From Fear to Maternity: It's getting to the stage where I may soon require help getting dressed

Yvonne Hogan Photo: Marc O'Sullivan

As with most things female-related, the late, great Nora Ephron put it best when she said: "If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters." I am with her on that.

It is week 36 and I am so big, swollen and cumbersome that it's getting to the stage where I may soon require help getting dressed.

As it stands, it takes me about an hour to get ready in the morning, where it used to take me 20 minutes, max.

It takes me 40 minutes to walk from the Luas to the office (not including toilet stops), where it used to take me 15. Everything is so slow. And on top of everything else, I have developed heartburn. Sexy.

If I am to be perfectly honest, I find it really difficult to motivate myself to get out of bed these days. And it's not just because of my slowness. I have come to hate going out. I want to stay at home and hide.

It took me a while to put my finger on exactly why. It isn't just the fat, even though I really hate the fat.

It isn't just the waddling, or the aches and pains, or the fact that I can't seem to move from a sitting to a standing position without emitting some sort of beastly noise, or the ever-increasing swelling -- this week, for example, I had to retire my wedding rings; they were getting so uncomfortable.

It really isn't just a vanity thing, or a logistics thing, or even a ridiculously tired thing. (The third-trimester exhaustion is nearly as bad as the first trimester. I have resumed my habit of nipping into the toilets at work for a nap at least twice a day.)

I am almost loath to admit it, but I think the reason I want to stay in is that I find this late stage of pregnancy makes me feel a bit self-conscious.

I am not generally a shy person, or someone who holds back for fear of public disapproval, or even cares particularly what people think, but I have definitely been feeling rather vulnerable and exposed of late.

Maybe it's tied to some sort of residual Catholic guilt, but I feel slightly ashamed, dirty -- as if I am wearing my reproductive organs on the outside.

I feel primal, unevolved, like a cow, but not a nice, relaxed, chilled, cartoon, mooing cow as described in a previous column; more like a big, roaring, bovine, breeding heifer. An animal.

I suppose you could say I feel a bit feral.

There is nothing like being heavily pregnant and about to give birth really to bring home the fact that we humans really are, in essence, just animals.

No matter how fancy, educated and polished we like to think we are, breeding and childbirth brings us right back to our primitive origins, with all the squatting, pushing and panting.

I am starting to see where the whole 'too posh to push' thing came from. Not that I would every consider it, but apparently LA surgeons are now being asked to perform elective caesareans as early as 35 weeks, so the mama can avoid the last four to five weeks, when most of the weight piles on and the stretch marks set in.

The veracity of this piece of Tinseltown pregnancy lore is debatable, but what I have verified, through hours of scientifically googling pregnant celebrities, is that the ones who don't have baby ripped untimely from their wombs go underground for the last month to six weeks.

In fact, I challenge you to find any posed picture of Victoria Beckham, or any other style-conscious celebrity, at this stage of their pregnancies. You won't, because they hide.

And I don't blame them. If you trade on style and glamour, and are judged pretty much solely on your image, the last thing you want is be seen in this state.

But sometimes the mask slips and we do get a paparazzo shot of one of the beautiful people in their last bloated days.

My favourite is the one of a circa 39-weeks-pregnant Uma Thurman in Central Park Zoo earlier this year, waiting to buy an ice cream with a big cranky head up on her.

Her belly button is protruding through her top, she isn't wearing any make up, and you can just tell from her face that she has completely lost her give-a-s**t and is ready to roar at anyone who looks crooked at her.

Uma, I feel your pain and I salute you. Mooo!

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