“What is a normal bump?” 5 Pregnancy Variables.

At the moment I get a lot of “you’re still so small!” Especially when it comes to weigh-ins and I still haven’t gained since that week of super-gains at the start of the second trimester. But when I look at pictures of other 21 week women online, I see plenty of women my shape and smaller at this stage. And plenty of variety in the shape and size of bumps at all stages. Some women have huge bumps and have hardly gained weight. Some have tiny bumps but are heavier. Some gain more of both, some almost none of either. And these are women who all went on to have perfectly healthy babies. What gives?

Here are five variables I have found that seem to make all the odds.

1: Age of the mother.

A big one: younger women stay smaller for longer, then “pop” more in the third trimester. Almost across the board, the younger you are, the less bump there will be until later.

2: Sickness and cravings.

We will all likely get at least a little queasiness and a bit of the hungers at some point during our pregnancy. But some are affected more than others. If I had had my travel sickness 24/7, I’m pretty sure I would still be 68-70kg today. There is no way I could have ate anything like that. Likewise, if I was as hungry all the time as I get some of these days, I would probably be nearing my 80kg safe-limit already. Your appetite will sway you one way or the other, regardless of how hard you work to eat well.

3: Muscle tone.

I had figured I would “pop” fairly quickly, due to having been obese as a teen. I thought that, seeing as my abs have already been overstretched, there would be no resistance for the baby to grow against. Turns out it doesn’t work like that. Because I do plenty of core exercises in my yoga, lifting and belly dancing, my abs are pretty solid. And solid abs are solid abs, stretch or no stretch.

4: Height.

Yeah, it seems obvious, but if you’re a shorter woman: you could still be carrying a 6-8lb baby. And that means you will have a “regular” bump on your petite frame. It’s going to look huge. Likewise, on a woman with hips as big as mine, or a much taller woman, the same bump may look moderate or even small. It’s an optical illusion you can’t escape.

5: The other mothers around you.

Finally, this will not change how you gain weight, but it can create another optical illusion. As I said, I have been told I was quite small for my stage. Which I may be. But I live in an area where many other women are older, unfit, overweight and happy to snack on sugary things. My culture does not lean towards small bumps. On the other hand, women from a closer group to me (same age, same fitness and dietary habits] tend to be about the same size as me. I might only look small. Likewise, you may appear bigger or smaller if you compare yourself to a demographic which does not represent you.

And you can’t really win with this. At first I was terrified of getting fat. Then I was disappointed at how small the bump was. Then, when I knew baby was healthy, I was proud I was controlling me weight. And now I’m somewhere between thinking I’m too fat, but the bump is too small. No winning at all. I guess you just have to work hard to stay healthy, see where pregnancy takes you and work out where to go from birth when you get there.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

5 Things I Did For Money In September.

I know I mention my work a bit here and there, and I do think that stay at home partners should try and boost their incomes. So to give a clearer picture of how I make my money, where it all comes from and how little you need to get started on most of it, here’s September’s breakdown:

1: I wrote four ebooks on demand.

The task: 4x 5-20k ebooks for different clients.

Time involved: around four hours average per book, not counting uninvolved time.

Payment: $50 per book, total $200.

The ease: I find writing comes easily to me and most books are simple to write.

The difficulties: Dealing with new buyers and weird specifications, on top of deadlines, can be too much.

2: I tutored ten students.

The task: 10 students needing on average 5h of tuition over the month plus homework.

Time involved: fifty hours active tutoring, around five planning and working on homework.

Payment: £10-25 per hour, total £700.

The ease: For me tutoring is entirely easy now I have the luxury of declining student’s I’m not perfectly suited for.

The difficulties: You need a skill to start with, and from there you need to cope with many awkward students before you can afford to focus on the good ones.

3: I reviewed fifty products, services and ebooks.

The task: 50 genuine reviews of real products.

Time involved: 8min trial time, 1min review time average. Total 7.5 hours.

Payment: $4 per review, total $200, plus freebies.

The ease: Very easy and most of the things I review (pet products, books, medical supplies) are things I want anyway.

The difficulties: You need to find people willing to pay for a review and know on which sites it’s legal and on which it isn’t.

4: I proofread five books and various documents.

The task: proofread various texts and documents for clients.

Time involved: about ten hours total.

Payment: $200 total.

The ease: Anyone could do it as long as you speak the language and aren’t dyslexic.

The difficulties: Reasonably hard, actually. You need to be fully focused in order to alter spelling, grammar and reading ease of the text.

5: I recorded ten video reviews and messages.

The task: 10 videos for various clients showing off their products or delivering a message.

Time involved: around 5min prep time plus the video length, totaling around 2h total.

Payment: £10 per video, total £100, plus, freebies again.

The ease: The easy part is doing the actual video.

The difficulties: The hard part is getting the work and getting it ready. 10 videos a month isn’t exactly an income on its own.

Total hours invested: 90h 30min.

Hours per week: 22h 30min. (56% of full time hours.)

Total earnings: £1100. (100% of minimum wage, 50% of national average.)

Earnings per week: £275.

Earnings per hour: £12.15.

So basically by being smart with what I do, investing more hours in my high-payers and cash-in-hand money and working entirely from home, I can bring in a full-time minimum wage salary and still have 17.5 standard working hours left to keep the house in order, blog, train our puppy, write my own books and unwind.

If you’re interested in giving it a go yourself, here are six jobs to do from home and an idea of how to get started.