Let me begin by taking you back to France in the late 1700’s, King Louis XVI would sit down and eat a rather large meal. Now the King was no shy eater and would demolish an entire roast chicken, pork roast, and still make room for a dozen chocolate sprinkled pastries. The rest of France was pretty poor by comparison, not much food, hardly any cash and absolutely no chocolate sprinkled pastries. But it wasn’t so much the poor that started the whole ‘let’s get rid of the greedy pastry eating aristocracy’ way of thinking. Most of the monarchy-bashing came from the middle class liberals known as philosophes (thinkers) who could afford to sit around in coffee houses debating about why they had nothing to dip into their drink. You see these people had seen what it was like to have food and money; they had seen the rich stuffing down their pastries. And that’s a little how I feel every day. I get a glimpse of luxury. I take my Bump off and I know what it’s like to be 15kg lighter for 15 minutes, it’s bliss. So I’m revolting, I’m going to try 2 days without taking Bump off at all. I’m going to towel wash until I become, well, revolting.
I am now wishing away my days. It’s noon and I’m thinking 10 more hours then bed. I go to bed and I’m thinking that’s another day over, only 11 days left. This isn’t like me; it’s not like anyone that I like. I’m never one to wish away my days, but that is exactly who I have become, a miserable daywishawayer. So I want to spice things up a little, I want to have a bit of fun. I want you to challenge me. Give me something to do, help get me through the last 11 days. Be as serious or as silly as you want. Ask me to go and buy a maternity dress, get me riding crossbar on Jason’s bike, learning to tap dance dressed as a hippy. Come on people help me get through this.
This whole thing is getting a bit too real now, I feel ill, I’ve developed a real scowl and I’m not too pleasant to be around.
I remember my wife being a bit of a gremlin while pregnant with Saul. I was the usual kind of bemused bloke husband that kept my head down and kept my focus fixed on the finish line. I had no idea, why she was so angry, then tearful, then happy, then angry again about almost everything. I simply shrugged it off and tried to support her whenever I could. Most of what I tried to do to ‘fix’ the situation just made things much worse. I realize now that I didn’t need to fix anything but to be there to take some of the flack and keep the peace wherever I could.
I now find myself with a stuffy nose, a cough, and a sore throat. I can’t be bothered with anyone, or anything, most of all, this bloody appendage called Bump.
I want rid of it. I’ve had enough. I’m not man enough to be pregnant and ill. Blahhhh!
My wife leaves the house earlier than me in the morning; I get an extra hour cuddling Bump. Which means my son has to help me to get the confounded contraption called Bump back on after my shower. He comments on the weight of it most mornings, as he watches me start my day puffing and panting. He’s obviously taking this in a lot more than I thought. This morning he said, “Hey dad, you’d have to be pretty sure of what you’re getting yourself into, if you’re going to have a baby” An opening, every parent knows these moments, an opportunity to really talk with a 12 year old! It’s as rare as finding a Bamboo Lemur smoking a homemade pipe standing in your slippers. I had to tread carefully, not seem too excited, but encourage conversation. So I casually asked, “Why’d you say that?” he replied “just.” And that was it. But I know he’s thinking, it’s changing his perspective, and that’s brilliant. Seeing pregnancy from a different perspective has enabled him to see some of the realities, even just on the physical level. Very simplistically, if dad the guy that usually does all the heavy lifting in the house is really struggling with this then it must be tough. If this takes him into the next few years with even slightly more respect of what it means to be pregnant, then it may just help prevent an unhappy accident.
Being pregnant and giving birth to a child is only the first step. Bringing up a child in a happy, healthy environment is quite a different thing. I know this because we have a child of our own, a 12 year old boy called Saul. We obviously love him to bits. We also know just how difficult it is to get this far, how much work has to be put in, to be blessed with a child that we are proud of. We’ve had our fair share of tears, tantrums and tenacity along the way. I’m happy that he’s no angel, it shows spirit, I’m glad that he pushes boundaries, it shows determination, he’s funny, intelligent and most of all respectful of other people.
Which brings me to what happened today. I’d covered up Bump with a rather large black jacket. I was just going down the steps to get the Metro, when from the top of the steps a group of about 5 or 6 English youths started to call out ‘oi! Fatty’ they then started chanting ‘you fat bastard, you fat bastard’ I’m sure you’re not all bad kids, and that even a couple of you felt slightly uncomfortable in the process, I’m also sure that your parents would be devastated by your behaviour.
I wasn’t a pregnant dad today, just a fat dad, and unfortunately it wasn’t a pleasant insight.
We are all going a little bit dolally now to be honest. The comradery is good; we are all in this thing together. We chat when we get into the office in the mornings about stuff like
“the wife is getting a bit sick of this now” nods all-round,
“bought a coffee and Bump hit the table spilling it everywhere”,
“I can’t handle coffee any more, Chamomile tea is what I’m on now”
It’s a bit weird to be honest, but it seems perfectly natural. There is one reoccurring oddness, however, and that’s Jonny’s obsession with my not tying my shoelaces. He must remind me about 10 times a day that my shoes are untied. I know Jonny, I know my shoes are untied, I didn’t tie them, and I specifically left them untied. I will still know that they are untied the next time you remind me. Please stop telling strangers that my shoelaces are untied, I’m wearing a straightjacket with a food-covered hilltop built into the front of it. No one is interested in my shoelaces. Enough with the shoelaces!
That can’t be that hard can it? 150 words a day, just a few words a day reporting on how I feel and what’s been happening. I mean, by the end of this sentence I should be about a third of the way in. Yup, 54 words, 96 words to go. But to be honest it does get a little difficult, every day feels a little bit like the last only slightly more laborious. Yes Bump, is awkward, yes it’s heavy, and yes I’m tired. I’m also a bit tired of complaining about it, I did after all put myself in this situation. So any questions you may have, please post them. I’ll do my best to answer. I have a couple of questions for you, at what point did you want it to be over, considering how frightening is it to know where Bump makes its escape? A quandary I thankfully don’t have. But I honestly can’t get it out of my head. 176 words. Boom.
Got up at 5am yesterday, traveled from Barcelona to London and managed to somehow make it all the way through customs, on the flight and into Gatwick suits mostly donned. We removed them for 5 minutes to put them through the X-ray machine. London is great the people have all been friendly and I’ve been asked if people could have their pictures taken with me a few times.
But it wears a bit thin to be honest. Carrying this 15kg Bump around and not getting a night’s sleep is taking its toll.
I really don’t want to be a moan here, but it is becoming really difficult. If truth were told, it’s only over these last 24 hours that I feel I’ve had a real glimpse of what it may be like to be a pregnant mum. I am absolutely shattered, I’ve began to growl at anyone that wants to be cheerful with me, and I swear if one more person touches my Bump without asking, someone will be asking my state of mind to be taken into account at the Old Bailey.
I’m sure I just need some rest and all will be fine in the morning.
I had a pretty good day today, started off with a yoga class for the pregnant, couldn’t really do all the moves but enjoyed it never the less. Needed 3 pillows to prop me up. Eva the yoga teacher kept saying something about a catcow, a tad insensitive, but she made up for it with a foot massage. Lush.
Then I read through some of the comments online.
The best one from yesterday (in my opinion) was from a guy called Will.
“My wife gave me a recipe for what its like to be pregnant, eat a pound of exlax, drink a case of soda, a pound of beans, 5 Imodium’s, swallow a live Chihuahua, jump up and down to shake vigorously, have someone kick you in your crotch then try to sit down and relax.”
Rather glad I’m wearing this instead of going through all that, I don’t even like beans.
Can’t be bothered writing about this today – it’s difficult enough to do all the things I need to do in a day without keeping a blog and telling the world just how difficult it is. But I did sign a beermat at the very start of the whole thing agreeing to keep a blog. So here it is. To be honest it’s becoming quite tough. I don’t want any sympathy for this, as it is, what it is, and I agreed to go through with it. It’s just the same for some pregnant women I guess, it must be difficult for some to get on with a days work and what is effectively a day’s workout. I don’t have the hormones and all the other stuff, but I am definitely getting a little grumpy. Again another day of hats off to my mum and all the pregnant ladies out there. Wondering if I get to a place in this exercise somewhere when I can say ‘that day was a breeze, this whole pregnant thing is a doddle. Doubt it though.