If there’s one good thing to come out of the tiredness and nausea caused by pregnancy, it’s that it’s cured Rosalind Sack’s aversion towards her own feet.
For a long time now, I've been embarrassed by my feet. They're wide and pasty white, with early signs of bunions (Grandma, I'm blaming you) and a stubby big toenail caused by a netball injury some years ago. As a result, I've never had a pedicure as I’m too ashamed to let my feet loose on a professional.
Last week, however, spurred on by a difficult few days of feeling bilious (I'm well into my second trimester now, WHEN WILL IT STOP?!), I unleashed them on a poor midwife-turned-reflexologist with a desperate plea to rid me of my nausea. Fortunately, she was far too polite to mention their appearance – and, frankly, I was too fed up with feeling so wretched to care.
The thinking behind the therapy is that different points of the feet correspond with different parts of the body and that, by applying pressure to these points, you can heal and relieve tension. My thinking was that, quite honestly, anything was worth a go.
“You have a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders; it looks like you're rather stressed,” she began. She had a point. Among other things (including a house renovation, which means the baby will most likely come home to a building site in the new year – they do it on Grand Designs all the time, don't they?), I'd had a lot on my plate workwise and had hot-footed it to her after a particularly hideous day at the office.
Thankfully, then, it was an incredibly relaxing hour. In fact, it was a good job we were chatting, otherwise I'd have nodded off. During the session she made some further observations about my kidneys and sinuses, and told me I would know within a couple of days if the therapy had worked on my nausea. In the meantime, I was to drink plenty of water “to flush out the system” and take it easy.
Four days later and, although the queasiness hasn't vanished, it seems to have eased a little. More importantly, though, the session was a bit of a wake-up call. My nausea is far worse when I'm tired, which is most days and almost every evening after work. And stress definitely knackers me out. So it doesn't take a genius to figure out that one affliction is leading to the other.
It seems my tendency to bulldoze on like nothing has changed – especially at work, for fear of being written off before I’ve even gone on maternity leave – has been my downfall. I've used the excuse, “I can't possibly do that, I'm busy growing a human,” as a cheeky way of getting out of the washing up at home but I'd never truly believed it.
However, the reflexology session taught me it's time to cut myself some slack. Pregnancy affects everybody in different ways, and much as I’d love to be winning the Australian Open like Serena Wiliams or delivering speeches at the United Nations like Amal Clooney, it’s also fine to admit that, occasionally, you need to put your feet up.
I will, no doubt, forget these pearls of wisdom come Monday morning, but when your health and wellbeing is not just about you any more, there's no better incentive to be kind to yourself.
If you missed Rosalind's previous struggle with her maternity wardrobe read her sixth diary entry now, The Mum Diary: The Maternity Wear Conundrum. In the next installment it's time for the 20-week scan, will Rosalind and Ed find out the sex of their baby, find out here - The Mum Diary: The 20-Week Scan.