Tag 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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My kids are better than your kids

All mothers love to compare stuff. It’s just in their DNA. It could be something the pregnancy does to your brain during the nine months that makes you go all competitive and crazy, even before the baby is out.

When it comes to finding new stuff to compare, mothers are very creative. It can range from the size of the stomach, the heartbeat of the baby, the weight of the baby and the pregnancy symptoms they get, as if having it worse means you’re somehow a better mother because of the immense sacrifice you’re making.

Some do it subtly.

Mother 1: So which school will you be sending your child to? It’s such a dilemma. I’m considering between Julia Gabriel and Montessori.”

Me (with an obliging smile): I haven’t decided yet, but the public playschool down the road don’t seem so bad.

Mother 1 (affected laughter): Oh, public education! It’s just that some of the kids are a little rowdy, if you know what I mean.

Me: I suppose so.

Methinks: Yes, I know exactly what you mean. And I hope your little brat grows up to be every bit as shallow, self-obsessed and arrogant as you are.

It’s exasperating. I bring my boy for a walk at the mall and I can see mothers eyeing the kind of stroller I have, the clothes Tru’s wearing, the diaper bag I’ve got. And it’s the worst when a whole bunch of competitive mothers gather for a chat. It gets increasingly ludicrous as they go along. Kinda like these mothers on Goodness Gracious Me!

I get that it’s a mother’s instinct to be unabashedly proud of their child, and I can’t help glowing when other people fuss over my kid. But there’s a line to be drawn as far as competition goes and it drives me insane when mothers go on and on about how brilliant their little geniuses are. (You know my 3-year-old boy just learnt to operate on his pet dog).

Get a life, woman! I’m sure there’s some kind of medication to curb those illusions you’re having. Or might I suggest a lobotomy.

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.

Not Quite So Supermom

I’m been down with a massive flu since the weekend. That’s the difference when you’re a mom. Now when I want to go on sick leave, I have to wait till the weekends and clear with the husband (whom I have also infected with my killer virus).

What they don’t tell you is that pregnancy amplifies the flu symptoms by a gazillion times. My head is pounding non-stop, my back is about to break in 5 different locations and my  stuffed nose resembles the wicked witch of the west. The weak-ass meds are not helping either, but I can’t take anything too strong or it will knock me out and social services will come take away my kid.

My son though, is blissfully unaware of my numerous afflictions, despite the fact that I look like Helena Bonham Carter and sound like Nelly Furtado. So I’ve still gotta function like I’m all fine and dandy.

I don’t know how moms even find the time to be sick. Or there must be some supersonic tonics that I’m missing out on.

I’m officially relinquishing my supermom status now that kryptonite has been discovered. I just want to curl up in a corner and cry.

Somebody put me out of my misery.

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.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Again

It’s different going through a first and second pregnancy. It’s all so new and exciting having a first child, and you meticulously follow all the instructions dished out by the baby manuals. Here’s what the books fail to tell you.
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Maternity Clothes

1st Baby: You wear regular clothes for as long as possible. A baby bump is hot!

2nd Baby: Your maternity clothes are your regular clothes. Strangely, the baby bump didn’t come out together with the baby.

Food

1st Baby: You eat nutritious meals that are chock full of goodness for baby’s healthy development.

2nd Baby: A granola bar is as nutritious as it gets.

Babytalk

1st Baby: You  sing and talk to your baby many times a day so they get used to Mom’s voice.

2nd Baby: Half the time, you forget they’re in there.

Sleep

1st Baby: You sleep like a baby 13 hours a day. Babies needs their beauty sleep, don’t they?

2nd Baby: Sleep? Hah!

Motherhood 101

Lesson 1: Motherhood is a life-changing experience.

From the outside looking in, it didn’t seem so bad. I had diligently pored over the What to Expect series and offered my services as the occasional nanny to overly enthusiastic friends who were more than happy to pass on their little bundles of joy. 

Even pregnancy had its perks. I wore the nausea like a badge of honor, and my large-ass stomach was a “get-anything-you-want-card”. No more standing in line or waiting for seats. Sometime in the fourth month, I realized that people are especially nice to pregnant women, and I milked it for all it’s worth. I even mastered a pose which worked like a charm. 

Stand with a slight tilt backwards and hold your lower back with one hand. With the other hand, stroke your belly with a circular motion. Complete the look with a “God, my varicose veins are about to explode” expression and voila! Works every single time.

And I was feeling pretty good about my wealth of experience in the kid-raising department. Or so I thought.

I think it really hit me the first night Tru came home. I still felt like a pro in the hospital. For starters, he was sleeping most of the time. In fact, it was harder to wake him up than to get him to sleep. Hah, I should have seen through his sneaky little ways. When he actually did cry, I had a handy little device which summoned help in an instant.

“Nu-urse, I think the baby is hungry/tired/poopy…”

The first night back home, all I wanted to do was to stuff him back right where he came from. I wanted back my summoning powers. Nothing seemed to work, and after 3 solid hours of carrying, rocking and singing, I was about to join in the screaming. 

Then all of a sudden, there it was. The sound of silence. Except for the ringing in my ears which didn’t go away for the next 3 months. 

Like I said, motherhood is a life-changing experience. And when you’re in it, there’s no turning back, so every day, all that’s left to do is suck it up and keep going.