That seems to be the number one piece of advice that people want to give me at the moment. Which is funny, considering that a couple of months ago some of the same people were berating me for wanting to take so much maternity leave before the birth. It seems there is a generally held belief that once you have a baby, life is pretty much over, and therefore you should take advantage of your last shreds of freedom and do as much as humanly possible (or pregnantly possible!) with it.
I don’t believe at all that life will be over, but I do now that it will be very different and so I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job at making the most of this time, to be honest. Less than two weeks in to maternity leave I’ve already had a couple of long lunches with friends, been for a pregnancy massage and made a sizeable dent in some reading and craft projects. This weekend we’re off on a babymoon, and so we decided to kick the weekend off yesterday with a proper date night to complete the experience – and make use of one of our last opportunities for some time to go to the theatre. (And the last opportunity for a very, very long time to go without worrying about a babysitter!).
But before that, I headed to Margate for the day. Back in August, when we had our 4d scan part of the package was a free pregnancy photo shoot at a studio down on the coast. The shoot and one picture are free, so not one of those things with a dodgy catch that you have to spend a fortune on the pictures. Of course, I’m sure that they will try to sell us plenty of extra pictures, but despite this, and despite the fact that I have another shoot already booked for next week, I decided I may as well make take advantage of the offer and have fun. Given that I can’t drive at the moment, it’s not the easiest place to get to, but I figured it would be an adventure and a useful way to pass a day. So off I treked on the train this morning, schlepping a bag of outfit changes in addition to my big pregnant tum. It turned out to be swelteringly hot day, especially for the end of September, and I was extremely grateful for the air-conditioned comfort of the HS1 train from Ashford!
The shoot was good fun. We did some simple shots using black and white tops, and a shirt of Ian’s that I “borrowed”. Some of the shots felt a bit cliched – especially the one where the photographer had me make a heart with your thumb and fingers over the bump – but given that I wasn’t paying, I’m not particularly bothered by that. It was fun to flaunt my curvy shape and revel in the sort of body confidence I wish I had at all times. Hopefully we’ll have some really nice shots to choose from when we head back down there is a couple of weeks.
Following the shoot, I whiled away some time in a lovely cafe, stuffing myself with an all day breakfast – not the heart-healthiest of foods, but easy to turn in to a low carb option – and watched the waves washing against the shore with seagull circling ahead, before catching the train up to London.
I met Ian after work and he walked whilst I waddled, over to the Charing Cross Road where we picked up some dinner. It was such a beautiful, hot early evening that I was really tempted to have a sneaky small glass of wine. These are the occasions on which I most miss alcohol. A Pimms would have been lovely too. But with absolutely no justification for it, I resisted and made do with a Diet Coke. We finished up the day watching Blood Brothers. In the eighteen or so years since I first saw it, I’d forgotten just how good it is.
By the time I slumped on to a seat on the train, I was absolutely dead on my feet. My very swollen feet that retained the marks of my shoes long, long after I’d taken them off. This is the first major swelling that I’ve run in to this pregnancy and I’m hoping a combination of the heat and being on my feet for so much of the day are the primary causes, rather than anything sinister like the start of pre-eclampsia.
Oh well, it’s the perfect excuse to spend the weekend with my feet up. And what better place than by the coast on such a glorious day, which promises to turn in to a glorious weekend!