Monday, 7 September 2009

The story so far... part one

When I got pregnant in August 2006 I didn't know what to expect. I was a 39-year-old freelance subeditor working inhouse for several magazines based in London and loved my job. My main focuses were to climb the career and property ladders while enjoying all London had to offer in term of culture, sights and entertainment.

The first three months were hard – forget the nausea, my main problems was a crippling tiredness that made me crave sleep, which was inconvenient as my job involved staring at a computer while tinkering with Quark or InDesign. I remember editing a dry financial feature and fighting the urge to doze off.

And don’t start me on the commute to work, I rarely got a seat even when my bump showed, despite wearing the London Underground’s Baby on Board badge. I’m not knocking the badge, it’s a great idea as some men cannot distinguish between a fat and a pregnant belly (I was once offered a seat because my belly was bloated due to period pains, although I’m not so sure it was the belly or the short skirt that did it – but I’m disgressing here!).

As my belly grew disproportionally big to my petite frame, the nausea vanished but the tiredness didn’t and I started to have back pain too. Having an aching body, a fuzzy, sleepy head and a huge belly that touched the desk made my job less than desirable – as a hot-desking freelancer you are expected to give your all and don’t get the perks of pregnant staffers.

I went on maternity leave early, towards the end of January. I was getting all the rest I craved but my days felt too dull. So I started working on the novel I have been neglecting for years then volunteered to coedit the local NCT newsletter. This proved to be a lifesaver as I kept my skills sharp and learnt about creating a newsletter from scratch, which included writing the copy, commissioning, dealing with advertisers, making the most of real-life stories and members’ tips, designing the pages and sourcing free photography.

Closer to my due date, I attended an NCT class, which I highly recommend as you cannot have enough information about birth choices, breastfeeding and surviving the first months as a parent If you want to find out about the NCT and what it offers to parents, visit

Local NCT branches throw a lifeline to parents and they are also a great social network – invaluable when all your friends are still single and/or childless. They won’t be as interested in your baby’s green poo and won’t have a clue on where to find a teether that works.

My top tip: when I was pregnant (pic shows me in my swimming costume at three months) I did an improver swimming course. When the course finished I kept swimming till close to the birth. I recommend swimming highly as the water supports your bump so you feel light and free - it's gentle exercise, too. Just don't use the breast stroke, as it's not recommended to pregnant women because of the softness of your ligaments during pregnancy.

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