To The Man Who Called Maternity Leave a ‘Holiday’.

Last week, while listening to a radio podcast, I heard the presenter – a well known South African figure – lambasting the new Zealand Prime Minister for not only A) announcing her pregnancy as an unmarried woman (gasp) but B) doing it so in front of her home in her ‘casual wear’ (the horrors) and C) daring to admit that she would be taking a 6 week break for maternity leave. The host spent a good 10 minutes accusing Jacinda Arden (the PM) of neglecting her country duties while she basically took a 6 week holiday.

My blood boiled, and the milk I was expressing curdled. I was pissed. Perhaps he caught me at a bad time – having recently birthed a baby of my own – but I just had to send him an email to speak up on behalf women, and men everywhere, who take ma or pa-ternity leave.

Here is my response:

I listened with interest to your commentary on the Prime Minister of New Zealands pregnancy announcement, and your thoughts around her 6 weeks of maternity ‘leave’. 

I have a 2 month old baby. Which means I have been on leave for 2 weeks longer than Jacinda Arden will. Let me tell you, 6 weeks, when taking into consideration the average lifespan of a human (71.6 years in the case of a New Zealander) means that she will get to spend a precious 0.16% of her life with her newborn, before real life takes over. Of that measly 0.16% about 3/4 of that will be spent (if she had a C section) recovering from a traumatic surgery, feeding, expressing, cleaning, de-vomiting, nappy changing, crying, trying to fit into clothes that aren’t spandex and cooking and cleaning (because shame, these poor new Zealanders do not have the luxury of hired help like we do), all whilst trying to keep a tiny human infant alive. She will, I am almost certain also still be doing her job (vice PM or not, one does not just forget how to rule a country because they’ve shoved a watermelon out of their vagina). So whilst I agree that she sounds like she ate all her vowels for breakfast, I disagree wholeheartedly that you think 6 weeks is too long. Au contraire, 6 weeks is but a drop in the ocean. Even we have better labour laws than that. The poor woman is going to need 6 weeks just to shrink her uterus back to size. 
I know all of this, because whilst I may not be a Prime Minister, I am a new mom of my second child. I took 29 days off of work before going back to my second job (photography) and shooting a 11 hour wedding. In 2 months time I will return to my corporate job as a Marketing Manager. I shoot 5-7 jobs a week, edit most nights past midnight, wake up at 1 and 4 am to feed, don’t actually sleep in between feeds because I’m too busy hating my husbands worthless nipples and wondering about important issues like ‘how do they get the toothpaste in the tube to come out in different coloured stripes’. I  get up at 6 am to get my son ready for school and then head to the gym and in-between still try to run a house, look after my toddler and be a decent functioning human being. Hell, I type this while hanging like a fruit bat from a girls dinner that involved way too much red wine and tequila. Oh, and I’ve also just baked and iced a 4 tier birthday cake for my toddlers 3rd party tomorrow, taken 36 cupcakes out of the oven and glue gunned party hats onto plastic dinosaurs. All while my left boob leaked because I’d forgotten to shove a breast pad in my overly-sexy maternity bra. 
I absolutely realise how martyr’ish this sounds, but I just had to put it out there and challenge you on your anti child anti maternity leave stance. Having a baby, and yes even when by choice, is the hardest ad most wonderful thing I have ever done. And whilst some women may use it as an excuse to let their pubic hair grow to Rapunzel lengths and shop in Checkers in their stokies, many of us, like myself, take it in their stride and adopt it as one more role to add to their already fat CV.
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Surviving The First Month – Boobs And All (Plus, Win a Breastpump!)

Piper is nearing her one-month birthday. I KNOW.

It’s been an incredible (and incredibly fast) first few weeks. She is amazing. I’m drowning in every bit of her, because she really is growing up way too fast for my liking. In fact, I had a little moment this past weekend when discussing birth stories with friends (yes, this is what we talk about now) and I realised she will be my last every baby. I’m devastated that I wont ever have that experience again. But, I digress.

Coming home with a new baby is always a daunting exercise – regardless if you’re like me and it’s your second, or if it’s baby number 5 you’re bringing home to the family.

You forget everything. It’s amazing how the brain retains only what you really need to remember, and discards the rest. Jokes, you’ve just had a kid, Your brain retains nothing, you are all dumb now. So, in the spirit of helping other new moms keep their shit together, I’ve decided to put together a little ‘Surviving The First Month’ series and chat about everything from boobies and body to blood and ‘bloody hell!’

To kickstart, I’ve decided that the most important thing to discuss is feeding. And in my case, breastfeeding. Apologies to the formula mums – I will be there in a few months when I go back to work (although at times I’ve considered hanging up my boob straps and switching to Nan because of, well, all the below reasons)

The latching… Unlike Carter, when Piper was born they popped her directly on my boob and she latched first time, like a little star. I have nightmare memories of leaking nips from Carter days, so my hospital bag was 3/4 breastpads. Although, you don’t actually need them for the first few days as you are making tiny amounts of colostrum and baby really only needs a teaspoon or less, per feed. So all was good under my proverbial hood and little Pip latched and ate and slept and poo’ed. On day 4 my milk came in, and with it, my boobs doubled in size and became rock hard. Piper was still latching but it was so incredible sore that my toes would literally curl in and I would levitate every time she came anywhere near me. I was using these hideous nipple shields to try get her on (because on top of milk coming in and boobs growing, they also become so rock hard that for baby to get a grip is the equivalent of them trying to wrap their lips around a soccer ball). I was in agony and the breaking point for me came on day 5 when after a feed, I looked down and her little face was covered in blood. I immediately contacted a lactation specialist – Sally – from Noobebe Baby Clinic  who came to my house and sat with us for an hour teaching me how to properly latch my baby. That and a session of physio** helped me so much and I cannot stress enough what an investment this is. I can understand why so may moms give up trying to breastfeed, the pain of early onset mastitis, cracked nippled and rock hard goombies is enough to make even the most hardcore crunchy mom give up and grab a bottle.

The mess… Guys. You must never underestimate the messiness of milk. I can only speak from my experience, but when the milk comes in, it comes in fast ad furious. Like the cast of Absolutely Fabulous at a gin sale. No amount of breastpads can prevent this:

Or this (Incase you’re wondering, this is my duvet cover, which means I leaked through shields, a bra, a top and actual linen.)

And even if they do, its a fucking nightmare when boob is out, baby’s on and she suddenly pulls away. Milk streams out at ferocious 90 degree angles. If a forensic expert had to come in to my home they would find traces of Kates Dairy all over the house, from the curtains to the carpets. I took a break from writing this blog to feed Piper now, and this is legitimately what she looked like after her first suck:

My advice? Stock up on breastpads and keep them everywhere. Baby’s room, your room, under your pillow, wedged between cushion covers and in your car. Also, you will be very sleep deprived and therefore very stupid. Top tip? Don’t apply them sticky side down on your nipples. It’s not pleasant.

Feeding in public… I could never get this right with Carter and hated the thought of going out with him when he needed a feed. The amount of times the poor Woolworths change-room assistants let me borrow a stall is beyond me. It also got very expensive as every-time I used a room to feed I felt obliged to buy myself new clothes. Nursing covers are hot and stuffy and unpleasant all round, plus, they could be the size of a picnic blanket but you are still guaranteed a nip sip when shifting baby from boob to boob. I find it incredibly difficult as I have to help her get latched which means both hands need to be under my top, and in order to see what Im doing that also means that I need to also be under the cover. There is not less conspicuous than a hot sweaty woman with a bright pink shawl draped over her shoulders in 30 degree heat trying to wrestle an infant octopus between oversized leaky mammaries. If I have to, then I will feed in public. If not, I express, bottle the milk up and actually just save us both from tears.

 

Expressing and bottle feeding… I used the Medela double electric pump with Carter and am using it again with Pip. This thing is terrific, the only downfall is that you have to hold the pump in place while expressing which meant you were very limited for however long it took to get the milk out. That is, until Michelle from BreastPumps and Beyond came to my house to deliver, what I fondly refer to, as THE BIGGEST GODSEND AFTER HAVING A BABY. She also brought me chocolates, so she’s basically my favourite person.  It’s a click on bra that allows you to hook the pump in so you can operate hands free. This thing has actually changed my life. I can read, work, blog, watch TV, take hideous selfies or wash dishes while expressing. Jokes. I have a dishwasher for that.

I debated for hours over posting this photo, but decided that in the spirit of honest parenting, you needed to see what real motherhood looks like. It ‘aint pretty. 

I’m using the Medela Calma bottle and teat which mimics the sucking action of a nipple. (God, how many times can one person actually say ‘nipple‘ in a post?). I’ve been expressing from 4 days and giving Piper the occasional bottle since she was 5 days old – so I can get a break, or feed in public or so hubby can feed and I can sleep lie awake wondering if he’s going to remember to change her nappy afterwards. Oh, and also so I can drink. heavily.

So, what have I actually achieved with this post? Apart from perhaps causing a spike in the sale of the contraceptive pill? Well, hopefully to help you realise that you’re not alone in this messy journey of motherhood, and also to help you stock up on shit you really need, versus shit you really don’t.

Shit you really need:

Breastpads. Any brand. The large box. keep them everywhere

Towelling nappies. Not for nappying, for absorbing spillage and mess and milk and tears.

A Medela breastpump and THE WORDS GREATEST BRA. Get them here:

A nipple cream – I use the Medela lanolin. Yes you will gawk at the price. Yes, you will need it. (great for cuticles, too).

The number of a good Sister (like nurse, not biological or Whoopi) who can help you with your latch – chat to Sally from Noobebe. She also does vaccinations.

The number of a physio who can help you should you get mastitis or pain.

A comfy chair. I use the ComfyMummy chair with a foot cushion and it’s really helped with those 3 am feeds when you are so exhausted you can’ see straight Tip> Pay for Scotch Guarding. because, mess. FYI – they have recently moved their showrooms so give them a visit or have a look at their website.

Shit you don’t need:

Breastfeeding tops – They really make zero difference when you have to peel back layers of bras and pads anyway.

Overly warm breastfeeding covers – they are not fun for everyone

Nipple shields. If I can give up this crutch, so can you. I promise.

Judgy opinions. Do what works for you.

** Side note. When selecting a physio to caress, massage and laser your boobs, try not to book your husbands ex girlfriend. You’re welcome.

Competition Time!

The lovely folk at Breastpumps and Beyond and Medela want to try and simplify your breastfeeding experience, so we are giving away one Harmony manual pump to a lucky winner. I also have this particular pump as it’s super handy for on-the-go expressing. I’m shooting a wedding at the end of the month and will be taking it along to express between the ‘I Do’s’ . To enter, all you need to do is subscribe to this blog, like and share the post on your Facebook timeline (you can share it from here) and leave me a comment. Winner will be drawn and announced on Thursday.

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Introducing Piper Grey. Our Daughter.

I’m writing this from a very loved up cocoon. 13 days ago we met our precious daughter, Piper Grey. She was born via planned C section but came wide eyed and screaming into this world, just as I had hoped. She is perfection, All 3.42 kilograms and 50 cm of her. Just like her oder brother she was born with a mop of dark hair which I’m almost certain will, like his as well, fade, fall out, grow back blonde and then settle into a dark blonde. She has large almond eyes that currently, are a deep blue and a little rosebud mouth. Her character is simply delicious – soft and sweet with a ferocious crossness that comes every 3-4 hours when she’s hungry and needs boob. Her features are delicate and dainty but her hands, man those hands, those were made for something great. In fact, her hands were the first thing the gynae saw as he pulled her out, and as he did he said ‘she’s gonna be a 4 kilo’er’. I’m kinda glad she’s not.

Alot of people have been asking me about her name, and no, it didn’t derive from ‘Pip’. We were calling her Pip in the tummy because ‘It’ sounded too weird, and when we chose the name Piper it was simply a coincidence that it was 2 letters longer than her nickname 🙂

The whole C section and hospital experience was amazing – even better than the first. I had her at a different hospital to Carter and cannot tell you just how welcome, special and important all the nursing staff made me feel. The only downfall was the limited visiting hours for Barry and Carter and the broken aircon – she was born in one of the hottest weeks and I was uncomfortable for 4 days. It was like staying in a sauna.

And the boys? Well, they are simply besotted. Barry has been given 10 days paternity – which is great but in my opinion about 2 months too little – so has been with me for 2 weeks helping and bonding and being my rock. He goes back to work tomorrow and Im somewhat devastated. Carter is simply obsessed – I always knew he would be loving and nurturing but to see him with her, it can actually make your ovaries do the Macarena. She is his little light and he gravitates towards her like a beacon – he smothers her with kisses and soft touchers and whispers her name when he’s crying. I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Piper was born with several ‘stork bites’ on her face – a ‘V’ on her forehead, on her eyelids and under her nose. At first I was really upset – her perfect face felt flawed, and I gave myself a full day to mourn a little bit of her perfection. And then I sucked it up and told myself I was being ridiculous – she has 10 fingers and toes and is a perfect human in every other way. The docs said the marks will fade in a few years, and I’ve learnt to embrace them as part of her and who she is. I don’t edit them out in all my pics as I want her to look back at photos and see her for exactly who she was.

I have been loving my time at home with her. Not being able/allowed to drive is a tiny blessing. I’m trying this time do do less and be more. She is my last baby and so I want my waking hours to be spent gazing, touching and smelling this little bundle. Because I know all too well just how fast they grow up.

r-Grey

It hasn’t all been roses and custard, I did too much too soon and suffered a small bout of mastitis, afterbirth pains (we need to talk about that, people!) and threw in a dose of food poisoning for good measure.

She is 2 weeks tomorrow, and I actually don’t remember a time before she was here. Yes, the lack of sleep and 2 am feeds and constant soiled nappies and saggy tummy and exhausted eyes are leaving me more mombie than anything, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She’s here, she’s ours and she has completed our little family.

 

 

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About That Body Change.

I met the girls for dinner last night, and the restaurant happened to be right next to my gym, so I quickly ran in to swipe my card and leave. I’m getting those nasty little email reminders from the gym about my membership, and infrequent visits and and and… It’s really very needy. I am just not finding the time to breathe, let alone exercise at the moment. I investigated preggy yoga and preggy bellies, but again was reminded just how unsuited these places are towards moms who actually work. It feels like a foreign concept to them. Who on earth can go to a Pilates at 9 or a preggy class at 4 pm? The same woman who probably have au pairs and breakfast at Tashas on a Monday morning. Ugh. Alas, yee of the working class just doesn’t have that luxury. In fact, I’m working harder now than pre-fetus because between you and me and thousands of readers I am freaking the fuck out about money and savings and education and and and. But that’s a post for anther time.

I digress. Tomorrow I will be 20 weeks with this pregnancy, and so far I’ve been totally OK abut my body image. At my checkup yesterday they doctor told me I have technically lost 6 kilograms, as I haven’t gained any weight yet and at this stage of pregnancy I should be 6 kilos heavier – so even though that was a small victory, it was short lived.

I got home from work yesterday and wanted to change into something more comfy for dinner. So I slipped off my dress and started rummaging around in my cupboard. Sadly, before I had a chance to put the fresh outfit on I saw my reflection in the mirror. My boobs have those tell-tale purple veins – I can almost see the milk flowing through them – and my love handles are clearly in the honeymoon period, for they spilleth over my hippeth like a river. I’m soft to the touch and any firmness my body once possessed has disappeared, along with the ability to control my bladder.

I remember this with Carter, but with 5 months to go still I’m quite distraught at the prospect of having to hate my body for a long time to come. Plus let’s not even get started at the post baby body – remember this fat post?

Anyway. Not a lot I can do now, I’m so far up the duff that it’s really fruitless to stress too much about it. All I can do is try maintain the good eating and try re-start on the exercise. I’ve downloaded an app catered for maternity exercises and all I need to do is activate my subscription and just do it, I guess. Tomorrow, or maybe Monday. Monday sounds good.

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The Hangover.

I got through pregnancy #1 like a true martyr. Every offer to help or assist me was met with a very firm ‘Ohforgodssake I’m pregnant, not disabled‘ chirp, and people soon realised I meant it. I was so exceptionally stubborn that I even went to work the day I was booked to go to hospital for my C section. I didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t capable, up to it or god forbid that I ever showed the slightest bit of weakness.

And then, pregnancy #2 hit, and God laughed and laughed at me, because from day 1 I have been feeling shiiiter than shit. There have been no mass displays of public vomiting, or napping in my car at work, but it has genuinely felt like a 4 month hangover. I wake up each day with a raging headache, spend all day fighting fatigue and nausea and even the smallest deviation from a 9pm bedtime results in my barely functioning the next day. My brain is so stupid that I found myself Googling ‘second hand dogs’ yesterday and I’m so forgetful that I’ve been calling our new domestic worker ‘Susan’ since Monday.

Her name is Kelly.

If you had a friend, let’s call her ‘Sue’ and Sue told you that she was always achy, her feet were sore and she had debilitating migraines once a week, you would send Sue to the doctor right? Then, if Sue suddenly got searing muscle pains up her arse, blistering eczema on her eyelids, and cried at the drop of a hat, you’d then probably send her to another specialist of sorts. Now what if Sue forgot your name, left taps running throughout the house and complained of 24/7 nausea. Shame, poor Sue would have been booked into to see a psychologist and would probably be sitting in a very quiet room in a white padded coat by now. Also, if Sue started developing gas that could rival a Pepsi factory, you’d probably send her somewhere else – like to another room in the house.

So, hello word. I am Sue. And my pregnancy has been a 16 week hangover. Google even a third of preggy symptoms and Web MD will surely tell you you have several hours left to live. Goodbye Sue, you are dying, for absolute certain.

I’m not writing this for attention or sympathy, I’m just truly baffled at how, for centuries, women have got through this. Holy shit, I cant even watch a Game of Thrones episode without wondering how the Wildling lass is mopping up her leaky boobs minutes after birthing her fathers child, or how they even dared to attempt being knocked up in that heat, without the help of cold ginger ale ale and an aircon.

I am battling at work. My symptoms are superficial – compared to the horror stores I’ve heard – but I honestly sometimes high five myself at the end of the day for getting through it all. My tired is tired. I sat in the meeting the other day and am 112% convinced that I had fallen asleep, because suddenly I was being asked my opinion and had to play the worlds fastest game of charades, frantically reading body language and trying to view colleagues notes from across the table in order to try figure out what in holy hell was being discussed. I think I must have mumbled something relatively sane because everyone nodded and then moved on to the next topic.

So, a plea to all HR people out there, please can we incorporate some sort of ‘we promise to not fire you for doing dumb shit for the next 9 months‘ clause into our contracts. Also a ‘sick-but-not-sick-just-pregnant’ day or two wouldn’t hurt either.

So, I’m going to go now, and close my eyes for a long blink and dream about the days when I had the energy to wipe my own arse after using the toilet. Except, who am I kidding. I’m pregnant. I haven’t had a shit since before conception.

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We’re Having A…

At our 12 week scan I asked the doc to whisper in my ear what he thought we were having. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous as when I opened the folded pice of paper he handed me after the appointment. I waited until Barry and I had parted ways and then opened it…

I was ecstatic! I have always dreamed of a little pigeon pair and was so excited (and terrified, because girls frighten the bejeesus out of me) that Carter would be getting a little sister. I wanted to surprise Barry so I pulled a typical Pinterest move and had some helium balloons hidden in a box. I arrived unannounced at his office and even though the ‘70%’ uncertainty was there, I revealed to him (and 13 inquisitive colleagues) the big news. The reveal itself was a bit of a dud. Barry was too busy talking and the balloons were too stubborn, but just one little ‘pinkie’ was enough to announce.

But, then I started thinking, and worrying. I mean – 70% is a pass mark, but it’s not exactly 100 is it? I began to wonder if I had put the gender cart before the horse, so upon the suggestion of a friend I went and bought a kit from Dischem promising accurate gender results. And whaddya know, it told me I was having a boy. Ha!

Don’t try this at home, kids.

So, it was with much relief and joy this morning (and not that I was at all stressing, or woke up at 4 am riddled with anxiety or anything) when my Doc confidently told me if it wasn’t  girl then he would wear the pink clothes I bought for her.

So, there you have it, Pip Rankin will be a little sister to big brother Carter.

Also, if anyone wants to give me girl-rearing tips I would be eternally grateful. Boys are simple man. Girls are complex creatures and I feel like we are in for a wild ride. Buckle your seat belts kids, this blog is about to become a lot more curse-filled.

 

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Moms Who Love Running? Thule Needs You!

If you are an active mom who loves running, then you will know all about the importance f having a good baby jogger. One brand that I have always openly lusted after is the Thule range. They have recently launched the new Thule Urban Glide and it is incredible. When I learnt I was pregnant with Number 2, I actually went into the store, just to stare at it. We have some crappy 4th hand job that has wobbly wheels and is about 30 kilograms too heavy. Not ideal when dodging city traffic.

If you too have been dying to try it out, then now is your chance. I am looking for one active mom, based in Jozi, who is free on 22 September 2017 and keen to take part in the FNB Jozi Run, using the brand new Thule glide.

All you need to do to enter is comment on the blog post and confirm that you are A) In Jozi available on 24 September and B) have a kid/baby to pop in the jogger. I can lend you mine if you want, he’s pretty awesome most of the time 😉 Winner will be announced on Monday 11 September

We will send you the jogger 2 weeks before, so you can do a few practice runs with it before the big race. We will also give you an R850 VIP package to the FNB Jozi Run as well as a gift to keep (sadly the stroller will have to be collected) – A Thule Vea Backpack valued at R2499!

About The Race
The FNB Jozi Run celebrates the sizzling city that is the beating heart and soul of South Africa … Jozi.  The 10km race is an opportunity to explore downtown Jozi on foot and celebrate this historical African city.
What the VIP entry will get you: 
This could be you. But you don’t have a Thule. 

 

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Aaand, There Go The Nipples.

It happened this morning. As I lifted my pyjama top off my head to step into the shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, and there they were. My brown marie biscuit sized nipples in all their dinner plate glory. “Barry” I shouted “Fuck!”. “What?” he asked, from the comfort of the bed. I stepped into the room and within seconds his face, full of expectation, had changed to one of barely concealed horror. His wife had ‘turned’.

I remember this happening with my first pregnancy as well, I think I stared at my boobs for close to 30 minutes. Overnight they had changed from perky 34Cs to heavy swollen appendages. And the nipples. Oh my god guys. You would think I would have remembered the fucking nipples!

So, barely 12 weeks in and my body has already decided it’s going to fast forward into alien mode. I think with a second baby your body is prepped and ready to go, so you get less time to feel normal before the changes set in. This time around it’s also been rougher on me. Debilitating exhaustion – to the point where there were days I would get home from work and be physically unable to run Carter a bath. Nausea, which I didn’t seem to have with my first, was always there. Brushing my teeth is still a battle of the gags and the constipation could win some awards. Poo’ing is such a great achievement that I may even tweet about it. Also, the anger. I pretty much hated everyone for several weeks. Normal conflict averse Kate was telling people to ‘go fuck themselves’ and I could barely contain my eye rolls in meeting. I could visualise stabbing people and I got into such a bad altercation with a taxi last week that I though I was going to be murdered on William Nicol.

However, it’s such a freaking thrill to know that I’m growing a another human bean in my belly. Fondly referred to as ‘Pip’, I count down the days between scans and am already rubbing my little belly. I don’t quite know how I’m going to have the patience to wait to meet this little he/she, but what I do know, is that Bulldog farts, food aversion and hubcap sized nips aside, I am totally in love already.

‘Hi!’
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We Have Some News!

It has been so so hard keeping this big (little) news from everyone for the past 12 weeks. You forget just how all consuming growing a little human can be, especially in the beginning. And middle… and end. And then for 21 years after 😉

Anyway, I digress. Barry, Carter and I are so excited to tell the world that we are expecting a new little Rankin in early March 2018.

The concept of having 2 kids has always been on the agenda, so we are thrilled that it’s going to become a reality. Carter is as excited as a 2-year-old can be and keeps telling us that ‘Pip’ as we have fondly nicknamed the baby, will be a ‘girl sister’.

This time round, the first trimester was not as easy going as it was with #1. I have felt nauseous pretty much every day. My skin has gone for a ball of shit (pimples on the lips, anyone?). I even have eczema on my eyes and neck, and the exhaustion has been truly humbling. I had to tell my boss really early on when, after sitting in a meeting that had gone on for several hours, I thought I was going to vomit from the hungernausea (patent pending). It’s also been really frustrating dealing with people stealing my (patentpending) hungernausea snacks in said meetings.

I’ve been keeping a little diary of Pips journey thus far. All 11 weeks and 4 days of it. I wonder if you would be interested in reading them? It’s a lot of swearing and venting about food-thiefs and general assholes (my god, you forget how much you hate everyone when you’re pregnant), but may be a fun way for me to recap this journey years down the line.

I’ll save the deets for how Pip came to be for another time, because it’s 12:26, and naturally, lunch trumps all right now.

But yay, I’m having a bay, and couldn’t be ill’er happier.

 

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Motherhood. And The Demise of Friendships.

I’ve read so many articles, written by moms, where they profess massive apologetic outbursts for ‘losing themselves’ in the first year of their child’s life and for being ‘bad friends’ during that time. And every single time I read something like that I get more and more pissed off. Because I call bullshit. Because – and it took me a while to realise this – but the demise of a friendship after one of you becomes a parent is in fact (gasp) not always the new moms fault.

When Carter was born, and in fact during my pregnancy, I tried my hardest to prove that I hadn’t changed as a person. I became the martyr of “normal-dom” and insisted on being at all the dinners and events. I sipped my alcohol free beer and sparking water and made chit chat until the last guests had left, even though many times I as so dog tired I wanted to cry. I had dinners and arranged get togethers and had people visit my home and watched them get drunk and silly and had fun while doing it.

The night after my son was born I had (non mom) friends visit with fancy red wine and cheese and we giggled in my hospital room until the nurses kicked them out.

When he was a tiny week old infant we had friends for diner and we drank champagne and I burnt the food and it didn’t matter because we were doing this. We were being parents and friends and adults and functioning members of society.

When he was a few weeks old I went back to gym – with him in tow – and met people for lunch – with him in tow again – and enjoyed every last second of my maternity leave while I could.

When he was 3 months old I went on my annual girls trip – willingly – and loved every second of it – despite my overweight body and leaking breasts.

We’ve been to friends houses for lunch and ended up staying until early hours of the next morning – with our son sleeping on a duvet nest in the room next door. We’ve gone away and strapped his car to game vehicles using cable ties and a prayer. We’ve traveled overseas with him, rocked him to sleep in fancy restaurants and bathed him in sinks and basins and Jacuzzis at braais.

And now he’s almost two, and I’ve barely dropped the ball. I’ve yet to use him as an excuse for not participating, and on the few instances I’ve left a function early to put him to sleep or arrived a little bit late because he has a routine I’ve chosen to ignore the comments and eye rolls. In fact, the reason I sometimes do decline an invite is because I’m working too hard. Which when you are child-less is heroic, but when you’re a mom is an excuse.

But I’ve also come to a realisation that some friendships have changed – friendships that I thought were rock solid. And I have spent the better part of nearly two years trying harder and making more effort and saying ‘yes’ to girls nights. And the more I tried the more disconnected I’ve felt and it’s taken all of this time to realize that I have actually done nothing wrong. And that sometimes people with no kids do not want to spend time with people with kids. And that is actually OK.

I haven’t been invited to some friends houses since the day Carter was born. I haven’t cracked the nod for an after work glass of wine or a holiday or a movie or been called for advice. Because I think that some people think that we change, and they immediately assume we will have no time for them. And perhaps we don’t, all the time, but we do some of the time, and even though my life is more structured and more-often-than-not revolves around a school run, a bath time, a feeding or a nap, and I cant just do a lot of the things I used to do pre-baby, on a whim anymore, I’m still here, and available. Even if I’m sometimes I’m only available with a plus one. And I can promise you this much, if you need me, when you need me, I will always be there. Because I am still the good same person that you fell in friendship love with all those years ago.

So to the new friends with kids who just understand broken conversation, broken sleep and broken wine glasses at dinner parties, but who welcome us anyway, I say thank you. To the friends with no kids who totally get that sometimes I just cant get out, but who come to me with wine and pizza and who bath my child while I pour more booze, I say thank you. And to the friends with no kids who don’t come to me, or let me in, or invite me over please know that I haven’t changed. I still drink as much Merlot (if not more), I still talk shit and love being social, I have interests and careers and things to talk about that I can promise you are not even close to baby related, I still need your advice and and shoulder to lean on and to bitch about husbands and work and finances. I just now have a small human, who I call my son, who is now the best part of my life. And I hope one day you will see me not just as another mom, but also as Kate, your friend.

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