Leopreet’s Super-Mama Laid Low
So here’s the thing, people: enjoy your first pregnancy as much as you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re violently sick all through. It’s a magical experience which will never be repeated no matter how many children you have, because your existing children don’t give a hoot about how tired, sick or un-bendy you are when you’re busy baking their sibling – you are their mama, so you better perform! You’ll wistfully reminisce about your first pregnancy: how well you looked after yourself, how healthily you ate, how diligently you took the vitamin supplements, how carefully you massaged your tummy to keep the stretch marks at bay. Now I eat the boy’s leftovers for meals, ice cream for dinner, supplements when I can remember them, and my tummy’s lucky if it sees a quick smear of anti-stretch mark cream once in two days. Oh and if your existing children go to nursery, then you’ll also miss your good health.
I used to consider myself a paragon of health and cast-iron immunity. I was smug enough to mock Darling Husband’s rather delicate constitution by dismissing all his varied illnesses as man-flu. Fate’s paying me back and how! Every germ that my little boy brings home from nursery transfers to me after tiring of my boy in 3-4 days. I had a mahoosive flu when we went to Iceland for holiday in the summer. You’re thinking why go to Iceland in the summer? Why go to Iceland at all?! And yet in the week that saw the peak of summer in London, we packed our thermals and flew to Reykjavik. Temperatures there were… well, let’s just say we made use of our thermals and padded jackets.
It rained the first two days. Luckily for us, my best friend lives there with her husband and son. We rented an Airbnb apartment on the same street, so we’d go to hers to let the boys play together, have long conversations over coffee and eat medium-length, non-boozy dinners. Medium-length because sleep is precious for parents, and non-boozy because I was pregnant anyway, and booze, like everything else in Iceland is prohibitively expensive. Reykjavik has one-fifth of London’s variety in terms of food, cuisines, cafes, etc., and charge triple the fare. I guess it ensures there is no wastage as you’d think twice before buying and even if you were full, you’d most likely stuff it down anyway because of how much it cost.
Anyway, coming back to my flu. Instead of sweating it out of myself in the London sun, I was busy huddling under my massive jacket and carrying enough tissues to blow an army of noses – well, mainly mine and my son’s, but it was never-ending. The days were ok, but the nights! My nose would be blocked shut, so had to breathe through my mouth. The central heating would be on, which meant it dried my throat, and I had to get up and drink water. Drinking water while being nearly six months pregnant meant a trip to the loo. And so it went in a frustrating endless loop till the boy wonder woke in the morning and then the day’s routine would take over.
No sleep meant Darling Husband had to deal with a snappy dragon of a wife for three days. Wisely, on day 4, he ordered me to stay in bed while he and his wonderful parents (who’d joined us for the holiday, thank the Lord!) looked after the boy and did the day-tripping by themselves. We were in Snaeflesnes, a pensinsula which is also called mini-Iceland as it has waterfalls, volcanoes, hot pools all short drives from each other. It was a grand, sunny day and our hotel was on the edge of the freezing Atlantic Ocean. So I sat facing a volcano (in front of which the boy refused to pose) and read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – a thin volume, devoured greedily in a few hours but it had such an impact on me that I’m still reflecting on sections of it a month later. This is not a book review column, but if you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favour and read it. Thank me later!
(The author is a former TV journo who stays in London. She became Mama to baby Leo in April 2015. She started this blog as an outlet for the intense, roller-coaster experience that pregnancy and motherhood entail. And for recording the journey with as much humour – black mostly – as she can cram in. Oh and dispensing free gyan as she ticks the been there, done that milestones.)
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