Week 32: Amazon Warehouses and Hands-free Breast Pumps

Preparing for the birth of a baby feels a bit like preparing to jump off a really high ledge into choppy waters below. You’ve done your calculations and think you’ll be okay, but you know there’s a chance you’ll land on rocks or be sucked under by the current. Either way, you know you’re going to jump, so you may as well do it with the right attitude…

Our house is fast becoming an Amazon warehouse. My husband, bemused by the rapidly growing pile of (entirely alien) miscellaneous baby-related items by the front door, has become both adept at stepping around them and wise enough not to question their necessity. Quite frankly, I’ve no idea if we need it all or not, but at this stage that’s somewhat of a moot point. No matter how strong my willpower was in the early stages of pregnancy (“I shall only buy the absolute essentials”), it seems the third trimester urge to ‘nest’ is an impossibly persuasive force. Fortunately, thus far, I am still rational enough  of mind to avoid any really outlandish purchases (double ‘hands free’ breast pump bra anyone? Because nothing says ‘welcome home, honey’ like a lactating woman doubled over the sink furiously doing the washing up whilst a machine deposits her milk supply into plastic bottles attached to her breasts). But given how much I’ve been forgetting in the past few days (loath as I am to ever use the phrase ‘baby brain’, I have to admit something is afoot) it may only be a matter of time.

Having successfully completed a 15 hour pre-natal preparatory course, we now at least have a rudimentary understanding of the process of labour, which is nothing short of terrifying. As the day approaches I feel the panic rising up inside me. Whilst a natural, drug-free birth would obviously be the ideal scenario, my pain threshold is so low I’ll probably be screaming for an epidural before we’ve even reached the hospital. The stories in the pregnancy books of women who had ‘perfect’ natural births in the comfort of their own homes are all well and good, but forgive me if I prefer not to watch my husband giving himself a coronary trying to blow up the birthing pool as I writhe in agony on the floor, calling him every swear word under the sun. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go as long as I can without pain relief. But the moment it becomes too much, get the gas and air on the go, hook up the TENS machine and fill that spinal syringe, because the role of stoic earth mother just isn’t me.

The thought of being solely responsible for a tiny, helpless human is even more frightening than childbirth. Even more so the idea this is for EVER. If we don’t immediately bond with the little rascal there’s no money back guarantee. We can’t return him. He’s ours. For life. It’s only now, as I stand on the precipice of parenthood, that I realise just what a big deal becoming a parent is, and have a genuine appreciation of all my parents went through to get me to where I am today.

But as big a responsibility as it undoubtedly is, it’s also an honour. When you’ve suffered miscarriage, as I have, you have a deep sense of the fragility of life, and perhaps an even greater sense of wonderment as a life successfully grows inside you. As hard as the next few months and years are bound to be (there are not words sufficient to articulate how much I will miss Sleep), I will try not to forget how much we wanted this baby, how lucky we are to have him and how much joy he had already brought us before he even entered the world. The countdown to meeting our baby boy is on, and we are ready for the challenge… ❤

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The dark side of ‘celebrity’

In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Beyonce Knowles was reported to have said: “I am more powerful than my mind can even digest and understand.” Elsewhere in Celebville, the normally mild-mannered Reese Witherspoon got arrested for drunkenly slurring at police, “Don’t you know who I am?” Whilst we might expect such behaviour from traditionally ‘troubled’ celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, these latest displays of arrogance are more surprising. Are we, one wonders, to assume they are momentary lapses of concentration – wherein the masks of niceness that Beyonce and Reese wear so well have slipped and exposed the ugly natures that lie beneath? Or could it be that they were goaded into making what many no doubt view as being obscenely self-indulgent remarks – that these incidents were, in fact, one offs, never to be repeated?

To be fair to Reese she was – allegedly (no libel lawsuits here thank you very much) – under the influence of considerable amounts of alcohol at the time she made her remarks, so we could perhaps give her the benefit of the doubt. But Beyonce? It’s hard to speculate, but subsequent news reports insinuating that the only photographers allowed at her concerts are those employed by her own company (lest she be photographed from an unflattering angle, revealing – once again – that in reality she’s actually less than perfect) add weight to the argument that she’s a control freak; a quality that is in itself but a hop, skip and a jump away from blind arrogance and egotism.

Whether we like it or not, the fact is that obsession with celebrity is a feature of our times. We have, by virtue of our continuing interest in the lives of pop stars and actors such as Beyonce and Reese, created the monster that we see before us. It may well provoke outrage that stories of celebrities mouthing off about their power and success are interspersed on popular news sites with ‘real’ news stories – like those of the Boston bombings, Waco explosion, Chinese earthquake and recent factory collapse in Bangladesh – but the truth is our society is just as interested in them, if not more so.

Of course everyone is entitled to a slip of the tongue every now and then. And there’s no reason why celebrities shouldn’t revel in the fame they’ve worked hard (in most cases) to achieve. But before they revel too much it might be worth sparing a thought for their legions of adoring fans, and considering the example that they’re setting for future generations. You may well be powerful, Beyonce, but why not use that power for good instead of as a bragging tool for ugly self-promotion?

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Didn’t have a suitable pic for today so I improvised – never let it be said I’m not creative!