Pregnancy and “missing out”

gamescom

I can handle anything for a set period of time. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself. Certain situations or activities might be unpleasant, but as long as I have a clear start and end point, I can usually psyche myself up to be able to get through it all. But pregnancy and its child-filled aftermath is a bit different.

I don’t worry about missing out on most things. I’ve lived such a full life already, it’s not like I’m worried about missing the next great concert, or a night out partying – I’ve had enough drunken adventures not to feel sad about not drinking for a next few months. Well, mostly – it is still hard going out for drinks and not being able to have a glass of wine or a gin and tonic. I don’t need to get drunk or even tipsy, but it’d be nice to have my usual drinks of choice.

At the moment, there’s something even bigger that I’ve realized I’m missing out on, and it won’t end once the little munchkin is born. This week, two of my colleagues are in Germany for Gamescom, one of the largest and most fun gaming conventions in the world. Last year, I was there. I’m already lucky that I was able to attend E3 this year (despite doing so while 8 weeks pregnant) – it’s like gaming Mecca and I’m so lucky to even go to one such event in a year, let alone two like I did last year. In fact, last year I was able to travel overseas four times for work. It was fantastic and exhilarating and I loved the joy of being flown around the world to play games.

I was away this year for seven weeks, right at the start of my pregnancy. It was far too long a trip, but it had to be done – I was looking after my mom following major surgery, and also managed to attend a Pre-E3 event as well as the full week of E3. It seems that this will be my last solo trip anywhere for a long time. I won’t be traveling internationally while pregnant, and then I will have a baby on my boob and won’t really be able to go out for more than an evening on my own.

And thus, it hit me. International travel is out. Hell, even a lunch out alone with friends or a date night is going to take a ton of planning. I’m sure it will be worthwhile; I’m not having a kid so that I can avoid being with him/her all the time. But it just struck me that for the next… two years let’s say, I will be chained to the house. I will be happy there, maybe, and enjoy my time with the kid, and maybe even travel with the baby to someplace local, but I won’t be galavanting off to the States or Europe for a few days or a week.

It’s not missing out. Not really. I’ll be having a whole bunch of other experiences that I couldn’t have had otherwise. And I’m sure when I’m eventually able to go overseas alone again, I will be so sad to miss out on bedtimes and day to day loveliness with my little one. Still, it’s going to take a lot of getting used to. No more quick and casual decisions to meet up for lunches. No more last minute decisions to go out for dinner with the hubster. And no more jumping at the chance to fly off to an unknown location to play a top secret game. Here’s to E3/Gamescom 2017, right?

Coming out of the pregnancy closet

closet doors

It is weird keeping something as big as a new human being a secret. It takes up so much space in the imagination – from when I went off the pill and we were officially “trying” until it happened and then even after that when we were waiting for the doctor to give us a thumbs up. It was a massive secret for such a tiny being, and it was strange to decide which people should be in on the secret vs those who should wait until the big reveal.

Who do you tell, and how, and when? We told very few people that I was going off the pill. Of course I had the “pleasure” of thinking I was knocked up while traveling overseas. I waited for Dean to make it to America and then I peed on a stick and realized that yes, yes it was real. So, who do we tell then and who do we tell after I’m back home and have gone to see the doctor to know it’s really real? And then how long do we wait for the official announcement.

I always remembered women would wait until 12 weeks because the first trimester is rife with early miscarriages. I’ve even known women who announced and then had to un-announce after miscarriages. It’s more common than anyone would want, and I didn’t want to be in that situation. Additionally, thanks to fears about any possible birth defects or issues, we didn’t want to tell people in case the pregnancy had to be aborted – nothing like being in that situation and then having to be public about it because you’ve already gone public with the good news.

So, we waited for what felt like forever. And now the cat is out of the bag and it’s weird to see I keep telling people. My cleaning lady, the bartender in our usual watering hole, random ladies when I’m waiting in queues. It’s so strange though – it went from feeling like part of a secret circle to now sharing it with the whole world.

Similarly strange is the fact that I can no longer be offended when people ask when I’m due. It was also my terror; as a curvy woman, I was blessed with awesome boobs and butt, but that also meant that my stomach sometimes protruded, making people think I was already pregnant. This led to numerous tearful encounters, but now I’m showing because I really am pregnant – I’m not really allowed to be offended, although I do still think it’s a ridiculous question that no one should ask regardless of their breeding status.

So now that I’m telling everyone, it’s feeling even more real, and I’m finally realizing the range of emotions that I’m feeling. I know a lot of it is hormones, but geez, I seem to oscillate between excitement and terror on an hourly basis. I suppose that’s normal. Also, who knew how many strangers felt entitled to give you advice or pass judgement until you get pregnant – I didn’t realize that the whole world thought they knew everything better than me…

A peek into my future, maybe

Arlo, a 70-foot-tall teenage Apatosaurus, befriends a young human boy named Spot in Disney•Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur"—in theaters November 25, 2015. ©2013 Disney•Pixar.  All Rights Reserved.

I got invited to a fun event today. It was time for Disney Africa to showcase what we could expect to see in the coming year, as well as some projects that are a bit further down the pipeline. It’s always a fun event, they have one every year, and usually I just twiddle my thumbs and troll twitter until the Marvel and Star Wars stuff comes up. However, this time I actually paid attention to the kiddy crap – in not so many months’ time, it won’t be kiddy crap, it will be part of my life.

Part of my joy about having a kid is imagining all the cool things I can introduce to him/her (still not 100% which it is yet). Will it be a Star Wars or a Star Trek child? Only way to find out is by showing everything. And what about all the games to play? I think I want to start off with the classics and build up to more modern gaming just so that he/she can see the progression… not that he or she will care either way. Still, I’m looking forward to watching Don Bluth films, reading all those classic fantasy and sci-fi kids books (and some of the new ones, too), and playing with the incredible range of toys-to-life games out there that I know I will love, even if the munchkin doesn’t.

Still, it’s not just about what I think is cool, and I’ve already accepted that as soon as I become a mom everything geeky and awesome that I know and love will become totally uncool to my spawnling. So, what sort of content will the little one enjoy? Am I going to spend my future watching Doc McStuffins all day? Or will I be watching the same movies on repeat until I can recite them all from memory? I remember adoring The Land Before Time as a kid, even though it made me cry every. single. time. Will The Good Dinosaur be a replacement? And how do I explain to a small child that the fun adventure flick that they want to watch three times a day is actually really sad as you get older and understand the deeper messages?

I’m not going to stress myself out about it too much. At least I’ll get to see the new Star Wars film before the little one arrives. I wonder if it will be my last outing to a movie theater for many years. I’d better eat all the popcorn and candy while I still can.

A bun in the oven

Bun in the OvenSo I’ve finally gone public with the whole “bun in the oven” thing after 13 weeks. It has been a strange few months, carrying around a secret quite literally. I did tell some people along the way, but only people who could understand why I was waiting so long to tell everyone.

Dean, my wonderful husband, had the fear. After living in Holland for many years, where women often wait well into their 30s and even 40s to start having kids, the rate of birth defects felt rather high. He was worried about there being a problem with the little peanut growing inside me, and wanted to wait until scans could prove that everything was healthy and normal. So far, so good.

I’m now 14 weeks in, and getting to the point where I feel like I can start making plans. Yes, I do know that all plans are useless because who knows what I’m going to get – more than worrying about the kid’s gender, I’m just hoping that it’s a SLEEPER. But until I know what I’m getting, I’m enjoying buying adorably geeky kids clothes, and daydreaming about the books, games and movies I can introduce him/her to. How early is too early to start A Wrinkle in Time or Tetris?

I’m also finally letting myself feel all the things that I’ve been feeling along the way. Now that it isn’t a secret that I’m knocked up, I can acknowledge all the fears, ideas and emotions that go along with the process. And, as a video game journalist by day, what could be better than becoming a geeky mommy blogger by night? Right? RIGHT?

So, this is my welcome blog, I guess. I will be blogging about the whole journey and my conundrums along the way. I have ideas about nappies, breast feeding, parenting philosophies, gaming for kids and all sorts of other things. I reserve the right to change my mind many times. Hopefully, you all enjoy following me from my debating and planning phase all the way through to carrying things out and realizing what does and doesn’t work.