It’s finally happened. No, no the baby coming out, dumbass. A WORSE thing. I have… I have… SWOLLEN UP like a fat pregnant fuck. No. Stop that right now. I know MOST women swell up when they’re pregnant. But I am not MOST WOMEN, I am me, miss AMP, and I do not do things MOST WOMEN do unless I am doing them in some kind of retro-kitsch ironic self-observing kind of way (like, “Wow, look, I’m getting dumped while having a miscarriage and the boy would rather DJ than pick me up from hospital and now I appear to be crying as though I have like a broken heart or some shit! This is amazing!”, etc.*)
Yes, I have had a totally non-MOST WOMEN pregnancy. Getting up the duff was acheived with ridiculous speed / ease, desite my advanced years (e.g. over 30 omg WITHERED OVARY ALERT WARNING CAREER WOMAN AHEAD SELFISH SELFISH), helped along no doubt by the fact that the baby’s father (a nubile 23 at time of conception) and I had not long been acquainted with each other, were ridiculously attracted to each other and were more than happy to spend our days and nights at it like bonobos luxuriating in a sea of high-sperm-count emissions. (Gross? No, hot.) Then, ok, the first trimester was totally not a blast (knackered and alientated in cold dark country) but hey! no puking or anything much really, and most of all, NO WEIGHT GAIN. Yes, I am different to every other female person, HEAR ME ROAR.THE WORLD’S FIRST SKINNY PREGGO
Of course, this lack of weight gain was mainly due to me not being a skinny little bastard to begin with. O you can imagine the joy, nay, the smugness, that swept across my curvaceous form as I observed previously skinny women in roughly the same stage of pregnancy as me blossom in hip, thigh, calf, ankle, wrist, elbow, rib, cheek, chin, neck and face while I did not. I bumped into one girl from my Swedish class - we had not seen each other since our first trimesters - and could barely recognise her, she was so puffed of face. How my insides rejoiced! As for me, the scales resolutely refused to budge through first, second and into the third trimesters, while I actually GOT THINNER (apart from the babylump, obvs). Gosh, I would say, observing my newly-emerging cheekbones and collarbones in the bathroom at work, hearing the concerned coos of my co-workers, I am the first person to lose weight during pregnancy in the entire history of the world! This is so excellent! I rule so hard! And I would side my hand over my ‘bump’ and congratulate it for being on mama’s side and helping her pregnancy be awesome. EDEMA ATTACKS
Yeah well. FUCK THAT IN THE MANGINA. Ever since I hit week 35 last week I’ve woken up with painful joints in my fingers, and a tingling swollen numbness in my hands (a rather unfortunate condition for a professional (hah!) writer, I’m sure you’ll agree.) Googling reveals this to be ‘edema’ (normal preggo swelling) and ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ (normally an RSI thing, but the edema fucks your wrists up which fucks up your hands and fingers till they hurt so much you can barely hold a toothbrush, let alone type). And a quick peep in the mirror reveals it to be true elsewhere as well - I have POPPED! I have SWOLLEN! I am on verge of EXPLOSION! Fuck it, I am fat. I am repulsive. FAT - IT’S THE TITS!
Don’t take the last two sentences too serious - I’m down with being less-than-slender normally. Why wouldn’t you be? You have tits, which are basically the best things in the universe. If your stomach bothers you that much you can get into dressing like a 1950s diva in vintage shapewear that smooths out all the lumps and makes you look like Betty Page or some shit (in yr head anyway, and it’s what’s in your head and in your boyfriend’s head that counts, right?) You can take Egyptian Dance classes and learn how to shake yr thang (to experience a delightful inversion of the normal status quo, just take a few classes and observe how much more awesome at the dance are those who can quiver their flesh like a jelly, and just how dejected that makes the taut of belly and tight of butt).
And, of course, your boyfriends are not going to be the kind of Maxim-man that considers Kate Winslet to be a heifer, are they. No, they will be the kind who’ll revel in your flesh and delight in lifting your tits in their hands as though their hands are a human bra, admiring your breasts’ weight and heft, dimpling your stomach with adoring fingermarks, slapping your ass every time you pass, deriding your skinnier predecessors, till you are left in no doubt that, contrary to what every magazine you’ve ever read has said, yours is truly the most ideal and delicious body ever to grace womankind. Futhermore, as someone who is already curvy and therefore not considered acceptable by normal societal beauty standards, you will, if you’re sensible, have learned to locate your self-worth elsewhere (“I may not be a size 10, but fuck it, I can write, hand-code HTML, wire a plug, do the Times crossword in 8 minutes, spot a Bertoia wireframe chair in a junkheap, and tie a cherry stalk in a knot with my tongue...’ No flies on you, fatgrrrl! Just an awesome new stomach that wiggles when the baby moves around inside, and is all hard and peculiar and interesting, and makes you laugh when he kicks you by suprise. What’s not to like?BIG FAT BLOATER
Yeah right. Nice attitude. And a hell of a lot easier to maintain when you haven’t gained any weight whatsoever during your pregnancy. Now, however, the tissues around my face are engorged; the aforementioned cheekbones are nowhere to be found; suddenly my rump extends in similar fashion to the belly, and the bulges upon thighs and hips prevent the wearing of that bump-clasping frock I was so delighted to sport last week. I AM A BIG FAT BLOATER. So much for being different to every other female pregnant person ever. NOT LOOPHOLE WOMAN AFTER ALL
We all want to be the ‘loophole woman
’**, don’t we? The exceptional one, not subject to normal prescribed rules or stereotypes of the female condition, up there with the best of the boys, moshing at gigs or heading up meetings while eight months pregnant; no different; no challenge; no threat. But it’s bullshit. Being pregnant is about surrender, I guess, and just sitting back and letting the thing inside you do as it wants, and use you as it wants, and ransack your body, as it wants. You’re not in the driving seat any more. As my midwife said to me about contractions last week - it’s going to happen to you anyway, so you might as well learn to relax about it. So yeah. Soap all the mirrors. Lock all the doors. I’m a big fat swollen butterball and I’m fine with it, HONEST. And hey - at least I don’t have stretchmarks!
Readers! Don’t miss next week’s column, entitled: “O MY GOD I TOTALLY HAVE STRETCHMARKS”.
*actual thing that happened in 2005
**Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: women and the rise of raunch culture, Simon & Schuster 2007
Labels: 35_weeks, personal, preggo, pregnant
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