I don’t know what he’s smiling about. He’s in a rubbish series of books, he’s clearly out of shape, and those piddly little legs aren’t going to support him for very much longer.
Oh. My. GOD. I’m in agony. I’m 35 weeks’ pregnant now. Time has started to move…. very….. slowwwwwly and I am desperate to get this thing out of me. I’m huge and unwieldy, like the human equivalent of the QE2 but with less buoyancy. I can’t bend down, I can’t get up, I can’t walk downhill, I can’t walk uphill (have I mentioned that we live on a hill?). I can’t sleep, I can’t do things, I can’t not do things. I’ve barely got enough energy to complain about it all, but I’m trying my damndest to achieve that at the very least.
This is not like the first time at all. The first time I’d just left work at this stage, and was walking round Bath feeling like a goddess, with people making room for me, kindly enquiring after my health, and admiring my bump. People would say, “Ah, is it your first?” And I’d reply in the affirmative, and they’d coo over me, and stroke my bump, and tell me what a magical time I was in for.
This time, people smile at me fondly, and say, “Ah, is it your first?” And when I say no, THEY CUT ME DEAD.
So the first time around, people lied to me (my cervix can firmly attest to the lack of magic). Second time around they’re just cruel. And why? Here is a general person’s thinking upon engaging with a pregnant person:
“Ah. A pregnant person. How nice. The miracle of life, etc. A sense of newness, fragility, at one with nature. Blossoming and blooming. Wonderful stuff. And the excitement of a first-time mother too – how sweet, how naive, how delightful.
“Oh. Not a first-time mother, you say. Well. In that case, you’ve done it all before, squeezed out a litter of puppies no doubt. Should have realised from the haggard face and the situation of your bump by your knees. Well, it’s your fault, isn’t it? Glutton for punishment.”
Glutton for punishment.
No-one has actually said this to me, mind, but I can see it in their awful, squinty eyes. There has definitely been a marked shift in Public Transport Etiquette, for instance – particularly if I’m pushing Teddy in the pram as well. Not only do people not offer me a seat, but they also look at me as if I’m invading their space, and that the world’s overpopulation problem is solely down to me.
So yes, I think people are generally ruder and more unkind and nastier the more pregnant I’ve become.
But I have to admit one small thing – this pregnancy has been a little harder than the one before. I am bloody knackered with it, and with bloody knackeredness comes the tiniest hint of peevishness. Just a smidgen. Which might – might – lead one to be a little vexed with members of the public who one might have merely ignored before.
This reminds me of an old colleague of mine who was a youthful, and admirable, curmudgeon. It was diplomatically pointed out to him by a girlfriend that whenever he referred to another person or a group of people that he didn’t know, he called them idiots. “Look at those idiots over there”; “Let’s stand behind that idiot in the queue”; “Where have all the idiots gone?”; “There’s loads of idiots in town today”; “I like the shirt that idiot is wearing”. And so on. Idiot = person.
I sympathise with this. When I was pregnant the first time round, people were lovely, I was lovely, the world was lovely. I glowed. I blossomed. I bloomed.
This time, people are cretins, I’m a zombie, the world has caved in. I have exploded. I have aged. I have drooped.
And with that in mind, while I shuffle around town, silently questioning my motives for being in town in the first place, I peer at my fellow unpregnant town-companions in barely concealed disgust and contempt for their easy, unexploded lives. Lives which include uninterrupted sleep, well-oiled hips and actual working stomach muscles. Idiots.