I was supposed to be eating small meals.
7 months pregnant, and quite frankly hating it. After a traumatic miscarriage, months of trying, and many rounds of acupuncture I should be thrilled. I’ve made it all the way to seven months! Something I never thought would happen! But a pregnancy plagued by four months of hyperemesis, several hospitalisations, and sepsis, had finally beaten me with a case of PGP so severe I had been confined to my bedroom.
Before I got pregnant I had images of what the “pregnant me” would look like, the most prevalent being me atop a stepladder, putting up wallpaper, wearing dungarees and a headband, hair thrown up in a messy bun, laughing as my belly swayed atop the ladder. Instead I am writing this in bed in my pyjamas at 1pm. My hair is a nightmare of snarls. Crutches are balanced precariously on the wall beside me to help me to the bathroom. I am more likely to suddenly find I have been named Queen of Genovia than I am to climb a ladder. My lofty aspirations have been, by necessity, boxed up and put into storage with the rest of our belongings, and myself, my husband, and our cat, are now living with my parents-in-law, as we wait on our baby to make her entrance into the world.
There are several advantages to this, the first being my sudden bedridden state. My poor husband doesn’t have to worry about leaving me in the house alone any more, with no-one but the cat for company if I collapse on my way to find food. (A semi-regular occurrence if left unattended). The second and most wonderful advantage (from my perspective) is that his parents are incredible, wonderful cooks.
They emigrated to England from Mumbai in the sixties, unfailingly generous, sweet, kind, and wickedly funny. They seem not to mind the giant cuckoo who has landed in their carefully tended nest, demanding food and drink and looking after whilst growing steadily larger by the day. They have also fully embraced the wealth of dietary requirements I reluctantly brought to their doorstep. Which for two people whose diet consists mainly of meat curries and naan, must have been quite a challenge.
Still, they delight in one upping each other, and compete to make me more elaborate lunches each day. With my husband out of the way at work, they feel free to let their creativity run riot, and they bring the most incredible creations up to me. Always accompanied with ketchup. No matter what the meal is. I am an English Girl, therefore I must want ketchup.
The only issue at the moment is my pain. With our baby girl growing ever bigger, and my stomach apparently shrinking, it has become more difficult to digest even the simplest of meals. If I need to do something exhausting, such as say, climb the stairs, or have a shower, I am liable to bring up my last meal as I try to deal with the pain shooting across my hips.
In an attempt to mitigate this, my husband and I have been experimenting with smaller, more frequent meals. A stipulation which my in-laws seem to take as a personal challenge.
When lunchtime rolled around my father-in-law asked me what I wanted, (I find this a challenging question, not knowing, for example, what we actually have in the house). In the end it was a moot point, he decided to surprise me with take out from his favourite Sri Lankan restaurant. (He is currently refusing to divulge the name and/or location but if I get it out of him I’ll update you.
A few hours later I was presented with this spread. Suddenly all my willpower for smaller meals went out the window. The daal was bursting with flavour and I could eat a whole bowl of it just on its own. The potatoes were hot and spicy and a great contrast to the smoothness of the daal. The poppadoms were hot and freshly fried by my father in law and the rice, if a bit unnecessary, was perfectly cooked. However the star of the meal had to be the butternut squash curry. Smooth and almost buttery. Sweet and savoury. It slipped down like honey and I couldn’t get enough. In the end I abandoned most of the rest of the food and just devoured the daal and butternut, I didn’t need anything else, it was perfect.
I will get the name of that restaurant for you, I know it is in London somewhere, and guessing from my father-in-law’s whereabouts that day I suspect it may be in Lewisham, but stay tuned…