Pregnancy judgement, or a recent trip out

pregnancy judgement

I have an admission to make. Before I got pregnant, I always kind of rolled my eyes when I heard people talking about all of the pregnancy judgement that came their way.

No more. I’m now eight months pregnant and the judgement happens regularly.

I’m not sure why! Maybe I’m just particularly obtuse or don’t care about my fellow humans enough. I cannot imagine making a comment on what someone is doing.

(Okay, maybe once. Another admission: once in early pregnancy when I was feeling awful I nearly told off a woman who was smoking in an enclosed multistorey car park. She wasn’t (visibly) pregnant, but the smell of the smoke made me feel awful and I just saw red. My husband dragged me away before I could say anything. But other than that…)

The other weekend I went to Sainsbury’s to do our weekly food shop. I love this Sainsbury’s by us – it’s got everything we need and is less scarily chaotic than the big Tesco. Once they opened a new till for me when they saw I was pregnant and struggling to stand in the queue for too long. Also the clothes are awesome and I really should stop buying them!

I got the usual big shop. It’s a mix of healthy and unhealthy, to be honest. I’d like to say that we have wonderful diets, and we do manage to get a lot of good food in there, but we do also enjoy our crisps, cake, pastries, etc. (I can feel your pregnancy judgement growing – how dare she? Crisps?!)

So imagine the situation. I’m standing there with a trolley piled high with a good mix of food. Some ready meals because, eight months pregnant. Can’t always be bothered to cook. Lots of yoghurt and cheese, some fruit, veg (fresh and frozen), and then Pringles, some cakes, bread, etc. Your usual weekly shop.

I think to myself, hey, my husband might like a beer tonight. I don’t drink (even pre-pregnancy, never had the taste for it) and he’s hardly a heavy drinker. He goes out one night a week and has two pints then, and usually has a beer on one night each weekend. He likes his IPA. So I roll my trolley and my big pregnant belly over to the booze aisle, and debate over various IPAs for a few minutes. Select one, put it in the trolley.

Then I become very aware of two ladies having a conversation about three feet away from me. It’s one of those conversations that you’re meant to hear.

Judger One: She’s buying beer. That’s disgusting.

Judger Two: Ugh. How awful. I pity that poor baby.

Yes, by all means, pity my poor baby. Poor baby with a father who had a total of three beers in a week.

Honestly, even if the beer had been for me, who cares? Maybe I was planning to dilute it with lemonade and drink it over the period of a week. Maybe I was planning to drink the whole thing in one evening. None of their business either way!

But, as a mature and sensible pregnant lady, I said nothing. Just pushed my trolley onwards, beer included, paid and went home. Where my husband enjoyed his beer.

So, that’s the latest pregnancy judgement I’ve received. What about you?

Adopting rabbits: Ned and Gingee

adopting rabbits - gotcha day

When my husband and I got married, we always knew we’d be adopting rabbits pretty soon.

There are a few times I can honestly say I really felt God intervening in my life. I may not have noticed it at the time, but looking back, I can really see that it was the case. Some of these times have been scary, some have been comforting, and some have just felt absolutely right.

One such time was just after we got married. We had talked about getting rabbits soon after the wedding, but had decided to wait a couple of months or so and settle in to life just the two of us first. And then, midway through our honeymoon, my husband turned to me and said, “Why don’t we go online and just browse some rabbits?”

So we did. We looked for local rabbits who needed rehoming. Probably two girls or a boy/girl pair, who needed a new home for whatever reason.

We weren’t looking to travel far, and we weren’t looking for two boys.

I’d heard about lots of problems with mini lops, so we weren’t looking for them.

And then I saw this little face.

adopting rabbits: Ned

He was from a breeder. This wasn’t a bunny in need of a new home because of family allergies or divorce or anything like that. He was a baby. A mini lop. And his profile mentioned how attached he was to his littermate. His brother. Two boys, then. Oh, and they lived 50 miles away.

But he was mine. I just knew it. I bookmarked his page and kept going back to look at him, whispering his name to myself. Talking to him in my head. Hold on, little guy. If you don’t find a forever home before I get back, you can come and live with me.

When we got back from our honeymoon, his profile was still there. I bought a hutch. (Oh yeah, adopting rabbits meant outside rabbits back then!) It rained all weekend so we couldn’t put it together. I found myself saying things like, “Well, they can live inside until we get the hutch put together. Just so that we don’t miss them. We don’t know what the situation they’re in at the moment is like. We shouldn’t wait too long. If it’s bad, we shouldn’t leave them there. We need to get them home.”

I needed those two rabbits.

My husband went back to work on the Monday and I had another week off. We agreed that I would contact the breeder in the morning and we’d go and meet them after work, if possible.

I called the breeder at 9am. No answer. I left a voicemail and sent a text (We’ve seen Ned and Gingee online – are they still available?) and held my breath. And then, at 10.24, I still have the reply. Yes, today, come any time.

I felt almost embarrassed walking in to the breeder’s house. I wanted these two little guys so badly. So much that I almost felt we shouldn’t have them.

I wanted to feign indifference because it felt almost overwhelming, and I could barely bring myself to look as we were introduced to them, as we put them into their new carrier, took them to the car.

When we got them home, I just wanted to stare at them. Ned in particular. That little white bunny with those piercing blue eyes. It felt like I already knew him.

Obviously they never moved outside. They’re house rabbits now and always will be!

Ned says: “Look how cultured I am! Why would I ever go outside?!”

Gingee took to my husband very quickly, and Ned was mine. We learnt at a vet appointment a couple of days later that he was not a healthy little rabbit. That night, I stayed up watching him, stroking him, telling him that he was loved. Just in case anything were to happen to him, I wanted him to know that he was in a home where he was important and loved.

Nearly two years later, my poor little Ned has been through a lot. He’s so much healthier than he was. We’ve seen a lot of vets, tried plenty of medications not meant for rabbits, and know that he has some problems he’ll probably always have, but we’re doing well right now. There’s no reason why he won’t live a happy life with a normal lifespan. He’s surpassed every expectation anyone had for him. He’s neutered and lives happily with his brother and their  adopted sister Barbara (yes, we carried on adopting rabbits!).

But if he’d not been a house rabbit, if he’d not had so much attention so early on, if we’d not taken him to the vet so early… he probably wouldn’t be here with us now. We saved him.

He makes such a difference to my life as well. Ned knows when I’m sad or in pain, and he comes up to me to fuss me. He has licked tears off my face. He buzzes and squeaks happily when I’m around.

Gingee does the same for my husband. If I’m playing with them and he knows that his daddy is somewhere in the house, he won’t settle until he’s there for playtime as well. When my husband goes away, Gingee worries. He’s a little caretaker, the therapy rabbit who just wants to make sure everyone is happy and healthy.

Adopting rabbits was the best thing we ever did.

How to keep healthy humans #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit
Barbara Rabbit here again! Check out my previous blogs if you haven’t already – I have some good things to say!

Today I want to talk about a really important topic: how to make sure your humans keep healthy.

As we rabbits know, managing our own health is hard enough. Lots of us have been bred to have very flat faces which can give us breathing or eye problems, we are very susceptible to GI stasis, sometimes washing can be tricky and that can lead to infection… The list goes on and on. Fortunately, there are lots of great rabbit vets out there who can help our humans take care of us.

However, did you know that our humans can also get ill? And, as they take such good care of us, it’s only right that we return the favour!

I try to do little checks on my humans fairly often to encourage them to keep healthy. Here are some of my top tips:

Sleep is important if you want to keep healthy

Barbara sleeping next to her human to keep healthy

Me and my daddy

Personally, I like to sleep for at least 18 hours a day. I’m getting on in years a bit, and it’s important that I get my rest. I think that humans don’t sleep enough.

It’s not always easy to make sure that they get lots of sleep, but there are definitely ways to encourage them.

For example, my mummy is having a human baby. Pregnant rabbits should sleep a lot. So when I first realised what was going on, I made a real effort to lie on the bed with her to encourage her to sleep. I’d pretend to sleep next to her (okay, okay, sometimes I was actually sleeping!) and she’d usually drop off as well.

Barbara makes sure we keep healthy by sleeping!As a bonus, human beds are usually ridiculously comfortable – have you ever tried one? You might need to get them to lift you up there if you’re less mobile, but oh, the flopping possibilities – look how comfortable I am!

But time your sleep right!

You need a good balance of sleep time and play time, and humans don’t always understand where the boundaries lie.

This morning, I noticed my daddy was sleeping when he really should have been awake. That’s okay – it’s my responsibility to make sure he gets up. I went to peer at him first, and then made some loud noises to ensure that he was definitely awake by the time I was done. I didn’t want him to miss out! After all, it was food time.

My brother Ned sometimes takes a more extreme view on this and will hurl himself into the side of his cage or a wall to make a loud noise. His way looks more painful and I don’t think I want to try it. Thumping works just fine for me, thanks.

Make them problem solve

Humans are quite clever, like us. That’s why I think it’s really important to challenge them sometimes.

Barbara stuck in a cat treeEverybun knows the usual tests we put in place for our humans: can I crawl under the bed, is this wire tasty, can I break free of the cage, etc.? But they’re getting wise to those, so we need to think up some new ones!

I’ll share a fun one I tried a few months ago. My brother Gingee had a cat tree that he used to climb up. We were running round the room and I decided I’d try something new. I tried to squeeze between two parts of it and wedged myself in there. My daddy had to get out his tools and unscrew it completely to set me free! What a great problem-solving opportunity!

Don’t neglect their mental health!

Remember, stroking a furry friend is very important for humans. It can keep their blood pressure down and make them feel less stressed and depressed.

You are that furry friend. (Or, if you don’t like being touched, your sibling or mate can be encouraged to do their duty. You work hard enough!)

I don’t mean you have to give them free access to you at all times, obviously. I just mean that you need to keep an eye on them, and sometimes know that it’s particularly urgent that they give you a head rub. Those are the times you need to pester them. If they don’t do it of their own accord, nudge at them with your head, put your face in front of theirs, or maybe nibble at them a little bit. Even if it takes a slightly painful nip, you’re doing this for their health. It’s very important!

Barbara close up

Are you already doing any of these? If you’re not, I hope you start soon! Remember, your humans are depending on you to remind them to keep healthy!

Until next time, my furry friends.

“Don’t have an only child!”

I read this earlier and it got me thinking.

I’m an only child. My husband is one of three.

I have to admit, I always thought I’d have a big family. At least three or four children. Well, going back a longer way, I thought about more like six, seven, eight. Then we started to talk about actual children, and think about finances.

Financially, we do okay. We live in a town with low house prices and a fairly low cost of living. We only earn average salaries, but due to the town we moved to, we have enough for a nice life, really. I like the idea of being able to give this baby a lot of opportunities. If we only have one, we can give a lot more. I know that I got a lot of support from my parents, and I’m so grateful to them; it’s set us up well.

When we got married, we bought a four-bedroom house for our imaginary children. We filled one bedroom with ourselves. One became a study. Three rabbits moved into the third. That leaves one for our baby. (As an only child, I have a horror of sharing a room. It’s bad enough I have to share with my husband!)

Me as a very small only child

Being an only child never did me any harm!

But, right now, the main reason for considering stopping at one is pregnancy.

Physically, pregnancy has been great for me. Yes, I had four horrific months of nausea and losing weight. Okay, right now baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve and my whole bottom and leg are numb and painfully tingly. I admit I’m sort of waddling and in pain a fair amount at nearly 32 weeks over here. But in general, my body seems to know what it’s doing over here. My blood pressure is always great, my blood and urine tests come back nicely, baby’s growth seems to be on track despite my shocking diet, etc.

But pregnancy has been emotionally more difficult than I expected. I’ve written about it before. I’m not myself when I’m pregnant, it turns out. I’m this sad, irritable, tired, weepy lady. I don’t like her very much. Then again, I don’t like anything right now. I am constantly angry.

It feels like I’m not so good at my job, my marriage or keeping my home going when I’m pregnant. Right now, that’s just an annoying inconvenience, but when I already have a child, I feel like it wouldn’t be fair on them to put them through what I’m like when I’m pregnant. And it wouldn’t be fair on me.

So maybe I’m letting go of the dream of having more than one baby. Maybe we’ll have a wonderful, lovely, beautiful only child.

It’s sad to say goodbye to the dream, but then again, there are lots of dreams that I’ve not been able to fulfill.

I love taking ballet class but I’ll never be a professional dancer, for example. But that doesn’t mean my experience of taking class isn’t wonderful in its own right. I can love pliés as much as any other dancer, and I can love my one baby as much as any mother who has more than one loves them all.

So I am making my peace with the idea that this one may be an only child. (I’m not saying never, because of course the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans!) But what I’m not thrilled about is the sheer amount of people who are already asking me “When are you having the next one?” No. I haven’t even had the first yet!

If I admit that this may be our only, they often follow up with, “Oh, don’t have an only child! They’re so spoilt/they find it hard to make friends/you’ll just love the first so much you’ll want to give it a sibling!” So then I get to out myself as being an only child. No, I don’t think I’m spoilt. I’m average at making friends. My parents love me an awful lot and I certainly don’t object that they never “gave me” a sibling. I had a great childhood.

And unless you want me to unload all of my pregnancy anger on you, it might be a good idea to stop asking!

 

Rabbit baby preparations #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit
Hello all, it’s Barbara Rabbit here again! Would you believe it, my mum said that as my last blog was so popular, she’s going to let me do this as a regular thing! #barbarablogs

We have some exciting news – there is going to be a baby in the house. Not a rabbit baby (we call them kittens), but a human one. It will be joining us in November.

Does this look like a rabbit baby to you?

I’m obviously not gestating it. My human mum is. If I were doing the gestating, I’d grow more than one at a time (far more efficient) and I’d have been done long ago – this non rabbit baby has been growing for months!

This is incredibly exciting news for me in particular. Both of my brothers are strongly bonded with one of the existing humans. Ned with our mum and Gingee with our dad. I like both humans, but not as much as the boys seem to. So I have decided that this new human is mine!

Ned and Gingee, being boys, don’t really know too much about how new rabbits are made, and they’ve had lots of questions for me. If you’re a fellow rabbit feeling a bit daunted about the arrival of a new human baby, I’m here to share my advice with you as well!

Rabbit baby vs human baby – some frequently asked questions

How long do humans take to grow their babies?

I’m not sure, but it seems to be taking forever! I first became aware that something was going on in about March. I could have had about five litters in that time! (If I weren’t spayed, that is, and if the humans had given me intact males to live with.)

How many human babies are born at once?

It usually seems to be just the one! I know, how inefficient! Apparently my human dad’s grandmother had a litter of two once, which is still on the small side in my mind, but it sounds like my humans are just planning on one at a time.

Why is my human mum not nesting properly?

Mine struggles. I judge her nesting skills a lot, actually. I don’t think she knows how to do this. She’s not put out any extra hay or anything. I haven’t seen her pull any of her hair out, either.

Some tips on how to encourage your human to nest properly:

  • If she’s not putting any hay out, take her some. Lay it on the floor of her bedroom or wherever you think she’ll want her nest to be. If she doesn’t use it to nest with, all rabbits know that eating hay is also really important during pregnancy. Mine wasn’t particularly appreciative of my bringing her the hay, but it was always gone by the time I went back in, so she must have been eating it.
  • Small dark spaces are good to give birth in. Does she go into any of her own free will? If not, try to lead her into some – under the bed, perhaps. Go in there and she’ll eventually have to try and follow you!
  • If it’s getting to the point that you think the baby will be born soon and she’s still not doing anything, take it up a notch. Lately, I’ve decided I have to make it clear just exactly what she should do, so I’m treating Ned as my baby. He’s small enough. I’ve started pulling some of my fur out and making it into a nest for him in his house. She’s noticed and commented on it, so I hope that encourages her to do the same!

How do I best communicate with the human baby?

Before it’s born, a human baby is much the same as a rabbit baby. You can sometimes see and feel it moving around. I try and give it a nuzzle or a headbutt at this point to encourage bonding.

I hear human babies are very loud and smell bad. Is this true?

I think so, unfortunately. Ned is the luckiest in this respect, as he’s deaf. Gingee and I will suffer more. The smell can’t be too bad though – I live with two boys, remember. I’m sure smells won’t be too much of an adjustment. (Gingee would like to say that I smell worse than he does. I disagree. Impertinent boy!)

What do human babies look like?Barbara - no longer a rabbit baby

From the pictures I’ve seen (see above), they’re black and white with no discernible features. I presume that, like rabbit babies, they grow into their features later on. I mean, we’re born hairless with our eyes shut and tiny ears. Look at me now – huge eyes, magnificent fur and my ears are just the right length.

What do human babies do?

I think they eat a lot. And sleep. And poo. This is why I think I’m going to have such a great bond with this baby – we will have so much in common!

What’s in this for me? Wouldn’t it be easier to ask for a new rabbit baby?

It’s a good question, and I have asked myself this a few times. Life will probably get a bit less nice – I won’t have as much peace and quiet, there may be odd smells around, and, rather worryingly, I may have to be left alone on Bonfire Night if that’s when human baby is born. (I need to be held comfortably in a warm, dark room with white noise to cope with fireworks. Just one of those little quirks that makes an old lady’s life a bit happier, you know!)

But it occurs to me that there are also lots of fun possibilities coming up too. Firstly, my mum is going to get a whole year off work. That’s a year where she’ll be home during the day. More playtime?

Secondly, when the baby can open its eyes and walk (that’s at a few days old, right? It would be if it were a rabbit baby!) chances are it will be a bit bigger than I am. But it might not know the rules yet! So I can probably convince it to open the food bin more regularly and hand out treats.

Similarly, opposable thumbs! Baby can use knives and cut up apples for me on demand! Open doors! And, as I don’t think they can talk at first, there’s no way I can be asked to go in for a bit or told no!

Also, I hear the number of blankets in the house will increase. I like blankets.

Human baby, you and I are going to have a lot of fun.

Until next time, my furry friends!