Brace yourselves for some terrible news: this morning there was what looked like the very beginnings of a VARICOSE VEIN in my leg. Oh, my giddy aunt. Varicose veins. The worst of my worst fears. The Voldemort of pregnancy ailments. I am pale and veiny anyway, so have always suspected that I’d be among the unlucky 4% of pregnant women who got them. I can do stretch marks and trapped wind and owning a cream with ‘anus’ in the title and even the pain and mess of childbirth, because that’s all par for the course, but tramlines on the legs will reduce me to sackcloth and ashes in minutes. There’s no comfort to be had anywhere. No prevention. No cure, except surgery the NHS won’t pay for. And they’ll get worse with subsequent babies, say the websites, kindly, so you might want to wait till you’ve had all the offspring you’re planning before you have them seen to. I all but rent my clothing and grew a beard of mourning when I got out of the shower today. So it turned out to be a good thing that we’d planned another maternity shopping trip for our Saturday morning activity, and that it ended up being the BEST ONE EVER.
They can be depressing, maternity shopping trips. Reading is not gifted with large and well-stocked maternity sections. It is an exercise in humility, separating clothes into piles of I’m-not-that-big-yet and I-might-never-be-that-thin-again, and of course, after my encounter with They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named earlier in the day, I was already fairly downcast. But as ever, the difficulty remains: I keep growing out of my clothes. Trousers are now a critical problem. I know that, sooner or later, leggings will be my lot in life – I’ve never yet been able to shake the feeling that I’ve just forgotten to put trousers on – but I’m trying to put off that personal hurdle for another couple of months. Happily, and completely unexpectedly, I found not one pair but two – plus two pairs of cheap flat shoes from Primark, two long vest tops so I don’t have to keep wearing the one I’ve got into rags, and three creme eggs once I started flagging at 11am. (Did I mention how delighted I am that they’re still selling creme eggs a month after Easter?) Also: baby clothes. Pushchairs. Car seats. Cots. It is all endlessly exciting, and once our study stops being a study and starts being an empty room, I can start buying them. Soon, my pretties, I croaked, stroking their shiny and beautiful surfaces. Soon. And then I stopped, in case I was escorted from the shop. This stuff has to be hygienic, you know; it can’t be stroked by random non-purchasers.
Not only did my Timothy of Fabulousness sit outside stuffy changing rooms all morning, passing judgment on large numbers of elasticated garments, he also yielded to my unsubtle hinting in the car on the way back:
Me: We should go to McDonalds for lunch.
Tim: We’ve got food at home. [curse his unswitchoffable practicality!]
Me: But I’m so hungry. What if I die?
Tim: Then I’ll be very, very sad. But at least I’ve still got the receipts for all the stuff we just bought.
Me: You fart. Can we go to McDonalds?
So then money was exchanged for beef in a time-honoured and beauteous transaction, and no further mention was made of the burgeoning Dark Lord in my leg, and TJ and I were very happy indeed.
Postscript: Do I find it ironic that I had to be six months pregnant before I bought my first pair of skinny jeans? Yes, very.
Post-postscript: Looking up pictures of Voldemort for this post reminded me of how CRAZILY excited I am for the film coming out in July. I think I might go dressed up as Aunt Marge. The blown-up version, obviously.