Friday, May 20, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
An interesting article I read today on the Scotsman.com by Fiona McCade. Do YOU ever feel bullied as a pregnant lady?
These pregnancy bullies really get my goats' cheese
There are many advantages to pregnancy. For instance, I haven’t been allowed to lift anything heavier than a cup of tea for months and that suits me fine, but strangely enough, there is also a down side to being cosseted and cared for. I call it pregnancy bullying and it’s when the cosseting and caring subtly mutate into controlling behaviour of the worst kind; the kind that insists: "It’s for your own good!" Or, even worse, "It’s for the good of the baby!" Implying that if you don’t submit to the will of the pregnancy bully, you’ll be the worst mother ever and Social Services will be forced to take your child away and give it to a she-wolf to suckle.
Even though I’ve now read a hundred books about having babies and he can’t even watch puppies being born on Animal Hospital without passing out on the sofa, Beloved Husband can be a pregnancy bully. We argued in a restaurant recently, because I fancied some goats’ cheese. Normally, it isn’t recommended during pregnancy, but in this case the cheese was served very hot and melting, which removes any possible health hazards. Beloved wasn’t convinced and metamorphosed into a pregnancy bully with a vengeance. "You’re not having that. It’s not worth the risk" he announced, and gave me a hard, don’t-mess-with-me-you-unfit-vessel-for-my-child type of stare. I gave in, but secretly went back on my own later that week and stuffed myself. Revenge is a dish best served hot, with roast veg and balsamic vinegar.
I don’t want to imply that most pregnancy bullies are men. For months now, a female friend has been urging me to start yoga classes and every time I say no (sorry, but I’ve tried yoga three times and I never managed to work out what the hell was going on) she warns me I’ll regret it when I’m bouncing off the labour ward walls in paroxysms of agony. However, in my experience, men are most likely to suddenly turn from solicitous souls into pregnancy bullies and I think I know why this happens.
From the moment the sperm hits the egg, to the moment the baby is born, the man involved has no control over what happens. He must trust the woman carrying his child to do the right thing and sometimes he simply can’t bear to stand by and watch while she gets on with it. He can care too much, like the first-time father at my ante-natal class, who horrified every woman there by asking the midwife: "Can we insist on a full, general anaesthetic if my wife needs a caesarean section?" (For "we" read "I".) While everyone shuddered at the thought, the midwife gently explained to him that general anaesthetics are never used except in dire emergencies because of their negative after-effects and that even the most difficult caesarean procedure would only need a small, spinal anaesthetic. But he was adamant: "Yes, but can we insist?" His wife sat beside him, meek and silent, obviously exhausted by the pregnancy bullying. He probably only wanted to avoid any possibility of her suffering (dream on, sweetie) but his concern is manifesting itself as a mad desire for control at any price, even if it means bullying the surgeon in the operating theatre. If that particular pregnancy bully tries to insist on anything, I hope he’s the one who gets the general anaesthetic.
Beloved hasn’t been nearly as bad as that, but he monitors what I watch and regularly vetoes films or television programmes he considers too scary or violent. He also believes the theory that playing Mozart to unborn babies turns them into geniuses, so he forces me to sit right next to the CD player, absorbing Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, even though he knows I prefer Beethoven. Beloved also ignores me when I point out the inescapable truth that although Mozart was a genius, nobody ever played Mozart to him in the womb.
Amazingly, I cajoled my pregnancy bully into allowing me to go to the Oasis gig last Sunday. Beloved wasn’t happy about it, but acquiesced so long as he accompanied me and I submitted to having half an Axminster carpet tied around my middle to protect the unborn genius’s precious ears. As it turned out, the unborn genius liked Oasis so much, he kicked me constantly for 90 minutes. Then we got home to an answerphone message from my father, demanding to know why I was out after 10pm "in your condition". It’s not often I get bullied by three generations of men in the space of a few hours. I reckon I need some rebellious, defiant goats’ cheese therapy to help me cope.