I’ve noticed something about the women who have their babies as opposed to those who are still pregnant. I’m in both categories, you see. The women who have had their babies are significantly more helpful and less snarky to others, less quick to take offence.
I’m so over pregnancy hormones.
It doesn’t help that I can’t get a decent chai latté. I used to be able to get them. Somehow, when I fell pregnant this time, baristas changed. I didn’t notice it last pregnancy – perhaps because I had gestational diabetes then and had cut out chais. (Let’s face it, there’s not much traditional “chai” in a latté – it’s glorified sugary milk with spices. I would say “Hot and spicey, oh so nicey” but that would just highlight how many times I’ve heard my partner reading Wombat Stew to my 10.5 month old.)
On four separate occasions close together recently, I could not get a chai latté. I asked for one. In proper cafés. And got coffee. I do not like coffee, and I’m pregnant. I want a damn chai. Pointing out politely that I asked for chai, I was met with blank stares and, “You said latté.” Enunciated as though I’m rather slow … by baristas that, if they want the fancy-shmancy title their job entails, should understand that “latté” has to do with the milk, not the caffeine. Four. Separate. Occasions.
I guess there’s not much point to this side-rant, except to say I like chai lattés. A lot. I don’t want coffee. I don’t care that a “chai latté” is a glorified milk drink with a wanky title. It’s what I want.
Anyway. Last week, with the wild weather in Sydney, I’d been stuck indoors. With a baby that likes to be very active. We went down the south coast that weekend to stay with someone, only to be stuck indoors in more rainy, cold, windy weather. Pre-baby, it would be a nice excuse to curl up on the couch, read a book or something, and … drink chai lattés, I guess. Post-baby, it’s more like, “Oh, crap. Cabin fever.” If she were a toddler, I’d whack a raincoat and some wellies on and teach her to jump in puddles. But she’s not. Yet.
Anyway, she went down for a sleep, and I was starting to feel like a caged beast. The hormones were beginning to rage. It’s like having PMS for nine months. Everything everyone does is suddenly immensely irritating. And I’m not paranoid, they really are out to get me – turning my chais into coffees, for example. (No, I won’t get over it.) But truly. Maybe it is a form of PMS – after all, it’s got several months to build up. I read more into things than I should. Every innocuous, innocent comment seems like a barb. I become jealous. I snap. I suddenly rage. I don’t act like myself. I realise that of the two years my partner and I have been together, approximately 14 months have been with me pregnant, and the six months in between pregnancies have been me overtired. He probably assumes crabby and oversensitive is my norm. Maybe he thinks he’s imagined those first few honeymoon months of late nights, vodka, and weekend adventures.
So, I was down the coast, and could feel myself getting more and more hormonal and irritable, especially when caged up. I had to get out.
My partner tells me that when I go for a walk, I come back a different person. So I walked. Actually, first I drove into town to get a chai latté. The first two coffee shops – two – did not do chai lattés. I know, I know, I couldn’t believe it either. The third did chai lattés, and brownies as well. I think I deserved a brownie after a chai hunt in such weather. No-one else was walking the streets in that weather except me, because I wanted a damn chai.
I went to a headland jutting into the ocean, which I’d always wanted to explore, but as I drew into the parking lot, it started to spit with rain. On top of the wind and the cold. Ah, bugger it. I got out of the car anyway.
I caught sight of some dude lurking behind the toilet shed. No-one else was around. My heart immediately jolted. It’s not fair, that women always have to fear. And I didn’t realise how much I now considered my own safety, now that I had a baby and was pregnant. Your world changes. Then I realised the guy was in a wetsuit. Obviously, someone was as crazy as me that day. I shook my head at mad surfers, and as I set off, he shook his head at pregnant women in thin clothes that go heading into the wind, rain, and cold (did I mention it was windy, rainy, and cold?).
The walk was pretty deserted, apart from the odd dog-walker, or mad rock fisherman. At least I was moving around to keep warm. I discovered the headland was bigger than I thought, with lots of criss-crossing paths. It looked wild and remote. Most times, I saw no-one. The jagged rock formations caused by mining, the nooks and crannies where the surf came booming in to splash impossibly high – it was all enhanced by the lack of people and the menacing dark clouds threatening to drench me any minute. I still couldn’t leave. I wandered around for ages, feeling all alone, but deliciously so. I wished I could have taken my girl with me, but I wouldn’t expose her to that weather. Another day, if I wasn’t pregnant and the weather was fine, I would have popped her in the baby backpack and gone traipsing all around. She loves nature; she loves being in the backpack up high. Our baby has seen all sorts of things.
The walk did the trick. By the time I got back to the car, my cheeks were red from the cold and wind, my eyes bloodshot. But I had a massive grin on my face. Me 1, hormones 0.