Time for a pregnant pause ....
It is August — the official month of the out-of-office reply. These tend to come in a variety of shapes and sizes; fit-to-bust smug, open aggression, and Captain Lawrence Oates levels of vague mystery. This year, I have decided to use this column as my out-of-office. I’ll be heading off for some time as I am, to quote James Joyce, up the pole.
Yes, in less than two weeks I’ll have to figure out how I can encourage a small human to skeleton out of my pelvis and into the world.
The biggest responsibility I have to date is looking after my phone, so this is quite a step up. Sadly, they don’t make Otterboxes for Babies™, and people are less understanding if you drop a child in a nightclub toilet. Go figure.
Until I became pregnant, most of my knowledge on the subject had been cobbled together from pop culture — movies, soap operas and Demi Moore’s Vanity Fair cover. This really messes with your head. The people who package pregnancy for film must be the same people who keep putting shower-based sex scenes on TV. Looks good — then you try it at home and lose the will to live, and destroy a loofah. I can’t be alone on this front so I’ve decided to point out the ways real-life pregnancy differs from movie pregnancy.
COMING UP WITH NAMES
In films, this just happens — no fights, no confused looks, no “I knew someone in primary school called that and, well, he killed a man”. In reality, it’s a minefield. As the Romans said, “Nomen Est Omen” — the name is a sign. You want to get it right.
In Switzerland, a baby-naming agency will scour historical tomes to find something unique and filled with meaning, thus ensuring your child goes on to achieve untold greatness such as discovering plutonium/inventing the internet/creating a pancake-flipping machine. The only hiccup is the agency is called Erfolgswelle — which doesn’t inspire confidence.
Asking around is risky, everyone has an opinion and you don’t want to end up with a child called Baby McBabeface.
Celebrities have gone for places they conceived — such as Brooklyn — but that only works if you were on holiday at the time. Irish towns don’t lend themselves to adorable names — Hackballs Cross, Termonfeckin, or Doodys Bottoms? And you have to factor in dialect — a baby called Scarlet is just not an option in Dublin. Googling a name, much like an illness,
lis never advisable. My top pick turned out to be the name of an accomplished porn star. I am very fond of the name so I’ve spent weeks asking friends what they reckon the longevity of her career will be? Short-lived? Or will she become the Meryl Streep of pornos? The former I can live with, the latter... not so much.
You won’t get a hankering for coal, or chalk, or petroleum. Or anything fun. Most likely you’ll just want to eat frozen pizzas, chips, and toasted cheese sandwiches. Your palate becomes as discerning as mid-1970s, mutton-chopped Elvis.
lCOMICAL GIVEAWAY MORNING SICKNESS
I thought I’d discover I was pregnant when I began projectile vomiting during an extremely important meeting. Men in suits would anxiously glance around the table, background music would swell, and a wizened old lady would appear from nowhere and nod at the camera. Instead, I just felt dull nausea I assumed was the result of eating mince pies for breakfast (don’t @ me, it was January).
lSITTING IS THE BEST
You won’t want to just sit. You’ll want to take off your pants and lie down like a giant domesticated cat.
lYOU WILL CONSTANTLY BE IN AWE OF THE WONDER OF PREGNANCY
This is partially true — you do feel like a primal Wonder Woman some days. But then you download an app informing you the baby is the size of a turnip and urinating a pint a day. And then there are the things that movies never tell you. Like your body becomes public property for everyone to comment on and poke. This can be both a pro and a con.
I love being carted off to relatives’ homes to show off the bump like a humongous Kinder Surprise. I even like it when strangers grab my tummy — providing they aren’t listed sex offenders.
Also you will cry at all the following; that Kerrygold ad with the dead mother frying butter and every episode of First Dates, Queer Eye, Long Lost Families, Gogglebox, and, yes, even Flog it!