I am in my second trimester of my first pregnancy – 17 weeks and 2 days to be exact. According to every pregnancy book I own (and believe me that’s a lot) by now I should be glowing. I should be a rosy cheeked, energetic, gently rounded icon of impending motherhood with model skin and teeth. Instead, I look like a pissed off walrus with acne. The first thing I did upon waking this morning was run to the bathroom and vomit bile for around 5 minutes until I cried. Whoever the hell came up with the concept of women “blossoming” and “glowing” in pregnancy was clearly someone intent on finding yet another way to make women feel like crap about themselves. And there just aren’t enough of those in the world are there?

I feel cheated. I bought into this myth that growing another human being would make me feel more womanly and that my bump would make me look cute and sexy in a pre millennium All Saints kind of way. I don’t have a neat little bump. Instead, the middle section of my body looks like its been upholstered. And I swear my ass is getting bigger by the day. I have been reasonably content with all of this because at least the sickness had stopped. I spent the first 14 weeks or so of my pregnancy being or feeling sick on a fairly constant basis. I’d get a little window between about 10 and 2 where I felt faintly human but most days that was as good as it got. For the last 3 weeks or so its been fading – I still get the odd hiccup first thing but I can live with that. It felt like a great big cloud had been lifted from over me. Then, WALLOP this morning. Its back. If there are pregnancy gods they’re not playing fair.

Why do other people insist on perpetuating the myth of the pregnancy glow? It’s customary at this point to blame the media and, lets face it, they don’t help. I didn’t see many pictures of Angelina Jolie looking like death when she was pregnant or read about her battle with stress incontinence in “Heat” magazine. But even people that are meant to be on my side seem to take pleasure in telling me how their pregnant sister/friend/colleague is looking and feeling fantastic. People that have had kids also seem to take great pleasure in telling you that they never had a day of morning sickness either. Many seem to think it’s a personal virtue rather than sheer bloody luck of the draw. Progesterone and I don’t get along – that’s all there is to it.

Is this the beginning of competitive motherhood? In a few months time will I be competing at the coffee morning in the who had the most “natural” birth? contest? Will I be trying to keep up with a clique of Yummy Mummies or feeling a desperate need for my child to win the best potato print competition at nursery?

Answers on a sickbag please……

Penny, 34, England

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