12 things you only notice when pregnant

12 things you only notice when pregnant

Surely nothing shocks the smartest girls about town? You'd be surprised says the newly pregnant and mildly indignant, Angela Buttolph


Maternity bras are the ugliest, most depressing things ever created...

I'm lucky enough not to have had any pregnancy blues, but I did hit rock bottom the first time I laid eyes on a maternity bra. Seriously? Seriously, you have to wear these? What is the point of finally having major boobs if they have to be put in something that looks like it was designed for the servants in Downton Abbey? No doubt these dreary items have been hanging in the corner of the lingerie section for years, but I would almost certainly have assumed they were for OAPs. And don't get me started on the 'silhouette' – smooshed monoboob anyone? And this at a time when wrap dresses are about to become a major wardrobe staple...

Three months is an unbelievably long time...

Pregnancy tests are so hi-tech now that you basically know you're pregnant before you've even pulled your knickers back up. Brilliant! So you're trying for a baby and you've had it confirmed approximately eight per cent of the way into your gestational journey. Now pretty much everything in your life needs some kind of tweaking, from your diet to your living arrangements. This is major news. And yet nobody can know. For three months! I am an averagely impatient woman, but I found this period of time agonisingly slow paced. It got to the point where, once we could tell people, I was sort of over it, it was such old news.

Your life will never be the same again…

You know this because everybody you meet during the next nine months is going to say this to you. Absolutely everybody. Even people without kids. The assumption here is that your life is so amazing that this will be a problem. As if you haven't already considered that a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into your current lifestyle of choice. The only way to respond to this is by looking alarmed and saying 'But what do you meeean?'. A lot. It's childish, but fun. And if you're not allowed sushi, surely you need some pleasure to make up for it.

Isabella Oliver…

Along with Gina Ford and Zita West, you probably hadn't heard of Isabella Oliver before you got knocked up. Now you will think of her as some kind of saint. Yes, you are about to spend the next few months shaped like Barbapapa but, thanks to IO's stretchy figure-hugging clothes, you can actually look grown up and sexy, too. I mean, you've gone and done an, erm, grown-up and sexy thing to get pregnant, so why would you want to spend the next few months in teenage-tearaway skull-print leggings or Japanese schoolgirl-style Peter Pan-collared smock dresses? If you're lusting after a piece of high-end maternity wear, Oliver's sophisticated, foxy separates are the ones to covet.

You actually can function without caffeine…

Like, why would you ever need to know this under normal circumstances? Probably the only time you have had to survive without coffee is a limited and temporary blip in your otherwise smooth-running life (you're ill, you're trapped on a plane in the wrong time zone and want to sleep, you're at your parents and refuse to accept freeze-dried granules soaked in boiling water produces anything other than brown water). Yet beyond the brain-tumour withdrawal headaches, you come out the other side almost entirely unaffected. You can even produce (quite good) work in a decaffinated state. Like many things in pregnancy (though not maternity bras), it's another great lesson in 'And Yet Somehow Life Goes On'.

There are no loos, anywhere…

Ask an average woman what percentage of stores and cafés have loos, and she will probably say about 70. Ask a pregnant woman and she will shriek 'none of them' before developing a panicky look and pogoing off cross-legged to the nearest Starbucks. Gone are the luxurious days of 'I went before I came out', now you must develop a mental GPS routing system that takes you via strategically sourced 'rest stops' at 45-minute intervals. Department stores have never seemed so appealing.

You care much less about urinary incontinence than you would think…

All it takes to fight the threat of runaway pee-pee for the rest of your life is five minutes of Kegel pelvic floor exercises a day. You could be doing them right now and nobody would even know. And yet do you get round to them? On a daily basis? Or indeed, ever? You do not.

Sticking your belly out is about as comfortable as sucking it in…

If, like me, you've rocked up at a wedding four months gone, knowing you just look like you've had pasta for lunch, you too may choose to spend the day thrusting your tummy out to prove you're actually expecting. Having never needed to push my stomach out – rather than suck it in – for photos before, I was genuinely surprised how equally hard work this is.

There is such a thing as a babymoon…

This is a final holiday for the two of you before your baby arrives. I'd never heard of this and I'm someone who would happily mark Kwanzaa if it meant special food, gifts or some kind of holiday. But this wasn't even on my radar. 'Push' presents, yes, babymoons, no. The husband and I now endlessly discuss the options for this holiday the way prisoners on Death Row probably talk about their last meal – as if there will never be anything after this, ever, ever again.

You worry! For the whole nine months…

Let's face it, until you're holding your healthy baby, you are basically holding your breath with anxiety. In my head, thanks mostly to advertising, I thought the whole pregnancy period would be spent smiling serenely and stroking my stomach. Apparently not. There is a lot of panicking: are those cramps ok, is that spotting ok, was that sandwich ok? Hubby's favourite panic phone call so far was a post-hairdresser one, with me worrying that the heat lamp that had been applied to my roots, might have boiled my baby (it hadn't). By the way, in case you hadn't worked it out already: all the other pregnant women are freaking out too.

Your belly button doesn't suddenly pop out one day like a jack-in-the-box…

Oh. Was it just me that thought that?


Written by Angela Buttolph.


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