I haven’t been here in a while. This has something to do with the general wrestle of life with a business and a toddler, and something to do with the fact that, for a while, me and food were not on the best terms. Yes, we decided that having got to the point where life with a small child is actually sort of fun (i.e. the point where he sleeps for 11 hours a night – a point which was a veeerry long time coming) we should celebrate by having another.
Welcome, so-called ‘morning’ sickness. When I was pregnant with Frank I sometimes felt a little bit queasy, in that I would not much fancy a particular thing for dinner. That was as far as it went. I only remember feeling properly sick once, at an event we did at the Belgrave Street Feast, when we were surrounded by multiple incarnations of delicious food and I was disappointed to find that I couldn’t stomach any of it. Then by lunchtime I was over it and ate a dosa.
This time round I consulted the obligatory page on morning sickness in all of the pregnancy guides that I own (which is quite a lot – my general response to becoming interested in a subject being to read about it, furiously, as if there were going to be a test on it…which, I suppose, in the case of pregnancy, there kind of is). They all mention, nonchalantly, that most women tend to feel a bit sick during the first trimester and why not try eating ginger biscuits? But you don’t understand! I wanted to say. I feel really bad! The thought of eating any sort of biscuit made me feel wobbly, ginger or otherwise. I felt sick all day, every day, but often ravenously hungry at the same time. Normally I welcome hunger as a reason to eat something delicious and I have to say that the feeling of stomach-clawing hunger combined with a nausea so overbearing you can’t face eating anything is pretty miserable. Also, you don’t get a lot of sympathy because most people don’t even know you’re pregnant yet and if they do, there’s not really anything to see and you think you’d better not moan too much if you want people’s goodwill to last for another eight months. Once I threw up my lunch at work and I felt quite pleased about it, like at last I had something to show for all the effort I’d put in at feeling sick.
I felt too sick to even have cravings, apart from one week when I suddenly wanted Chinese food and I was quite happy as long as dinner had any combination of spring onions, garlic and ginger in it – I even insisted that we had a Chinese takeaway one night, which is completely unheard of – then that passed. I found a list in my diary, ‘things that don’t make me feel nauseous currently’ : it includes miso soup, oranges, buttered rice, jasmine tea and ice cream. Another of my frequent food lists is tentatively titled, ‘would I want to eat..?’ I felt nostalgic for the decisiveness of my first trimester with Frank, when as long as it was a mango or any type of seafood it was welcome in my belly.
Such is the strange inner timeline of pregnancy that all this feels like so long ago, although at the time it felt as if it had already lasted forever and would never end. Thankfully, I am now feeling much better. I can eat almost anything, and be hungry again an hour later. I can drink a whole cup of coffee! And, most importantly, cooking is no longer an endurance test. It’s good to be back.