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Kirsty Blake Knox: I’ll be heading off for some time as I am, to quote James Joyce, up the pole



Kirsty Blake Knox. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Kirsty Blake Knox. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Impending arrival

Impending arrival

Fr Damian McNeice shows the Vestments to be used for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland on left and the one from the Popes visit in 1979 Pic:Mark Condren

Fr Damian McNeice shows the Vestments to be used for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland on left and the one from the Popes visit in 1979 Pic:Mark Condren


Kirsty Blake Knox. Photo: Gerry Mooney

It is August - the official month of the out-of-office reply. These tend to come in a variety of shapes and sizes; fit-to-bust smug, open aggression, and Captain Lawrence Oates levels of vague mystery.

This year, I have decided to use this column to set my out of office.

I’ll be heading off for some time as I am, to quote James Joyce, up the pole.

Yes, in less than two weeks I’ll have to figure out how I can encourage a small human to skeleton out of my pelvis, and into the big bad world.

The biggest responsibility I have had until now has been looking after my phone, so this is quite a step up.

Sadly, they don’t make Otterboxes for Babies™, and people are less understanding if you drop a child in the toilet of a night-club. Go figure.

Up until I became pregnant most of my knowledge on the subject had been gleamed from pop culture - movies, Demi Moore's Vanity Fair cover, that Ace of Base song, and soap operas.

This really messes with your head.

The people who package pregnancy for film must be the same people who keep putting shower based sex scenes in TV shows.

Looks good - then you try it at home and lose the will to live, and destroy a loofa.

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I can’t be alone on this front so have decided to point out the ways real life pregnancy differs from movie pregnancy.

Coming up with names

In movies this just happens, no fights, no confused looks, no ‘I knew someone in primary school called that and, well, he killed a man.’

But IRL it’s a minefield. As the Romans used to say Nomen Est Omen - the name is a sign. You want to get it right.

Granted you have options. For example, you can seek professional advise.

In Switzerland a top of the line baby naming agency will scour through the annals of history and literary tombs to find something unique and filled with importance. Thus ensuring your child goes on to achieve wonders of untold greatness like discovering plutonium/ inventing the internet/creating an automated pancake flipping machine.

The only slight hiccup is that the agency in question is called Erfolgswelle - which doesn’t inspire a huge degree of confidence, does it?

Asking around is risky, everyone has an opinion and you don’t want to end up with a child called Baby McBabeface.

Celebrities have gone for places they conceived - such as Brooklyn - but that only works if you were on holiday at the time.

Irish towns don’t lend themselves to adorable baby names - e.g. Hackballs Cross, Termonfeckin, or Doodys Bottoms.

And you have to factor in dialect - a baby called Scarlet is just not an option in Dublin.

Googling a name, much like an illness, is never advisable.

My top pick turned out to be the name of an accomplished porn star, known (as Liam Neeson might say) for a very particular set of skills.

You think that would have been something of a deterrent, but I am very fond of the name. And so have spent weeks asking friends what they reckon the longevity of this porn actress’ career will be?

Short lived and lower tiered? Or will she pick up endless gongs at the Adult Entertainment Awards, and become the Meryl Streep of pornos? The former I can live with, the latter not so much.

Crazy Cravings

You also won’t get a hankering for coal briquettes, or chalk, or tyres. Or anything fun like that. Most likely you’ll just want to eat frozen pizzas from Lidl, chips, milkshakes, whipped cream out of a can and grilled cheese sandwiches. Your palette becomes as discerning as mid-1970s mutton-chopped Elvis.

Comical giveaway morning sickness

I always thought I would discover I was pregnant when I suddenly began projectile vomiting during an extremely important business meeting. Men in suits would anxiously glance around the table, background music would swell, and a wizen old lady would appear from nowhere and nod at the camera.

This did not happen. Instead, I just felt a dull nausea. I assumed this was the result of eating mince pies instead of Weetabix for breakfast (don't @ me, it was January).

You spend all your time praying people offer you a seat

You won’t want to sit. You'll want to off your pants and lie down like a giant domesticated cat on any given flat surface.

You will constantly be in awe of the wonder of pregnancy

This is partially true - you do feel like a primal wonder woman some days. But then you download an app informing you the baby is now the size of a turnip and urinating a pint a day inside your uterus. That really takes the sheen off things. 

And then there are the things that movies never tell you

Like your body becomes public property for everyone to comment on and poke at. This is a both a pro and a con. I loved being carted away to relatives’ homes to show off the bump like a humongous Kinder Surprise. I even like it when strangers grab my tummy – providing they aren’t listed sex offenders.

Also because my body has stopped looking like my body, and more like a diagram in a secondary school text book, I lost all inhibitions. I have spent an inordinate amount of time naked during my pregnancy. At which point, I would like to formally apologise to the people working in Dunnes Stores HR department whose offices look directly into my apartment.

Also you will cry at all the following; that Kerrygold ad with the dead mother cooking prawns. And every episode of First Dates, The Undateables, Queer Eye, Undercover Boss, Long Lost Families, Gogglebox, and - yes - even Flog it!

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