Following what feels like the gestation period of an African elephant, I’m ripe and ready for birthing!
After my miscarriage in 2016 I couldn’t see a way through to where I am now, I was lost in a fog of grief with seemingly no end in sight. Now, at nine months pregnant and content with a son moving around in my belly, I look back and wish I could grab that sad lady by the shoulders, and tell her she’ll feel alive on the inside once again. In truth I spent the first few months of this pregnancy swinging from joy and elation to sadness and paralysing fear. I desperately tried not to become too attached to the idea of another baby, just in case. I smiled and made the appropriate noises when I spoke about it, but on the inside was a cold determination to protect my heart. You see, no one really speaks about the emotions that come with the pregnancy after the one that ended without a baby.
I know that I’m lucky to be here, about to give birth, but the truth is: this pregnancy has taken it’s toll on me in so many ways. And while I am grateful, I’m also worn out. Which almost feels like a betrayal to my baby to say out loud, but there you have it.
I’ve been challenged many times on how I see myself as a woman and a Mother.
I like to be in control, that’s no secret to anyone. I like to know what’s going to happen and when, so that I can brace myself for the fallout, be it good or bad. It’s an anxiety coping mechanism, I know that. When you’re pregnant your body goes completely rogue. It assumes the biological autopilot position and you’re left clinging on for dear life. You’re reduced to being a passenger on board your own body, with nothing left to do but sit and stare out the window as each change occurs:
“Oh look – another stretch mark!”
“Someone pass me the nail clippers, I’ve got thirteen new skin tags between my thighs!”
“Over there, a haemorrhoid is squeezing it’s way out of my anus – STUNNING!”
All the while, people expect you to smile and wave because that’s what us preggos are meant to do. It makes others uncomfortable if we’re not happily nesting, rubbing our growing stomachs and generally being maternal as fuck.
I’ve had to stop doing a lot of the things I love and have become a low-key hermit. My friends haven’t seen me in months, and I’ve stopped performing and working as my body wasn’t coping with my lifestyle. In other words, I’ve had to hand my entire person over to this pregnancy, and that has challenged the ambitious, sassy business lady in me enormously.
I’m both terrified and in awe of the ways in which my body has changed and adapted over the past thirty seven weeks. Women’s bodies are miraculous things. There have been times where I’ve caught myself feeling worried or repulsed by what’s occurred to me physically. It’s hard not to when your previously B cup breasts now nestle themselves snuggly inside a D cup, and when set free, rest atop your growing stomach like two giant, mono-nippled Jabba The Huts. And when lifted for aeration, they have the surface temperature of ‘centre court at the Australian Open’ degrees celsius underneath. On these occasions, I’ve mostly been able to remind myself that there’s a human life growing inside of me. A whole new person to come into the world, created by the factory of my body… and then I just worry about that instead of the cellulite on the side of my knees.
I wanted to say to any woman who is pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or may one day want to be pregnant; it’s okay at times to feel stress, anger and pain when you’re up the duff. Society is really only comfortable with us pretending that this is the happiest time of our lives when sometimes, it’s not! I mean, I was promised there would be ‘glowing’, and yet the only sheen coming off me has been sweat.
That all being said, as I head into my final weeks of pregnancy, I say thank you to my body for what it has achieved. I’ve been hard on her more times than I care to admit, but what a bloody marvel it is to have done this thing. Instead of criticising my thighs, skin and everything in between, I say thank you for growing thighs, skin and everything in between. I say in my best Osher Günsberg voice: We’re at the pointy end of the competition, the summit of the mountain, the finish line of the marathon and now more than ever you need to go softly into each day.
Most days, I sit in the nursery imagining what’s to come. I’m bursting to meet this child and once again experience those magical first few days that only a newborn can bring. I let that warm feeling spread through my bones, and it feels good to allow that to happen.
Thanks for coming on the journey with me friends, I feel like this has been a communal pregnancy of sorts. Your words of encouragement, gifts and well wishes have kept me going.
Let the next chapter begin: Current day Em with a baby!
What does that look like? I have no idea but I know there will be plenty of tears, bodily fluid and some bad behaviour – and that’s obviously just me.
Warning, this post will not be for the faint of heart. Look, I realise that that I could conceivably pop that precursor at the top of most things I write, however this week – we’ll be going deep. So strap in, the truth is out there and it’s something I didn’t know until my nipples began spreading like balsamic vinegar in a small dish of extra virgin olive oil.
I had my first child when I was twenty-two years old. My body was tight and hard, I was carefree, I wore strapless tops with reckless abandon and bras were optional. As my pregnancy progressed, my youthful body went through the normal changes one would expect from growing a human:
Spider Belly: The vexatious internal itching that happens around the middle of your bump.
Filthy pirate mouth: Bleeding gums.
Bong eyes: Blood vessels bursting in your eyeballs, due to extreme constipation.
Iron Vag: As though someone has literally sewn tiny weights into your flaps and you’re sure the baby may appear at any time just to say hello. (It tends to occur towards the end of the pregnancy.)
Fighter Pilot Chest Thumbs: Your once pert, pink, delicate nipples become giant flesh almonds.
Road Map Neck: Did you even KNOW you could get stretch marks under your chin? I DID NOT! YOU CAN!
When my pregnancy was first referred to as “geriatric”, I was deeply offended. How very dare anyone refer to any part of my person as “geriatric”? I’m still in my thirties for fuck’s sake! Yes it’s the very tippy-top of the decade and yes I dress like Grandma Yetta from the Nanny, however everything else is still young and vital! The term ‘geriatric pregnancy’ conjures up images of Dorothy from the Golden girls (if your brain didn’t immediately launch into ‘thank you for being a friend’ I don’t know if we can see each other anymore) waddling around in a pair of fetching maternity overalls.
FYI – Anyone over the age of thirty-five and pregnant is considered to be of ‘advanced maternal age’, because as we all know, after you turn thirty-five your vagina starts to grow cobwebs, develops a strange crush on Eddie McGuire and registers itself for the pension.
As I move further into this pregnancy, I now realise that I’m indeed an older pregnant person; my body is dealing with this spawning far differently from the other two times I was up the duff (in my twenties). What I’ve noticed this time is that EVERY CELL of my entire body is pregnant. My teeth, my eyes, my fingers my toes, my internal organs – they’re all feeling the fact that I have a baby in my guts. It’s permeating my every move, thought and feeling. Instead of it being a fun fact about me as it was the last time, it’s now all that I am. So here is a list of the symptoms I’m having as a mature age preggo. I’m not saying if you’re in your thirties you’ll definitely experience these side effects, but if on the off-chance you do, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
Get that thing away from me: You know how they say that in your second trimester, you just can’t get enough of the sex? The reason for this is that you’ve got more blood flow to your vag, more of the hormones that love bonking are present – and if you’re a fellow flat chester like me, you’ve got a brand new set of boobs to be flaunting. I certainly experienced that in my earlier pregnancies, but now… No. My husband is hot, fit and very good at the sex, but I’ve no interest in riding that cowboy currently. I’m tired, I’m more tired, my back hurts and I’m so tired.
NIPPLE SPREAD: You guys, they DO NOT stop growing. I stupidly thought my areolas reached peak spread with my last pregnancy. What a naive dickhead I was! I know that they need to be bigger and darker so that the baby can find them but I’m not giving birth to a fucking mole! At this rate, they could be found from the Mars space station without a telescope.
4WD Stretchies: You would think that the stretch marks you already have would be worn in enough to accomodate the changing of your body. Look, even if you’re having your first child, if you’re thirty-five and over you’ve accumulated some impressive tears to your skin that you’d think would leave enough grow room for what’s to come. Ha! No. Imagine a four-wheel drive track on some soft sand, then imagine that another four-wheel drive drives over that same track, and then four more of the bastards find their way there. The tracks get deeper, darker, and slightly wider. The same may happen to your stomach, hips, inner thigh, arms, chin – wherever these arseholes have managed to find themselves.
Side note: SPARE ME the ‘rub *insert oil/lotion name here* on your boobs and bump to avoid stretch marks’ – that shit is a fucking CON. I literally bathed in stretch mark cream for my first pregnancy. I walked around like an oiled up hippo for months and my tummy ended up looking like an elephant’s ear with a road map drawn on the inside of it. I reckon you’re genetically predisposed to that kind of thing, you’ve either got skin that will withstand stretching or you don’t.
My body is ruined forever: Real talk – my self-esteem has taken a smashing this time around. Things have felt more saggier and baggier than they previously were, I found myself not wanting to be in photos or look in the mirror. I even picked a fight with Scotty and cried when I saw that he’d followed a fitness model on Instagram (it turns out he works with her and she literally stood over him while he followed her because she’s trying to be an ‘influencer’). I’d convinced myself that he was gong to run away with her and do push ups by a pool and look at her perfect small nipples and upper arms that don’t wobble when she aggressively points at things. That was probably my low point. (Also, let’s just say that if my husband were to do a stocktake of the men I follow, he’d find A LOT of hard-bodied, tattooed blokes with beards that I most certainly do not work with!) After I confessed I was onto him and his imaginary fitness lover, my husband took both my hands into his and said: “I am not going anywhere – EVER! For fuck’s sake Emy, you’re growing our child. You’re incredible, you look fantastic, stop being so hard on yourself.” He was right of course, I’m a bloody WARRIOR! I’m literally making a whole person inside of my body! So anytime my thighs rub together or my bum cheeks stick to the top of the backs of my legs, or I have to change my underwear for the third time in one day – I remember that. And you should too.
Having said all of that, pregnancy is a tough gig no matter how old you are. It fucks with your biology, mental health, physical health and everything in-between. No one knows how your body is going to react, and it’s different for every woman. So be kind to yourself, look after your health and fuck any other chore that gets in the way of that. But if all else fails, strap yourself into some leopard print, gather the indoor plants, set the self timer on your kid’s camera and be fucking Beyonce for a few minutes.
I see you preggos, I feel you, I am you.
P.S Our second round of community pins SOLD OUT again, but don’t worry we’re onto it and getting a jumbo sized batch made! I’ve also signed a new load of my books, have you read it yet? You totally should. Don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list so you get my words first and any other goss before anyone else does (new merch, tour announcements, baby announcements!) just scroll to the bottom of the contact page.