There I was having my mono brow divided by the deft threaded fingers of an Indian woman hailing from Acton when suddenly the thread broke. She paused, shifted her line of vision, raised her own eyebrows, prodded my jelly belly and smilingly declared, 'Pregnant!'.
I sat mortified, though not as mortified as the previous year when at a yoga class I was asked if congratulations were in order.
'No.' I replied, my vanity crushed. Embarrassment hung like a noxious smell as I bored deathly stares directly at my insulter....
Damn this obsession with flat stomachs. Is being size 12 such a heinous crime?
Yes, according to every magazine I have ever read.
Yes according to every T.V. programme I watch.
Yes according to every ad, et cetera
Gee whizz but who'd have thought that the female form would still be a red hot contentious issue. God forbid a woman expand unless she is a comedienne, a fetish porn star or well pregnant..
Having had to keep my condition under wraps for so long I'd almost forgotten I was pregnant. Last pregnancy my bump was near invisible at five months, albeit I was 12 years younger and two dress sizes smaller. I came out at my 30th birthday party. 'Guess what?' I asked opening the door to my unsuspecting guests. Most were too polite to say anything though a few, when pushed, mumbled, you've put on a little weight... Agh sweet, I was a fat porky pudding pie but now.... I should have said it was water retention.
Way back, when hatching from adolescence I realised my personality type was such I couldn't hack the repetitious cack served up by the media. It seemed to me there were but two basic tenets of discussion aimed at women, the first being; how to look good, the second, how to please your man. I reckoned that if I bought into that type of modern "feminism" I'd end up a size 8 uber groomed neurotic mess.
Back in Acton and only just touching 12 weeks I was caught out. See secretly I'd hoped all the morning sickness would have, at the very least, cast off a couple of pounds. Damn after all those years of not buying into the above - how shallow was I?
Basically, I was distracting myself from the imminent 12-week scan. The mother of all scans. A milestone scan as it determines whether the baby may have Down Syndrome and/or a host of other neural irregularities. At the end of the assessments, one would be deemed high or low risk. The former result would entail further intrusive tests and a life card I did not want to be dealt or deal with, especially considering my age. It was a trying time and my mind pondered various what-ifs and worst-case scenarios.
The Glam Rocker, post tour, was back in town, (hence the grooming - well you gotta look good for your man). As before we were waiting to be seen at the hospital. The room was miserable, shabby, and basic with one harried nurse performing an Oscar winning, headless chicken impersonation. The process was now familiar to me, waiting, more waiting, bloods tests, furthering waiting till finally my name was called.
I lay on the bed, the Glam Rocker beside me. The screen flickered on and then there it was. The last time viewed, it was a mere kidney bean with four wee stumps but now.... Our tiny Interloper proudly appeared waving its newly formed limbs, yes all four, two arms, two legs. I was taken aback it had a fully formed head, a jaw and nasal skeletal bone, eye sockets, a growing brain, (my side of the family) a beating heart, a stomach. There were 4.5cms of life paddling away inside me, half a fingers worth. It existed within. It actually undeniably existed and was beginning to resemble a human. In awe of this miracle of life, the G. Rocker and I were wide eyed and jaw gaping. All looked good but we would have to, you guessed it, wait for the blood results to confirm there were no abnormalities.
Later in a nearby café, we contemplated this new life. It was slowly sinking in, we were not going to be waking up Bobby Ewing style any day soon and declaring the past three months a dream.
TO BE CONTINUED
Its face is finally beginning to look more human. Its eyes, which started on the side of their head, have moved closer together on the face. The ears have taken up position on the sides of the head. Hair is now beginning to grow and fingers and toes have small soft nails, while mouths have 20 tiny buds, which will become baby teeth. Thumbs may even be sucked. The vocal cords are complete, though will go unused until their first few seconds in the outside world!
About this time, most people start sharing their good news coinciding with visual evidence as your uterus grows out of your pelvis and rises above your pubic bone. It will get heavier until, at nine months it will weigh up to 2 pounds (compared to 2.5 ounces before you became pregnant) creating space for your very own Interloper to grow.