I always knew that being organised isn’t all its cracked up to be. I had a stab at it last week and it came back to bite me in my (ever-expanding) butt. Long story short: My gynaecologist friend told me that witch hazel is every post-partum mother’s best friend. It’s anti-bacterial, promotes healing and reduces swelling. Sold! His advice was to take about 10 of those enormous, dignity-killing maternity pads, spray some diluted witch hazel on each one, fold over, wrap in tinfoil and pop in the freezer. Aware of the fact that I have the retention of a goldfish these days, I came off the phone from him and did exactly as instructed. I even went as far as to leave a surprise for my husband by labelling the little DIY kit ‘Fanjeeta First Aid’. I then promptly forgot about it until my son had a fall. No stranger to bangs and bruises he took himself off to the freezer to get an ice pack. By the time I got down the stairs he had fully tended to himself. Yes, my seven year-old was standing in the kitchen with a maternity pad stuck across his forehead. It’s the kind of photo that would prove pure gold at his 21st birthday party.
This isn’t new really but as the belly becomes more prominent, the unsolicited advice flows more freely. To smile politely or to justify your choice, that is the question? The whole concept of personal choice seems to get lost in the realm of pregnancy. ‘You can’t put a baby straight into a cot, you must use a Moses basket first’. ‘You cannot use soothers with newborns, haven’t you ever heard of nipple confusion?’. What makes me madder is the fact that I tend to explain my choices, partly to prove the fact that I’m not a negligent mother or a plain crazy lady. Some of it is just good old story-swapping and maybe picking up some tried-and-tested tips from other parents, and that’s fine. It’s when it reaches the point where you question yourself about something that you know has worked for you or suited the specific needs of your baby that you want to scream. I have a new tactic, especially when one particular relation ends every story about how she did it with her sons and ‘they all turned out just fine’. The outside me nods along and smiles politely while the inside me (silently) answers ‘yep, and they all have the counselling bills to show just how well that worked out.’
You could set your clock by it. Every evening, just a little after 8pm I get what I have now self-diagnosed as the ‘heebie jeebies’. I get an itch that is so aggressive, a dog with mange would feel inadequate beside the scratching session that ensues. Good God it’s like an army of ants under my skin, all running in different directions. I’ve scratched by back off doorways, tried the trusted Bio Oil, cold Aloe Vera gel and calamine lotion. I’ve tried a cool shower, a warm bath and everything in between. Nothing works, until the clock strikes 9.30pm and it all calms down. The 90 minutes of torment passes and I go to bed, exhausted from scratching, counting new red marks but thrilled that it’s all over for another 24 hours. Suggestions on a postcard please……
Between flus, persistent coughs and needing to pee every 4 ½ minutes, exercise has been a no-go since before Christmas. Last week saw me beating myself into some seriously unflattering lycra running pants, throwing on runners and headphones and going for……a walk. I find that when you lower your expectations, you don’t disappoint yourself. A 40-minute walk with an attention-deficit dog a few times a week has become the sum of my fitness goals. Sure, technically I could do pregnancy pilates or yoga at home but in between scratching myself off doorways and nightly meetings with my good friends Ben and Jerry, just where would I find the time? I’m just happy to be moving.