more like it.

 Then when I was expecting my little boy, who made me violently sick for four months, the little sod, my neighbour commented that I was ‘blooming’. I know this was not true, and I’m not being modest, because I had just liberally and uncontrollably sprayed myself and the inside of my car with ‘morning sickness’ while driving home. I was blooming only in the manner of that tropical plant whose very rare flowers smell like vomit. Or do I mean rotting flesh?

 Another crap thing about being pregnant is the inverse relationship between how frisky you feel and the extent to which your partner finds you attractive. In the early weeks, daddy-to-be is feeling all virile and is hoping for old-style shagging again now that you don’t have to do the special baby-making version which involves specific times of the month, week and day and lying there with your legs in the air for 20 minutes afterwards. But no, mummy-to-be is feeling rubbish, exhausted and pukey, and although her newly swollen boobs look enticing, her entire upper body is a no-go area: ‘Don’t touch my f***ing painful tits!’ They felt like they were going to explode, like I had some integral suicide bomber kit.

 Then as the pregnancy progresses – this is measured in weeks, by the way, not months: everyone knows human gestation lasts nine months until you are involved in a pregnancy and then it’s suddenly a rather more annoying 40 weeks – so the bump gets bigger and you start looking like there’s a baby in your tummy rather than a large undigested portion of lasagne. And gradually mum really does start blooming like a great ripe fruit and feeling really quite sexy. And at that exact point, dad realises he really doesn’t fancy her anymore.

I’ve heard some of my friend’s partners claim this is something soulful to do with their missus becoming a sacred vessel and temporarily having a more important and awesome job than being their lover. My own DH, bless his lack of GCSE biology, thought his thing might somehow hit the baby on the head. God only knows how big he thinks it is.

 The honest answer is that the more pregnant you get, the more like a badly animated slow-moving herbivorous dinosaur you look. So your partner usually passes up his only chance since the very early days of the relationship of having sex every night because you look extraordinarily fat and pasty, having craved nothing but White Foods like tinned macaroni cheese for months.

And don’t get me started on the sciatica, the ‘bladder weakness’, the stretchmarks,  and the weird stuff that happens to your hair (greasy, then glossy and thick, then falls out).

So I’m looking forward to going along with someone else to see the little bean wriggling, safe in the knowledge that now my two precious little people are here, my baby-making days are over.

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What I’ve learnt from the snow…

We're walking in the aaaaaiiir...

Before The Big Freeze, as the media has so overexcitedly named the current weather pattern, me and DH were thinking that next ski season – ie 2011 – would be the first year we’d go on a family skiing holiday.

We’ve been quite a few times:  I’m a cruise-the-blues sort of girl who just likes being in the mountains and skidding rather ineptly to the next vin chaud, while DH is more of a helmet-on-and point-straight-down-the-black-run chap. The first time he did the infamous Face in Val d’Isere, he actually had the theme from Ski Sunday on his iPod. Saddo.

What with childbearing, skiing has been off the agenda for a few years, for me at least, but next season DD will be four and a half and DS will be two and a half. I was thinking DD would be old enough for ski school and DS would just have fun sliding about with other little ones in the morning while the Grown Ups skiied, and then we could do family stuff in the afternoons.

Until last week. The hassle of getting four of us togged up in sufficient layers and keeping essentials like hats and mittens a) on bocos and puddies [heads and hands, sorry] and b) in a state of Not Being Lost has been a real eye opener. There’s no way we can take them skiing for years yet. I struggle with my own ski gear, boots, gloves etc, let alone trying to get two wrigglers assembled and snow-ready.

We did make a snowman and several other snow structures in the garden and the park, plus numerous snow angels, but while DD is a total snow bunny, DS is still a little unsteady on his feet, esp in wellies, and frankly hates the white stuff as much as the poor cat.

I suppose if we win the lottery we could do a Mark Warner-style holiday with a nanny or something to help out, but at the moment I’m thinking 2011 will be a great season for me to return to the slopes and the Magic Vin Chaud Pot, while leaving the nippers in the capable hands of their grandparents back in Blighty.

We’ve also got a Winter 2010/2011 strategy sorted well in advance after the experiences of the past week:

  1. The minute kids’ ski gear hits the shelves of John Lewis after the summer, we will be investing in slightly-too-large salopettes, gloves etc for them both.
  2. We will buy a sledge in October.
  3. We will buy a tonne of salty grit in October so we can actually leave the house via car at some point next time it snows.
  4. I will put a new bag in the loft containing a hat, old scarf, and misc crap suitable for a snowman’s eyes and buttons so we don’t have to get ice burn scrabbling around for pebbles. Actually, that might be a bit too anal and non-spontaneous. I don’t want to take the ‘joy’ [ha!] out of next winter’s first snows, after all.

So we’ve learnt a few lessons from the Big Freeze. Please share yours!

Back to work, yay!

Happy New Year! So how was your Christmas break with the kiddies, then? I have to confess I am very happy to be back in my office with peace and quiet and space to think and only me to consider for four hours this morning.

Don’t get me wrong: it was a really special Christmas, with DS running around and DD really getting the whole anticipation/Santa/excited about presents thing this year for the first time. And it was lovely to have DH off work for so long.

But I haven’t got those New Year new term back-to-school blues this year. I don’t get that sinking feeling on Sunday nights anymore, either. I love my children immeasurably, and am increasingly finding them genuinely good company. AND I really enjoy having space and time to myself, which only really happens when they are at nursery two mornings and one full day a week, and I am in my home office.

A couple of times over Christmas I got a little bit desperate and just needed an hour in the house to myself, just to have a shower in peace, straighten the house, have a bit of a tidy round and get my head back together. DH stepped in and whisked them off to Pret for ‘coffee and cake’ both times, and I got some much-needed breathing space.

At least two of my close friends with children say they rarely or never have time in their own house by themselves. I’ve written before about the liberating feeling of heading off into town alone for an hour for a potter sans pushchair. I find the odd hour at home by myself when I’m not at work and am choosing to do things equally refreshing, whether I’m getting on top of the laundry without the two little ones piling it all on the floor and throwing themselves on it in the game they call ‘boff’, or sitting down for 20 minutes with a good book or magazine, a cuppa and a chocky treat. For me, it feels almost as rejuvenating as a minibreak. Oh God, that sounds sad. And doesn’t mean I don’t need an actual minibreak…

So how is it for you? How much time – during the day – do mums really have to themselves, in or out of the house? Is it enough? Do you need or want it, or is it just me who skipped into the office after the nursery run this morning?!