Me, 15 weeks pregnant: Would you say I’m glowing yet? I’m supposed to get a glow in my second trimester.
G: You went quite bright red in the face when you were throwing up earlier?
Me: I’m hungry.
I have honestly never known hunger like this. A few years ago I remember reading a post by Clare about pregnancy hunger and remarking wittily to my then fiancé that it just sounded like me on an average day. Boy, was I wrong. So far today I have eaten two pieces of toast and marmite, a pain au raisin the size of my face, a large fruit smoothie, two Nature valley cereal bars, an apple, a bag of grapes, approximately 12 Jacob’s crackers, and a Mini Babybel and I am still ravenous. It’s currently 11.30 am. Lunch has never seemed further away. I fully expect to have gnawed off my own arm by 11.45 am. I may be undergoing reconstructive surgery for bite marks as you read this.
It’s funny, thinking about becoming a Mum. I am so happy, and lucky, to be pregnant. Before it happened I’d been broody for months. Nevertheless, when I first saw that line on the wee-stick my overwhelming thought was “oh shit”. Gareth can testify that all I said, breathlessly, for about 15 minutes was “oh shit” repeatedly. I do not think this was the reaction he was necessarily expecting, given that mere minutes ago, before we took the test, I had been all glowy-eyed and dreamy, mentally redecorating our spare room into a nursery.
It was just the hugeness of it, you see. It’s huge. Like, really really huge. Life-changing in a way that nothing else has ever been. For weeks I felt gripped by a sort of manic terror, were we really ready for this? Was I? What if I accidentally drop my baby out of the window? What if it hates me? Aren’t parents supposed to be sort of… grown up people? I mainly feel like I’m playing at being a grown up. I can’t keep my house tidy. There’s a persistent spot of mould in the bathroom that I’ve been meaning to bleach for THREE WEEKS and am now going out of my way to avoid eye contact with. How can I bring up another human when I can’t take care of my bathroom mould?
And there were more serious concerns. I have to be honest, because somehow these pages compel it, I was absolutely stricken with panic when the implications of becoming pregnant hit me. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life fighting and coping with separation anxiety, how will I cope with the overwhelming nature of maternal love? How am I going to let my child out the door without spending the rest of my life paralysed with fear for them? Have I come far enough for this? Am I strong enough?
Now that I’m pregnant I suddenly understand all over again why my Mum is the bravest person I know. She waved me off a hundred times with a smile on her face, and a hug to make me feel safe, and she kept her strength on the outside so that I would see it and know how to be strong. She never let me see how hard she found it to watch me walk away. I could never have found so much strength in myself without her and my Dad behind me, like a rock, constant and brave and safe and always there. I hope when my baby is older, I have that courage. But the thing is, I know that I will find it, because I’ll still have my family behind me, showing me strength so that I can continue to learn to be strong. And I’ll have the love of my life beside me, holding me tight when I need space to crumble.
Maybe that’s the thing about becoming a parent, it doesn’t actually stop you being somebody else’s’ child. And this is lucky, because I am going to need serious maternal support when it comes to sewing costumes for school plays. I can’t even sew on a button straight.
And on that note, I shall leave you with this thought…
Me: Do my boobs look wonky to you?
G: Actually, yes.
Me: Baby better be hungry only on my right-hand side because apparently that’s where the goods are going.
Me: Actually, I’m hungry again.