Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Bored while breastfeeding? Worry no more. Just read my list of handy anti-boredom activities and you’ll make it to the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 24 months of breastfeeding no troubles at all.
1.              Itemise and file your deductable receipts month by month so that come tax time you don’t want to stab yourself in the eyeball with your felt tip pen. (This is a current anguish I am experiencing).
2.              Sing the entire score of every Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to your baby, paying careful attention to the accent of the King in The King And I.
3.              Read the stack of Spectrum and Sunday Life magazines you’ve been saving since March this year and finally get up to date on now out of date books and movies.
4.              Watch The Breakfast Club and Twenty One Jump Street and reminisce about how you were glued to them while you were meant to be studying for your final school exams.
5.              Stare at the gorgeous creature you created and marvel at yours’ and your partner’s clever-ness.
6.              Type – one handed - the novel you were meant to write while you were growing your little human, but somehow ran out of time.
7.              Do your pelvic floor exercises because the midwives have scared you into thinking that if you don’t, your going to be walking around one day and your uterus will just fall right out of you.
8.              Watch late-night infomercials. Truly people, they can be fascinating. I’ve been known to unwind from a show by sitting in front of the tv and watching people sell jewelry, unable to go to bed until I get to see their face.
9.              Write a list of jobs your partner could do to help you out. For example, putting on a load of washing doesn’t count. Hanging it out, however, is how you earn brownie points.
10.           See how many m and m’s you can consume in one breastfeed. You can come up with compulsory colour patterns to really add to the challenge if you like.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I've had my article included in issue three of T-Squat an online mag for emerging artists. I'm a few stories in, just scroll down till you see my name.
Very exciting people. Check it out, there is a lot of good material for you to while away a boring office afternoon...


The peanut is rounding nicely don't you think? Less than four weeks till it receives an eviction notice from its landlord. Though I don't mind if it comes a couple of weeks early, but only a couple. I still need time to finish work and have the facial I've been promised for my birthday (three days before the peanut's due date of Nov 21).

Saturday, October 23, 2010


My extreme pregnant amnesia may be in its final few weeks. Read this.
And if you didn’t bother, (which is perfectly acceptable by the way) I’ll give you the cliff notes version. My brain is actually set to grow after I give birth. The only thing I have to do is interact with my baby because the research showed the mother’s brain wouldn’t grow unless this occurred. Gee, tough job. I’ve only been carrying you around for thirty-six weeks, rubbing you when you have hiccups, singing to you, washing your nappies, writing you letters, breathing through your now rather uncomfortable Braxton Hicks that keep me up most of the night, and telling you daily just how much I already love you, that I think I’ll find it really difficult to interact with you once you’re an official human.
This is a piece of good news for a mother-in-training who was actually going to write a blog about feeling like a beached whale. A water-retaining hippopotamus, a custard arse, a jelly belly, a (yes I have to admit my brothers may be right) big unit.
Pregnancy, I suspect, is designed to make a woman grateful for what she had. I saw a picture of me when we first arrived in Australia earlier this year, right before I fell pregnant and look, a model I was never in danger of being, but the muscle tone I had was really quite nice. Rumour has it, I can get it back, but the midwife did warn me that if I started running too soon I risk developing a prolapsed uterus. According to the dictionary, prolapse means a slipping forward or down of one of the parts or organs of the body, and oddly enough, having half my uterus hanging out of me does not sound like an ideal situation.
But (and this could evoke some dissent amongst the ranks) my only criticism with the pre-natal care I’m enjoying (free, I might add, thanks to the Australian healthcare system) is their extreme nervousness with post-natal exercise in general and running in particular. Blah, blah, blah, I know it’s bad for your knees, and the trauma of birth can really be, well quite traumatic, but it’s got to be all relative doesn’t it? I mean sure, if you’ve never run a day in your life I don’t suggest you pick it up after a 36-hour labour or an emergency caesarian, but I’ve been running on average, five days a week since I was about four years old. It’s in my blood, in my probably pre-arthritic bones, in my system instead of anti-anxiety medication which I would surely have been popped on at various stages of my life had I not been able to throw on my sneakers and a smelly old singlet and run my troubles away. 
I saw my neighbour return from a run yesterday and felt such a wash of envy as I waddled to the car, that for five seconds I even considered getting out there and giving it a bit of a go. 
But it would be so unsatisfying; rolling over is currently an Olympic event. Getting out there and sweating and panting till I can’t sweat and pant no more is probably at least a depressing two months away. And now, as I sit here on my ever expanding derriere, writing about the exercise I’m not able to do, I realise I should lever myself up and head out for a low-impact walk.
Four weeks to go folks, and though I’ve had a bit of whinge today, I do recognise that thus far – touch wood – mine has been a textbook pregnancy. With any luck, the baby will walk right out of me, I’ll be stitch free and polishing my running shoes as my baby sleeps perfectly by my side. 
Yeah right.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


“Sorry I’m late Miss Naomi,” said one of my younger students on Saturday, “my mum had to do a blow job.” What she meant of course, is that her mother is a hairdresser and had to blow dry someone’s hair, but I liked her way so much better and it was enough to keep me chuckling for the next six hours as I dragged my pregnant arse through a day of singing, drama and dance. “Everybody else, put your hands on your hips,” I said to my eight-year old tappers, “I’m going to hold up my belly,” and I wrapped my arms under my widening load and proceeded to perform a series of time steps, looking less like someone who has danced since they were three and more like an electrocuted beetle with an unfortunate issue with its centre of gravity. If the peanut comes out with slight brain damage from in-utero shaking we’ll know why.
I was on the bus the other day (which is really just an occasion where you’re trapped and subjected to a complete stranger’s labour stories once they spy your ever burgeoning belly) and one such woman was boring me silly with her gestational diabetes and advice on who to listen to. Not you, I wanted to say, but instead I asked how old her son was, as he looked tall enough to be in school but was still squashed into one of those rickety old prams. “Oh he’s just over a year. I know he’s big isn’t he?” she replied nonchalantly, seeing my look of surprise. “I ate a lot of chicken while I was pregnant. It’s the hormones you know.”
“How do you think this relates to the postpartum period?” asked our midwife, holding up a packet of jelly. No one said a word. “Think metaphorically,” she said as if that was meant to help.
“To remind us we need quick snacks?” said one guy eventually, though without any sense of conviction.
“You make jelly with water and that’s what’s in the amniotic fluid,” suggested someone else, which I thought was a particularly gross parallel.
“No, no, no. It’s to show you ladies what your bellies are going to look like after you give birth. You’re not going to get your svelte, tight tummies back overnight you know.”
I mean really. What a depressing analogy. I am well aware my mother’s arse and blubbery middle are going to need some serious attention (despite people’s assurance that if you eat sensibly and breastfeed you’ll be back to your fighting weight in no time) but now every time I imagine myself once the peanut is a human, all I can picture is my belly replaced with piles and piles of quartered orange peels hollowed out and filled with orange jelly, which was a staple (along with frankfurters and fairy bread) at any child’s birthday while I was growing up. I’ve never liked jelly. It goes on trifle, and helps contribute to that being the most pathetic, sorry excuse for a desert ever invented. A blight on the Australian landscape of lemon meringue pie, lamingtons and the good old Aussie pav. 
Who takes stale cake, mixes it with leftover custard, tops it with jelly (which never tastes anything like the fruit it is trying to portray anyway) and calls it sweet? It is the poor man’s dessert, using leftovers to their bitter end, but no one actually lets cake get stale in the first place, which means the compiler of said dessert (for they do not deserve the elevated title of chef or patissier) is an even bigger tight arse than yours truly and actually purchased the cake from the sale rack in Coles on a Saturday afternoon in a small country town which still shuts down on Sundays.
I seem to have digressed, and I apologise, but let it be known that I have big issues with jelly in general and trifle in particular. Neither of which have anything to do with giving birth which is what I believe I was originally talking about. Though I can’t be sure, as I am suffering dreadfully from baby brain and have absolutely no short-term memory. If I didn’t meet you more than nine months ago, you’re new to me every time we cross paths. I am a goldfish. You’d think it would be sweet relief to be so constantly vague and unaware, but it’s not. It’s actually dreadfully embarrassing. Like the other day when I had an entire conversation with a woman about her husband, all the while thinking she was talking about her son. Or asking people I meet (for what I think is the first time) exactly the same question less than three minutes apart. Any child I teach that started class after I conceived has been called every term of endearment I can remember until I’ve had a chance to read the notes I now take scrawled in my book. Short, blonde hair, mum is annoying. Although as I discovered last Saturday, even that wasn’t enough to help me out. 
Back in January I really thought this baby brain gig was a bit of a nonsense, but I am living testament to the fact that it is very, very, disturbingly, distressingly real. It is an ailment curiously similar to husband brain as it turns out, and thus far Gregory and I have lost and found jewelry, cheques, money, letters, bills and wedding invites in our collective amnesia. Chronic fatigue can’t be helping either - between the Braxton Hicks and the nightmares, sleep is a rarity indeed (last night I was a superhero being pursued by a baddy but I really needed to stop running and eat zucchinis) and I never thought I’d say this, but if the peanut arrives a couple of weeks early, I really don’t think I’ll mind. This gestational period really is a bit like running the marathon I used to be training for and I’m beginning to feel like I’m limping to the finish line… 

Monday, October 11, 2010


“It doesn’t look like the boob fairy has arrived yet Nome. Are you sure she knows where you live?” These are the kind of helpful comments your brothers throw your pregnant way. That and referring to you as a ‘big unit’, which they assure me is a compliment. This issue of the size of my boobs could become crucial today as I attend a two-hour seminar on breastfeeding. Apparently it’s not as easy as pulling out your boob and wacking your baby’s head onto the milk outlet. There are things like inverted nipples, mastitis (which, from what I understand sounds like something I should try to avoid) and uterine contractions (now that’s something I didn’t know about. Although, to be honest, there is a lot I didn’t know about). It seems the act of breastfeeding causes the uterus to contract and return to its normal size. Which sounds like a good thing, but after coming through labour I doubt you want reminding of the feeling every three hours). Then there’s leakage which can occur whenever you see a baby, or even hear one cry, even if it’s not your own. What is that about? I hope my boobs are a little more discretionary and at least only leak when it’s their own baby crying. I mean really, am I meant to offer my boobs up to any passing child? No wonder women get mastitis.
And does size matter? Because we watched a video about breastfeeding in birth class and all the women who offered their mammary glands up for filming were rather well endowed. To say the very least. I don’t know what they looked like pre-baby, but what we saw on that film was just plain scary. Bulbous, gelatinous masses, spread out on pillows like pasty, discontent amoebas, blobbing and morphing, smothering the child with their massive size. No wonder the newborns were crying, I wanted to too, and I was just watching. And my brother is right. The boob fairy has not yet paid me a visit and I’m wondering if this is going to adversely affect my child’s chance of survival. I mean I know I can always bottle feed, but I’m a tight arse and breastfeeding is free. And requires zero preparation…apart from this two-hour course which will apparently make everything clear. Do they give you a plastic doll to practice on? I hope not. That just sounds weird. Though I don’t want a live demonstrator either. I’m sick of seeing obliging women’s private parts. Don’t they have any shame? Or sense of privacy? Perhaps they see it as doing a good deed for the sisterhood, and I appreciate their sense of duty, but I’d rather they just be on the other end of the phone if I call for a bit of advice. It’s also been suggested that we start preparing by wearing our maternity bras, niftily designed numbers that have an easy release clip so you can breastfeed in public without having to embarrass yourself. But I bought mine when we were back in the US (they were only fourteen bucks each and this little penny-pincher just couldn’t resist such a deal) and I did the size conversion incorrectly and bought the wrong ones. From all my years as a semi-non-serious swimmer, my back is broader than the average lass and when I take the bra off, the marks on my skin look like I might be into a bit of S and M, which is not a good look for a thirty-four week pregnant broad. Besides, they’re rather utilitarian numbers, not at all attractive, and I am having enough trouble reconciling the fact that I will have to give up my g-strings for sensible, high-waisted, cotton, granny-panties post-birth that I am somewhat disinclined to begin my descent into matronly-ness any earlier than is absolutely necessary. I’m going alone because Gregory has to work, though I don’t think he minds because he has admitted that out of all the things associated with manufacturing, growing and delivering your own human, the thing that throws him is me making milk. As he should, he has thus far seen my breasts (regardless of their dimension-challenged state) as objects of enjoyment, and the transition to them becoming a food source for a person he hasn’t yet met is something he is still grappling with. I’m still grappling with parts of all the processes to be honest, but in the words of our esteemed midwife, I am just going to try and ‘go with my flow.’

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The other night I dreamt I was a sheep being electrocuted by a farmer and when I begged him not to because he would kill my baby, he told me that this was just how things had to be. The night before that I was a prawn being scooped up in a net on its way to a seafood platter. I’ve also been drowning in a huge surf with Ellen Degeneres, chased by snakes around a camping site at Uluru, walking across the world after the apocalypse trying to find somewhere safe to give birth, and onboard a sinking ship where I woke up just before I plunged into the ocean closely followed by a massive cruise ship.
I am wrenched out of my dreams and find myself drenched in nervous sweat, causing me to have to change the sheets, therefore adding to the laundry, which already far exceeds normal amounts. I have never met two humans who do more laundry than my husband and I. I can identify a few reasons for this; Gregory takes whatever towel he can find when he showers (twice a day) which generally means he starts at least one fresh one daily, I have two towels because I’m a girl and we need one for our hair and one for our bodies and I usually have a set of workout gear most days that needs serious attention. Although not my current walking gear, since I don’t really count that as exercise in comparison to my beloved running and am yet to crack a sweat. So I get up, my loving husband convincing me that I am not indeed a sheep, and strip the bed feeling like I’ve been put through the wringer rather than rested and restored after a night of peaceful slumber.
I’ve been having nightmares on and off throughout the pregnancy, but they seem to be getting worse now. I assume it’s anxiety about the impending labour, birth and motherhood. But given that everyone tells you to sleep now because you won’t be able to later, this is presenting as rather a problem. And then I wonder what it’s like for the peanut. Does it know I’m having a nightmare? Is it having one too? Do I tense up and release adrenalin in a desperate sheep’s attempt to fight off the farmer with the electric shock? Adrenalin that charges through my baby’s tiny body that sends it spinning and churning in its rapidly diminishing living quarters. Will this result in a baby that has nightmares and awakes in a fit every night, sweating and scared until it realises (when its exhausted parents pick it up and cuddle and comfort it) that its demons aren’t real.
These are the things I am getting concerned about right now. Miscellaneous details to detract me from the fact that I am heading towards participation in the greatest natural endurance event in the world. Though I have discovered that if I nap during the day I don’t seem to have the same problem. Perhaps it’s because it’s generally for not much more than forty minutes. But I tell you what, those forty minutes feel pretty good. So good that I might just toddle off and try to catch a few right now…sweet dreams my blogee lambs, no more sheep for me!
By the way…
Current score on the boy vs girl guess; Boy – 4. Girl – 1. And no, I haven’t cast my vote yet.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Today on my prego lady walk a woman walked past me and said; “you’re carrying a boy.” At least I think that’s what she said. I was listening to my iPod so I suppose she could have said; “oh what a bundle of joy.” But it isn’t a bundle of joy yet, so lets for the sake of argument assume she said the former. Now, there’s a 50% chance she’s right. But that’s not bad odds really is it? So I’ve decided to open it up to the public and get your opinion based on the two attached pictures. I’ll even help you out by giving you all the information Gregory and I have had thrust upon us regarding the sex of our unborn baby.
1.              We have both had dreams it is a girl. Although mine was a girl with jet black, shiny hair which is highly unlikely unless I had an affair with a Chinese man. Two points for a girl.
2.              Our Korean friend told us that if you dream it is one sex, in her culture that means it’s the other. Two points for a boy.
3.              You cannot tell I am pregnant from behind which means it’s a boy. Although you couldn’t tell for my sister-in-law either and she had three girls. But still, I’ll allow it. Another point for a boy. Current score; 3 – boy, 2 - girl.
4.              The greater the distance in age between the parents, the higher the chance it is a boy. I’m not sure about this theory; it’s a bit out there even for me. But lets include it anyway, if we’re being thorough. So, since Gregory and I are only 11 months apart, that’s another point for the girls. Current tally 3 – girl, 3 – boy.
5.              I am carrying low which means it’s a girl. I think. I’ve forgotten the theory, like I forget everything these days. I am a goldfish. Anyway, lets say it means a girl. Girl - 4, boy - 3.
6.              My husband’s siblings have thus far reproduced six nieces and one nephew. Now this could go either way. We’re either going to continue the trend and have a girl, or start to even out the gender pool and deliver a boy. So, one point either way girl – 5, boy – 4.
7.              My siblings thus far have reproduced none of their own humans so no information from my side is forthcoming. No points for either team.
8.              If you refer to a previous blog, you will see I had a prophetic moment with a Doctor in a hospital and a ward with the same name we’ve chosen if we have a son. One point for the boys. Girl – 5 Boy – 5.
Excellent. A draw. All this means then, is that I’ve done double the washing that will eventually be required, as we’ve been given so much stuff from generous friends and family for both sexes. None of the evidence is particularly convincing either way if you ask me. I wouldn’t bet my first child on it. Still, have a guess and I’ll let you know in less than 9 weeks…
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