I had a long and tedious four-year journey to getting knocked-up, so I had plenty of time to prepare mentally for all the well-known inconveniences of pregnancy. On top of the usual stuff (nausea, acne, becoming wider than I am tall), there were some other little side-effects that I just didn’t expect. Here they are, with my at-home remedies.
(Note: This is obviously not official medical advice; please Google all your pregnancy symptoms like a normal person, or consult your midwife like an actual responsible parent.)
Brows gone wild
Everyone knows that pregnant ladies are supposed to have amazing hair and skin. My skin got more disgusting than ever, and my hair has always been pretty heavy, so the only above-the-neck ‘benefit’ I noticed was properly insane eyebrows. Not only were they really long, but they got so thick that they were actually curly. Curly eyebrows. Imagine.
Remedy: Pluck ’em out. You’ll have baldy bits, but this is preferable to entering motherhood with giant Gandalf-style brow-quiffs; children can be cruel.
The sidewinder probably doesn’t sleep tonight
Pregnant ladies are advised to sleep on their left sides, and indeed I was horribly prone to supine hypotensive syndrome, which means that I would start to pass out whenever I accidentally lay on my back. Poor Chris ended up being the Chair Angle Police at dentist, hairdresser, midwife and hospital appointments because I would prefer to stiff-upper-lippedly lose consciousness than ‘make a fuss’.
Remedy: Lie on your left side to stop the vena cava from getting compressed. You can roll up a towel or something to stop you rolling onto your back. Build a wall o’ pillows between your legs, from crotch to ankle, to stop your sciatic nerve going tingly. Then just pee your pants every two hours, because there’s no way you’re getting up now. Sucker.
Bumpless in Bath
Other than to need-to-know managers and team peeps, I didn’t bother announcing the impending Phinling at work, assuming that it would soon become apparent. It didn’t. I didn’t really look pregnant until the very end, when suddenly the lifeguards at the swimming pool started watching me very warily as I waded into their lovely pristine pool.
Remedy: Don’t buy loads of maternity clothes at the beginning; wait and see if you need them. I got some hilarious stretchy-waisted jeans early on, but just wore my regular top-halves until the last month, when I ruined wore Chris’ larger t-shirts. Save your money for a postpartum-paté-party instead.
Sometimes, when an actual person lives in your abdomen, a head or a fist or some feet are gently thrust into your lungs, making normal breathing or sitting something of a challenge. My go-to response to this was always to FREAK OUT. I can’t catch my breath! I can’t breathe properly! Anguish!
Remedy: I never found a remedy other than FREAK OUT and FREAK EVERYONE ELSE OUT. In the end, the Phinling would always tumble into a less… lung-y position. Phew. It’s at times like these it seems like we could maybe relax the whole ‘never drink in pregnancy’ advice? Just a bit? Is that bad? I’m sorry.
Being overdue can make you properly insane
Of course, everyone knows that due dates are utter piffle and that first babies are often late, but this didn’t stop me turning into a complete loon as the date gradually receded from view. Kid was born at 42 weeks. That’s TEN months of pregnancy, maths fans.
I stopped sleeping, morning sickness came back (WTF), people kept texting to ask if I’d had a baby yet, or worse, inviting me out on excursions as if I was just delusional and had no reason to stay close to home. I became completely convinced I would never, ever give birth.
Remedy: Eat a massive number of cakes. Turn your phone off.