The other pregnancy milestones
You’ve read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, you’ve registered for birth classes and spoken to your obstetrician about your monthly weight gain and what your little bean is doing in there at any given moment. But there are other milestones that anyone who has given birth can tell you about. Milestones that you won’t find in any pregnancy book.
Here is my quick, handy guide to those other pregnancy milestones.
1. When you can no longer see your own lady garden or shave your own legs
Decisions need to be made here about what you find acceptable about your appearance, and what you feel comfortable sharing with your partner. Sure, he could help you out, but is that a bikini line you really want to cross? (Spoiler alert: a tidy pubic region really makes no difference whatsoever to the birth of your child. If you were pushing a bowling ball through a punnet of alfalfa, do you really think clipping the alfalfa would help?)
2. When the first stranger touches your belly
I have perfected what I like to call my ‘eff off face’, so in three pregnancies, only one person that wasn’t related to me was foolish enough to touch my belly uninvited. She only did it once.
3. Your first day in maternity jeans
Ah, the comfort! You wonder why you didn’t make this switch a month ago, and you think that, even after the pregnancy is over you will wear these stylish yet comfy little numbers until you die.
4. When you are so sick of the sight of maternity clothes that you want to set them on fire
About a month before you give birth, all of your clothing is stretched so far that a gorgeous little floral print has become an expansive horror show of grotesquely misshapen botanical nightmares. You can’t justify buying more clothes because you don’t need them for much longer, so you wear them. Again, and again, and again.
5. When you can no longer put on your own shoes so you get your partner to help you
This doesn’t last long.
6. When you can no longer put on your own shoes and you no longer give a toss
Shoes? Who needs shoes? Not me! So you wear thongs. Even to work. And your sister’s wedding, where you’re a bridesmaid.
7. When your discomfort eclipses any feelings of social awkwardness
So you embark on bus and train journeys by stepping through the doors and immediately sneer at seated teens and announce in your loudest bossy voice, “Can someone give up their seat for a HEAVILY PREGNANT WOMAN please?”
8. When a work colleague or friend of a friend catches you drinking coffee and lectures you on your responsibilities to your unborn baby
It’s your choice how you wish to handle this delicate issue. My approach tends towards tirades of abuse, but I’m the chatty type.
9. When the anticipated relief from the enormous throbbing haemorrhoids outweighs any embarrassment
Once upon a time you would have been too embarrassed to do this, but now you stride into a chemist and ask for Anusol in your loudest, most desperate voice. (Incidentally, this is great training for the act of giving birth, which is a great lesson in constantly shifting the point between embarrassment and relief.)
10. When you realise that not only are you pregnant, but you are about to give birth
You’re actually about to do it! You’re going to give birth to a real, live human person who is going to come and live in your house and, eventually, find your stash of Kettle chips and eat them before you get the chance. For me, this came when I reached down during the birth of my daughter and felt her head between my legs. I remember feeling genuinely shocked.