The Battle of the Bulge

12/11/2012 17:21 GMT | Updated 12/01/2013 10:12 GMT

- The continuing diary of an accidental mother, week 19 -

I was on the tube when it happened. It was Thursday, the tail end of rush hour.

Earlier in the day, I had been photographed for a newspaper regarding a feature on this accidental pregnancy of mine. I pouted my bump in a most provocative manner as the photographer clicked away. Over the past couple of weeks, I paraded my burgeoning bump with great pride. I don't mind admitting to posturing in front of my bedroom mirror reflecting upon its glory and will openly confess to vainly admiring it from all angles (because that's how shallow I am!).

Back to the story in question....

It was a Thursday evening and there I was, snug in my tube seat perhaps even a little smug in my seat, full of pomp and bumpery, self-esteem at an all time high. We came to a stop, I raised my eyes from the Evening Standard, the doors parted and she appeared.

Lo and behold, directly in front of me stood another pregnant lady with a baby belly at least twice the size of mine. Twice. I was shamed! I was diminished by this vision of womanly beauty, embarrassed by my 'lack' of belly. Her bump rendered mine a nothing in comparison. Mine was but a butt of a bump, a button bump, a zit of a bump. This woman was strong and tall, beside her I felt small and insignificant.

Surely, a woman is at her most beautiful when pregnant? A sexual being bearing fruit, oozing fertility. There is nothing in my mind more intensely sensual, provocative, or potent. Then again, maybe it's the hormones, and I was in a pregnant bubble of delusion.

Long live delusion and I set to humming 'I am beautiful no matter what they say,' by that ugly American singer, Christina Aguilara. How much weight did she put on after her pregnancy?- Ouch!

Did I actually write that? Little old moi!

Why I wonder are we women so judgemental toward our own kind (or perhaps I just speak for myself).

"Your bump" I gushed, "It's outstanding." Inner translation being, "Bitch - I'm so jealous."

She looked at me as if I had muttered something unspeakable.

"Err... thanks."

"It's so... huge and out there." I was in awe, smitten. Then again I was sitting and she was standing, I could afford to be really nice.

"How far along are you?"

"Three weeks to go."

I got the impression she was waiting for me to offer up my seat. Fellow cushioned commuters were hiding behind papers, kindles and down right bad manners.

"I'm 19 weeks" I explained "Plus I'm going to the end of the line. Otherwise I would have offered you my seat."

Cross my heart, I really was going to the end of the line, but one.

But the guilt got to me. Up I hoisted myself in a very forced pregnant manner so it was clear to one and all, a pregnant lady was offering another pregnant lady a seat on the tube.

"No really you shouldn't" she said.

"I know," I replied loudly, "but you are much more pregnant then me."

So began the rarest of things, a conversation between two strangers on the London underground. By the time she left we had discussed birth plans and I had the number of her doula!

The week ended with an unexpected kiss from my 12-year-old. We were eating al fresco - our first lunch of the year. The sun was shining and the birds chirping. Having fully recovered in confidence from his recent mugging he was bound for the park. Eager to get back to his mates, he wolfed down his food. Then jumping up, he swiped my cheek with a peck and bent lower to plant another on my belly. Touched, I realised he too felt an affectionate bond for this new, brewing, being.


Cheesy Baby Talk

19 weeks into one's pregnancy, a greasy, cheese-like coating called vernix caseosa begins to cover the skin of the fetus. The vernix caseosa helps protect your baby's delicate skin from abrasions, chapping and hardening that can result from exposure to amniotic fluid. If of the female variety, the uterus and vagina might begin to form this week.