Yesterday I went to The Baby Show in London with my mum.
We bought the tickets a fortnight ago and I was really looking forward to it as a beginning-of-half-term treat. I wasn’t looking forward to the 5am start though in order to catch the 8am train.
The whole day spent with mum was just lovely. I loved our chats on the train, and discussing her own new motherhood experiences over dinner at Prezzo in King’s Cross Station. I felt so grateful for two reasons – getting to share the experience together (after mum’s heart attack 2 years ago I’ve been so fearful about not having her around when I’m a first-time mum), and the fact I was attending an event like that in the first place. It was only 12 weeks ago when I was 100% confident that I wasn’t pregnant and was in the depths of despair. I spent a lot of yesterday just walking around in a daze. Like I was a fraud and was going to be found out at any moment. But stall holders and organisers talked to me like a fully fledged and genuine pregnant woman that deserved to be there, so I did my best to embrace it. And I didn’t cry once, which I was impressed with!
It was quite overwhelming the amount of products and things to consider that were there. From nappies to baby food to maternity bras to baby slings to nursery furtniture to car seats to bottle feeding to skin products… I learnt a lot! But I was also decisive. If I didn’t like the look of something, or want to hear something from a pushy salesperson, I just walked on by. For example, £69 for a bump support band, that looked like the elastic inner tube of one of the bodycon dresses I have, and fraying too. Or £25 for a baby sling (£50 after the event) when it’s just a 2m length of fabric that is 95% cotton and 5% elastane. When I can buy a piece of similar fabric from Dunhelm Mill for a tenner!
Travel systems were a minefield. But I knew what I liked the look of, and what I didn’t like the look of. We found a Maxi Cosi Stella Pebble travel system – carry cot, pushchair, car seat, car seat base, changing bag and cup holder for £800 all in with a 25% Baby Show discount – and I was so impressed and didn’t feel that I was going to find anything better. It was great value for money, so straightforward to dismantle (compact too) and really easy to manoeuvre. I never went yesterday intending to buy anything but mum surprised me with the offer of buying it for us as a grandparents gift. I really wasn’t expecting that and it was so kind of her and my dad. Although Dave wasn’t there to be involved in exploring the buggy stuff, he trusts my judgement, and our taste and priorities are the same so he knew that what I felt was right, would be the right choice. So we’ve bought the first thing for Cub!
I bought a few other bits and pieces myself. A book called “The Happy Birth” for £10, and skin care set (bump cream, breast cream, leg cream and spray) for £40 and a 12 foot sausage like U-shaped pregnancy pillow for £25. Carting all of that stuff in big bags along with all the other freebie bags on the Tube was fun! Got a few looks…
Mum learned a fair bit too. One of her favourite phrases of the day was “we didn’t do it like that back in my day” and to be fair she had a point. My brother and I survived the 80s without half of these gadgets and modern practices!
But bottle feeding was a real eye opener. I plan to breastfeed but I realise that may not happen. Plus Dave will want to do some feeding too so I’ll need to express. We were at one stand selling bottles and sterilising equipment etc. and we got talking about nipples and all the scary things that can happen to them.
And then, by that point, at 3pm, tired and not giving a shit that my mother was stood right there, I just came out and said it.
“I’m not a fan of nipple play. I don’t like it when my husband plays with them so hopefully I won’t mind a baby latching on.”
Yep. My mum is familiar with my lack of filter now! I mean, it was only a week ago when I told her that Dave and I haven’t had sex since we got pregnant because I’ve just not wanted it and she commented “poor Dave”.
Ahhhh. It is what is is.
Perhaps the thing that I found the weirdest to get my head around yesterday was the shift in my attitude. I was surrounded by “pregnants” all day. Hundreds. And I felt not a single shred of jealousy. Of course there wouldn’t be, because I’m finally where I want to be now, but it was so strange to have gone from one extreme to the other in such a short space of time. 4 months ago I wouldn’t have emotionally been able to cope with being in the presence of 1 pregnant woman without feeling bitter, let alone hundreds of them.
I thought of the many women I know in real life and in the virtual community who are still in that waiting game. Who will probably be looking at me with bitterness and jealousy. Who may well be reading this blog and thinking “lucky cow. Why not me?” And I get that. I was in that position too, not so long ago, and I haven’t forgotten what that felt like.
I left yesterday feeling humbled and grateful. Very, very grateful.