24 April 2018


"Are you sure it's not twins in there?" The woman in the lift asked the expectant mum to be. I looked up just to catch the expression of the pregnant lady, who smiled coyly and laughed in the same way you do when you bang your funny bone.

Let me set the scene slightly differently: Two women in a lift, one says to the other "God you look huge, who ate all the pies?" Well that's just totally unacceptable isn't it? To comment on a persons size in such an upfront manner yet when we see a pregnant lady all social etiquette seem to go flying out the window. Why is this?

For me pregnancy is a personal journey, it's a private journey and it's a totally unique journey to each individual.

I have been lucky enough to have three pretty straightforward pregnancies, carrying to full term with little hiccups along the way (well the girl caused a few hiccups or shall we say large burps but that's a whole other blog post). In a nutshell I was fortunate enough to carry on as normal with my day to day life and pay little attention to my growing bump. And frankly that's how I liked it, my first pregnancy was a huge surprise or as the Earth mums say "a happy accident". -insert rolling eyes here- and so it wasn't a part of my immediate plans thus throwing me off balance and re routing me totally!! 

I'll be blunt and say I didn't want children or at least hadn't planned for them, I was selfish and ambitious and knew nothing about kids nor did I like them much! So perhaps my feelings towards pregnancy stem from my feelings of being a fraud, feeling inadequate. What did I know about being a mum? I remember asking my own mum "what if I don't like it? What if it doesn't like me?" She obviously laughed and thought it was ridiculous I would even question such a thing! But I wasn't kidding, I'd never met this person, so who was to say I'd like them?? What if I didn't experience that immediate love at first sight as soon as my baby was placed on me?

I didn't like my changing body either! I was used to being slim and athletic, having trained as a dancer my entire life I was confident in the skin I was used to! (That said I always hated my boobs so I did enjoy my D cups while they lasted!) I felt uncomfy in my clothes and in fact lived in an oversized tracksuit most of the time! So am I the only one?? Am I a freak of some kind because I didn't take bump pics? Am I abnormal because I didn't feel a huge connection to my growing baby? I didn't update social media with my pregnancy news, I didn't want to bore anyone to be honest. In fact social media didn't know I was pregnant, my pictures were strategic, a floral maxi dress, a large handbag or a child cuddling me all worked well as my many disguises throughout my term.

So you can imagine how I felt when mums in the playground or the stranger in the shop outstretched their hand to stroke my bump, MY BUMP! 

To me it's so invasive to just assume you can touch someone else just because they're carrying a baby. We don't go around caressing the boobs of woman who look like they've recently had a boob job??? And stand ooooohing and aahing whilst admiring her rounded bosoms. So why oh why do we lose all social skills when we see a bump?! 

Let me return to the woman in the lift who took one look at the pregnant stranger and assumed it was perfectly acceptable to pass judgement on her shape and size. Although admittedly she may not have seen it that way, but that's exactly what she did! How do we know that this lady wasn't super conscious about her growing bump, maybe she's not seen her feet all month and is pissed off that a simple shopping trip results in trying to find a toilet every 15 minutes! Maybe she's not feeling at her best, tired, anxious, excited?? Who the hell knows what she's feeling and now you've gone and told her she looks FAT??? Nice work!

The other nark I have is after the birth. As your trying to adapt to your new found mumlife. And then it's all eyes on to see how she "springs back" and then say how amazing she looks or make a more subtle comment such as "it takes time". 

I remember after having Harvey bumping into an acquaintance I hadn't seen for years who asked "have you been Ill?" Well no I hadn't been ill, I'd had a baby. But his questions stemmed from the fact I had lost a lot of weight. I put it down to stress of being a new mum and tiredness. I was at my skinniest, also had a very attractive hair line which had thinned right out making me look like I had premature balding, accompanied by dark circles and chipped nails! Who knew pregnancy could make you look so crackish?!! 

And so for me already feeling awkward about my appearance his comments did me know favours (yes it was a he - insert rolling eyes again-) I didn't conform to the "norm" I didn't carry any baby weight, in fact I was super skinny, and I didn't like it! I know many of you will be saying oh wow your so lucky look at you complaining about being skinny. Well yes, yes I am because it wasn't comfortable for me, I didn't like the reflection and there wasn't much I could do about it, but don't wrong me for complaining! 

Would you ask someone why they look so fat? No way would you! So why is it so OK to ask someone why they are so skinny?!! Pregnancy carries so many double standards and I'm really not sure why?

Please don't get me wrong! Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, it's a total blessing and for many sadly a blessing they will never experience. So of course I know there is a huge responsibility bestowed upon us to carry our unborn child to the best of our ability. And it's scary, and it's the unknown and it's unpredictable and something that's pretty much out of our control! But the one thing we can control is our behaviours towards the bump! #bumpgate 

As I said all our experiences are unique to us and therefore how we respond to OUR pregnancy should be down to us. Don't condemn the first time mum who insists her craving for Cadbury's fruit and nut bars every lunch time is genuine, don't pass judgement on the woman who wants to flaunt her bump and continues to wear skin tight low cut dresses in size 6, and the mum to be who perhaps doesn't want to share her pregnancy then leave her to it, if she's wearing her husbands oversized knit jumper for 3 weeks straight along with her LV Never full bag strategically placed over her tummy just assume she doesn't want to shout it from the roof tops so neither should you!!

Oh and please can we stop telling mums-to-be how awful labour is!! How you "almost died the pain was so bad" how she'll "never be prepared for the pain" stop terrifying us!!! 

I lost count of the mums that told me in a nutshell it would be the worst experience of my life! No one said "yea it hurts but it's amazing!" or "you'll forget the pain as soon as you see your baby" Or "take the pain relief" I was force fed opinions like "do it naturally if you can it's better for you", "don't have an epidural it's soooo dangerous". Well I had an epidural with the first two, one by choice, because frankly I don't like pain and if there's a pain free option why the hell wouldn't I take it?? 

The woman in the room next door didn't get a badge for doing it without pain relief, in fact she was in agony and still left with the same prize as me! A baby! So whose the winner really? My third baby was in such a rush that I didn't have time for an epidural in fact I didn't have time for much she was nearly born in the corridor on route to the delivery suite so yes I've experienced both, and what's the most important for me is that I was looked after by amazing Midwives that helped me deliver three healthy babies into the world!

I'm the mum that tells my crying friend with mastitis that it's OK to bottle feed!! All of my children were bottle fed and they are thriving little people! They aren't lacking in social skills, development of working with a low I.Q as some theories will have you believe. They say breast is best, but is it best if it makes you unhappy? Nope because then baby is unhappy so that's a lose lose!
I'm the mum who when asked by the first time mum-to-be "how bad it hurts?" That says yea it hurts but you'll cope, and if you can't there's no shame in asking for pain relief! There is no extra prize!!

I am no midwife, no qualified health practitioner and in fact if you check the blog title it would appear I have a cheek to even give my opinion based on the fact I'm pretty unqualified. But it's just that, just my opinion, my experiences and my stories!

I think be kind to the pregnant lady, tell her she looks gorgeous and that her toes look pretty (she might not have seen them for a few months) x

P.S A note to all expectant mums: Bin the birthing plan! It's not gonna go that way, the baby has a plan if it's own and your not privy to that plan!!

Written by Sian @theunqualifiedmum 


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