Sunday, 20 September 2009

The boredom of awaiting a baby

One of the things that I have loved about my life PR (post Rosemary), is the variety and balance that motherhood brought (indeed, that parenthood brought to both of us). Previously, I would spend 12-15 hours a day at the computer. A fair bit of that would be working, but I would also do online things – fan forums, writing forums, LiveJournal, reading blogs about writing/by writers… The majority of the housework was done by someone else (for a few years, this was my aunt, who we paid to come two days a week and deal with our mess without being phased by the dog) and we were both fairly slapdash about the rest of it. The day after a cleaning session, we’d be very good and put our dishes straight into the dishwasher and take our cups downstairs, instead of leaving them to pile up on our desks, and recycle the (copious) beer cans, as soon as we emptied them. But after one day of being good, we would lapse again and let it all build up for Emma to deal with.

We would occasionally go out for a meal, but we didn’t have a huge social life. I would go to the pub with my dad now and then, especially if there was some live music to listen to. But we would mostly sit at home, wasting time on our respective computers, drinking beer and eating at least one take-away a week, if not two or three. And meals that weren’t take-aways were usually ready meals from Waitrose, and eaten separately.

Our life was very, very unbalanced. And really quite dull (in hindsight – not sure that we felt it was dull at the time).

But since Rosemary arrived, I find I am much happier and have a far better balance. Instead of sitting at the computer for hours at a time, whether that be working straight out to complete a deadline, or working a bit while interspersing it with online gumph, I sit at the computer usually for no longer than a 3- maybe 4-hour stretch. When I go to make tea or coffee, I do things like load/unload the dishwasher or washing machine, rinse out some (mostly plastic milk) bottles for recycling, and so on. I don’t go straight to my computer every morning, but instead spend time with my daughter, baking biscuits or cakes, playing with playdough, just chatting away and then have a nice refreshing walk to playgroup/nursery school, before sitting down at the computer. We no longer pay someone else to do our housework, but instead keep up with it ourselves (not as successfully as some people might do, but a thousand times better than we used to). I am more likely to spend an evening ironing in front of the TV, than sat at my computer. Though we do still have busy times that require evening work, we are required to stop for a few hours to collect Rosemary, make dinner, eat dinner, put her to bed and so on, which means we’re more refreshed for an extra two or three hours’ work, if it’s necessary.

I also have a bit more of a social life, meeting up with other friends with children for coffee or a play in the park or at each others’ houses. I tend to find chattering away about children and nappies and sleep routines and so on far easier and more satisfying than attempting to address politics and culture and the like. Not that we don’t still talk about these things, but it’s nice to have an easy topic to fall back on. There’s not much going out to pubs and there are few take-aways. But when we do have either of those, they’re such a novelty, we appreciate them much more.

Our diet is far, far healthier. Pretty much every meal is home-cooked from scratch. There may be an occasional bought burger or similar in there, but they’ll be accompanied by fresh vegetables and potatoes. We both drink a lot less. And we get more exercise – walking Rosemary to and from playgroup/nursery school, walking the dog, walking round town doing the shopping. Not that we couldn’t both do with some more on top of that!

In short, everything is much, much better. Housework is a pleasure because it allows a break from work, work is a pleasure because it allows a break from Rosemary and Rosemary is a pleasure because of all sorts of reasons, including that she provides a break from work and housework!

All of this is why I am really, really bored, unmotivated and fed up at the moment. I can’t do any housework, except the washing (with Rosemary’s help, and only if Chris first carries the laundry basket downstairs, and carries the dry washed – un-ironed, arggh! – clothes upstairs and puts them away). I can only prepare the simplest of meals – I can chop vegetables, sitting at the dinner table, but can’t stand at the cooker for longer than about 5 minutes – so Chris is doing the majority of the cooking, on top of all the other housework. I can’t sit at my desk for more than a couple of hours without being in lots of pain. I can’t walk further than about 100 yards down the road, without being in lots of pain. I can’t walk Rosemary to playgroup/nursery school or collect her. I can’t do any shopping, except the internet kind (and even then, Chris has to be here to take it in when it arrives and put it all away). I can’t lift Rosemary up. I can’t take her swimming. I can’t take her to the park. I can’t do much of anything with Rosemary, except things I can do while lying on the sofa/sitting on my gym ball. I most certainly can’t walk the dog. I can’t take Rosemary to her trampolining classes, which she is apparently really enjoying. I can’t even give her a bath anymore.

My life has no balance at the moment. I spend far too much time lying in bed, because lying on my left-hand side is the best way to take the pain away. It turns out that the pain is all down to Eleanor’s position, and not SPD (which the physiotherapist miraculously cured earlier in the pregnancy), which means massages or exercises do not help. The gym ball (suggested by the physio and seconded by the midwife) is wonderful, as it gives me one more comfortable position and I can actually bounce and swivel on it a bit, which makes me feel like I’m getting something vaguely like exercise.

All of this leads to my having no motivation or inclination to do things that I usually enjoy and could be done in this situation. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to catch up on blogs. I haven’t responded to any comments on my last two blog posts (sorry, I will do my best to get round to it and have read them all and really, really love getting comments). I haven’t been writing very many blog posts. I haven’t been doing any drawing, or writing, which is what I always imagined I would do lots of if I were confined to bed for any length of time. I’ve been meaning to reorganise my hospital bag into three bags (after OMG We’re Pregnant’s post about her hospital bags) for ages, but have as yet to get around to it. I haven’t done any more to our corporate blog, which we really need to get finished and go live – just needs a few tweaks of the design and some copy written, really, most of which could be done from the netbook.

But all I can do is sit/lie around sighing and moaning and waiting for Eleanor to get here so I can get back to my perfect balance. But not moaning too loudly, because there’s only three days left before 37 weeks and it would be really good if she could wait until then. And then come on Wednesday. Please! Pretty please! I know there will be sleepless nights. I know that our routines will go up the wall for a while. I know that we will struggle to remember how to do baby stuff again. But I don’t care. I want to have things to juggle again. I want to rush round town, trying to pick up shopping and get a crying baby to sleep. I want to do the washing up while Chris bathes Eleanor and take the dog for a walk with Eleanor in a sling.

I want my life back. In three days. OK?


  1. Oh boy yes, I remember the waiting, it's no fun at all.
    Large and uncomfortable and lack of sleep and waiting waiting waiting. Hang on a minute, that sounds pretty much like my life right now . . .
    (kidding) You'll get all the sympathy in the world from us mums who know exactly what you're going through!

  2. Sympathy indeed- it really isn't fun when you are limited during pregnancy. Fingers crossed for Wednesday (and I can recommend three hospital bags!)

  3. Don't worry about replying to comments, for heaven's sake!

    Sorry you're having a rough time, but as you say, it can't last much longer. Hang on in there. You definitely won't agree with my last but one post, which is all about how I LOVED the last bit of pregnancy - but I was very lucky indeed, in terms of health.

    I loved reading how having a child had changed your lives, to be more interesting, more healthy, more fun. So often, mummy blogs are full of woe about all the things people have given up and miss. Your take on it is so refreshing and positive.

    Good luck.

  4. So I guess you don't want to hear how I went fifteen days overdue with one of mine, huh? :)

    I genuinely know how you feel, the last bit of pregnancy is horrid and it is hard to do anything. I remember trying to walk my dogs and crying in pain after just a few steps. The dogs had to race themselves across the fields while I waited in the corner, doubled over.

    I will be sending you good vibes for labour pains to start on Tuesday night and a quick, easy birth on Wednesday!

  5. I really like reading about how your life has changed for the better since having Rosemary. It's so easy to complain about the lack of time and sleep, etc when you have little ones. It's good to think about the positive things things their arrival brings. Like you, I think my life is more balanced now and less focussed on just one or two things. Lots of sympathy for the pregnancy pain, hopefully next Wednesday will be your day! At least you don't have long to go now and you'll hopefully feel light on your feet again soon. I'm 28 weeks pregnant and already feeling unwieldy, I'm getting a lot of back pain and lifting and carrying my sons doesn't help but I often have no choice! I've had many more aches and pains this time round too, okay sounding like an old woman now! Good luck for the next few weeks x

  6. I'm sending some good birthing vibes your way, hoping it will happen.

  7. I rememer waiting, not much fun. Won't be long though. Think of the excitement!

  8. You have my full sympathy. I hope that Eleanor stays where she is meant to for the last few days and then gets a move on. Lets hope that she is not as lazy as Piran was!

  9. You make me laugh honey - blaming Eleanor for not being able to do the washing up!!! Now we all you wouldn't do it anyway! No, but seriously - it is totally hideous the final stages of pregnancy - I was exactly the same as you - unable to do anything other than sit on a huge gym ball and moan about all my aches and pains...ooh I was such fun!! And I think it's much worse when you expect to come early (as you do)...because you're not even working towards your due date. I was convinced Renée would come early - because I had been a month early and I was too huge I seriously didn't think I could get any bigger - but guess what? She was 9 days late (and Edie was 12 days late)!! So I am hoping, for your sake, if not Eleanor's, that she comes pretty damn soon...fingers crossed honey. Thinking of you lots xxx

  10. Hang in there and try to get some sleep. I know, easier said then done when you need an industrial wynch to turn you over on bed (or was that just me?)! Eleanor will be here before you know it and life will not be boring again for years. Good luck x

  11. Just seen on FB - Tasha's waters have broken :)

  12. Looking at the above comment, you might not have much longer to wait!! Hope everything goes well :) I have an award for you over mine, but please don't worry about doing anything with it!! xxx

  13. You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more Specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material.