x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

The labour of waiting

The mummy diaries I am suspended in pregnancy limbo land.

I am suspended in pregnancy limbo land. On one hand I feel like I've been carrying this large lump (child) around forever. On the other, I am panic-stricken that I'm due to deliver it in nine weeks time. Oh boy, perhaps panic stricken is stating it rather too lightly. Utterly terrified, absolutely petrified, frozen with fear, you get the picture. My head is buzzing with crucial worries and questions.

I mean, what will I wear to give birth? Will I manage to get my make up on in time if I happen to go into labour in the middle of the night? And my hair. If I go over my due date, will my roots be showing by the time I go into hospital? Perhaps I'm becoming slightly distracted from the main task in hand, but these trivial matters (in some people's opinion) provide a welcome distraction from imagining the pain and trauma of childbirth. Actually, I'm not happy as I've just read that the temperature in hospital delivery rooms is kept deliberately high to ensure that the baby is kept warm after birth. Great. So even if I go into hospital with perfectly straight hair, my naturally curly locks will react with the heat and resemble a large frizz ball by the time I give birth. There is no way I am going to be photographed "au naturel"immediately after the event, with a sweaty face and seemingly afro hair do. It will have to be a staged shot a few hours later, to give me a chance to get ready. And select a suitable outfit for the baby.

Notice how I'm using vanity to bury my feelings about child birth. Buried is probably a bit deep. Bubbling fiercely just ­under the surface is probably nearer the mark. I have become absolutely obsessed with wanting to find out every gory detail about labour and delivery. I'm actually turning into one of those women who I despised in my previous, pre-baby, pre-responsibility, life. My mind has descended into mummy-mode and the only talk I indulge in now is baby banter. Every other mother I meet, I question, Spanish Inquisition style, about their birth experiences. How long, how painful, how many drugs, how did you cope, how did you manage to keep your hair straight?

It's not all been wasted conversations though. I have made a very interesting discovery to help me through the whole experience. Portable hair straighteners. No seriously. Apparently one of the secrets to an easy labour is, strangely, raspberry leaf tea. It sounds like an old wives' tale but many mothers swear by it, and all of the leading baby websites and pregnancy books recommend it. Studies have actually shown that raspberry leaf tea contains a uterine tonic which helps to prepare the uterine muscles for labour. Taken regularly in the last six to eight weeks before birth, it can result in a shorter labour time and easier delivery. What a revelation.

Now, I shall be emptying the supermarket shelves and consuming it by the bucket load. I am even considering filling up the pool with it, and swimming one hundred raspberry tea lengths daily. Anything to make the birth easier. See, I feel much more prepared now. I'm doing something positive to get me through the horrors of the hospital. Now, if only I could solve my labour clothing crisis that easily.