From pickling vegetables to rubbing bumps, we've been talking to mums about their weird and wonderful pregnancy behaviour...
Pregnancy is a weird time for all of us. Many of us have suffered from pregnancy cravings. Strange desires for food that you just have to eat, and any time of the day (or night!) Sometimes, it was the opposite – just the smell of food, or a freshly brewed coffee, that we used to love would send us running to the bathroom!
Then there’s the belly rubs. How do you feel about a friend, family, child, or even a stranger, rubbing your pregnant tummy without asking? Does it make you cringe with horror or tingle with delight? Many people not only hate ‘The Bump Rub’, but they also find it a violation bordering on molestation. Here are some true stories from our team, past and present, about their own bump rubbings, pregnancy cravings and other weird behaviour that only happens when we’re pregnant!
“How much bump rubbing is too much?” – Ilona
“From four months pregnant, here in Singapore, my belly started sticking out, and I exaggerated this by sticking it out even further. I really wanted people to rub my tummy. Anyone. Just touch it! I know this is controversial.
I always feel like a freakish predator when this conversation comes up among my pregnant girlfriends. “How dare anyone rub my tummy without asking? It’s disgusting!” they say. In the spirit of honesty, I have to come clean and admit that not only am I a bump rubber, but I loved minebeingfelt-up too. Fingers tingling at the tips, I am drawn magnetically to big, beautiful, ripe pregnant bellies. I just love them! I always have. It’s wrong, I know. Likewise, if you stick your hand out, my belly will come and rub itself on your hand.
Not one to make excuses for people’s bump-rubbing tendencies, I have worked hard on learning to ask first before rubbing. It seems that people have become more attuned and educated to some women’s aversion to The Bump Rub, which is sad for people like me.”
“I loved seeing people drink and be merry!” – Ilona
“Having been sober for over nine months before and during my pregnancy, I’ve become aggressive about wanting to watch my friends drink alcohol – in a way that an extreme dieter likes to watch someone eat a greasy burger. “Drink!” I urge friends over lunch dates. However, these days, whether out of perceived respect or pity, my people are not drinking around me.
Mercifully, all my wishes finally came true at the wonderful baby shower girlfriends threw in my honour. Like an old crusty man hosting a bikini party, I requested that my shower come with a free-flow option – so I could watch people drink, and drink they did. Then, the grand finale… someone who’d truly taken advantage of the free flow came, with hands outstretched, towards my tummy, asking, “Can I?” My belly firmly in her hands, a consensual rub fest took place in the middle of a hotel high tea buffet. It was delightful!”
“I loved pickling things while pregnant!” – Selina
“Much to my husband’s disgust, I had an obsession with pickling things during my pregnancies. Sure, craving a gherkin is a cliche, but I wanted to DO the pickling. I even attempted to make my own sauerkraut and stayed up till 2 AM on one frenzied fermenting mission. This all might sound delightful to our friends from the Baltic regions, but it actually turned into a science experiment gone wrong in our kitchen, and I haven’t been able to touch the stuff since.”
“I needed to crunch ice – all the time!” – Brynie
“I was absolutely obsessed with eating ice during all three of my pregnancies. Literally crunching down on blocks, day and night, at home and in the office, until my teeth felt numb. I was even crunching ice in bed (drove my husband nuts, plus romance killer FYI). I became a little crazy if the ice tray wasn’t refilled at home (hormones – look out!). It wasn’t any old ice either because that would be too easy. The ice had to be a certain size. I’d get upset in restaurants if the cubes were too big – and was over the moon when they delivered the right ‘crushed but not too crushed’ gems of icy perfection! I’d like to apologise to McDonald’s: it was me who ordered “just a cup of ice” at the drive-through – a few (okay, many!) times.”
‘I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum – all I wanted was citrus!’ – Tracy
“I suffered really horrendously with Hyperemesis gravidarum with two of my three pregnancies (Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge is a slightly more famous fellow sufferer). Smells were a killer – not ideal when the stench of just about everything seemed way more heightened, including my husband’s! When I wasn’t lying on the bathroom floor trying to survive, I became obsessed with lemon ice pops, rhubarb and custard sweets (do you have any idea how hard they are to buy here?) and hamburgers. I knew I was pregnant before I even peed on a stick, thanks to a sudden and massive aversion to poultry and a sudden love for anything citrus. If ANYONE had tried to rub my bump, I may well have vomited on them… I was not a pregnancy ‘glower’.”
“Carbs all the way – and an aversion to exercise!” – Kate
“I craved carbs and generally the kid-preferred sort of diet, not very nutritious filling things like doughy bread, pasta, and mac’n’cheese. I also randomly really wanted sauerkraut, like a lot, and I’d never particularly liked it before. I also hated the pregnancy food and drink ‘restrictions’, so suddenly anything in the ‘no zone’ held amazing allure – the first meal after delivery had to be sushi and champagne! I definitely also had a strong aversion to smells which felt like a not-very-useful super-power – I’d get a whiff of something and have to figure out what it was and how to get rid of it or remove myself from it. With my second baby, I also sort of had an aversion to exercise – that’s totally normal, right?”
“Lor Mee for me, even at 2AM!” – Yvonne
With my first pregnancy, I was endlessly craving Lor Mee, with plenty of vinegar and garlic (strong-tasting hawker centre fare), even at 2 AM. Hubby was hopeless: When I tipped him out of bed demanding an immediate portion of Lor Mee, he just grunted, ‘Go back to sleep! Nobody sells Lor Mee at 2 AM!’ (He’s got a point). I was also craving things I couldn’t have – soft-boiled eggs, blue cheese, and sashimi! With my second child, I had a terrible aversion to plain ol’ water! Not ideal… It had to be Ribena or lemon squash. Coffee was also a big turn-off, despite being a two-cup-a-day girl prior to pregnancy.
What was your pregnancy aversion?