She’s just had a baby, of course she’s got a bump!

Yesterday, when I saw the footage of Kate Middleton leaving hospital as a proud new mother, I was very pleased to see she still had a bump.  It is perfectly normal for new mothers to still have a definite bump, and it was great that hers was so visible.

I was therefore slightly incensed to read on Twitter that both Sky news and OK magazine (and no doubt other media as well) were wondering why she still looked pregnant.  She still looked pregnant, because she’s a real woman who had a baby yesterday.

Why back when I had little’uns, baby magazines all warned that you would still be wearing maternity clothes for a while after the birth: they suggested that you allow as long as it took to grow a baby before worrying about your figure. It would change whether you exercised or not.

At one point, I regularly went to a parent’n’toddler group, a playschool, and a primary school.  One day, for no particular reason, I can remember looking at the shapes of the women in the three different places.

At the Parent and Toddler group (children aged from 0 to 3) the overall impression was of ‘lumpy’ women.  Big bellies, wide hips, big boobs: these were women who had given birth relatively recently and their bodies showed it.

This contrasted with the women of the playschool, where the children were between three and five years old.  The women were rounded and perhaps a bit plumper than average, but their figures were less awkward then the new mothers of the toddler group.

By the time the mother’s children had reached primary school, the mothers’ figures looked normal.  Not lumpy, not particularly plump, just fairly normal.

Of course this was not a study to find how women’s bodies changed with time after pregnancy, just looking at a cross-section of normal women from one area of one normal town.  Although some of them may have embarked on years of dieting and exercise, others had just left their bodies to reshape naturally, but there was a definite progression.

Kate has now got a post-pregnancy body.  As an icon, she influences women and how they feel: and she has now shown the world that the mother’s of one-day old babies still have bumps.

It would be great if the media allow her to have a post-pregnancy body: it would be great if she doesn’t try to get it back to a pre-pregnancy flatness too quickly, to allow all the other women (and men) she influences to see that a post-pregnancy bump is normal.

And there is another good reason for her to want to stay a little rounder than normal for a little longer than the average celebrity. All the time she has a little bump, it will be harder for royal watchers to notice when or if baby number 2 is on the way…

Looking back, ten years ago,

A bit of history: the post I made to mark ten years on usenet

From: Penny Gaines <pe…>
Subject: Ten years on usenet
Reply-To: pe…
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Date: Sat, 05 Jul 2003 17:54:37 +0000
X-Trace: 1057429431 (Sat, 05 Jul 2003 19:23:51 BST)
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Organization: Customer of PlusNet

It is ten years ago today since I posted my first usenet message.

I’ve been here since the days when usenet was almost exclusively for
universities and high-tech firms, when my company was unusual for using
email, and even techies didn’t know what the www in certain URLs stood
for. Back then the accepted wisdom was no-one could archive every news
posting, but even then the pre-curser to the pre-curser of google was
saving them. I can’t tell you what the web was like, because it was
still being invented.

I’d found newsgroups, not by using a newsreader, but by looking at
different files on the computer system of my new job, and wondering just
what were these files with names like /var/spool/news/misc/kids/1546.
(Worth noting that the employees of this company were expected to do
this sort of thing: anyone who would only use the proper software
to look at a file would not have a job there.)

My first post was about vi, the unix text editor, which I still use by

I didn’t post to until December that year, when I was pregnant.
Back then, mk was the only group for pregnancy, breastfeeding and

The posters on mk really influenced my parenting. For instance, I knew
“breast was best” and I like the idea of exclusive breastfeeding, but
I thought it wasn’t something ordinary mothers like me could do. But
there were ordinary women in mk who had done it, so I learnt I might
be able to. And I did. The biggest thing I learnt was that every child
is different, and I was given the confidence to trust myself, not the
experts who had written books.I hope I’ve been able to help other, newer
parents just like I was helped myself.

I’ve got the t-shirt (my yougest still just fits into her “I’m a misc.kid”
one), and a photoalbum, even a fridge magnet.

The great thing about mk is it survives and adapts. It is a different
newsgroup now to what it was them, but thriving in a different way.
It has gone downhill at least twice, sufficiently badly for me to either
unsubscribe, or nearly unsubscribe. And both times it has re-vitalised
itself. I love it for being so open: it wants new people to come along
and wants to adapt to them. I hope it continues to adapt, continues to be
aviable newsgroup.

At one particularly low spot for mk, I got involved in the creation team
for mkm – a group that has developed into yet another different newsgroup.
I’m very proud of what I helped to create (although it is the moderators
who are doing the hard part now: merely creating it was relatively easy.)

So, I suppose I’m an old-timer now (but to me old-timers were around
before the “great renaming”, not before “the endless September”). I just
hope I don’t start saying “in my day, things were better”, I hope I
continue to see that people who have only just started on the internet
may have good ideas and ways of doing things that are better then the
old ways.

And I hope I’m still on usenet to post my twentieth anniversary message.

Penny Gaines
UK mum to three
PS I wanted to crosspost to mkm, but my system is playing up, so I’ve
had to send two copies.

First Usenet post

Twenty years ago, I made my first usenet post:

Newsgroups: comp.editors,
From: pe… (Penny Gaines)
Subject: Re: Demystifying vi one step further..
Message-ID: <>
Organization: UniSoft Ltd., London, England
References: <1993Jun29.163526.19829@Celestial.COM> <> <1993Jul01.161714.15055@Celestial.COM> <1993Jul2.210933.17371@ucsu.Colorado.EDU>
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1993 13:59:19 GMT
Lines: 24

In <1993Jul2.210933.17…@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> cro…@ucsu.Colorado.EDU (Matthew Crosby) writes:

>Ok. Why is dd delete line? Wouldn’t dl be better? Is it just because dd is
>fast to type? Does anyone know.

>-Matt cro…

dl will delete to next character left, but most people use its fast form, ‘x’.

In commands that process text that character twice acts on the whole line –
hence dd, cc, yy.

In vi you can combine any command that processes text (e.g. c,d,y)
with any command that moves the cursor (e.g. l, M, w).

Once you realise this (i.e. so you can use it without thinking about it), you will
realise one of the reasons why vi is so powerful. For the record, when deleting
the stuff in your posting I used d} and d4L, to delete most of the extraneous stuff.

Penny Gaines