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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Super Rad Sh*t

Happy Spring Day my little fairies! I for one am loving the warmer weather, although I may be imagining it, but for the first time in months I’m in open toed sandals (gnarly troll toes and all) and not wrapped in a Game Of Thrones style coat. So yay, here’s to warner weather and plenty more sunshine.

So, I’ve been tinkering around with a new idea for quite some time, and thought -what better day to launch it than on Spring Day. New starts, fresh beginnings and all that jazz.

The idea for the theme of ‘Super Rad Shit’ came about for two reasons – firstly – I get sent a lot of really cool rad stuff that sometimes isn’t enough for a whole blog post, but has definitely made a positive difference in my life, and secondly, I buy a lot of super rad shit (and sometimes super shit, shit). I’m the type of person who pops to Dischem for deodorant and comes back with a thousand rands worth of stuff (yes mom, I know I should be putting this money into my bond). So, to ease the guilt over being such a product hoarder, I thought what better way than to share my love of all products and things with you, my besties 🙂

I will be posting my Super Rad Shit (Yussis, SEO best practice is annoying) stuff every few weeks, and there probably wont be too much of a trending theme. It will just be me reviewing random stuff I have bought and tried and giving you the honest low down – to potentially save you some cash dolla should you be considering making  the same purchase.

Some items are sponsored, some are the result of retail therapy. Either way – I’ll tell you, honestly, how I feel about them

My first post is dedicated to ‘Shit That’s Simplified My Life’. The last several weeks of pregnancy have left me a redundant human. Between the nausea, exhaustion and growing sense of hatred for 98% of all humans, I’ve had very little time for time consuming stuff. So here’s my round up of Super Cool Shit #1.

  1. USN Trust Bars

Sure, the name is more suited to a condom, but these bars ( and I have only tasted the Vanilla Cupcake) flavour, are delicious. I munched one for breakfast this morning and keep them in my draw, handbag, cubbyhole and camera bag for when I haven’t had time for a meal or I’m feeling hunger pangs coming on.

Verdict: Rupert Approves. Rupert like cake.

2. Badger Pregnant Belly Oil.

My tummy has already popped, and I am so worried about stretch marks with this pregnancy. I’ve been using this Badger oil on my tummy since baby was just two lines on a stick. It doesn’t have the vanilla fragrance that it promises on the box, but that’s probably not a bad thing. Preggie noses are not good with overpowering scents, so I’m preferring a more bland vibe these days. The oil spreads beautifully and sinks in quickly – no ruined tops of clothing. Alos, the packaging is stunning and I’m going to see if they have baby products for when ‘Pip’ is born.

Verdict: Rupert – the anti stretchmark Boston Terrier Advocate – Approves.

3. Matsimela Bath Bombs

The closest I get to a Spa day is visiting my actual Spar for bread and milk, so to be tricked into thinking I’m having one at home sounded amazing. One of the things I’m most excited about with our renovations is the oversized freestanding bath we are getting. It’s going to make such a difference when my two-year-old and future baby joins me. The thought of wetting both boobs and knees simultaneously makes me want to poop myself – which coincidentally –  is what these bath bombs look like once dissolved. Brown colour aside, they smell insanely beautiful and leave your skin with a soft oily finish. I will be stocking up on more of these for when my new bathroom is ready. I also have my eyes on some Lush products – although I need to save –  because I’m pretty sure their non-official payoff line is ‘Gots to be flush, for Lush’.

Verdict: Rupert doesn’t apprive of baths, but he’s totally giving the thumbs up on these bath bombs.

4. Essence Quick and Easy Sponge Nail Polish remover.

Speaking of shit I buy at Dischem, there is never a visit to that store that doesn’t result in me buying something off the Essence stand. Their cheap and cheerful pricing model means I can leave with a little treat without too much guilt. Seeing as I am a nailpolish slut, I figured it was time to try  this new nifty nail polish remover bottle, You basically dip your finger in and jerk it around for several seconds until the nail polish is gone. It’s apparently acetone free so I’m also happier to have it lying around the house in case my makeup obsessed son gets hold of it.

Verdict: Rupert says ‘Nailed it!’

5. Gel effect nail polishes

In a bid to save money, I quit having my nails done. Not the smartest move I’ve made as my hands are always showing – especially with photography. A lot of brands promise a ‘gel’ effect, but I have found that very few actually deliver on their promise. Another Essence favourite though is the ‘1 coat and go’ which is literally that – I can apply a coat of nail polish and have my hands dried, and coated, in less than 90 seconds. The paint chips after a day though – but I honestly haven’t found a product that doesn’t chip on me, even when having my nails done at a salon. I also tried the Wet ‘n Wild ‘1 step gel’ but hated it – the colour went on streaky and my nails were chipped within a few hours.

Verdict: Essence – Rupert Approves. Wet ‘N Wild: Rupert does not.

6. Silicon makeup sponge

I’ve been using the original Beauty Blender for a year now, but because I am as conscientious as a brick wall, I haven’t been cleaning it like I should, and it’s gone a bit mouldy and stinky. Eeuw. I have been seeing these silicon sponges around for a while now – they promise less waste and a smooth makeup application. Um, the verdict is out on this one. For R49 it’s not a devastating loss, but I found that my fingers work better than the silicon. It doesn’t really blend my makeup in as as much as it just smears it around my face. I’d give this one a skip. Side note – also pictured here is a new animal friendly makeup brand I’ve been trying – ‘MINA’. They have a store in Sandton City and every colour under the sun is available. they are well priced and I love the fact that I can wear their stuff, guilt free.

Verdict: Leave the makeup sponge on the shelf. The actual makeup? Rupert Approves.

7. UCOOK

Ok. I will be honest here. The only reason I signed up to try UCook was becasue they were promising a free Le Creuset dish to their first 100 new signups. Sadly, I was customer 101 (Story of my life) so I missed out on the dish, but my guilt also didn’t let me cancel my order. And I am SO glad I didn’t. The box arrived at work laden with ingredients and instructions for 3 meals. So far I have made the spinach, feta and mushroom ravioli and the butternut quesadillas. Both meals have been freaking amazing, and I’ve already signed up for next weeks box. The recipes are clear and the portions are really really generous (I ate my left over dinner on my way to work this morning. The fetus demanded it.)

Verdict, Rupert Approves (although Rupert is cheap and wishes these meals were a tad less pricey).

8. Sheryl Sandbergs ‘Lean In’.

I don’t know if it’s age, work history or what but I am really really battling with the huge amount of sexism I face on a daily basis. I have a vagina and am therefore incompetent and functionally useless. I bought this book a few moth sago after a particularly bad experience and am just loving how it verified everything about how I feel, and how all I suspect, a lot of women,  feel daily. Do yourself a fave – get it. Get it now. Your useless, incompetent and confused vagina will thank you for it.

Verdict: Rupert, and Rupertina, approve.

9. Blendid Smoothie Mixes

The only reason my NutriBullet gets used these days is thanks to these bad boys. They have literally been a lifesaver on mornings when my morning sickness is so bad that dry retching is all I can manage. They are packed (I cant finishs one) with ingredients and have the best names. I’m trying to convince them to name a pack after my current situation “Dumb pregnant vagina who vomits all the time”, catchy, no?

Verdict: Rupert, the smoothie connoisseur, approves.

10. HnM Maternity Wear.

It happened on Tuesday. I was sitting at my desk in jeans that were cuting off my blood supply, and I realised it was time to bite the bullet and buy some sexy preggy wear. I never wore them with Carter and have always been super against the idea – but my burgeoning tummy had other ideas. Luckily for me, and you, HnM (Mall of Africa only from what I’ve heard) has a really nice range of fat clothes. Stylish as well. Like these here black pants, which may not be sexy on top but are well fitted, nice fabric and look like skinny tailored work pants. They are also perfectly complemented by the bathroom bin and sexy morning selfie. *face cut off to save you that sight*.

Verdict. Rupert approoooves. And, exhale.

 

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I Hate Being Fat.

 

Its 36 degrees in Joburg, and I’ve just declined another swim. I’ll sit on the edge of the pool and joke about how “nobody wants to see a whale in their water”, and that “no costume in the world is big enough for this arse”, but I’m sweating while I joke, because it’s fucking 36 degrees outside, and I really want to swim. More than that, I really want to not be fat anymore.

Pregnancy, as easy as you were, you were exceptionally hard on me in one way. My body. I have never felt this out of sorts, this alien and this uncomfortable in my own skin. I don’t think I’ve lost a kilogram of baby weight, in fact, I feel like in the last 8 months I’ve simply gained and gained. I hate being fat. I hate it so much that I’ve decided, come what may, I will lose 10 kilograms by 1 May. I will be back to my pre baby self for my child’s first birthday.

In order to stick to my new plan, I need to be accountable, and I need to grow a set of lady balls and actually have the willpower to push through what is possibly going to be a very tough 4 months. So, with a 10 kilo goal in mind, what better way to remind myself of why I’m doing this, with 10 reasons why I hate being fat.

  1. When I make a joke about being overweight and people respond with ‘I see’ or an awkward ‘Ya…’. That’s when you know. You know you’re big when people don’t even pretend to be kind in their replies. A new colleague said to me the other day “You were thin? I suppose I’ve only known you this size’. Ouch. I hated that.
  2. I don’t fit into anything from before I had a baby. My gorgeous skinny pants, slinky vests, blazers and even bras have been chucked to the back of the closet. Replacing them are the size 12 jeans I bought on a 2 for 1 sale at Edgars, loose shirts, leggings and sports bras with added stretch. Not being able to wear anything that makes me look and feel good? I hate that.
  3. The way people look at me – people closest to me, like certain family members. I feel their eyes on me whenever I take a bite of food or when I put on another pair of too tight pants. I hate the way they make me feel. I hate the guilt, I hate the shame. I hate feeling like I’m being judged for having the body I do. I hate that.
  4. The sweat. I am always sweating. Being overweight means boob sweat, head sweat and feet sweat. It’s gross. I hate it.
  5. I don’t feel like I get taken seriously in the work place. Silly hey? But still, I hate that.
  6. I don’t feel like socializing, seeing people or going out. I no longer want to be the person sitting under the umbrella while everyone else swims or the one in the long maternity style maxi dress when everyone’s lying in a bikini. I hate that.
  7. The way I feel at the gym. Physically I’m still gloriously strong, and I train 3 days a week. I can smash a spinning class, I’m building up my running resistance and I can probably lap most people in the pool. But the way I feel people looking at me in the gym? Like the token plump girl? I hate that.
  8. Shopping. I love clothes, and fashion. I love beautiful things. I’m tired of buying gorgeous garments for ‘when I’ve lost the weight’ I want to wear them now. The fact that I have items with their tags still on, and clothes from pre-baby tucked away at the back of the closet, because I’m simply too fat to wear them? I hate that.
  9. As if having a baby and a full time demanding career weren’t stressful enough on my marriage – try throw in body shame and self hate. I really don’t want to feel un-sexier than I do now. Changing in a locked bathroom so my husband cant see? I hate that.
  10. Other moms who lost the baby weight. Especially those who did it from ‘breast feeding’ or the ones who did nothing at all (the weight just “fell off” and then apparently on to me) I hate you. And I hate the fact that I hate you which means I hate me even more. I hate it. (Side note, there are a few ladies on Twitter who have spoken me off a cliff more than once, and helped my confidence so much – I hope you know just how lovely your kind words are, and just how much they’ve meant to me).

There it is. The raw brutal honest truth. It’s out there on the Interwebs now, which means I’m accountable to me, and all of you. Please help me in this journey, and if possible share your own stories of postpartum plumpness. I promise I’ll be nice to you even if you were one of the ‘lost the weight straight away’ ones 😉 – hell, maybe you can even share some weight loss secrets with me.

In the spirit of starting fresh, of turning over a new leaf, and learning to love who I am. Happy New Year. Here’s to having the body of a (20)16 year old!

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May 2015. The day before I gave birth.

 

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June 201. Fat. Uncomfortable in my own skin. This is one of the few photos I have of me and my child where Im fully exposed. I’ve become a pro at snapping pics of him with anyone but me, and when I am in the photo I manage to hide my body.
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November 2013. I’ve been happy with my body once. I just need to get back there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15,897,600 seconds.

It’s amazing how time differs for different things.

Pregnancy. The 40 longest weeks of your life. Then your baby is born, and its ‘blink and it’s gone’ fast. Everyone tells you how quick it goes, everyone. You believe them, but you don’t quite get it until it’s your baby. One minute he’s next to you in the hospital bed, drowning in his new-born baby grow, all pink face and puffy eyes, and the next thing he’s rolling, and sitting, and shouting, and eating solid food (sometimes) and you’re booking his first birthday party in your diary.

Carter James is 6 months old today. Half a year. I can’t quite believe it. On one hand it happens too quickly, and on the other hand I can’t remember a life before him. How did I fill my time for the past 31.5 years? (Actually, that’s a silly question. I slept, and exercised, had boobs that stayed in their bra, had a clean house and went out, a lot.)

6 months. 184 days.4,416 hours. 264,960 minutes. 15,897,600 seconds.

I wasn’t quite sure I’d enjoy having a baby older than infant sized. Honestly, I found them exhausting to be around. Always moving, always vocal, always needing stimulation and always so busy. SO BUSY. My naïve pre-mom self thought that newborns were perfection. You could doze with them on your chest, dress them in doll sized clothes, and gaze adoringly at them for hours on end. While this is all true, and while Carter’s newborn stage was one of the highlights of my life, I cannot explain just how much I am enjoying him more and more as each day passes.

I’m sorry, moms, for ever judging you when you posted another ‘solids’ pic on Facebook, or gushed about teeth, sitting or milestones. You deserve to post them. It’s an incredible feeling to watch this tiny, helpless (read: boring) infant turn into a small human who swallows, and grabs, and chats and rolls and learns new things every single day.

Carter smiled at 4 weeks, rolled at 11, got his first tooth at 5 and a half months, and then straight away a second, sat just before 6 months and fell off the bed the very next day (induction to parenting I suppose). Carter laughs at funny things, grabs and chews everything in sight, gets frustrated when he can’t do something on his own (definitely his moms child then) and smiles at everyone he meets.

So yes, whilst I may be in a spin about just how fast they do grow up, I am also shit excited for the next 6 months, and the next after that. Because watching your child grow up is a privilege that just cannot be explained.

Happy 05. Birthday to my beautiful son.

6 Months In vs 6 Months Out
6 Months In vs 6 Months Out
Carter is 6 months old today!
Carter is 6 months old today!
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Solids, Sickness and Sucking It Up. Plus – Win A Medela Breastpump!

There’s a magical time in the life cycle of a parent, where for a split second you know exactly what’s going on. Your baby’s schedule finally resembles something of order, he’s sleeping, crapping and eating on time, and you’re high-fiving yourself for a job well done. And by high-fiving yourself I mean drinking 5 glasses of celebratory wine.

Then, without notice or warning, your baby goes through one of his seventeen thousand growth spurts (it’s true, I Googled it) and everything changes.

For me, it was around about the time I went back to work, Carter decided night time sleep was not necessary, and waking up every hour was more of his vibe. He also then decided to bring home every germ known to man from crèche and make me ill and himself perpetually snotty in the process.

So, as if sitting in meetings with racoon eyes, a permanently-resides-in-my-gut-now tummy bug and a third of a brain cell wasn’t bad enough, we then also had solids to contend with. I have been dreading the progression from milk to solids – it felt  like a monumental chore to me.  Not only would I now need to leave the house with everything and then the kitchen sink – now I must remember microscopic portions of blended, pureed vegetables (a variety, just in case he hates carrots), as well as spoons, bibs the size of small countries and another 6 changes of clothes. Lord, it’s hard enough remembering the baby!

Like most things in life though, solids have proven to be way more fun than I imagined. Sure, you end up dirtier than a Kardashians divorce, but the baby loves it, the dogs standing underneath the feeding chair love it, and its overall a pretty rewarding thing – having kept your baby long enough that he or she now eats from a (albeit rubbery and purple) spoon.

Baby weaning to solids

This is not a post on baby food recipes, or tips on how to keep kid clean during feeding (hint: you must actually throw the baby out with the bathwater) but it is a little note to all the moms who are nearing this milestone, on how I’ve managed to incorporate solids into our lives, without having too much of a logistical breakdown.

  1. Start slowly. Your baby still needs his milk (breast or formula) throughout the process. The initial introduction of solids is small, and for the first few weeks it’s simply there to get him used to something other than milk. So don’t panic about it – it’s pretty impossible to mess it up too much at this point. For more info on formula and what’s best for your babe, check out Diapers.com
  2. Start with porridge and then only move on to vegetables.
  3. Because Carter has the ‘crèche-plague’, I’ve been mixing his porridge with breast milk as opposed to formula. Lucky for me I have a nice stash in my freezer to use. I’ve also been substituting one bottle of formula a day with breast milk (the stuff is magical as an immune booster!). If you are going back to work soon, invest in a travel pump so you can express at the office.
  4. When your baby is ready for veggies – make sure to find out what veggies he will eat. It’s completely pointless steaming an entire pumpkin when he ends up hating the stuff. Because we only started vegetables this weekend, I’ve made 1 batch of each veg, and will be introducing one to him a day – that way if he loves a particular one I will know to make more and freeze. My child is 50% my husband, so Im not holding my breath on him loving anything green that rhymes with megemabel.
  5. In term of portions – I’m still trying to figure out how little or how much, but the general consensus is to steam, puree and freeze in ice trays. Then, when it’s feed time, simply pop a cube or 2 out and go from there. Please, and this is very important, make sure you still have normal ice trays available for your wine. It’s also quite important to not confuse the 2, and give Little Johnny a spoon of Sav Blanc, or drop a frozen block of sweet potato in your Chardonnay.
  6. It’s best to introduce solids between meals – and because I work full time, I’ve found that 5 pm works best for us. Carter now also has porridge after his morning bottle, and then a nap. (remind me why we wanted to be adults?)
  7. A few other foodie options I’ve played with are breast milk lollies, teething biscuits and banana in a mesh food bag. In a few weeks I’m going to introduce biltong and dried mango – because I’m loaded apparently.
  8. Like I said, I am NOT the expert. Luckily for you, there are some moms out there who have it waxed. I found Baby Jakes Mom to be a huge help.
  9. Lastly, have fun! I have very quickly had to get over my anti-mess OCD tendencies, and have resigned myself to the fact that for the foreseeable future I will probably never be clean again. I keep reminding myself of the mantra that ‘messy play is good for babies’.

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Lastly, in keeping with the spirt of healthy, happy and well fed babies- the kind folk at Medela have a Harmony breast pump to giveaway to one lucky Rupert Approves reader. So, if you’re pregnant, current owner of a freshly baked baby or know of someone who would like to win this awesome prize, all you need to do to enter is the following:

  1. Make sure you like the Rupert Approves Facebook page
  2. Follow the Rupert Approves Blog
  3. Leave a comment on this blog and tell me a story about your solids experience (if you have a baby) or if you’re as far away from being pregnant as Donald Trump is to winning the elections – simply tell me who you would like to win this breast pump for.

The Ts and the Cs

  • All competition mechanics must be followed in order to be entered in to the draw
  • The competition runs from 22 October and the winner will be picked and announced on 26 October at 3 pm
  • All entrants must visit the Rupert Approves blog to find out if they have been chosen
  • The prize is not transferrable
  • The competition is open to anyone worldwide, however the prize can only be delivered within South Africa.

About the Medela Harmony

  • Medela Harmony single manual breast pump is designed for mums who mostly breastfed and is great for travel or as backup.
  • Light and discreet: Switch between this pump and a double electric pump, or use the pump on its own if you aren’t a frequent pumper
  • Medela Harmony single manual breast pump is designed for mums who mostly breastfed and is great for travel or as backup. (Perfect for the office!)
  • Elegantly designed and comfortable to use: assembly is intuitive and the pump has an ergonomic twist handle
  • Features 2-Phase Expression technology

Medela Harmony

UPDATE

COMPETITION WINNER

Congratulations to DEBS on winning this competition!! Please pop me an email to katenicolekearney@gmail.com to claim your prize! 🙂

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Motherhood. Expectations Vs. Reality.

Oh, pregnancy. A sweet time of glowing skin and great plans. Alas, just as your uterus shatters, so do your big parenting ideas.

I will get my post baby body back.

No. No you won’t. Sorry. (Unless you’re my friend Amy. Fuck Amy).

I will always look presentable. No mom jeans for me!

You will never look presentable again. Yesterday I put on a crisp white work shirt and dropped Carter off at crèche. The parent gods laughed and laughed at me when Carter threw up, not once, not twice, but thrice on said shirt. I spent the remainder of the day sniffing myself, wondering if anyone else could smell the curdled Nan.

I will still cook gourmet, healthy meals.

If that means opening a tin of curried vegetables and pouring a mug of wine, then yes, I’m positively Nigella’ing this shit.

I will make time for my man. No baby shall come between us.

And if by ‘making time’ you mean grunting at each other from across the lounge, while sprawled on your couch, mug of wine in hand, and Idols Season 76 on TV, then yes, we are living the dream.

I will never drug my baby.

Until you use Telament for the first time, and the angels in the heavens open their sweet, sweet mouths and sing your praise. “Hallelujah” they chant, “for your baby shall now nap”.

I will not over document my child’s life.

I see your ’18 photos of Juniors solids’ and raise you my birth photo, Facebook gallery and 416 Instagram snaps.

I will never help my baby to sleep. He will sleep when I tell him to sleep.

Sister, you will rock, swing, walk, run, coo, kiss and lick your baby to sleep. There are days when I find myself rocking slowly back and forth…and my child is nowhere in sight. Acceptable at home, not great in a business boardroom.

I will not let one small human getin the way of my life’s plans.

And if by life’s plans you mean living, breathing, napping, pooing, working, shopping, cooking, socialising and cleaning Nan vomit off your white shirt, then sorry. They will get in the way of it all. I have held a wee in for the better part of a day. Your body is a miraculous thing. It can hold a baby, and urine for equal amounts of time.

I will not bring up my kid in adult conversation.

Boss: “Have you done that budget recon, Kate?”

Kate: “No, because have you seen how cute my baby is?”

I will still have money leftover for nice things

A telephone conversation with my husband this morning went along the lines of “Darling, remember all that money we had saved for house extensions and that new custom made TV stand? Well, it’s now all going to be spent on a pool fence and some nappies.”

I will not feel guilty about re-priotitizing my life.

You will apologize for everything. Sorry I can’t make your function, sorry I’m leaving work now to fetch my child, sorry I’m late, sorry I’m sorry, I’m sorry I take a million Instagram photos and talk about my son all day. Sorry, not sorry.

You will never be the same again.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” and so in you the child your mother lives on and through your family continues to live… so at this time look after yourself and your family as you would your mother for through you all she will truly never die.” – Osho

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The Problem With Mommy Groups.

Falling pregnant is (relatively) easy. Being pregnant, and then spawning a baby, is the hard part. It’s only until you have this tiny, helpless infant in your arms that you think to yourself “shit, now what?”. 

I think I spent my entire pregnancy in denial – under a false illusion that once baby was here I would know exactly what to do, and that everything would magically fall into place. Except, it didn’t. Suddenly, I had this brand new, pink, squeaking, frog-like human in my arms and panic set in. How will I know when to change its nappy. What size nappy? What brand of nappy? When does it eat? How does it eat? How much does it eat? OhMyGodWhenAmIEverGoingToEatAgain?!

And so, I sought advice from the experts. Other moms. 

Facebook, with all its faults, does offer us one great thing – groups. And if there’s one thing a mommy loves, it’s a mommy group on Facebook. Before my baby was barely more than some drying wee on a dipstick, I had been added to more Faceook groups than I could remember. Breastfeeding groups, gentle parent groups, Joburg groups, groups about groups, groups abut those groups who group together. You get the point. 

My newsfeed was filled daily with panic stricken moms asking for consultations on their baby’s rash, moms asking for reliable family photographers and moms looking to sell little Johnnys ‘barely used’ burp cloth.

At first, I loved it, I sucked in the information like an alcoholic on relapse. Everything fascinated me! No ‘is this poo even normal’ question was too much for my insatiable appetite, no requests for ‘it’s little Julie’s birthday in 7 minutes and I need one hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes’ could scare me away. Oh no, I was mommy group befok. 

Until I started asking my own questions.

They started off innocently enough. One day I asked if anyone could recommend a good book to read during maternity leave (and we laughed and laughed). I also posed on the group the day before my son was born, and the love poured in. Then, I had the absolute gall, the CHEEK, to post about something that required a point of view. Circumcision. Words like ‘baby massacre’ and ‘genital mutilation’ spring to mind. My post elicited hundreds of responses where women, who I have never met and who have never met me unleashed their verbal abuse. 

I’m not alone. I have seen hundreds of moms torn to shreds for even mentioning the word ‘bottle fed’ or (gasp!) ‘C Section’. Questions around how many ml’s a baby should be drinking were met with very angry women lambasting anything that didn’t come out of the boob. Cute pics of ‘baby’s nursery linen’ were followed with Internet links to cot deaths and SIDS stats.

Eventually, I started to unfollow most of the groups, and retreated into the corner like a scolded school child. From there, I observed, and watched more innocent ladies fall to the merciless hands of the know-it-all-parent.

I have chosen to remain on two Facebook groups, where abuse is met with a quick removal by the page admin, but having been burnt a few times I am hesitant to post anything more than an innocuous update about something that can’t offend anyone. (puppies running through tulips, and that sort of thing)

Motherhood is fucking tough. We all have our days where we have no idea what we’re doing. I’m still so grateful to the few groups I remain on and the 99% of moms out there who are genuine and helpful, and don’t mind a difference of opinion.

To those moms, the invisible personas behind the profile pictures, I thank you. We may have never met, but you have helped me in more ways than you know.mommy wars

PS – I still can’t help anyone with a hundred million gluten free Frozen themed cupcakes. Sorry. 

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Blake Lively, You Are Not helping Matters.

I just took a light jog with the dogs and the pram. In my nursing bra. My oversized boobs were literally flying into my mouth.

Why did I just take a jog with 2 dogs and a baby you ask? No, it was not to taste my own boob milk, nor was it to proudly display my multitasking skills whilst I clutched dog leash in one hand and bouncy breast in the other.

You see, my face slash body double Blake Lively has also recently given birth to a baby. I’m not sure of its name. Probably God. 

Have you seen Blake Lively post partum? Wait did you see her pregnant? Holy mother of all things fertile, the woman looks like a Victoria Secret model. She’s all lean arms and legs, luscious hair and flat tummy. It’s depressing dear reader – and don’t for one second try to tell me she’s wearing spanx under her dress made of human skin. I tried them things. All that happened was that my post baby belly went from sitting around my waist, to being squished up around my chest, resulting in 2 sets of 36 D’s to deal with. 

She has time to wear a hat?
She has time to wear a hat?

Seriously?

I mean COME ON!
I mean COME ON!

Im still wearing the pregnancy leggings I lived in for 9 months, and when I dare to wear a tight top I look 5 months knocked up. You guys, my cellulite has cellulite.

I had an easy pregnancy – so I guess this is my big pay back – the fat that won’t come off. What makes it even worse is that my bordering on problematic pregnancy cravings (white chocolate, vanilla cake, Kit Kat chunkys and toasted cheese sarmies have not at all abated). Harder still is that junk food is the easiest thing to eat when nursing a baby in one hand and fondling my fat rolls in the other.

I did go back to gym. Once. I signed Carter up to Club V, left him there and waddled off to the floor mats. There, I bumped into a lady I used to work with, who has the body of Blake Lively’s twin sister. She told me, very kindly, to go easy on myself. 12 months is a very long time to be stagnant, but I was too stubborn to listen. 8 jumping squats later I could actually feel myself starting to black out. 1 attempted plank and a handful of running lunges later and I think I actually DID pass out. 

EIGHT DAYS LATER and I was only managing to sit down n the toilet again without crying. 

I know I need to be patient, I know its only been 7 weeks and 6 days since I gave birth (and all the lard in the world is worth it when I look at this perfect little kid) but man, am I feeling crappy about this post baby body. 

I guess, in a perfect world, I would have a nanny to give me some time off to hit the gym, a slew of maids to do the washing and drying and cleaning when my baby vomits all over his brand new outfit (again) and a million more hours in the day to get everything I need to done. 

For now, I will take running up the street, clutching heaving bosoms in a nursing bra, whilst holding on to a pram and 2 hounds. 

Welcome to motherhood. 

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A Letter To My Unborn Baby

Dear Sprout

I can’t believe the day when we finally get to meet you is so close. At times this pregnancy has felt like it would never end, and at others I wonder where the time has gone. (To be fair, that’s happened once, and was a very fleeting moment. 38 weeks in gestation time is around 4 years in non-gestation time)

Just the other night as I arrived at the hospital for an impromptu checkup, I had a moment of panic when I walked in the doors. 50% of me was kind of hoping the doctor would tell me you were on your way, and the other million % of me was terrified out of my mind. Terrified. A thousand “ohmywordwhatarewedoing” moments flashed through my brain. I’m sure that’s normal though – and I know that the second you are here with me, those fears will all fade (to be replaced with “he’s crying – now what!?”)

I’ve had 38 long weeks to think about you, and imagine this wormy, wriggling yoga thing as an actual human being. There are so many things I’m dying to find out – do you have hair? (the gorgeous heartburn you’ve given me implies yes), will you be as heavy as your read on the ultrasound machine, what colour are your eyes? Will you match the name we’ve chosen for you? Just what kind of a small person will you be?

I have so many dreams and wishes for you, kid. Huge pressure considering you have yet to take your first breath.

I hope that from the moment you come out into this terrifying world you know, above anything, that you are so loved. You were planned and wanted and waited for. Nothing about you being here was accidental.

I hope you go forth into this new life with sincerity, compassion and empathy. I hope that you choose to see the good in everyone, yet aren’t naive when it comes to giving 3rd chances. The majority of this world is good, and I hope you get to experience that good without being taken advantage of.

I hope you inherit your dads Excel logic, sporting skills, directional abilities and eyelashes. I hope you get my wit and sense of humour. You come from a strong line of Kearney’s who are always talking, always thirsty for knowledge and always learning – I pray that you go about life devouring new experiences with voracity.

Travel. I sit here now, and regret always being the one to abide by the rules, never exceeding my leave allocation and always saving instead of jumping on that plane to an exotic destination. Go to places only limited by your imagination – and for gods sake – eat the damn durian! I hope the more you travel the more you realise that Africa is your home, but I can’t be so naive as to think that you will live here forever. It’s hard in this country at the moment, and it may just get harder. Don’t ever stick around for us, but if you do leave, make sure you have enough money to fly us over to wherever you find yourself, so we can visit and cramp your style like all good parents do.

I hope you learn from us, but don’t feel obliged to follow in our footsteps. Go forth and make your own destiny – don’t let anyone’s previous actions hold you back from your future. Don’t let them tell you that you cant – figure that out for yourself.

Read a ton of books, eat more than what you’re familiar with. Vegetables are delicious, truly. Smile at strangers and let people in traffic. Be bigger than you are. Give yourself to others, but don’t be a pushover. Learn to say no when it’s needed.

Try and do new and scary things as often as you can, but don’t be foolish. Follow the rules, live honestly and with integrity. Be a good person and treat everyone well.

Be generous. I’m not talking about buying flashy things, I’m talking about generosity with your time, your willingness to help those in need and to sometimes not look at the price tag. Don’t be frugal. No one likes that person who double dips the tea bag.

The most important thing my parents taught me was how to respect others, ask questions and remember my pleases and my thank-you’s. I hope I instill this in you too.

At the end of the day, my wish for you is to embrace this life you’ve been given, and know that you being here is for a reason. I hope you find that reason and use it to its fullest advantage.

This life is yours for the taking.

I cannot wait to meet you.

Mom

baby rankin

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9 Months… Now What?

On Sunday, this not so little baby bump will be 9 months old. Before y’all panic and wonder why I’m not sprinting shuffling towards the closest hospital, remember that one is actually pregnant for a whopping TEN months so I still have a good few weeks to go. Yep, 40 weeks gestation, just another mind fuck us preggie woman are confronted with during our baking sessions.

I always wondered why, when you asked a pregnant woman how far along they were, they answered with some eye-rolling inducing answer like “26 weeks and 4 days”. Really? why couldn’t they just say 6 months? I’ll tell you why, it’s because every day we harbour this little human in our belly feels like an achievement. I know that sounds terribly self-involved and a bit ridiculous, but it’s true. I have gone through the past 35 weeks (and 4 days) knowing exactly how far along I was – to the day – at any given time.

Pregnancy becomes this great countdown – There are the big events like the trimesters, the important ultrasound dates like the out-of-the -danger-zone-12-week-scan and the all-important ‘baby is as big as a cucumber!’ milestones.

Imagine running a marathon – you have 42.2 kilometres ahead of you – and the only way you are going to cross that finish line without dying or faking a sprained ankle is to plan the race…every step of the way. You go in well fed, pre-race pooped, fit and with the right kit. You know that to reach the 21km mark means you are half way (20 weeks!) and that every 3 kilometres there’s a water point (baby ultrasound days, yay!). Closer to the end you find a burst of energy (OK, so this never happens in pregnancy) so by the time you cross over that finish line you are still alive, albeit slightly bruised and battered. (Your vagina).

So, forgive me for celebrating this very big milestone that is Sprouts 36th week in the womb, because it’s ended up feeling like a very long 36 weeks, and as anyone who’s ever had a freshly squeezed kid will tell you – the last month sucks, a lot.

You may remember, I wrote a blissfully glowing report on things I had learnt in pregnancy. Well, friends, that was in the first 12 weeks when my skin glowed, I maintained my weight due to some delicate food aversions (read – sobbing over a fishcake) and every single thing about growing a human child was a novelty.

Fast forward several months and I am pretty much 100% over it. So, an update on things I have learnt (later on) in my pregnancy:

  1. EVERYONE will give you their advice. At first you suck in it like kitchen roll, fascinated by the stories, the anecdotes, the remedies. That shit was liquid gold. Until, it’s not, and you just want everyone to shut up and stop telling you all the things all the time. OH, you think it’s best if I get natural birth? Thanks very much. I’ve never once thought about how I’m going to get this baby from the inside to the outside.
  2. The weight gain is all cool, until it’s not cool and one day you wake up with a fatter face, fatter arms and the inability to shave your legs without seeing cellulite in your ankles.
  3. You are hot, all the time. I really didn’t battle with this until a month ago when the cooler weather set in, resulting in office heaters on full blast, and me melting in my desk chair covered in boob sweat.
  4. Your tolerance levels for pretty much anything drop to a winning low. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing for me, Mrs-Hate-any-sort-of-conflict, and I now find myself directly confronting issues and people I have issues with. Just the other day I sent a scathing email and didn’t even add a smiley face to the end – I mean, that’s telling ‘em right?
  5. People can and will say stupid things. Just a few pearlers from the last few weeks:
    1. “Do you have a special Doctors note that allows you to still be at work?”
    2. “Are you having natural or a Joburg special smash and grab?”
    3. Are you going to be a real woman and have natural?
    4. ‘I’ve noticed you’re gaining weight, and not just in your tummy”
    5. “Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?”
  6. You walk slow, and with a duck like waddle. I used to be one of those woman in the mall, who walked sofastallthetime and would roll my eyes in passive aggressive irritation at dawdlers and window shoppers. I am now that person causing 4 body pileups outside of Edgars, and forcing people walking with me to step backwards every few minutes so as not to leave me in their dust. Try as I may I cannot go faster than granny pace, and If I do I’m convinced my baby is going to physically fall out of me.
  7. Reflux and heartburn are the devil spawn. I constantly feel like I have food rising in my throat and wake myself up most night by vomiting pure bile in to my mouth. On good days I can’t sleep, swallow or lay my head lower than a 90 degree angle. On bad days I think about this
  8. At night your bladder turns into a vindictive little girl bitch that fills up rapidly and insists on being emptied, every half an hour, one pitiful teaspoon at a time. It’s cystitis on steroids.
  9. Nesting takes on a whole new level. Just last week I found myself walking around the house, wiping down the plants with a dishcloth and coconut oil.
  10. Every movement, pinch, jab, roll, kick and pain makes you assume that you’re in labour. THIS IS IT! you think, as the tiny ferocious child inside you smashes his head against your womb for the 18th time that hour. It’s not.

All the moans and groans and aches aside, I seriously still need some time before our little man makes an appearance. There are very important things that need to be done still, like packing his bag, packing my bag, and locating my nether regions to get them waxed.

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