From Fear to Maternity: After 30 weeks glamour is impossible
This week, I will be attending a friend's wedding, a style conundrum at the best of times, but when you are 34 weeks pregnant and counting, a sartorial nightmare.
Particularly when you have suddenly become very frugal, almost to the point of impracticality.
Impending motherhood has given me a rabid fear of poverty and very tight purse strings that rarely open these days, unless it is to purchase something that I can eat.
In the supermarket the other day I even stopped my husband from buying branded cotton buds. "Are you mad?" I cackled, shaking my head. "We're not millionaires! Those days are over, boy."
Even as I said it, I knew it was a bit much. But I had started, so I had to finish.
"Our devil-may-care, throw-whatever-you-want-in-the-trolley days are well over."
He looked at me with that wary, patronising but kind look he has adopted of late.
Apparently, it is quite common in partners in the third trimester. They talk about us, you know. And formulate plans and theories about how to handle us.
But we'll get to that in another column.
Thankfully, before all this frugality had set in, I had bought a dress for the wedding -- a lovely dress, from Isabella Oliver; one shoulder, black, ruched, comes to just below the knee. I have a short, fake-fur evening jacket thing that will work as a coat.
I may, however, have to buy a strapless bra, if I can find one big enough, which might be an issue since I am now bursting the seams of a 36F.
But I'm not too worried about that. I figure if the worst comes to the worst, I can sacrifice a layer of skin and brave those plaster-type nipple covers, as the dress is pretty well reinforced in the bust area. So, from the knees up, I am covered.
But below the knee is where the problem lies. Nobody told me what late pregnancy does to your feet. If I had known, I would have probably bought a different ensemble.
I bought this dress when I was about 20 weeks. It would have been perfect then, as I could easily have lasted the day in heels.
Twenty to 25 weeks is the optimum time to attend a wedding or glamorous event, I think. You are glowing, your hair looks lush and you have nice, big boobs that haven't quite turned into udders yet.
Your bump is just big enough to be noticeable and to make your bum look small, but not so big that no amount of layering can hide your belly button, which is sticking out so far it puts one in mind of a presenting chimpanzee.
But I bet you any money that you won't find a picture of her taken later in her pregnancy. Because after 30 weeks, glamour is impossible. Everything is very swollen. As I write, even my nose is swollen. My feet are so swollen that I can't wear shoes.
And I don't mean I can't wear heels -- I can't wear shoes. I haven't worn shoes since about July.
I spent the summer in FitFlops and have bought a pair of the boot version to wear for the winter. In them, my feet are free to swell.
Once a week, I do squeeze my trotters into shoes for about half-an-hour for a work thing -- for which I am sitting down -- and by the time I take them off, my flesh is rising nicely over the top like two loaves of yeasty bread just out of the oven.
And as for my ankles, I haven't seen them since the summer. Thanks to water retention, I am almost straight down from my knees to my feet. My feet themselves are in bits.
So at this moment in time, I literally can't fit into any of the shoes I own, bar one pair of generously wide summer wedges that might, with a good pedicure, just about work.
They will hurt me, they don't really go with the dress and they do nothing for my cankles, but I think I will be able to bear them for a day, so wear them to the wedding I will.
Because it's not as if I can go out and buy something.
Even if I could move past my new-found stinginess, I don't think I could find, on this earth, a pair of shoes that would address my needs.
Where would you find a pair of four-inch heels, as wide as boats, in a nice, soft, stretchy material that would allow for unlimited swelling, but still be comfortable and supportive enough to hold up a very front-loaded woman with an unstable pelvic girdle?