Of all of the things I expected from pregnancy, speculation and obsession with ‘the bump’ was not on my radar. You get pregnant, you get gradually fatter over forty weeks, you have the baby and then you work on getting gradually slimmer again. On paper, it’s pretty simple.
I didn’t account for how I’d feel about my growing bump, or how other people would become fixated.
I’ve always been pretty body conscious, and whilst I’m certainly no gym-loving, diet-obsessed skinny, I have always ensured that I’ve never grown out of my size 8 jeans or size 10 dresses. And at twenty-five weeks pregnant, I’m still in those size 8 skinny jeans. And I’m OK with that, in spite of having to battle off the constant “Aren’t you worried something is wrong?” questions that people feel it necessary to ask, and despite never being offered a seat on the tube!
So, let’s park me and my relatively tiny bump for now. Stel and Fats have not suffered the same bump fate as me. To the contrary, they are truly blossoming and blooming on a daily basis. Stel’s bump arrived on the scene “from day one”, according to her, but realistically, from three months, it was very apparent to the outside world that she was pregnant. And she looked – and still looks – fabulous. “Remember I was a fatty before I was pregnant, so I just let it all hang out”, says Stel of her bump. Stel’s height means that she carries her bump really well.
Stel’s baby – BSP – is certainly baking very nicely, and on the growth scan has shown an abdominal measurement “off the chart” and legs as long as hers and Philpott’s! “I’ve got a fucking boomer and a clear birth canal”, she said today after her growth scan. Stel has never been one to mince her words. Nor has she been one to deny herself, or BSP, of whatever it is she fancies, frequently sending us links to the Daily Mail’s latest ‘report’ on obese babies, adding her own captions like “But I can’t stop eating pizza” and “Oh whatever, pass me the cake”. One of the many reasons I love her.
And then there’s Fats. At eight days behind me, always the yin to my yang, Fats’ bump is as big as mine is small. From very early on, Fats had a bump as big as a basketball and it’s growing and growing. When we visited the Baby Show with our mums a month ago, all of the stand owners tripped over themselves to try and pitch to Fats, whilst completely ignoring me, assuming her the only pregnant one.
Fats has been in maternity clothes for a couple of months now, and has, at times, felt low about the dramatic blooming. Once, this resulted in me taking an emergency trip to Chanel to buy Fats a red lipstick which would make her feel fabulous again. The thing is, as big as Fats’ bump is, she looks gorgeous – her hair is even more thick and glossy than usual, and her skin is flawless. Oh, and getting offered a seat on the tube is no issue for her – that ‘basketball’ negates the need for one of those ‘Mind the Bump’ badges.
When I text Fats last night to tell her that I’d just been weighed at the hospital and had gained a whopping 0.3 kilos since my 20 week scan, she called me instantly, demanding that I buy a dozen Krispy Kremes pronto. “I look like one of the walrus’ on David Attenborough, whilst my best friend is incapable of gaining weight even when pregnant”, she moaned. “If you don’t rectify this, I’m not going to be able to see you.” I picked up a glazed raspberry Krispy Kreme ten minutes later.
I guess that my lack of bump has been further enhanced when being judged next to my blooming best friends. At first, I found it difficult to digest Dan’s apparent disappointment every time he looked at my stomach. And he wasn’t the only one. I’ve never felt under such scrutiny, at least aesthetically. Almost like I was failing at being pregnant because my body was not yet admitting to itself that it was growing life.
But then, gradually, I started to notice the swelling of my stomach, in the neatest of bumps, and Dan declared a “thickening of my waist”. Ouch. And suddenly, I was scared; scared of growing out of my clothes, anxious about how my body was changing, and worried that I’d never get back to being me again. And that’s kind of where I’m at now. I may be measuring small for 25 weeks pregnant, but I’m still measuring bigger than I normally do, and that’s enough to feel more than a little self-conscious.
This week, my jeans have started to feel kind of uncomfortable, and I find myself constantly adjusting the waistband. I think it’s probably time to purchase one or two essential maternity items. Fats and I visited the Oxford Street Topshop maternity section two weeks ago and I came over all faint just looking at the elastic waist bands and sea of grey, black and white. Why even shops like Topshop insist on trying to make pregnant people look as drab and colourless as possible is beyond me. We’re growing life, Philip Green, we deserve better than that!
So, three ladies, getting fatter and fatter (in different measures), and all doing our fair share of moaning about it. They’ll be so worth it though, these three little monkeys we’re carrying. And one day, we’ll actually choose to do this all again. Now, pass me another glazed raspberry…