Emotion Emotion Emotion

I consider myself a level headed and fairly laid back person, who doesn’t suffer mood swings or emotional ups and downs too much. I love a good cry at a sad movie (or happy movie) but I can normally keep my own emotions in check. When I found out I was pregnant my overriding emotion was denial. I have always wanted to be a mother and the news elated me, however I was scared about all the changes to my life it would bring. What about my first half marathon I’d planned next year, what about our travel plans next spring when the baby was due? What about my relationship with Mr Maternal, we’d only just got married for goodness sake. I went about my daily life as normal, so normal infact that I was still running and cycling up to 40km on a Tuesday morning and gymming it at least 3 times a week. Finally Mr Maternal took me aside and kindly said that I’d have to accept that things would be different now.

Once I’d learn to realise that there is life after childbirth and a child doesn’t have to change your relationship or plans too much I started to feel really excited. Then the nerves set in; what if I can’t cope with the tiredness, what about labour? What if I’m just totally clueless. Again, I reminded myself that nature takes it’s course and that we are all born with some level of instinct and we are lucky to live in an educated society. I have 5 nephews and I think I can safely say my 3 sisters would have no problem leaving their children with me, from any age. In fact, they have.

After announcing the news to friends and family and starting to show I have managed to get along with my pregnancy with ease. I hadn’t suffered any further nerves or worries and have channelled my emotions in reading, working (I work for an NGO that supports pregnant women and new born children in the slums) and now, writing my blog.

Last week however, my emotions took over! My goodness I don’t know what happened, but for nearly two weeks now I haven’t been able to control my tears. They come at the most embarrassing times (in the back of the car, in the bakery when they don’t have what I’m looking for, when I’m talking to a friend about something mundane!!) It’s so unlike me and it’s more frustrating than anything. Of course Mr Maternal gets the brunt of it, but luckily he is equally as laid back and just says “let it all out, just cry”, as I sob saying “nothings even wrong”!

I think it’s important to remember that no matter how strong or weak you were emotionally before you got pregnant your body is going through some crazy changes and we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves to pretend we’re feeling normal. For the most part everyone understands that we can be a bit temperamental and they don’t seem to mind. So if you feel low and tearful, let it out. If you feel tired, sleep. If you feel like eating that something that you shouldn’t, eat it. At least when you’re feeling good you can do all the good stuff then!


20 Week Scan

We had our 20 week scan on Wednesday – we battled the 90 minute of traffic and managed to get there early. I had to fill in the same form that I always have to fill in at these scans – what do they do with the paper once I’ve replicated the information over and over? I even had to sign to say that I don’t want to know the sex of our child and that I would not ask the sonographer. My Maternal and I both don’t want to know, so for us it doesn’t matter, but a lady I know said she went back to France to find out what she was having. She has since told her doctor here that she is having a girl and the doctor continues to refer to the baby as “The Baby” and never mentions ‘she’. It’s really very strict.

Our sonographer is a quiet person who says little but still manages to make you feel at ease. She goes about her extensive scan in a methodical manner and in our first session when we were asking “is that the XYZ” she would say “I’m going to go through it all with you in a moment, but for now you can keep guessing”. On this occasion, we were able to see so much of the baby clearly, we could tell it’s heart, it’s brain, it’s spine, but of course the sonographer kept well away from the nether regions.

At one point, the sonographer stopped and with a smile said, you see the head here, and these are the ears (we were looking at the back of the head), we nodded in agreement and she went on to say “look he’s playing with his ear” – Mr Maternal and I looked straight at each other and laughed. This is a trait that Mr Maternal indulges in all the time. Plays with his ears, my ears, the dogs ears. We have decided from this that we think we are having a boy as it’s quite a trait within the men in Mr Maternal’s family, but not the women… Watch this space.

Great snacks for the Pregnant Women

I am an eater, a big eater. I am always teased by my family and friends about how much I eat and I have always stated that the only reason I work out is so that I can eat what I want. Imagine my joy at becoming pregnant and being able to milk the “i’m eating for two” line… In fact I was quite restrained, I was determined not to fall into that trap but instead to continue taking care over my nutrition. Since working for the Foundation I have also learned so much about how important good maternal nutrition is from the day of conception. With this in mind, I wanted to find some snacks that were healthier than peanut butter on toast (never mind the can you – can’t you question over peanut butter)!

Here’s a taster of what I have enjoyed so far:

Edamame – Immature Soy Beans 220px-Edamame_by_Zesmerelda_in_Chicago
These are readily available on the market (I go to Pali Naka vegetable market) during their season, which is towards the end of monsoon until late November. A large pack costs about Rs100, which is not cheap by Indian standards, but still reasonable for a health snack.
Wash the beans, cover them in lots of salt whilst a pan of water boils. Add salt to the boiling water, boil the edamame for about 5-7 minutes, remove from the pan, drain, cover in salt and serve.
Soy beans are high in carbohydrates, protein and dietary fibre. The salt is also thought to help moderate bloating and water retention and is thought to be one of the few things that a pregnant women can indulge in without too much worry. You can read more information from BabyCentre.com here

Chikku Milkshake

Chikku Milkshake (C) Ruchi

Chikku Milkshake (C) Ruc

Chikku is a small brown round fruit that you can find on any veg stall in Mumbai. They are very cheap.
Remove the skin and deseed the fruit, chop or use a electronic  mixer if you have one. Add a cup of milk, preferably cold. Add some honey or sugar if you like. Done!
The milk is good for fat and calcium (which the baby rapidly depletes from you) and the chikku is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C.

Chopped Carrots
Carrots are so readily available, so delicious and so cheap! I buy a load on Monday morning and then peel and slice and keep in the fridge. I carry them with me whenever I’m out for a long day and can’t be sure where or when my lunch will be coming from.

Also readily available but not so cheap. I packet of about 100g will normally last me a couple of weeks (but can cost up to rs225). A small munch on some almonds normally gets me through to the next meal.

December Squat-a-thon

Before becoming pregnant keeping fit was a big part of my life and I was determined to keep it that way all the way through pregnancy. In the first few weeks I tried to keep up the cycling and running until Mr Maternal said they cycling was too dangerous (cycling from Bandra to NCPA at 4am every Tuesday for 3 hours probably was a bit ambitious) and running started to really hurt my back. With nowhere to swim (we are not members of any private clubs here) meant I was left with few options. I have continued with the gym where I use the cross trainer and bicycle as both are easy on my joints and I now do pre-natal yoga.

However, I have started a squat-a-thon for December, not so sure yet about 70 squats on Christmas day, but I guess it’s not like I’ll be drunk like usual so I’m sure I can squeeze them in.


Squats are not only great for a strong lower back and thighs and a rock hard bottom, but my reading and research tells me having strong thighs for labour can really ease and assist! So what’s not to love. Whenever I’m tiring and feeling a bit won, I think about how tired and exhausted I will be during labour and that I’ll always have to keep going, that’s what spurs me on to finish the set!


Which Doctor?

My husband and I had been married 6 weeks when we found out that I was 4 weeks pregnant. It came as rather a surprise. I had just returned to Mumbai after sorting my visa in the UK and we were just getting ready to settle into married life. Even though I have three older sisters who between them have 5 children, I still didn’t know what the first step was! Mr Maternal, efficient as always, checked with his HR policy regarding maternal care. This got the ball rolling and we discovered a list of private hospitals that were available to us. In the end we chose Hiranandani in Powai as, believe it or not, it was the closest. Of everyone I’ve spoken to about having children in Mumbai 99% had their babies at Breach Candy hospital and 1% at a private “Nursing Home” in Bandra, therefore Hiranandani Hospital came with no expectations.

Hiranandani Hospital, Powai

Hiranandani Hospital, Powai

We were quietly pleased. Mr Maternal got us an appointment for the next Saturday with a lovely young lady doctor called Dr Rakhee Sahu. She is Indian trained and German trained. Her manner is quiet, quick, but thoughtful and kind. The hospital itself was pretty well organised, by Indian standards and most definitely very clean. We registered with ease, saw the doctor almost immediately and were feeling pretty happy about the whole process…until we were asked to get blood tests. No-one showed us where to go, told us what blood tests to ask for or any other information. At first it was a bit daunting, but as is always the case in India, these things do sort themselves out.

Our doctor gave us her mobile number (you’d never get that on the NHS) and the one time I have contacted her through that medium she answered straight away. She is always ready to listen to what may seem silly questions or worries and never makes us feel rushed. The down side is that, unlike the UK, we don’t leave the hospital bundled up with lots of pamphlets and reading material about do and don’ts; this may be preferable to some people and it didn’t bother us, just meant I had to call upon friends and family (and the internet!) for advice.

We are yet to do a tour of the maternity ward (hopefully this coming Saturday) but have been told that we will have our own private room, with guest beds, ensuite, room service and that we will be able to come into the hospital at any time during the labour process; my biggest fear was being turned away for not be dilated enough…It takes us 1hr45minutes to get there!!

Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital
Powai Kailash Complex link road, Hiranandani, Powai
W – http://www.hiranandanihospital.org
T – 022 2576 3300

Western Maternity Clothes

At 5 months pregnant I think it’s safe to say that I am now showing. I am still quite small compared to some ladies, but I have reached the stage where squeezing into those trousers just isn’t going to cut it any more. I did 3 things to re-jig my wardrobe, the first was to invest in Extender Belts, my sister kindly ordered me the extenders and the belly bands from Bumps.com and had them sent out to me. Sadly, Indian post being what it is, they never arrived! I have not been able to find anything here, but a close friend suggested I have them made by a tailor… watch this space.

The second thing I did was to play ‘swapsies’ with my friends. I passed to them top, skirts and dresses that I won’t be fitting into for a while and in return they kindly gave me some of their larger sized clothes. I got an array of pretty Indian print dresses, harem pants and floaty tops. All have seen me well into my 5th month and still going strong.

Even with these two things done I still wanted to wear a pair of jeans that fitted my new shape. After searching the old favourites like Marks and Spencer in Palladium I started to become a little frustrated. Finally I decided to try Mom & Me in Bandra. They have a great selection of jeans (red and green, skinny and normal), corduroys and leggings. I went for the red skinny jeans, they come with faux zip and front pockets and real back pockets, so under a top they look exactly like normal jeans. They also have the comfortable elastic tummy band which I am assured will last me right up to 9 months. And beyond!

Fauz style zip and pockets but very comfortable and flattering belly band

Maroon red skinny jeans from Mom&Me

Beautiful Indian Print Skirt from Mela

Belt Extenders

Bump Bands
Two for £22.95

Indian Print Dresses and Harem Pants
2 Siffin Apartments, Pali Hill, Ambedkar Road, Bandra West
022 26497562
Dresses / items range in price from Rs 800

Mom & Me
Sharyans Corner, Waterfield Road, Opp Moti Mahal, Bandra West
022 6452 2690
Maternity jeans – Rs3,100

Pre Natal Yoga

I have been doing my pre natal yoga at The Yoga House In Bandra for about 3 weeks now and can’t get enough of it. When I started we had a young lady taking the class. Beautiful shape and very calm and softly spoken, just sitting in her class was relaxing. This last week we have the original instructor back from her holidays. She is exceptionally aware of the changes all her students are going through and often comments on changes in their tummy position, ankle swelling and tiredness. It’s always reassuring to know she’s keeping an eye out for things we might miss.

I thought pre-natal yoga would not be particularly strenuous and that I might only learn some breathing techniques. I was wrong. My thighs have been stiff for 3 days now thanks to our last session. There are normally no more than 5 of us in the class and we therefore receive a lot of one on one attention and correction throughout the hour long session. The instructor knows each women’s ailments and will adjust the poses accordingly. The last session focused on back strengthening since 2 women had asked about back exercises to do. More over the instructor will commentate throughout on the benefits of each pose, going into such detail as ‘string thighs will assist in labour’. The breathing techniques learned are also relevant to labour… I can only tell how useful once I’ve been through it myself!

The Yoga House is also a health food cafe, so you could grab your dinner there afterwards or have a pre-session snack. I’ve only tried it once so can’t comment on the food.

The Yoga House
53 Chimbai Road (behind St Andrews Church), Bandra West
Course of 10 classes – Rs 5,000
Pre Natal Yoga – Tuesday 4.30pm, Thursday 4.30pm
F – http://www.facebook.com/theyogahousemumbai?fref=ts
T – 022 655 45001