Pregnancy hunger is like no other hunger in the world.
It goes above and beyond any willpower you think you have, any willpower you once had or basically any logical or rational thinking whatsoever. Of course, you can try to play hunger games with yourself – ie, push yourself beyond just peckish, which may never have been an issue before – but expect 100 percent to turn into a crazy person who does crazy shit in order to EAT IMMEDIATELY. Your baby may the size of an ant, but that kid has some cojones when it comes to getting sustenance.
Take the time I rocked up to the chemist to get some medication. I was a bit hungry, and it was the early days; maybe week 8 of my pregnancy. I was still ignorant about the sudden hunger thing and had neglected to pack snacks. I had assumed – wrongly – that once I picked up my meds, I could go to a lovely cafe next door and order a great Moroccan chicken salad and the bump and I would be sorted.
How wrong I was.
The bubba, deep inside, was thinking: 10 minutes in the chemist, and that’s if no one with a gammy leg and an out-of-date prescription holds up the pharmacist, five minutes walking to the cafe, ten minutes trying to get the waitress’s attention and at least another 15 until my Moroccan chicken salad arrives. That’s like 40 minutes away. I AM NOT WAITING FORTY MINUTES TO EAT MAMA SO YOU CAN JUST FORGET THAT SHIT.
Soon after, something I like to call The Hunger Mist descended and like an automaton I made for the chemist’s display of black jellybeans, ripped open a packet and started to pour the contents into my mouth. I noticed the lady at the counter watching me with some consternation and I stopped mid gobble to reassure her. “I’m sorry but I’m pregnant and if I don’t eat these right now I will probably kill someone,” I said, wild-eyed.
She just smiled and told me to go right ahead. She’d either had her fair share of crazy pregnant ladies in there stealing jellybeans, or she didn’t want me to knife her. Don’t worry, I paid for them.
Another time, probably about week 10, I went to visit my friends Tim and Lisa when I was dangerously close to That Time When I Needed To Eat Or Else. I vaguely remember Timmy opening the door and me pushing past him into the kitchen. When The Mist cleared, I was in their kitchen shoving Vegemite toast into my gob while they stared at me like I was a complete lunatic. Which I was. Who rocks up to a friends’ place, barely greets them and goes and makes toast in their kitchen without asking? A hungry pregnant woman, that’s who. Lucky they have a sense of humour.
My parents have also been bit players in The Hunger Games during the past few months. When I stayed at mum and dad’s with a bout of the flu AND bad morning / all day sickness, they had to feed me regularly and if they didn’t I would bellow from my bed down the stairs, ‘WHERE IS MY TOAST I NEED TOAST NOW’. I was also going through a popsicle phase so they bought them in bulk and fed them to me at hourly intervals like I was a crazed animal in the zoo. I’m not proud of the fact that my diet in the early days basically consisted of popsicles, toast and squeezed orange juice. (It’s much better now, promise.)
Mr Chick has also been very understanding. When I was very sick and very hungry, he bowed to my every whim. Ice-cream and hot chips, I whimpered one rainy Saturday. A peri-peri burger. A ramen. A noodle soup. A popsicle. A berry smoothie. Dumplings with chilli sauce. Vegemite toast. Homemade pasta with pesto like the man on telly did it. My husband has cooked and toasted and scoured Newtown eateries to feed me and his future child for months and been nothing but patient about it, no matter how irrationally hangry I get. One night recently after ignoring my growling hunger a wee bit too long (you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by week 17, but no) I even turned on him in the street and said, Exorcist-like, I NEED TO EAT RIGHT NOW MAKE IT HAPPEN OR THERE WILL BE TROUBLE.
Five minutes later, I was in a comfy restaurant chair with a bowl of pasta on the way. He gets it.