During the 38 weeks I spent as an official pregnant lady, I swore vendettas against many people around me, from the kindly lady rubbed my belly on a bus to my very own dogs who refused to park their arses anywhere but my favourite chair. I made a note a lot of these little annoyances and did the only thing I know that helps in such situations — I wrote about them. Some in a diary, tucked away in the secret compartment behind a certain drawer I will not share with you. Some in word documents on my laptop that I probably will. Here’s a little something I wrote, almost a year ago to the day, from the latter.
Mood swings are part of a pregnancy, just like gas, bloating and the inevitable small person at the end of the dark tunnel.
Highs, lows and everything in between, I was told to expect them while expecting, and prepare those around me to embrace them too, so that any affront I caused didn’t leave a permanent gash. But here’s what I really learned about the “hormones” a few days into announcing my pregnancy.
There I was, at the office, minding my own business, munching on some nuts perhaps, when a colleague came along, looked at me ponderously and said, “You know Afsha, you really need to eat well.”
Thanks! I know. I am.
“Seriously. Cut out all junk food. Don’t drink colas. Don’t eat too many sweets. Definitely nothing with preservatives…”
A look around my desk would have revealed to him a box of nuts, a portion of fruit and a meal consisting of carbs, protein and delicious veggies. What he would not have fond was a McChicken burger, a large bottle of Cola and double chocolate chip brownies dipped in salted caramel sauce.
You know why? Because I’m not an idiot. But more importantly, I have never really enjoyed deep fried food that was once frozen for months, black coloured drinks and five layers of diabetes on a plate.
However, I gave said colleague the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps observation wasn’t one of his stronger suits. I smiled and said, “Thank you. I’ll bear that in mind.”
A few days later, at a social gathering after work, I painfully managed to keep my cool when the latest New Mom came around screeching,
“I heard you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Now it’s time to start taking care of yourself, haan! Rub oil on your tummy every night. Take lots of good food to work with you. Eat lots of nuts. Walnuts, peanuts, cashew nuts, coconuts… keep eating them. Eat them so much that they might make you sick but don’t stop. And then what else? Yes, stop eating papaya…”
Erm. I don’t like papaya anyway…
“That’s ok but just don’t eat it. Don’t risk it at all! It’s really not good for you. And stay away from mangoes too. They’re a summer fruit, filled with heat…”
She totally missed my cool going from cooler to ice cold to frozen because she just would not stop doling out advice! But that’s ok. She obviously meant well. She had been through this too, hasn’t she?
But the truly annoying person, the one who pushed me to the edge of the cliff and left me there with my heels dug deeply in the ground, is the friend who hasn’t ever had children, doesn’t plan on having them either but felt it her duty call me up to say, “My mom said you shouldn’t eat pineapple.”
“I don’t know. She said that they say you shouldn’t.”
“And that you should probably stop wearing tight clothes so the baby can breathe better… ”
It was quite an achievement really, coming home at the end of every day, having faced so many wise women and men who were obviously better at being pregnant than I.
But then suddenly, I’d hear the one voice I had been dying to embrace all day and the first words they would utter were along the lines of: “My friend whom you have never met and probably never will because we only speak once every 72 years, called today and asked if you are eating healthy!” Why, hello to you too, Love of my Life… Father of my Unborn Child…
“I said I think you are. She’s a doctor, you know? And she says you should probably continue working all the way into your 9th month. She says that taking a few weeks off to rest — before the pooping, puking baby and the sleepless nights come along – is extremely overrated….”
That is when I found my right eye starting to flicker, my nostrils beginning to flare and those heels that were dug into the ground so close to the cliff, come loose for the landslide that ensued.
And it comprised of hormones. Definitely the hormones!