Shoulders back, stomach… out

The other night, a complete stranger acknowledged my pregnancy for the first time. We were leaving a restaurant and the coat man was helping me layer up. All of a sudden he asked us in a strong accent “is it a long way?” We assumed he meant did we have long to walk, and we started to answer. He responded “no, is it a long way until baby?” pointing at my tummy. Oh! After telling him July, he enthused warmly about what a wonderful time of year that is to be born. What a lovely man! Walking away from the restaurant, Mr Cath and I looked at each other in mute surprise and joy. At last, it was starting to feel real! Even if my bump was mostly just the steak I’d guzzled.

It was a brilliant feeling to finally have some acknowledgement that I actually look pregnant. I’ve felt like my tummy has been bigger for months now and I have found myself trying to stick it out to emphasise the reason why that is. Of course this goes against years of practice holding my belly in!

A good example of this is what happened at our school reunion earlier this year. Having been to a girls’ school, I was mainly nervous about what the others would think of the way I looked. Since leaving school about thirteen years ago, like most people I’ve gained a pound or twenty. To be fair, some of this must be baby weight, but still… it was imperative that I looked pregnant and not just fat! However, the bump didn’t expand quite as much as I’d expected. After Christmas there was some increased roundness, probably due to increased turkey consumption, but then it appeared to stabilise and there wasn’t much change in the following few weeks.

An action plan was required! Firstly, the outfit. I wore my at the time only maternity dress, which I felt was unmistakeable. Secondly, the posture. On the day, I tried to stick out my stomach as much as possible without looking ridiculous. Thirdly, the telling. I ended up telling everyone anyway so action points one and two were ultimately rendered less important. However, towards the end of the day, one of the girls asked whether I was expecting and she was one of the few I hadn’t told. Success!

Does my bump look big in this?

One of my most positive memories of the day is a conversation I had with one of my old teachers, Mrs C. She told me that having children had never been as tiring as everyone says, and commented that teaching was far more exhausting! Having dabbled in teaching myself, and yes, having found it deliriously tiring, I was happy to be told by a voice of authority that having a baby might not be any worse than that! I’d be really curious to hear from any other teacher mummies – do you agree with Mrs C? How would you compare teaching and raising children?

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