Third Trimester: Entering Warp Speed..

Today I’m 27 weeks’ pregnant, officially at the beginning of my third trimester. I can hardly believe how fast the last few weeks have gone, it feels like only yesterday I was staring at the digital test in disbelief, and now we’re 13 weeks (or less!) away from meeting our little man. Crazy. Despite the sleepless nights, leg cramps, mood swings and anxiety, I’m so excited about entering into this next phase of our lives. I know it’s not going to be easy – far from it – but I’ve needed a new challenge for a long time and this will certainly be that!

Talking of challenges, this week I’ve finally put to bed the first (long!) year of my Master’s course (or at least I hope I have – results of the assignment are still pending..) which is a huge relief. Now I can finally turn my attention to the list of ever-more-pressing baby-related tasks that need doing. We’ve managed to sort the basics (so he will at least have somewhere to sleep and something to be moved around in) and have this week managed to confirm a creche place starting in January (this has been really worrying me as in Belgium creche places are few and far between, with women urged to start the application process when they are only three months’ pregnant – what?!!!!!), but we have yet to fill out all the complicated paperwork (in French – which complicates things more, given that neither of us have much of a grasp of the language) which will confirm our maternity/paternity leave and baby-related benefits. And as for all the other stuff we’ll need, I’m not sure where to start!

Something else I have confirmed, after thinking about it for a while, is the presence of two doulas at the birth. In case you don’t know what a doula is (as I didn’t a few weeks ago), they are basically non-medically trained birth support partners. Apparently, evidence suggests that women who have additional support beyond their partner and medical team have shorter, easier labours. For us, there is also the additional concern of our limited language skills, so I see our team of doulas as being critical in ensuring that our wishes are actioned by the medical team. I also figure that the more support we have the better – living abroad is great, but at times like this you miss your friends and family more than ever.

So things are moving along, which is just as well, because if his recent Tyson-esque bouts of stomach boxing are anything to go by, this baby is keen to get out and make his mark on the world….





In the past five and a bit weeks life has undergone a pretty big transformation, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised I’ve hit a bit of a wall where energy levels are concerned. I’ve moved country, moved house not once but twice, and started a new job in a new country where the employment system is more complicated than the Matrix. Not to mention the fact I’ve gone back up from working four days a week to five, which in itself is quite a shock to the system (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mourning my Mondays off – sniff). So yes, I guess I need to cut myself some slack, as my transatlantic friends would say. Getting into a new routine takes time, especially when the repercussions of that new routine involve a run of terrible nights’ sleep that leaves you feeling like your head is full of cotton wool.

Oh, and did I mention that good old Lady Karma has bitten me hard on the arse for boasting about my amazing new flat by sending me the neighbour from hell who appears to have no concept of bass control on his/her stereo, nor a concrete understanding of the less than concrete thickness of the wall that separates our living rooms. But hey, these things are incidental, and they shall pass. I just hope they pass sooner than later, because I need to get back to writing my screenplay and setting myself on the path to making the millions I need to be able to give up working for someone else and start setting my own agenda in life…A girl can dream (or at least she would if she was actually getting any sleep at the moment…Grumble grumble).



Sleep deprivation should be classified as an illness – and a serious one at that. Admittedly it affects different people in different ways, but few could claim not to find their mental capacity somewhat lacking after a bad night’s sleep.

I’ve always admired my mother tremendously for how well she copes with chronic insomnia. She’s suffered from it ever since I can remember, and has tried every suggested remedy under the sun to tackle it, with little effect. For some time she resorted to prescription sleeping pills but stopped taking them – much to her credit – because she hated feeling like a zombie. Now her sleep patterns are left to chance, and whilst some nights are better than others she still regularly wakes after a few hours and is unable to drift off again before dawn breaks.

Speaking as someone for whom sleep has always been a source of great comfort, I find the very concept of chronic insomnia unbearable. On those few nights where I have lain awake in the dark alone with my thoughts, I’ve felt a rising sense of anxiety that this, the one vestige of escape from the prison of my own hyperactive brain, was being threatened.

Because of course it’s not just the body that sleep helps to repair. It also helps restore the mind. At highly stressful times such as exams and relationship break ups, sleep is the only thing that takes us away from our stressors for a few short hours, allowing us to drift away and dream of other things. Without it, we are trapped in wakefulness, unable to switch off from daily life.

So it is much to people with insomnia’s credit that they’re able to function near-normally despite not having the respite that – the odd restless night aside – the rest of us take for granted. Truly I take my hat off to them, because if I even get an hour’s less sleep than ‘normal’ (which, for me as for most others is between seven and eight hours) I am noticeably (hopefully only to myself, but I’m sure it rubs off onto others on occasion) irritable, anxious and struggle to cope with even the most simple of tasks.

“To sleep perchance to dream” – wasn’t that what Hamlet said? And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do exactly that.

This pic was taken on my 2011 travels, and captures a moment when me and my friend Alistair had partied so hard we conked out on the beach. Ah, happy memories..