Archives: pregnant

Generation Mama and the not-so-ancient breeder

A guest post I recently wrote for Little Kisses.

Thelma & Louise: the original selfie

I found out I was accidentally pregnant with my third child in the midst of my 40s. A third child was never an actively pursued option, to put things mildly. For a week or so, I sprawled in deep, dark shock. Yes, this changed a few life expectations. But the biggest surprise has been how into it I am.

Little Kisses asked me to write a guest post to discuss the differences in being pregnant in my 40s compared to my 30s, and I’m struggling to entertain you. At the moment, at 35 weeks pregnant, I can’t think of any age-related issues that seem either important or amusing. I could write about how old I’ll be when this child finishes high school, or turns 21. I could tell you that I’m called an “elderly multigravida”, which is a funny, archaic term.

I call myself the Ancient Breeder, but to be honest, this pregnancy does not make me feel ancient. If anything, it makes me feel young, fresh, and, despite the daily afternoon naps, quite vital. And crafty, like a hipster friend of Patience Hodgson. As they say, I’m so crafty, I make people. Even accidentally.

I'm So Crafty, I make people

I did feel ancient, once, this week, when I was a guest at a function populated by sweet, wholesome food bloggers. Why? I offered to take a photo across the table of a couple of fellow guests. (Her selfie-taking arm just seemed too short to encompass the glory of edible delight lying outside their shot.) I like to be pictorially helpful: I often volunteer to take strangers’ photographs for them. I have taken many blurred photos of Asian package tourists, so that everyone in the group gets in. I feel sorry for the one photo-taking parent who, you know, is the one always left out of the family documentation. I balance their albums.

But the selfie, I discovered, is sacrosanct. Blogger One looked at me aghast, not quite comprehending why I’d interfere in the gentle art of mobile-phone-self-photography. The other blogger, the one who looked quite like Moby (and hence closer to my middle-aged years; no twenty-year-old would look like Moby) realized what I’d offered, shook his head, and shrugged kindly at me.

“It’s a selfie thing,” he explained. (He may as well have added, “You wouldn’t get it, grandma”.)

A Royal Selfie

I didn’t get the selfie thing, but I got the bigger message. I really did. I took no offence; there was none to take. But this was the message: It’s not about age; it is about your generation. Or cohort, or tribe, or whatever other sociological label you prefer.

Moby of Brisbane was all of about 18 months younger than me. This misunderstanding had nothing to do with age and everything to do with tribes. For I was not one of theirs, and I don’t think that the heavily pregnant mature lady who shared their table for a couple of hours would be first on a shortlist for new members. Which is fine. Because I realise I belong to another generation, not just defined by age: Generation Mama*.

Generation Mama transcends age and forms new bonds. You don’t have to share birth decades, scary high-school-formal hairstyle memories, or the same pre-teen crush on either Cory, to share exhaustion, the slam of maternal love, and the maternal guilt and confusion that comes home with a new baby.

When I found out I was accidentally pregnant this time around, I thought a blog called The Ancient Breeder would be a hoot, but it’s sometimes proving to be less relevant as this pregnancy progresses. I hear more from followers in their 20s than those close to my own age. Perhaps I should write more age-specific posts, but the material just isn’t that exclusive. We’re all breeders, if we’re breeders, and the age bit isn’t so relevant. At the moment, I have more in common with my beautiful twenty-something niece, who writes The Single Mumpreneur blog, than with many women my own age.

Because our ages belong to different generations, but our circumstances are completely Generation Mama.


*Or Generation Parent, to be fair, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it…


35 weeks. Hormone-ridden.

I cried at least six times today. Thrice for no reason, and thrice when I was telling someone that I cried for no reason today.

Tried to write a press release for a client, something I can usually pull off without drama, couldn’t concentrate, and had to give up. Cancelled lunch with a dear friend, which I’d been looking forward to for a week, and went to bed. Dreamt I was carrying reams of notes through a pet shop when I shoved them all into my son’s arms so I could hold a kitten with enormous eyes.

Sunset clouds

Couldn’t stop staring at the salmon-bottomed clouds at sunset. Suddenly found the infinite patience needed to teach my son how to crochet.

Viva las hormonas.

Surfing the small stuff: third trimester torments

So far, I’ve been fortunate to avoid the bigger complications of some pregnancies, like gestational diabetes or public tracksuit-pant wearing, and other, lesser ones such as varicose veins or delivering an actual crying infant.  But, third trimester, third pregnancy has returned me some old nemeses.


Drama: Heartburn.

Why is it the moment I finish eating breakfast I need to bend over to do something essential, like pick up a dirty sock or dislodge ninja Lego from between my toes? Oh, that’s right, because I have a couple of pre-teen sons. And I’m yet to learn: bend before breakfast, not after.

Pregnancy-related heartburn isn’t just reserved for those special moments felt immediately after eating. No, it’ll save itself for the moment you’re drifting off to sleep, too. Or when you’re out in public attempting that thing that some call “pre-baby date night” (but others may call “let’s sit in an overpriced restaurant and bitch about our son’s useless teacher while I gaze bitterly at your alcoholic beverage”).

Solution: Quick-eze, the old-fashioned chalky tablets that come in a roll (not the useless chewy squares). Bought in bulk, crushed up, and mainlined.

Drama: Restless legs.

Restless legs are an utter motherfucker. You’ve just got your ample bulk arranged in its pillownest, you’ve bum-shoved the notpregnant person sharing your bed over to their allotted edge, and you’ve finally fallen asleep after your third toilet trip. Right as you hit the good REMs, it starts. Niggle, niggle, niggle, that junky’s cursed feeling of ants sneaking around inside your sciatic nerve casings.

Solution: Waking up. Walking around the fucking house. They say magnesium supplements can help, too. Stretch your legs a little during the evening And drinking more water. So if the restless legs don’t raise you, the bladder will. Checkmate.

Drama: Curious foot spasms.

This one’s a personal treat. Following spinal surgery, I had a minor neural after-effect, resulting in an occasional night-time left foot spasm (varying in intensity from a big toe standing up, unbidded, at right angles, to the whole Daniel-Day-Lewis-Academy-award-winning left foot and leg spasm). Of course, pregnancy exacerbates this. If my hormonehorrorshow didn’t have a go at such an easy target, we’d be almost disappointed. Over a few months, the hormones have progressed a minor nighttime ballet of restless legs and freaky toe spasms to a major choreography. The growing fetal weight pressing down on the base of the sciatic nerve way up there in that slackening pelvis does its bit, too.

Solution: Not being pregnant. Failing this, keeping well hydrated. Pilates. The magnesium helps. It’s most effective taken just before bed. An unexpected side-effect of taking magnesium at night is its effects on dreams. Apparently it can act as a bit of a psychedelic neurotransmitter, resulting in crazier dreams. I don’t make this shit up.

Because pregnant women need to experience even crazier dreams.

Oh, and a couple of weeks ago I started visiting a chiropractor (even though I’d sworn off the creatures) who specializes in old knocked-up broken women. She’s pretty much stopped the spasms. So maybe I should have mentioned her first.

Drama: Shortness of breath.

I’ve never claimed any level of aerobic fitness, but panting at the top of two flights of stairs was a scary revelation – and that was a couple of months ago, before there was even much of a bump to bitch about carrying up the stairs with me. I was almost relieved when Dr Atticus advised that rather than pitiful fitness, I could blame pitiful hemoglobin levels. You know, pregnant ladies need more iron, hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood, low hemoglobin means less oxygen getting around the body. It was all the hemoglobin. Nothing to do with the lack of fitness.

Of course, now, with a bump encroaching on valuable lung space, there’s another dimension added to the breathlessness. Now, it’s also about internal organ real estate.

Solution: Iron supplements. Stand taller. Surrender.

Drama: Tiredness.

Tired, mid-40s pregnant woman? Quel surprise.

Solution: A nap. Right now.


Wacky dreams of pregnant women

Mandelbrot Set Love

Almost from the day that second red line appears on a pee stick, pregnancy dreams are freaky. Some might make you giggle, others have you sprinting to a therapist. However they come, these dreams do seem to be different than usual, and more frequent.

They say it’s the hormones, stupid. But a blander interpretation is simply that pregnant women recall more because they’re waking more during the night, thanks to junior’s tapdancing across her bladder. This theory posits we all actually have these dreams; it’s just that nonpregnant people don’t remember having them. Like potheads who swear they don’t dream: maybe it’s more that they just don’t actually wake up properly in time to remember dreams*.

I don’t buy this. These freaky dreams start when bub is smaller than a peanut, too small to wake its host no matter how much internal breakdancing they’re practicing. Also, pregnancy dreams are weirder than the quotidian, and they reference a lot of breeder stuff. Like babies, sex, homemaking, and food.

Bizarre preggo dreams seem to follow a cycle of trimesters, like so many other aspects of the joyous wonderment that is Breederville.

According to, first trimester dreams are about the past: maybe you’re clearing old houses and lovers out of your psyche to make room for the new.

In the second trimester, animals and water come to the fore. This is when you dream you’re a dolphin.

By third trimester, dreams are getting dramatic. Natural phenomena dominate, like volcanos. Celebrities drop in and dream-bomb.

I find third trimester dreams are also practical dreams. You dream about the impending birth, labour if you’re luck enough to expect one, stuff that might go wrong, or the baby you’ll meet soon. If you’ve done this before, you may dream that you’re cowering in a cupboard, ignoring a screaming baby and hoping the rest of your family won’t find you, while you scoff a Freddo frog stolen from your son’s party bag stash.

Interpreting dreams is tricky, and there are heaps of different perspectives. Some cultures and dreamwatchers see certain symbols within dreams as particular portents. There are websites for that kind of symbolic dream analysis. Pragmatists may consider dreams as your mental preparation for events that may happen. Others, more metaphysically inclined, think that dreams are part of our lives that have already happened in another dimension. They should probably keep away from the bad acid. A psychoanalyst, bless ‘em, would see things differently, again. Dreams, for them, fulfil repressed desire. You really did want to sleep with your nephew. (Eewww to you.)

I often dream of my grandmother’s house, and have done so for decades. I’m pretty sure this house, which I haven’t physically visited for about 20 years (and which, sadly, doesn’t even exist anymore) represents me. It has featured in dreams throughout this pregnancy, especially the garden. I believe it represents parts of my mind, or maybe my life, that might need examining. Not that I actually follow through with any actual examination. Keeping stuff repressed is much more exciting, no? Pregnancy has added more past houses to the dream repertoire: my other grandparents’ coastal house, my parents’ home where I spent my teens.

I seem to dream of a particular figure from my past when I’m dissatisfied with my present. He’s not quite an ex, and he hasn’t been around much during these pregnancy dreams. A few other shady past lovers have featured, however, some of whom I’d quite forgotten existed. I guess this is part of the psychological cleaning out of the old to make room for the new. It weirds me out a bit.

I also have a penchant for Hollywood Blockbuster Action Movies – in my dreams, that is, as I’m a regular indie/foreign movie snob in reality. But I have scripted car chase and spy scenes in these dreams that, had I bothered writing them down, may have made me a fortune. In pregnancy, these have continued, multiplied, and taken place in exotic locations I’ve never visited.

The saucier dreams often involve my partner, which feels rather pedestrian, and the fact of which I’m not writing just in case he reads this, I swear.

The weirder dreams of the past months, at 31 weeks now, I’ve quite forgotten. Damn. They were probably rather entertaining. More so than this post, which started off as a good idea, but now bores me. Congratulations if you’ve made it this far. I’ve had enough, myself.


*Maybe they don’t wake up properly for like, months, dude. Pass the Tim Tams?

Smells like hyperosmia

Pregnancy develops superpowers. Particularly, a herculean sense of smell. This is not the ideal sensory gift. Especially when the only other soul on the bus takes the seat right in front of you. A dude with a personal aroma so intense, it’s clear the grunge meister spent the past week basting in the bourbon that seeps from his own pores, smoking 200 cigarettes a day, and dear Uma, how long has it been since he washed that shoulder-length hair? The bus is almost empty. Which means you could move away, but surely that would hurt stinky-hair’s feelings? So you stay seated in nausea town.

Noses know

Noses know

BTW>>> Although pregnant women tend to say their sense of smell is heightened, this study says that’s baloney.

“You’re pregnant?! Oh, I thought that was just middle-age spread.”

20 weeks

All of a sudden, we’ve passed halfway, & the bump rounds out proud& I can’t use my stomach muscles to hide it anymore, & I’m waken by indigestion (and leg cramps), & migraines come and go, & we get serious about hospitals, & I plan to write a will (for the first time), & name suggestions become less amusing, & all new conversations about the baby involve its gender, & there are all these babies out there to notice (and bumps!), & how the hell do you choose a pram anyway; can we just borrow one?, & what if this kid’s just not as awesome as the first two, & I’m desperately hoping that these severed breasts will work again, & nappies, oh nappies, dear God facing nappies again, & the boys are so incredibly excited, & I’m awake and superalert at 3:15am, & I cry at sad stories about strangers (by strangers), & I wouldn’t mind a Really Big Drink, & there’s a little person making fluttery somersaults in my belly!,  & I put my thin clothes away for a while, & we need to discuss a vasectomy, & all the kids I’ve known for years seem so big!, & I’m surprised I’m not scared at all, I’m excited, & I don’t really care about the line up for Splendour this year, & bloody hell, this is really happening.


The big reveal

The Big Reveal? Or the slow drip feed. The latter was so effectively put to use by Deb, my old friend, that I didn’t find out about her pregnancy until last Tuesday. That’s the day she was scheduled to give birth via caesarian. Deb’s a week older than me. Maybe I should take her lead…

So how to let it be known? There’s the “scan pic across social media” approach, but they all look a little too amphibious. That’s already on the Facebook page, and even I’m a little grossed out by it.

I thought the fact that I’d posted pictures of baked goods on my personal Instagram would have been enough of a hint, but friends can be dim these days. It must be our encroaching middle age.

Let’s see how others handle the reveal.

There’s this film clip.

There’s the horrible picture of a soft toy and a wee-soaked stick.

That's just wrong.

That’s just wrong.


There’s the picture of pasta sauce.

Pasta sauce

However, I know how to pronounce “prego”. And it ain’t “preggo”.
It’s in there… maybe we can work with that…


There’s a world of cringe out there.

Seeking a pithy statement of my own, seeking that crucial social media cut-through. Like a quiver of cheesiness, all prefaced by Guess what? 

Guess what?

“I’m not getting fat, I’m four months pregnant”

… edited to “Not fat. Pregnant” – T-shirt ready…


Guess what?

Those mood swings weren’t early menopause, after all.


Guess what?

We’ll never be able to afford a holiday involving air travel again! 

Daddyo and I settle on a trickle approach, leaving the kick-off up to our boys, who tell their school friends. A couple of phone calls, some face-to-facers, SMS’d scan pics, and we’re away.

I set up a blog, shimmy it out across social media, and back-date a stack of pre-written posts.


It’s awesome to finally embrace this event. I stick my due date into babycentre and sign up for the emails. (Finally.)

Now: to celebrate with a vintage Oaxacan embroidered dress. Hello, Ebay!

13-and-a-bit weeks

The morning of the Nuchal scan, and I still haven’t received my results from the non-invasive test. (They shouldn’t be far away.) Having this test in your 40s feels a hell of a lot different to 10 years ago. Actually, come to think of it, I didn’t have a Nuchal 10 years ago with #1.

I am anxious as Ryan Gosling’s new girlfriend.

It is a difficult tightrope to balance: watching your baby’s features on the ultrasound, and trying to maintain some sort of emotional distance, just in case. S/he’s perfect, floating along there, waving a little hand. The sonographer can’t get a neck reading, and quietly says she’s going to ask her boss to come in. My heart stops. After some dodgy attempts at small talk, a wave of the wand, and a bit of prodding, I’m told it looks ok. Numbers are clicked on the keyboard. I’m told my Downs probability, based on this scan and my earlier blood test, has dropped from 1 in 30 to 1 in 600-ish. Which is a relief. They don’t recommend an amniocentesis.

We visit my obstetrician, who waves two thumbs up. The iGeneScreen results have just arrived via email, and they’re good. That’s two positive screening results. I am so relieved my legs turn liquid. Dr Atticus tells me I’m fine to “go shout it from the rooftops”. I think we’ll quietly tell our 7 and 9 year old sons first.

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