music, my pregnancy

TRNSMT: Festivalling while pregnant

In another life, in what seems like the distant past, I was a wannabe music journo with a passion for all things music, mud and memories made in fields. Live music was, and still is to an extent, my drug of choice and nobody could keep me from pushing down the front with my fist in the air.

Fast forward a few years, and although the music journalist part didn’t work out, I still try to get out to see bands at least once a month. Not one for wanting to completely change my life just because I’m pregnant, I’ve still been going to gigs and things as I normally would. Many of the tickets were booked well in advance of little coffee bean even uttering a heartbeat, and I had been looking forward to them all for very different reasons.

TRNSMT

One thing I hadn’t really planned on, however, was festivalling whilst pregnant. TRNSMT festival launched this year as a sort of replacement for T in the Park, only it was in the middle of Glasgow and with no camping. With many artists on the bill I love and more I’d love to see live, the other half and I snapped up tickets as soon as they went on sale. However, as July rolled around, we were a bit more apprehensive of what spending 2 days at a festival meant for someone almost 7 months pregnant.

Here’s the main things I took away from the experience:

If it’s sunny, you’re onto a winner
The Scottish weather is as predictable as the lottery numbers, so July doesn’t always mean sun. The Saturday of TRNSMT was warm and sunny, which importantly meant the grass was up for grabs when the old legs needed a break from walking for 2. The Sunday on the other hand was a washout, with no guaranteed dry seats, not even in the toilets.

People are generally good, and respect the bump
Once people saw the bump, they tended to be respectful and warn their pals not to push past me. Others even let me skip the toilet queue because of said bump – result!

By the disabled platform is a good place to hang out
We have a friend in a wheelchair who spent the weekend at the main stage disabled platform, so there was some logic in going there to start with. There were a few nooks around the platform which enabled us not only to get close and chat to our friend, but also step slightly out of the main crowd and avoid the forward rushing for headliners like Kasabian.

Strangers (mostly mums) will want to touch your belly and give you advice
Being very obviously pregnant is a surefire conversation starter in public, and a few people did come up to me over the weekend asking if I was expecting (not sure what the alternative would have been – tanned too many ciders too quickly?). Other mums with a day off also liked to strike up conversations involving touching bump and how good it is to have a day off to come to these things.

The urge to run into the crowd doesn’t go away
For me, nothing beats getting into the music, whether that means jumping around, dancing or getting lost in the crowd. The most difficult thing all weekend was to fight that urge to get lost in the throng of tipsy music lovers.

It was a fantastic experience to be able to go to the first ever TRNSMT festival in Glasgow, and one I’m glad bump got to experience too (got to get them started on the good music young, right?!). There were some advantages like not spending half the day in the bar queue and kind souls allowing me to skip the loo queue, but I can’t wait for my next festival to include the staple pint in hand and ability to rush closer to my favourite bands as I please.

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my pregnancy

5 Little Things I Miss Now I’m Pregnant

Pregnancy forces your body through some magical (and some not-so-magical) changes in a short 9 month period. For many, it also means a few health and lifestyle changes, at least for this period of life. Most of these are well documented and you know to expect them – cutting out caffeine, stopping any heavy lifting and so on. But here are 5 little things nobody warned me I’d miss during my pregnancy journey:

1 – Jeans
It was a struggle to find a perfect fit before bump came along, but boy did I take those high-waisters for granted. Having not worn jeans for about 3 months now, outfits take much more planning these days especially when you have to experience the unpredictable climate of a Scottish summer. Jeans are such an easy fix for any type of day, rain or shine, hot or cold, so as a result of no denim, my ‘getting ready’ time has just about doubled in the morning looking for weather-appropriate comfy clothing.
I know that there are such things as maternity jeans but when you’re over 5 foot 6 they are not a luxury you get to enjoy unless you’re a fan of penguin walks and chafing. (If anyone can find me a pair of maternity jeans that fit a tall size 12 gal, I’ll be eternally grateful)

2 – Opening windows
It sounds ridiculous but there are only about 2 windows in my home I can still safely and easily open and close on my own. Partly down to high ceilings meaning I have large windows, partly down to poor planning in terms of kitchen structure and furniture placement, but nevertheless it’s a nuisance having to rely on somebody to open or close a window for you because it’s too hot or has started pouring with rain, flooding the windowsill.

3 – Delicious food
Ok, so most off-limits foods are pretty well known about by even those who have never encountered a pregnant person. But haven’t you noticed that most of the foods we preggos aren’t allowed are, in fact, the most delicious? I mean, I didn’t even eat steak that much before, but I have never been so aroused by juices oozing out of a rare meat on a cooking show until now. Nor have I ever dreamed of feasting on a good ol’ Scottish fry-up, complete with runny egg, black pudding and haggis until very recently.
4 – Sleeping on my back 
I’m one of those weird folk that still sleeps in the foetal position regardless of how many people in the bed, so avoiding sleeping on my back or front was never something I thought would be a problem for me. BUT, when the choice is taken away from me, it’s upsetting and sleep-disturbing. There’s nothing worse than trying to get comfortable with heartburn (thanks wee boy), whilst battling sciatica and a wriggling furnace of a partner in the bed. Lying flat on my back might do nothing for the heartburn but it’s sometimes all my sciatic nerve wishes for on a sleepless night.

5 – Being left alone
As a (somewhat) strong, independent woman, I’ve managed to live an adult life by myself which has comprised of moving away from home, living on my own, commuting and travelling further afield solo, and generally taking care of myself, by myself. Now, however, it seems that I can’t do anything without a question or an opinion or somebody wanting to do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely for people to be so caring and to offer to help with things but sometimes it just makes me feel really inadequate and incapable when people think I can’t do the most basic things for myself. And honestly, it’s a little embarrassing as I feel like a bit of a fraud that doesn’t really need the assistance as much as many other people do. I never thought I’d miss being an invisible member of society, going about my business as I please, without anyone fussing over me.

I’m sure there will be many more things I’ll grow to miss as the next few months roll on, but these are certainly some of the things I hadn’t quite mentally prepared for. At least Kopparberg have a decent alcohol-free range, meaning there’s one less thing I’ll have to go without until October!
my pregnancy

Mothercare Expectant Parent Event – Glasgow, 21st June

I’d heard great things about Mothercare expectant parent events, so was delighted to find one taking place on Wednesday 21st June.

As a natural sceptic I thought it might all be one big sales event, designed to promote the products Mothercare have on sale. And whilst there was of course a bit of that, I couldn’t have been more wrong about the night.

On arrival there were drinks and nibbles and friendly staff to explain exactly what was there on the night. All of the staff were really helpful and interested in our situation and needs, rather than just giving a pre-planned spiel.

Highlights included:

The other half trying on a baby bump

His initial reaction was that it was just like he’d eaten way too much but as the event reps added in more weight and got him to walk around, he conceded it wouldn’t be that easy to deal with that all day every day.

Finding out that baby on Board signs are actually indicators for paramedics

I’d previously thought this was just people’s way of either showing off or expecting otherwise irrational drivers would instead take care upon seeing the sign. Instead what I learned was far more interesting and useful. If you affix the baby on Board sign to the left of the rear window, paramedics will rush to that side in the event of an accident. It then is much more beneficial than I ever thought to have one of these signs, and to ensure your child sits on the side it’s displayed.

Child first aid
As someone who can barely bumble through adult first aid, the stall was one of my priorities over and above the talks. Very useful tips for first time or nervous parents about helping a baby or child that’s choking or having breathing difficulties.

There were many more highlights of the night, including 10% off vouchers for

attendees, plus a further 10% off Tommee Tippee products on the night. Not to mention a goody bag containing a glow in the dark Mam soother, breast pads, and cute pregnancy photo cards from Tommee Tippee.
I’d strongly encourage any expectant mother to attend, whether or not you’ve had a child before. If you don’t learn anything from all of the experts on hand, you’ll at least walk away with some discount vouchers which can be used at a later date.

 

my pregnancy

Things I refuse to do just because I’m pregnant

Everyone is different and for some, pregnancy is all about sharing every moment with anyone who will listen. For others it’s a tumultuous time, experiencing symptoms and side effects they’d rather not talk about. For a fortunate few, pregnancy is a breeze, meaning life can continue pretty much as normal to a certain extent.
However as times change and social media becomes ever-popular, there are now certain expectations or nuances we come to expect from mums-to-be, not just on public platforms, but all across life. It seems that people are all to quick to make judgements no matter what you do, if it’s the norm or not. Well, I’ll tell you right now, here are the things I refuse to do just because I’m pregnant! (If I do, you have permission to slag me to oblivion)

 

Post a picture of the inside of me on Facebook or any other social media

Aka sharing scan pics at every opportunity. I didn’t like sharing pictures of the outside of me for most of my life, so not going to start showing you my uterus and inhabiting foetus, let alone have it as my profile picture.

Make big announcements about how pregnant I am or what I’ve experienced
I’m well aware I’m not the only woman to have ever been pregnant, and to be honest, there hasn’t been much to experience so far – I appear to have a very lazy child. Aside from this, nobody in the world apart from expectant mothers and midwives count things in weeks. 27 weeks is too much time-based maths for anyone to care about. And at any rate, it just reminds people that there are at least another 13 pictures of a belly to look forward to.

Bang on about what I’m doing for baby/going to do for baby
Every maw went pram shopping at some point. If there’s nothing of value to add to that tale, other than the fact I bought a pram, is it really any more interesting than showing you a post of my dinner? Also, I might want to have a birth a certain way but that doesn’t make it better or worse than anyone else’s choice and it certainly doesn’t mean it will happen that way on the day, so what’s the point in announcing it on social media for everybody to put in their own two cents?

Stop living my life if it poses no threat
It’s sweet when people think I should no longer be exercising the way I’ve been used to for the past few years, but if Serena Williams can win a tennis grand slam carrying another human the whole time, I’m sure I’ll be fine with a wee bit of cardio and stretching, thanks. Similarly, if it’s not heavier than my handbag, I can probably still carry it. And don’t get me started on going to pubs and gigs. I didn’t run into the moshpit before, chances are I’m not going to receive a wayward punch now!

Play the pregnancy card for the sake of it
Admittedly, this has come in useful when avoiding clambering into the back of 3 door vehicles, but in fairness that was always difficult at my height/build! It would be easy to just cop out of things like popping out for milk, doing the housework or even ducking out of much-dreaded plans, but what good would that do me and bump in the longterm? Laziness is not a habit an expectant mother should feed! That being said, if I’m yawning my head off in public or struggling with the vaccuum, I’ll probably just give up.

What I will do:

Share ridiculous experiences that people may relate to or might give people a chuckle.
A kid peeing on the doctor? Mortifying and hilarious in equal measure! Having a breakdown at the top of a hill in Italy because you need a wee? Inevitably funny for those not involved.

Share things that people might find useful (a bargain, a tip about a certain product and so on. I dare you to show me someone who doesn’t love a bargain)

my pregnancy

Unplanned and unprepared

I never thought I was really old enough to have kids. It was always something I thought would happen one day, when I ‘grew up’ or something. Timing wasn’t an issue, and both myself and other half were happy living together and working to pay for our travels to exciting new destinations.

At 28, I’ve come across my fair share of babies in the last few years, with family members and friends all creating their own tiny little miracles. Despite lots of my friends settling down and starting families, it was never something that really phased me or made me feel tingly inside. There was no ticking body clock, no ovaries weeping, and no pressing rush to follow suit – not that I was averse to the idea. I just wasn’t finished taking care of myself yet, never mind understanding how to completely take care of another human.

So that’s why it came as a major surprise to find myself pregnant, with seemingly no warning signs. Sure, there are some doubters who will question ‘how could you not know?’ and if you’d asked me six months ago, I’d probably think the same thing. But when you’re a millenial who is constantly on-the-go, it’s not always easy to keep track of periods. Couple this with having notoriously irregular periods, which document anywhere between 15 and 60 days between bleeds (I use the Period Tracker app), a continuously changing contraceptive pattern, IBS to contend with and a foot operation to prepare for, and it’s easy to see why the days would slip by without thinking about whether or not I should be bleeding.

Though it should go without saying, I don’t feel like I’m a blameless party that ended up helplessly pregnant. The circumstances weren’t perfect, but I’m an adult and understand that it not only takes two to tango, but also that things like contraception aren’t 100% perfect. Sometimes your body can do things you didn’t know it was capable of – something I’m sure I’ll constantly be saying to myself as the next few months roll on.

I do, however, feel a bit cheated. As a naive party to this stranger making itself comfortable in my womb, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much that most expectant mothers get to feel and share. There was no planning, no excitement at the thought of a missed period, no party after the pee-stick displayed a positive, no reading the notes and following the rules and making changes to prepare my body for the sheer miracle about to unfold.

Instead, the first few weeks of what must have been my pregnancy were filled with going to work, taking exercise classes, going out and drinking. Basically, nothing different to the last 10 years of my life – with the exception of a stomach bug, which in hindsight could have been one of the shortest experiences of morning sickness ever known. Whilst many mothers may care to tell me to count my blessings, that I’ve had an easy ride and to enjoy feeling this good, I can’t help but think of the lifestlye changes I could have made, had I realised I was pregnant sooner.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I know I can’t change the past, but I wish I’d had more time to prepare for the future. With over 18 weeks already under my belt, there’s not much time for me and the boy to get used to becoming a three – both in the emotional sense and the physical sense. I find myself waking up at night panicking about car seats and nursery furniture and whether I remembered to take a vitamin or not that day. It’s all really overwhelming, and something I’ll probably never get over until bump makes an appearance but hopefully writing my feelings and experiences can make a little bit of difference.