Friday, 29 June 2012

Body image: 16 weeks

I don't remember when I started to 'show' with my first pregnancy. Although I moved into my maternity jeans at about 3-4 months pregnant, most people didn't notice my bump for another month or so. I felt immensely proud of my bump and enjoyed its growth but I didn't take many photos. It was all up-front and, by the time my daughter was due, I was enormous!

This time, I have felt more self-conscious about my changing shape. I wanted to wait until after the dating scan before telling people but I was bloated and started to outgrow my normal clothes quite early. From about 10 weeks, I stopped wearing clothes with a normal waistband and moved into elasticated items. I've been in my maternity work trousers since 12 weeks and change into my maternity jeans or leggings when I get home. I found myself trying to hide my bump (especially from colleagues) but by the time I was ready to share my news, most people had guessed.

I have felt queasy and bloated, particularly in the evenings, which has made me feel bigger from much earlier on. My midwife kindly said that many second-time mums notice their bump 'popping out' earlier and this is certainly true in my case. My belly button (over-stretched the first time) has already turned inside out!

So, at 16 weeks and having told most of the people I know that I'm expecting, I've decided it's time to celebrate my increasing girth and stop hiding my bump under baggy shirts and oversized cardigans. This week, I've chosen more figure-hugging jersey tops and I'm feeling less frumpy.

I got my husband to take a bump shot. I don't know what I thought it would look like but it's bigger than I expected! (I suppose I get a very different view from above!) No wonder people have guessed!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Book reviews: "I'm A Big Sister" and "What's Inside Your Tummy, Mummy?"

One of the things that I've been thinking about quite a lot recently is how to prepare my daughter for the arrival of a baby brother or sister. The transition from only child to older sibling will be a huge change for her and I'm going to have to employ all my managerial and parenting skills to help her through it.

My first step has been to do a little research. In particular, what books can help me explain pregnancy, birth and babies to a 2-year old?

We often visit the local library and I've sampled some children's books about siblings and babies. There are some really good ones out there and I wanted to get a couple for home. So, I bought "I'm a Big Sister" by Joanna Cole and "What's Inside Your Tummy, Mummy?" by Abby Cocovini.

My daughter is particularly taken with "I'm a Big Sister". She likes the pictures and likes to point out the people in the pictures (mummy, daddy, me, baby) and to fill in the words 'big sister' at the relevant points. The book explains what babies can and can't do (they can't walk or talk; they drink milk and they sometimes cry) and she will happily read it four or fives times in a row. I don't think it is helping her to prepare for being a big sister because I don't think she yet comprehends that this is an imminent change in her life. However, I'm hoping that closer to my EDD, we can start to work on that concept.

I really like "What's Inside Your Tummy, Mummy?", although my daughter hasn't shown the slightest interest (probably because she's so absorbed by the other book!). It has a double-page for each month of pregnancy. The left hand page lists a few facts and figures about the growing embryo/foetus and the right hand page has an outline picture of a mummy's waist and hips with a life-sized drawing of the embryo/foetus. The idea is that you can hold it up in front of your bump and show your child how big the baby is inside you!

The really nice thing about both books is that they have great pictures and not too many words. I would recommend both and am sure they will both be well-thumbed by the time our new baby arrives!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Let's talk about sex...

...why does everyone seem so interested in the potential gender of my unborn baby?!

Now, I know there are a couple of standard questions that you're bound to be asked over and over again when you are pregnant, such as "When are you due?" and "Do you know what you're having?" They are 'filler' questions that people ask because they want to appear interested in your bump but can't think of anything else to say.

First time round, I didn't mind too much although it seemed that everyone (from oldest and closest friends to strangers on the bus) had a view on whether or not I should find out if I was expecting a boy or a girl and they were only too glad to share their opinion, whether I asked for it or not! As it turned out, my daughter was facing the wrong way at 20 weeks, so even the most talented sonographer would have been unable to determine her gender!

However, this time, people's interest is slightly different and some of the questions have thrown me off-guard! There's a perception that I ought to have a preference for the sex of my baby because it's number two...

"Are you going to find out the sex at the scan, this time?" "Do you want a boy this time?" "If you have another girl, will you have a third baby so you can try for a boy?"

It intrigues me to think that I should have given this much thought because I haven't. I'm just excited to be expecting again and really dont have a preference for a boy or a girl. Besides, it's not as if I could influence my baby's sex either way!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Gramping: my style

"Gramping" is a recently highlighted trend whereby families take their parents on holiday with them (i.e. three generations go on holiday together).

My husband and I met at university and settled close to where we studied. Consequently, we live 200 miles from our parents (mine are in Cornwall, his in Nottinghamshire). The birth of our daughter led us to re-evaluate how we spend our leisure time and think about how we could provide opportunities for her to build good relationships with her three sets of grandparents. The answer is gramping!

Whilst we do visit our parents in their homes several times a year, there are advantages to taking them on holiday with us (or going on holiday with them).

  • Firstly, everyone needs a change of scene and it's nice to take our daughter to new places. We have started collecting fridge magnets as mementos of our travels. 
  • Secondly, you can book holiday homes that have plenty of bedrooms, extra bathrooms and lots of living space for everyone - much more than you have at home. This can help relieve any tension that may build from having everyone in one place for a whole week! 
  • Thirdly, you can share the chores so that everyone gets a night off and the costs so that everyone gets a cheap(er) holiday. 
  • Finally, we are usually offered some free babysitting and a 'date night' - luxuries that we rarely get at home. This is also gives grandparents and granddaughter the opportunity for some 1:1 time.

In April this year, we had a wonderful week in the Lake District. It was the biggest gramping holiday we've attempted to date - the three of us, one set of grandparents, my sister-in-law and nephew, and my husband's step-brother and step-sister. We stayed in Keswick for a week and everyone had a chance to do some walking - even the children made it to the top of Latrigg! It was so enjoyable, we all agreed that it would be good to do it again next year.

We're now planning a holiday with my sister and her family. We're looking for a 3-bed holiday home in Devon and will try the two eldest cousins sharing a room together (will they get to sleep?)! It will be a great opportunity for the children to play together and for us to share the costs of a family vacation.

I love gramping - long may the trend continue!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Reflections on the first trimester

I'm officially in the second trimester of this pregnancy - the middle section, when I'm supposed to have boundless energy and radiate health and vitality. (So how come I still feel slightly nauseated, bloated and tired...?) Whilst looking forward to the next stage in my pregnancy, it's worth reflecting on how the first three months have gone and drawing comparison with last time.

Like last time, I am delighted to be pregnant. First time round, I signed up for lots of email alerts, borrowed pregnancy books from the library and read all the literature that my midwife gave me. This time, I feel more relaxed and, whilst I enjoy the weekly email updates from Baby Centre (and love their iPhone app, which I've downloaded onto my iPad), I'm not doing as much research as last time - just the odd bit, here and there, to refresh my memory.

Last time, I had a continuous run of cold and flu viruses for the first 12-13 weeks and was exhausted from the combination of viral challenge and early pregnancy symptoms. I also had a nasty 24-hour sickness bug at 10 weeks (through which I lost 6lbs in weight!) although I was lucky not to suffer with morning sickness. This time, I feel much better but have had a sensation of slight car-sickness, which lasts all day long, since about week 6 and I've gone off the taste of tea (a disaster, as I would normally drink 3-4 mugs every day!). I'm not sleeping very well because I can't get comfortable and I wake up every night at about 1am, needing to go to the loo.

I didn't show very much for the first 4 months of my first pregnancy but have had a definite bulge for about a month now, so before I've been ready to tell people, most have guessed that I have news to share!

The other big difference is that last time I only had to prepare myself (and my husband) for the new arrival but, this time, I also have to prepare our 2-year old daughter. I've ordered a couple of books that I hope will help me to explain what is happening and prepare her for becoming a big sister. She came to the first scan with us and was very well behaved whilst the sonographer was working. She was interested in seeing the baby on the monitor but can't work out how it got behind mummy's tummy button!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Why start now?

I'm a working mum of one, my daughter has just turned 2, and I'm 14 weeks pregnant with number two. I didn't blog about my first pregnancy, my year as a stay at home mummy, or our journey through weaning. I dont have any expert knowledge to offer about child bearing or child rearing, just my limited personal experience gained over the past 2-3 years. So why have I decided to start a mummy blog now?

Well, I don't really know but I have enjoyed reading about other people's experiences. It can be comforting when you're up in the middle of the night to know that you're probably not the only person doing a feed, changing a nappy, mopping a brow or changing soiled bed linen. When looking for inspiration for entertaining a toddler on a rainy day or trying to find a way to make peas more palatable, other parenting blogs contain great ideas. Perhaps sharing some of my experiences can help someone else? (or at least make them smile or laugh!)

Oh, and, why the title? Well, "Mummy play buttons" is what my daughter says whenever I approach the laptop - it's her charming way of giving me permission to check my emails!