Friday, 24 December 2010

Tidings of discomfort and nausea

Not content with the trauma of getting married this year, I decided to do the double and go ahead and start breeding. Initially shocked at my own fertility and the fact that all those naff Sex Ed videos they showed you at school weren’t lying, I’m now slowly managing come to terms with it and accepting that it is actually a wondrous thing.

While I am definitely enjoying looking limply at heavy shopping bags waiting for someone else to offer to carry them, my new condition still comes with some well-publicised pitfalls made even worse by the business of Christmas.

For starters, I can’t drink. Aside from not wanting to cause my unborn child brain damage, the smell of anything alcoholic turns my stomach with such uncharacteristic violence I have to look in the mirror to check it is actually me and that no Quantum Leap-style body swap has taken place.

This does mean I can forgo standing around on cold train platforms or shivering outside bars waiting for taxis as now, for the foreseeable future, I am the designated driver. Yes, I get the heady pleasure of watching everyone else get tight, red in the face, generally bellicose and/or licentious while I sip on enough sugary soft drinks to ensure I’m toothless by the New Year.

I’ll never understand those weirdoes who make disturbing statements like: “Oh I love not drinking; you’re the only person who can remember it the next day.” Why, out of interest, would I want to remember and an evening of other people breathing their foul booze stench breath on me and confiding in me about the affair they’re having/the fact that they’re looking for a new job/filing for bankruptcy? Delete as appropriate.

It gives me no sense of power and lofty superiority knowing they’ll be feeling bad the following morning, worrying about what they let slip. For one thing, the chances are I’ll be just as sick and the secrets they imparted really weren’t up to much anyway.

Then comes the day itself. I’m counting down to it with a building sense of dread. The moment I discovered I was with child, I instantly developed a nasty aversion to chicken of any sort. At the moment the thought of being within six feet of a roasting one brings me out in a cold sweat. And what, may we ask, is going to be on the menu come 25th December? A huge, poultry-stinking, cousin of the chicken, turkey, most likely cooked for double the time necessary and another hour just to be on the safe side giving it the texture of cardboard. Delicious.

So as you’re all sitting down to your Christmas feast wearing new trendy jumpers and tucking into a glass of Champers, think of me in clothes which are rapidly getting too small, sipping on an Appletise, or maybe even a Shloer if I’m lucky, waiting for the contents of my stomach to begin a riotous surge up my oesophagus the second I see the centrepiece of a traditional Christmas lunch emerge from the kitchen and head my way.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ll still get presents ... right? What’s the betting that instead of something that might actually cheer me up through the next few months of hormonal insanity I’ll get gifts for when the baby comes. Great. And what’s the betting that the nice sparkly something the husband might once have bought seems a bit too decadent as now all spare money should be saved for, you guessed it, when the baby comes. Oversized 100% acrylic cardigan from Primark it is for me then.

From now on I’m going to have years of Christmases that are not about me, that begin at 5am with little voices shrieking, that see me in Mothercare buying creepy children’s Christmas outfits or in drafty churches watching terrible nativity plays complete with inadvisable live donkey. And while I’m sure a part of me will love every moment of it and say afterwards that I wouldn’t have changed it for the world, is it too much to ask to want one last one for myself? Read more by Rosie.