Category Archives: pregnancy

The necessity of nesting

When I first heard about the nesting instinct, I thought it was utterly bogus. Just another lame excuse for cleanliness freaks to validate their obsessive compulsiveness. It’s not surprising since pregnant women have all sorts of incredible terms for strange compulsions.

Wikipedia explains nesting as “an instinct or urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn”. In humans, it is commonly characterized by a strong urge to clean and organize one’s home. Great, now I’m having the same primal instincts as rodents.

Seeing that I have no qualms subscribing to the philosophy of maintaining an organized mess in my home, I thought I’d escape the nesting instinct by sheer rationality.

*Phew, my superior brains are one-up over the common mammals.

I draw the line at living like a slob, but in general, I’m ok with stuff like rolling my laundry up into little balls and stuffing them in the cabinets. As a rule of thumb, as long as the common areas are neat and tidy, hidden mess does not qualify as mess. (In philosophy, it’s the falling tree in the deserted woods theory – if no one is there to witness it, it technically does not exist)

Which is why I was totally caught by surprise when the nesting instinct kicked in. Against my better judgment, I found myself having the need to organize and reorganize every little thing at home. It was pretty mild when I was pregnant with Tru (maybe it’s a boy thing), but with Kirsten, I’m unstoppable. It’s like an itch that I have to scratch.

With 9 weeks to go, I’ve repacked the nursery about 4 times. Each time, I would dig out all her clothes, re-iron them, re-fold them into neat little stacks (in exact dimensions) and place them back in the wardrobe, only to repeat the process all over again. I’ve arranged all her diapers with the precision of a neurosurgeon and practically sterilized the entire room.

The bizarre thing about the nesting instinct is that it just completely disappears the moment the baby is born. Within a week after Tru’s birth, I was back to the ball-rolling thing. Believe me, with a newborn, there was barely enough time to take a full crap, much less organize stuff.

But for now, I can’t help myself. Apparently, my super brains aren’t so superior after all.

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Fat Girl Slim

Over dinner with some former colleagues (all ridiculously thin) who came to visit last week, I was made painfully aware of the fact that I’m no longer in the league of svelte, sultry young things anymore. The operative words being no longer, because I sometimes still reminisce the days when I was a size 6.

We live in a world where thin people have it easy. Designers create couture with a size 4 in mind, and it just doesn’t look the same when transposed onto a XXXL. You comb through the racks to find a nice top, but once you put it on, it will look decent at best.

Think about it. The seats in public transportation are meant to comfortably fit a thin person. Ever tried sitting next to an obese dude on the subway? You get really acquainted with the extra folds of his bottom as it presses up against yours. Even elevators are biased against corpulent individuals. The sign may say it fits 10 persons but if you look at the maximum weight allowed, it’s 500 kg. Do the math.

I never used to think twice about eating a chocolate fudge brownie with extra vanilla ice-cream, and still manage to pull off wearing a bikini right after. To be sure, I was never skinny, but at least I had some semblance of abdominal muscles and there was ample space between my thighs when I walked (it’s called the thigh test – as long as it doesn’t give you abrasions, you’re fine).

But with 2 consecutive pregnancies, I have since bade a tearful farewell to the thin(ner) version of me. So the colleagues (there’s a reason why they are FORMER colleagues) were having a very stimulating conversation on a new and highly effective slimming product and they managed to come to the conclusion that even that would not work for a case a severe as mine. Thanks, Bhav, good going.

But I’ll postulate that Slimspa can kiss my size 12 bottom because BIG IS BEAUTIFUL. It certainly took a while to get used to lugging an extra 30 kg around and I still get breathless after some brisk walking. But look on the bright side, it’ll give me a chance to form a special bond with my neighbors on the train.

The way I see it, I won’t be a fat chick forever and I’ll get back my figure soon enough. The abs may take a while to make a comeback, but I’m aiming to fit into my old jeans by Christmas. From now till then, I can either feel miserable or take a deep breath, suck in the stomach and enjoy the benefits of being big.

Blistering Barnacles

I’m having a meltdown. In every sense of the word. I think I know what’s accounting for the decline in birth rate here in Singapore. IT’S TOO BLOODY HOT TO BE PREGNANT. I’m telling you, the heat is insufferable, and it’s not like pregos have it easy as it is.

I can understand if the likes of Halle Berry rave about how wonderful pregnancy is. You’re living in LA, where the weather is a cool 16 degrees, and you actually have servants massaging your calfs and feeding you organic grapes while you lie on your deck chair overlooking Malibu Beach, complaining about not having enough screen time in X-men. If I were you, I’d have a dozen kids, just to make sure I trump AJ-Pitt.

But for mortals like me, every time I step out of the house, the sweltering heat makes me want to strip down and go skinny dipping. But then I’d probably be caught for indecent exposure and hauled off to prison. Remind me to install a private pool in my backyard before having another child. At least I’d be able to stay in the water all day.

I’m not surprised that pregnant women are so snappish all the time. They’re carrying a furnace around in their stomach, and combined with the heat wave, it’s like being in a giant microwave oven.

And there’s something about heat that makes people go crazy. When it’s nice and cool, things don’t seem so bad, but once you turn up the heat, brain cells are massacred by the millions and you start to have a meltdown over the most minute inconveniences. So the stereotype is true. Pregnant women are emotional and snappy. And it’s an entitlement, not a privilege.

14 weeks and counting

I’m well into the third trimester of my pregnancy, and this is where the fun really begins. The first two trimesters are easy-peasy. You hardly even notice that you’re pregnant and you’re still able to resume around 95% of your normal activities (cravings notwithstanding). But now, all the pregnancy symptoms are in full swing and ALL I WANT TO DO IS GIVE BIRTH.

I don’t walk anymore. I have to get around by waddling, which makes me look like a fat duck. The stomach is getting heavier by the day, my back is breaking, my legs are cramping up, I’m retaining water (and fats) like a reservoir, my formerly-tight ass is ballooning out of proportion and worst of all, I am losing my ability to sleep. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also incontinence, carpal tunnel syndrome, cellulite and stretch marks to deal with postpartum.

If you think about it, insomnia is one of the biggest ironies of pregnancy. I mean, there will be no more sleeping after the baby is born, so there should be some mechanism to allow the body to hibernate and store up on sleep just before the delivery. In fact, I should be retiring into a cave for the next 3 months and sleeping the winter away.

Last night was like the turning point. I was up at 2.30 in the morning developing ulcers watching Manchester United struggle at home against Porto. (GAH!) After which, I lay in bed tossing and turning till 6.45 waiting for Tru to wake up. I hate insomnia. The harder I try to fall asleep, the more awake I feel, and it’s so insanely frustrating. Besides, the whole counting sheep thing is rubbish. I reached up to 6,245,953 sheep before I decided that it was futile.

I’ve still got 14 weeks to go, and now that I think about it, it’s a really long time. Although, I suppose it would make it easier if I could just lie in bed all day with servants feeding me grapes and massaging my toes while I catch up on Grey’s Anatomy. (hint, hint)

The Name Game

I’m having a massive dilemma, so much so that I’m grabbing my head while meditating on the floor (lotus position, say ohm…) as I type. I was so sure that Kirsten was THE CHOSEN NAME for my little munchkin. But something has been troubling me of late, and I will have no rest till I come to terms with it.

Well, so it’s like this. I’ve been infatuated many times in my life, and fallen so head-over-heels in love that my head spins and I can barely catch my breath. But I’ve never felt like this before. I am completely besotted with the deep-badass goddess of fug that is TILDA SWINTON (trust me, you WANT to click on the link). She brings me unspeakable joy and makes my life complete. May she live forever.

And to pay homage to her genius, I’m willing to offer one of my offspring to be named after her greatness, in hope that a sliver of her brilliance will be somehow passed on to my baby girl.

Therein lies my dilemma. Much as I love how Kirsten Kao sounds, TILDA KAO would kick its pretty little ass out of this galaxy. Think of all the goodness that lies in the name.

First, I’ve got the cheesy sibling alliteration name thing going. They will all have names beginning with ‘T’. Truett, Tilda, Travis, Trent, Tristan. I’ll have my own little terrific tribe of tiny tots. Everyone will be so envious.

I’ve also googled the meaning for Tilda, and it totally rocks. It means “Mighty in Battle”. What could be better than having my own warrior princess? Her battle cries alone will give Tru a run for his money.

Best of all, it’s not your usual Jane or Mary. (disclaimer so I don’t get hate mail: those are very pretty names) Nobody in her school (no, make it life) will be called Tilda, so she’ll grow up with a unique personality. She’ll never have to deal with just being another face in the crowd.

So I’m really torn. Should I stick with the safe and go with Kirsten, or jump off the deep end and follow my heart to go with Tilda? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Oh, but there’s just one teensy, weensy pickle. “Tilda Kao(s) come home” would be mildly amusing.

Pregnancy and Sexercise

I was asked to do an interview for an article in a women’s magazine today. At first, I was all like “Why, let me check my very important schedule and see if I have time to sit down for a chat.” But before I even got a chance to savor my sense of self-importance, I took a glance at the topic – Sex and Pregnancy, and my chocolate milk almost squirted out of my nostrils.

Now, I’m not a prude or anything, but when it comes to MAKING THE SEXYTIME, I kinda prefer to keep it all to myself, and maybe at most, a very, very close friend.

However, considering that it is for the good of all mankind, (well, my experience is prodigious) I decided to go ahead and do the interview.

Q1. Being a given that sex is very important to men, was sex or the potential lack thereof a concern for your spouse when you first discovered you were pregnant?

What I should have said: First of all, sex is also very important to women. We are after all the masters of multiple orgasms. Second of all, there will be no lack of sex regardless of whether I’m pregnant or not. We are after all the masters of multiple orgasms.

What I did say: We had to sit down and talk about the adjustments we had to make with regards to our sex life during pregnancy, so that we both know what to expect and how to manage it best. Open communication is really important, rather than avoid the topic and try to second-guess each other.

Q2. What physical changes did you encounter that hindered or encouraged intimacy during your pregnancy?

What I should have said: You get bigger boobs, an increased libido and better orgasms. There’s no way I’m losing my mojo, baby.

What I did say: The belly was a real problem in the later months. It was really uncomfortable to lie on my back or side. Actually, it was just uncomfortable all the time.

Q3. What problems did you encounter when being intimate with your spouse during your pregnancy?

What I should have said: What problems? Did you not hear what I said about the bigger boobs?

What I did say: We had to think of creative ways when the stomach got too big and uncomfortable.

Q4. How did you overcome these problems (e.g. change of position, sexual alternatives, substitute with other forms of emotional or physical fulfillment like cuddling etc.)

What I should have said: There is a plethora of alternatives. Blow job, hand job, nose job (oh wait, that’s something else), woman on top, side-by-side, spooning, the list goes on.

What I did say: There was a lot of cuddling and hugging, which is good. We were also quite experimental with different positions.

Q5. Can you provide a few tips to our readers on how they can best maintain or improve intimacy with their spouses during pregnancy?

What I should have said: Pregnant women are hot. Just lay off the chips and I think you’ll do just fine.

What I did say: Have very frank and open communication with your spouse because things are going to be different, and they won’t understand what you are going through unless you talk about it. Also, have realistic expectations of each other so tension can be minimized.

Evidently, my responses were very safe and appropriate. But don’t you just hate reading sterile answers in those women’s mags where it’s all watered-down and boring. Come on, even my grandmother would have been more explicit.

That being said, I totally chickened out. I do have an image to maintain after all.

The Curse of the Cravings

One of the biggest banes of pregnancy is the accursed cravings. The backaches and incontinence, I can handle, but the cravings are my achilles’ heel. It’s insatiable. There’s a little voice in my head telling me what to eat all the time, and I just can’t get it to stop. One day it would be chicken wings, then curry, then ice cream (sometimes all at once). And if I so much as recalcitrated against the craving gods, I’d feel so sick it was worse than not eating at all.

To be fair, cravings are actually good. After you satisfy it, it’s totally orgasmic. Like when you locate an itch and scratch the living daylights out of it, or when an elusive sneeze finally surfaces, the satisfaction is intense.

If there were no repercussions, I would eat with wild abandon. Oh wait, I did, and that’s the story of how I gained 50 pounds.

This time around, I had a relatively craving-free first 20 weeks. I was even starting to give myself a little pat on the back for the immense self-control I’ve gained now that I’m a mother. (After you push a human being out of your crotch, you can stake claim to practically anything) But as I realized today, that’s absolute bollocks.

The cravings are back with a vengeance and today, it’s durians. Big, fleshy, aromatic, creamy durians. I could taste the bittersweet tang in my mouth and the smell, oh heavenly! I did make a vain attempt to list all the reasons why durians are bad, but there is no reasoning with the cravings.

So against my better judgment, I went out and decimated three whole durians. And it was exquisite.