Pregnancy isn't the most dignified of processes. From the first three months of feeling like you have flu to the last three months of feeling like you can't breathe, to all the minor indignities along the way - the nosebleeds and the spots and the inability to fasten your own shoes - it's hard work.
But it's also an incredible experience.
In fact, despite the pelvic girdle pain and the Braxton Hicks contractions, I have loved the majority of my pregnancy. I would say it's about 20% crap stuff to 80% exhilarating.
Here are some of the bits which make it all worthwhile:
Feeling the KicksWell, most of the time! While not always comfortable and not always conveniently timed, there is something quite amazing (and very reassuring) about feeling a tiny human wriggling around in there. Steve and I sometimes watch my belly jiggling about and giggle away together - it's a very visible reminder that we're making a whole new person. It can make us quite emotional.
Eating at the TableFrom about week twenty-four onwards it became much more comfortable to eat dinner sitting at a table. Things were feeling a bit squished in there and that was giving me occasional indigestion. It's lovely, sitting down and spending a bit of time chatting to Steve over a meal, rather than eating on the sofa, each with one eye on Netflix.
An Excuse to Buy New ClothesI'm not usually much of a shopper - I tend to wear things until they're embarrassing and then choose their replacements with longevity in mind. Although I've been keeping my pregnancy wardrobe as small and cost effective as possible (hooray for the ASOS sale section!), being able to justify a whole new set of clothing was rather fun and shopping for the baby is the best.
Deep and MeaningfulsWhether it's discussing potential names or what we're going to do about money, how to approach the Santa question or our options when it comes to nappies, there's no avoiding in depth conversations at the moment - and no point being coy about what we believe. Steve and I have had to be very honest with each other about some very big topics and (although we do tend to agree on the things which matter) it's challenging and rewarding to voice exactly how we feel.
Other People's ExcitementOkay, there has been some naysaying, but over all we've both been blown away by how excited people are for us. From screechy text messages to homemade gifts, it has been quite humbling, seeing how much other people care.
Ice CreamThe official advice, if you're worried you haven't felt your baby kick for a while? Eat some chocolate or some ice cream and go for a lie down. Brilliant. Ice cream being full of calcium and being a sure way to get the baby to wriggle about, I'm taking the excuse to eat it a lot.
The BumpI love it. I've never had an "I'm so fat" moment. I can spend ages admiring my bump in the mirror and marvelling that I'm growing a baby in there. It just seems so implausible. After my miscarriage, I would look at pregnant women and find it both magical and unfair that their bodies knew how to perform this amazing trick - and now I'm, frankly, far too impressed with myself for managing to do the same.
Why is there a photo of honeysuckle at the start of this post? It isn't even blooming yet this year! Well, two reasons. One: there are only so many photos of my bump in this same black and white spotty dress that I can stand to take. Two: this is the Two Days the Same photo from the day I did my pregnancy test; I remember breathing in the honeysuckle scent, feeling equal parts scared and excited.