This is a combination of personal anecdote for how, on hitting 16 weeks today, my first 4 months have been for me, plus some tips for how to make your life more bearable whilst pregnant in the nations capital. This is the first post I have written in many weeks as I’m just starting to feel properly well again, as we hit Christmas week 2019- yay!
- Get yourself a “Baby on Board” badge, as soon as you can. I was able to pick one up from a station, however, was told when I thought I had lost said badge, that you now need to apply online. Follow this link here: https://tfl.gov.uk/transport-accessibility/baby-on-board . It’s a quick form, free to have one sent out to you and will arrive in a matter of days. I have been lucky enough to largely be able to avoid the underground, but if you use it on the regular, you need one, even with the “I don’t even look pregnant” thoughts. Additionally, you will need to be prepared to say “excuse me, do you mind if I have a seat”. There is no point seething. London is London, it is crowded and on the rush hour commute the likelihood of anyone sat down noticing you, with bodies and papers in front of their faces, or zoned off in their own worlds, may be slim. The heat on the underground is what has got me. Last week I got on it one morning, on 2 separate journeys, and asked 2 separate people if I could sit in the priority seats before I felt I might pass out, and there was absolutely no problem. When people have noticed my badge, you’re largely offered a seat, but you cant count on everyone being able to notice. The badge is also great even on a good day when you are feeling well, to ensure you dont get more shoving than usual (and if you get off the overground at Seven Sisters as I do with 3-4 people deep of commters waiting to push- I mean get on, this is extremely helpful 😀 )
- Everyone’s different of course, but for me the biggest shift with morning sickness and the extreme tiredness has been the not being able to organise or lead on events the way I used to be able to. Christmas in London this year has been a relaxed affair- I have stuck to the pre arranged activities, such as the theatre tickets booked long ago, accepted some hot chocolate invites to catch up with friends, but not planned anything else. It has been super lovely to have friends and family so excited with our news, and share this with them. We have been spoilt with cards, pregnancy books, clothes, chocolates, and amazing hand me downs from friends offsprings already. When I’ve had a couple of issues, I’ve been very lucky with calls and messages to check how things are going and give me lots of support. But maintaining a social life and seeing people face to face undoubtedly becomes harder. It’s also really tricky if you are the person that used to arrange the activities, and most people will understand that and come forward, however if not, it could be worth a “I might be out of the organising loop for a little while” message to explain. If the dynamic in the friendship is you are the arranger, then it’s definitely difficult. With being sick (which you may well not be) pyschologically the first 3 months can be hard, and you need people to rally round you a little more, otherwise it can be a little bit of a lonely time during the first trimester. Celebrate all the love anyway, because there is much of it and more to come! 🙂 For me social activities are best kept short, anything longer than 3 hours or in the early days too late was a totaly no-go. See how you feel! Learning to say “no” is also really helpful. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and remember that perhaps in the beginning the things you used to do with take more effort and be a little more tiring. Think about the travel distances in London- an hours journey that didn’t bother you before, might do now.
- I had morning sickness mostly on than off from about week 6-12. I would describe this as a lasting hangover- I’d never realised before that morning sickness could be like this! Insomnia kicked it on and off (largely off) from week 7, where I would be wide awake from 4am, wondering if I should get up and clean or something, and the extreme tiredness lasted from week 6- week 13. I still feel tired now, but no where NEAR those weeks, when I was often in bed by 9pm. Insomnia AND sedation was my favourite combination! I would say, despite the general advice to wait until 12 weeks due to the risk of miscarriage being higher then, to consider telling work early (depending on your job) just so that they are in the loop as to why you may be going off to the bathroom more frequently, and may need some sick days if the morning sickness is bad. Entirely up to you, but I have found it really really helpful, having shared this early with my work seniors, particularly when there have been a couple of tricker moments.
- I think people are right when they say hang back on the maternity clothing. My job is dress wise very relaxed and I haven’t needed to worry too much, but I also haven’t been too big at this stage to worry just yet either. I bought my first pair of maternity jeans at 14 weeks from Hnm. The big fabric bit that goes over your stomach is really snug and lovely, the bottom area however is a different story- I am constantly having to tug these jeans up! I’ve bought a dress second hand from Ebay but other than that, no other maternity clothes bought. I would say don’t buy anything in advance, see how things go and check out Ebay for the bits on there as I saw some amazing stuff when I was looking. There’s definitely a good range available from second hand, to affordable high street shops and upwards.
As this is Christmas week, will finish up by wishing you all a very lovely and happy Christmas! Hoping to be more back on track with frequent blogs in the NY 🙂