Heya, It’s been a while since we’ve had something from the Unfunny Files….
I remember, being pregnant for the first time.
I worked at a baby expo last week. I was surrounded by pregnant women, in various, rounded stages of gestation, about to be first-time mothers. Their bellies swollen, their eyes glowing with anticipation and excitement.
I remember how it felt, to feel that way.
When the most terrifying consideration, in having a bay, was enduring labor. If only I knew, birth is the easy part, no matter how torturous it is. It’s the rest of their life that may be difficult, may be painful.
It’s the rest of your child’s life you should be afraid of.
I remember, being pregnant. Being so very afraid, of losing this baby, of something going wrong.
Now, I’m a mother. And I’m still afraid. I’m still scared of something going wrong. But these days it’s drowning, fevers, and strangers with menace on their minds. The risks, the possibilities. Things That May Happen if I am not quick enough, if I am distracted for a single, selfish moment.
The paralysing fear of it all.
I remember, being pregnant. A vessel for my baby, a breath for my son in utero. His nutrition, his energy, his health and well being. Eating well, walking, walking, walking, pumping the blood through my body. Doing everything in my power to keep him safe.
The more my children grow, the older they get, the less their wellbeing is intertwined with mine. Their limbs stretch and grow. They learn, and age. And the more I must let go of the illusion of control I have now. Rather than nourishing them through my blood, or choosing and carefully preparing their food for them, they now have a will and a right of their own, and will refuse to eat what is good for them. Their is little I can do about that. And as they grow, there is even less I can do about it, any of it- the older they grow, the more their wills are separate from mine.
I remember, being pregnant for the first time. The promise of it. The excitement. the flutters of a baby’s feet, kicking and glancing off your inner skin, timed against the flutter of your own heart, the beat of waiting, hoping.
The buying. The millions of things you must have, you need, to be a good mother, to be the best mother, the have a happy child, fully equipped for the dangers of Real Life outside the womb. Aspirators, beepers, hammocks and monitors. Belly beds, belly slings, exercise clothes for your belly that cost more than I earnt in a week. So many things, to equip you for the uncertain, potentially sleepless future, to allay your fears and discomforts.
I remember, being pregnant for the first time. Feeling fragile, not knowing where I stood. Clutching, grabbing at anything solid and reassuring, to prop up my insecurities. To begin the fulfillment of a dream, of a child who has everything, and wants for nothing.
Nine months, a year, eighteen months at the most. All those things, the belly things, the baby things, they gather dust. The insecurity, it remains.
I remember, being pregnant for the first time. I see expectant mothers, hand on bellies swollen with the vulnerable promise of new life. I recognise, in their eyes, the willful, clueless optimism I used to have in mine.
Some times, I have to stop myself, from reaching out, from taking their hand and warning them- this might not be what you expect.