OK!'s Deputy Entertainment Editor Kat Romero is expecting her first baby and her new weekly column offers a funny and frank insight into the highs and lows of pregnancy, and every surprise and bump (no pun intended) along the way.
This week, Kat reflects on the early stages of pregnancy as she struggles with morning sickness and hormonal moments – then faces an unexpected confrontation public transport. Register below to read her latest column…
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There are many things people warn you about when it comes to the early stages of pregnancy. There's morning sickness that can last all day and feel like you're riding a bucking bronco on board a boat in a choppy storm. The constant need to wee that will have you up on the hour every hour throughout the night. And hormones that may have on one occasion made me visibly cry in the Sainsbury's dessert aisle when I realised they were out of my favourite baked cookie dough.
But what no one warned me about was the early days when your bump is yet to pop and you feel like you have to carry around your scan picture and a peed-on pregnancy test just to prove to people that you're actually expecting. I'm currently 19 weeks along and my bump is often less preggo belly and more reminiscent of that time I landed face down in a KFC Family Feast meal after surviving four days at a militant vegan bootcamp.
In a baggy top or smock dress, my bump is often not that obvious and looks more like a bit of bad bloating. Case in point was last bank holiday weekend when I decided to head to Primark to splash out on some new pants and bras (glamorous, I know). But it also happened to be one of the hottest weekends of the year and the heat mixed with hip pain from the entire human forming inside of my uterus caused me to feel exhausted and achey.
On the bus back, I sat down in one of the priority seats designed for those who are elderly, disabled or pregnant. And I was rocking my Baby on Board badge just for good measure.
But this wasn't enough for the old woman who soon interrogated me, claiming that the priority seats were not for people like me. There were a ton of free seats around me but when I explained that I was pregnant and pointed to my badge, she looked down at my small bump in my oversized smock dress and fumed: 'Well you don't look THAT pregnant, clearly!'
I cowered back into my seat and felt my cheeks flush red. I felt like a fraud who somehow hadn't endured enough of my pregnancy to earn the right to a seat on the bus, or to have my pain and discomfort acknowledged in any real way. I was shocked by this old woman's blunt judgement of me and my tiny bump. I assumed as soon as I whacked on my Baby on Board badge that the world would treat me like a little delicate flower. The woman next to me loudly tutted at the old woman in a show of solidarity towards me but I still spent the rest of the bus journey wondering if other people felt the same.
And soon I was so desperate for my stop to arrive just so I could get out of the priority seat and away from the hellish bus of judgement. Which left me thinking: Do I have to be crowning for people like this old woman to take my pregnancy seriously?
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Let's face it, pregnancy is tough from the get go and those early days almost feel like you have a hidden disability. To the outside world, you still look the same. Around week 6 when my morning sickness hit me like a slap across the face with a wet fish, I had no bump and no hint of the baby growing inside of me. And I wasn't really telling anyone besides close friends and family.
People probably assumed my grey face and constant dry heaving was due to a few too many glasses of white wine the night before (which is understandable, considering my love of cheap Jacob's Creek before pregnancy). Those early weeks were some of the toughest I'd faced. I would have loved for a stranger to have offered me a seat or to have avoided the looks of judgement when even the whiff of coffee made me want to be sick in the nearest bin.
And my little bump is not only awkward for angry interactions with mean old women on the bus. It's also a been a minefield to dress. As the angry old lady said, I don't look THAT pregnant but there's still something there. Every morning is like trying to dress your body right after you've devoured Christmas Day lunch. When I found out I was pregnant, I'd spent hours googling maternity styles and picturing the flowing maxi dresses or bodycon styles I'd showcase my bump in.
But with my weird in-between belly, I feel like strangers just assume I've been attacking the biscuit tin with a bit too much gusto. And there's also the pregnancy boobs. Every other part of my body (besides the bump) has stayed the same but overnight I became Dolly Parton. My 14 year old self would have been chuffed with my new double D's but considering I've never had big boobs, they feel impossible to dress. Even if a top has the slightest plunge, my boobs are hoisted up and I have a cleavage that sits under my chin like a character in Bridgerton. Plus, my boobs can feel sore and swollen. Not exactly the fun bags I had always envisioned.
Still, I know soon enough I'll pop out and then I'll probably be moaning about all the extra weight I'm carrying around and looking back on the days with my little semi bump with rose tinted specs. Because as many mums have felt the need to inform me, pregnancy only get tougher. Over the next few months, I've got backache, heartburn, sleepless nights and potentially even piles to look forward to.
What have I got myself in for?
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