Saturday, 21 July 2018

Phatty McWaddlebum. Significant relationships.

I am now 27 weeks and 4 days pregnant (not like I am counting or anything).

I have just copped my third cold of this pregnancy. I used to go 18 months without getting a cold. Now I get whatever is going around. I am now expert in the good/bad/ugly of cold symptom modification. Read the US baby/mothering websites and they will tell you that pretty much nothing is safe to use in pregnancy, so suffer in your jocks, ladies.

I am a bit of a ninja with google scholar, and a keen reader of the medical literature.
FOR ME (ie this is not medical advice) I can summarise things as such: Nasal vasoconstrictor sprays, nasal steroids,  Inhaled corticosteroids, older antihistamines, codiene to suppress cough - all fine especially beyond first trimester and not too late in pregnancy, and with no more than a few days use at a time. My gp echoes these recommendations.

Read the internet mothering websites, especially those from the US, and the information regarding pregnancy can be summarised as:
Look, ladies, living is potentially harmful to your growing baby, hence it's probably safest to sit inside your home and do and eat and drink nothing, because you wouldn't want to hurt your baby now, would you?

Generally, and on balance, I am feeling good. I am continuing to do crossfit. I feel (perhaps for the first time in my adult life) beautiful. I am working hard and have reasonable amounts of energy. I am not that hungry at the moment as my uterus expands to abut my stomach.

We've just moved house, like 2 weeks ago, awaiting the knockdown and rebuild on our property. The house was in a fairly substandard state, and things ticked off on the condition report as working and fine were not indeed working and fine. Hence the property manager found himself torn a new bum-hole by an exhausted pregnant lady. Things are getting fixed, but we are still without an oven. My partner is liaising with the property manager, which is probably best for the property manager.

So I am nice and busy and enjoying life. Generally. Apart from a few things. Because nothing is ever perfect, right.


I have alluded to it on this blog a few times but not spelled it out.
To summarise, my childhood was shitty, and I have clawed my way out of it, via hard work, >$10000 worth of therapy, and being brave.

How was it shit?
Without going into too much detail - my father was a horrible, wife beating alcoholic who passed away (in traumatic circumstances) when I was 14. I miss having a dad, but I am relieved he is gone.
My mum and him split up when I was 10. Very bravely, I must say, because nobody gave a shit about family violence in those days. Thereafter was punctuated with long periods of her being badly depressed and confined to bed (nobody gave a shit about that either), mostly enough money to keep a roof over our heads and keep us fed (but substantial money worry invading my consciousness from an early age) but none for anything nice. I was good at school and had some friends, but many other kids bullied me (nobody gave a shit about bullying either). I didn't think at first that it worried me, but deep down, it did.

Hence I got into uni, got together with the first guy who showed an interest (we all know how that turned out), moved out as soon as I was able. Things went fine for a few years until they didn't. Things, very understandably, caught up with me, and I continue to have to face up to the consequences. It's not my fault, but it is my life, my responsibility. I have the brains and the means and I consider myself lucky to be able to manage things as I do, and live my best life.

These childhood issues have played out interestingly (!) in pregnancy. Pregnancy has a way of bringing back past traumas. I'm dealing with it.

The other thing is the relationship with my mum.

I have not had any significant emotional or material support from her in 20 years or so. My younger brother and sister had more difficult adolescent periods than I, and this took up a lot of my mum's energy, so I asked her for nothing, expected nothing. Years later, they left home, and, rather than my mum spreading her wings and living the life she deserves without having to worry how she will raise children, she has become rudderless and self-sabotaging. There have again been long periods of depression. My brother has not been able to hold down a proper job in, like, forever, and he sponges off her, but she won't stand up to it. She never has any money despite working full time in a reasonable job, and abuses her health by smoking, not exercising, not eating properly and staying up all night watching youtube.

At times I have felt responsible for her, and there has been quite a bit of reverse-parenting.

I've gotten a bit jack of that, to be honest.

I have become a fiercely independent woman, yet I still yearn for some occasional nurturing. I try to get it where I can, and I have many friends. I have long stopped expecting any of it from mum. She offers to help sometimes but I generally decline.

She sees the birth of grandchildren as redemptive for her. She is much more "my grandchild" than "the child of my children". I saw lots of unpleasantries go down between her and my sister when my niece was born. Mum decompensated in a big way when her first grandchild was born. I think it bought back lots of sad memories for her, which she has not yet reconciled.

Mum says she wants to look after the baby when I work, which is nice, but I have my doubts about how this will play out.

I suppose things crystallised last weekend. She came to my place, reeking of cigarette smoke. I had lunch for her, made her cups of tea, listened to her talking. I don't really say much about myself, because her hearing is poor, and she interrupts often.

After a solid week at work, and a house move, this was the first time I had sat down all week. I hit a wall very quickly. I just wanted to go to bed. Rather than "poor thing, you must be exhausted" she commented on a grey hair I had sprouting out, and said that she would take as long as she wanted to drink her cup of tea "just to piss you off".

That night, I went to my friends place for dinner. His mum, who I have met a few times, was visiting from Singapore. She was cooking up a storm. She had found out that I liked a particular Asian dish, and made it just for me. She bought me food and took my plates and gave me a hug and rubbed my belly. It was nice. I was tired and bade farewells not too long after. The contrast was stark.

I think some boundaries need to be set. I am working with my very talented therapist who have been seeing on and off for the past 7 years. She will help me. I will be accused by my mum of "using the baby as a weapon against her" (or some such, she levelled similar at my sister when my sister attempted to set the same) but I am a bit beyond caring. I have unfortunately gotten to a point where it is neither here nor there if I don't see or speak to her in a month or more. That is saying something.

Anyway, that is probably the most "real" I have been for a while, congrats on getting this far.