Size 15 & 3/4 – the curse of the muscle memory.

This winter I predict that I will be suffering from a major, season long wardrobe malfunction. My prediction is based on the current fashions on offer for the upcoming seasons. Hideous is not a strong enough word. It really isn’t. I am talking about the normal fashions too mind you. My brief and vastly unsatisfying venture into the maternity section had me gasping in horror at the slim offerings that I would not even consider using as pet bedding let alone actually wear them on my ever expanding frame.

Yes, I am only three months pregnant. Yes I am already looking at clothing alternatives and let me tell you why. Usually the phenomenon of muscle memory is a good thing. It means that a person who has previously built muscle mass at the gym and let themselves go can find themselves bouncing back to their former rippled glory much quicker the second time they go to shed the flab. Their slackened muscles remember the routine and jump back into their jobs of making that sleeveless shirt look fabulous.

Pregnancy does weird things to a lot of muscles, primarily abdominal ones. I got about half way through my first pregnancy before I had to consider maternity wear. This time I will not have that luxury. The muscle memory has kicked in and my body has started it’s expansion project, onwards and outwards.

Almost the moment I became pregnant, my body answered the call. It was all ” oh we know what to do here!” And to my dismay I am now finding that a mere 12 weeks in and my choices of apparel are shockingly limited. I actually look pregnant now. 2 weeks ago I just looked I had been hitting the maccas drive through on a regular basis but now I think it is becoming blindingly obvious that I have a bun in the oven, not a Big Mac.

Maternity wear had always been a bit of a bone of contention for me along with anything bridal. Those two niche markets have always given me the shits based on the fact that anything to do with either of them comes with a massively over inflated price tag for no reason other than that they can.

If I was a stay at home mum, I would be tempted to spend the winter in trackies and one of my husbands hoodies but we have the issue of work here. I need to look at least part way presentable. And that is so not going to happen thanks to the target maternity range of burlap sacks.

The thought of pumpkin patch maternity makes my wallet break out in a cold sweat. I would struggle to buy my daughter a winter coat there for under $100 so I shudder to think what a maternity one would cost. I really don’t want to have to take out an overdraft through the business to clothe myself this season. Is there anyway that this can be a tax write off? Nah, I didn’t think so.

For those of you who have never been pregnant and are suggesting that I buy normal clothes but a size or two bigger, let me diplomatically point out one of the many flaws in your suggestion. Pregnant women do not put on their baby weight evenly distributed across their entire body. Bigger clothes may accommodate the expanding tummy but will swim and look like tents everywhere else. No thanks.

So it seems I am in a quandary and I will put it out there to my readers in blog land. Any suggestions for perhaps online maternity wear that is presentable and reasonable in price will be most appreciated. After all, it only needs to last one season, we are not talking haute coture here!

Follow the yellow brick road.

Here we are at the magical 12 week point. Three months, one third of the bun baked and approximately 200 odd days to go until we hop aboard the roller coaster of bottles, nappies, sleepless nights and stress once again. I feel much more prepared this time mostly because I am under no delusions of how ” easy it will be” or how ” it won’t really change our lives that much” ha!

In the true fashion of ignorance indeed being bliss, I set myself up to fail with my first pregnancy with my laughable optimism. My husband and I threw lots of hilarious statements around our friends and families about how we were going to handle being new parents just fine. I was certain that my adorable little infant was going to sit peacefully in a rocker at my feet, looking up at me adoringly as I worked for hours on end without distraction.

My friends who were without children agreed whole heartedly with my delusions as it made them feel confident about their futures once they decided to get on the having a baby merry go round. My family and friends with children smiled indulgently and nodded their heads whilst mentally preparing some popcorn and a comfy chair so they could settle in and enjoy the circus once the baby arrived. They knew. And they didn’t tell me! Months later, sleep deprived and looking bedraggled, they would ask me ” how are you finding motherhood?” With that sly little half smile. It was then that I realised I had been punked.

The reality was harsh and stark to my happy little delusions. And it hit me immediately. There was no grace period. No cooling off period for me to ease my way into motherhood. One minute I was pregnant and confident about how things would be and the next I was a mother with no clue what the next five minutes would hold let alone further into the future.

I feel asleep in Kansas and woke up in Oz. Except in the movie, when Dorothy is in the tornado and there are farm animals flying around her, I had bottles, nappies and strangely possessed babies who never slept and vomited a lot flying around me. There was no yellow brick road, only the well worn path that we walked up and down the hallway in a desperate bid to get our daughter to sleep.

My life became a whirl wind of sterilising, bottle preparation. No I did not breast feed. It was and remains my choice and if it offends you are welcome to be offended elsewhere but I digress. Nappies and washing load after load of a million tiny articles of clothing became priority. Sleep was a mythical creature with only unconfirmed sightings by unreliable sources. Someone, somewhere was getting it, it sure as hell wasn’t me.

My daughter never sat in the rocker I bought for the purposes of being stared with adoration while I worked. She hated it. Needless to say, there was not a lot of work going on. Or cooking, or exercising, or socialising or romancing or any of those things I was so sure would be unaffected by the arrival of the tiny bundle of joy.

It was a shock to the senses. One that I struggled with immensely. I know a lot of first time mothers feel the same. Like we got duped. Like why the hell didn’t anyone warn us or try to talk some sense into us back when we maintained that we would be back at the gym five hours after birth because that’s how great we were going to be at this whole parenthood thing. Many many mothers feel this way but don’t say it out loud. The fear is that if we verbalise how much we are struggling or how this wasn’t at all what we expected then we will be perceived as weak or unfit to be mothers. So the vast majority keep it bottled up and soldier on. Some with the aid of anti depressants.

The truth is that it is not really a big conspiracy. It is not that our friends and family want to see us fail. It is just that if they did try to set us straight, we would most likely ignore them. The same way that parents look at a slightly older child misbehaving will tell themselves that their precious child would never behave that way, we tell ourselves that we will be different. Somehow we have this magical parenting skill that our friends and family before us lacked. Wrong , wrong, wrong. Your child will behave badly one day, they will embarrass you at some point. You absolutely will have moments in your new foray into parenthood where you will struggle, feel inadequate, unsure of yourself and like a failure.

You are not a failure, you are a normal, functioning human being albeit with hormone levels still out of whack but normal all the same. So when you get asked the inevitable question of how you are finding motherhood, don’t feel like you have to front. Answer honestly. Motherhood is complex at first, terrifying, exhausting. It can be a struggle, confusing, contradicting and thankless. The hours are long and the pay is terrible. You will never be offered a promotion, a company car or an all expenses paid business trip to Vegas.

But it is also rewarding, in the end it is always that. The first three months are going to feel like the longest of your life while you are living it and once your baby is older, you will feel like you blinked and you missed it. Just another one of these motherhood contradictions at play. Just remember that you are entitled to feel how you feel and it is nothing to be ashamed of. We all start off clueless and you just have to listen to your gut instinct and do the best you can.

Even though it seems impossible at the beginning, your confidence will grow as your baby does and things you once found such a struggle will seem so easy you can do them in your sleep. Ahhh, sleep. That magical word. You will get it back. Some sooner than others but you will sleep again I promise. You will learn things about yourself, your partner and your baby that will surprise you. You will find an inner strength that you never knew was there. Along with the strength you will find endurance and instinct. You will learn to communicate with your baby in ways that transcend words.

Beyond all of those things and the countless other ways that being s mother enriches your life, you will discover a capacity for love like nothing you have ever felt before and the powerful and fierce protectiveness that only a mother can have for her child.

The bad is short lived, the positives outweigh them in the end. Hang in there momma, things are gonna get better. Oh, but I’m sorry to say, they pay is always gonna be shit!

The sunshine after the rain.

Picture me standing atop a mountain. The grass is lush and green and the sky is an amazing blue. My head is back, I am soaking up the sunshine and breathing in the crisp fresh air. Sounds too good to be true?

Well yeah, it is. The reality is that it is dry as shit here, the whole town is a dust bowl. My husband insists on repeatedly washing the car only for it to be covered in a fine layer of new dust on the way home from the car wash. There is no green, lush mountain. The sky is hazy from the heat and the air is about as crisp and cool as if I had stuck my head inside my fan forced oven set to 180.

It is still hot as hades with no relief in sight. Won’t someone tell the damn seasons that it is time to change? My little opening visual is not all a lie though. It is how I truly feel at this moment. Because finally, even in spite of the crappy long summer, finally, my morning sickness has passed.

Thank the gods, I can eat food again. The nausea has left and on its way out the door it seems to have given my ass and midsection the green light to start expanding. I am now officially ten weeks pregnant and already it is starting to show.

I am currently in the confusion stage as I like to call it. I am not confused, I know exactly why my pants aren’t fitting as well as they did a few weeks ago. But everyone else is suffering. Haha, good. Sorry, I am just a little sadistic like that.

Everywhere I go and in all if my interactions with people I see a pattern emerging. We talk, their eyes glance quickly down to my tummy. They look back up, looking a little puzzled. Am I pregnant? Or just getting fat? Do they ask and risk the horrible embarrassment that inevitably follows being told that no, I am just packing on a few extra pounds? Or is it safer to just say nothing and wait and see.

Of course it is safer to wait and see, but they can’t. Curiosity is a killer and I have to smirk a little as they start to squirm. I know they are dying to ask me but won’t. It is just too risky. I have to admit that I don’t make it easy for them either. After all, for the last four years I have been bombarded with that presumptuous question ” when are you going to have another baby?”

I had made it quite clear that it was highly unlikely that we would have another. When the questions became very personal and intrusive, I was forced to cut off the Gestapo style interrogation by letting them know that due to medical issues of a personal nature that it would be very difficult for me to have another baby. Hence the added mind fuck ( pardon my French, or is it le fuque?)

I drag the conversations out just ever so slightly longer than they need to be so I can revel in their discomfort just a bit longer and then just as I am walking out the door I casually drop the bomb that I yes, I saw you repeatedly look at my tummy in confusion and that yes, I am expecting.

The sounds of ” congratulations” meet my amused ears followed by the sound of them sagging down behind their desks in relief that they had been let off the hook without any humiliation on their part. Breathlessly they tell me how they weren’t sure and didn’t know whether to ask or not.

Quite simply people, the answer is hell no. Do not ever ask someone if they are expecting. Ever. Full stop. Period, end of story. It is simply not worth it. You have a fifty percent chance of getting it wrong and forever being the bitch that pointed out the fact that they need to run their ass around the block a few times. Just bite your curious tongues and wait, the answer will reveal itself to you soon enough.

I know some of you are thinking that I am either sick or twisted or an equal combination of both to take such pleasure in the discomfort of others. I will just say in my defence that these people in question have been giving me the absolute shits for four years now and sometimes you just gotta dish out some payback any way you can. I would never do this to my friends. Then again, my friends knew I was pregnant approximately thirty seconds after I knew so they have no need for guessing games.

I guess that is another lesson for the nosy majority. If you have to ask that is because I am either not pregnant or I haven’t told you yet. If I haven’t told you yet, that is because it is actually none of your concern. So be as nosy as you like, but beware, I will not let you off the hook quickly.

So, back to the topic of my ass and its massive land grab. I had heard of muscle memory before. After years of training and weight lifting, I was aware of the term and what it meant in that context. I had no idea that it would apply to pregnancy.

Apparently my body caught on that it was pregnant and said ” oh, we’re doing this again are we?” And pop, out came the tummy. Then bang, ass cheek left and right both started their abnormal growth patterns. Finally, massive supersonic boom….. My boobs have exploded from a not too shabby double d to what I can only assume is an F cup. I say assume because I am too terrified to go to the bra shop yet. What if they haven’t finished? I mean, I just don’t have enough money to have a bra in every size and we all know the bigger the bra the bigger the price tag!

I miss training. A lot. I think that if I was training more then I would feel like the ever expanding belly, bum and boobs were more controlled. After a year or so of diet, exercise and control, I feel like I have none at the moment. I almost wish I had signed up for the latest round of 12wbt. Even if I had not followed it at all, just having those plans in place and delivered to me weekly would have felt safe and secure.

Oh we’ll, maybe next round hey? For now I am just going to enjoy not feeling sick and messing with people’s heads for a little while longer.