This is a truly strange post to draft, not just because it’s done while serving middle-aged couples pints & pinot on a Sunday afternoon. Perhaps it will also prove strange to read. In which case I apologise but will press on regardless.
I don’t tend to share overmuch of my daily life, with its minutiae, but recently something happened which, like some impetuous feline, knocked my carefully stacked plans from their ordered shelf. I peed on a stick and discovered I was pregnant.
If you’re a woman in her mid-to-late twenties I’d wager you’ve peed on a stick or two of your own. It’s an odd experience, full of stress (“hold in flow for at least 5 seconds but no more than 10?” What happens at 11? Does it combust?), doubt and the awkwardness of the manoeuvre itself (by no means a graceful pose).
To date, I’ve been rewarded by the relief of the single blue line that appears after the nail-biting 3-minutes-that-seems-like-fifteen (and why do your flatmates always need to use the bathroom in those exact minutes?) but not this time. This time there was a numb leaden sensation that seemed to spread from the hand holding the accusatory stick.
Since then, (and since telling my partner…after telling my mother…my bad) there’s been a gamut of emotions, from bone aching loneliness to resignation to a sort of soft anticipation that hovers blurrily over my discomfort and fear.
It’s been a weird couple of months.
I still don’t – as much of the published commentary suggests I should – feel exhilarated by the coming months. I don’t feel glowing either, just mildly fat and irritated.
Possibly some of this (not the fat) comes from being a full-time art student doing two mid-year intensives and working two part-time jobs but – as my partner and I discussed – while the timing is inconvenient it is not likely my life (or income) will be any more stable or secure within the next five years. Or even ten.
My (younger) sister in particular seems to think I should be more enthused about the process but it seems to me to be, thus far, a very alien (all references intended) experience where the body you have known intimately commences to obey another master, casting aside your wishes as you must, in turn, cast aside all pants and almost anything, in fact, you liked to wear. (Seriously, I’m writing this wearing too-old-to-count-still-hot-pink-sateen-finish Adidas trackies. Don’t judge.)
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m in a state of existential dread or crisis about my life direction (or the scattered plans lying on the floor). My thought burden was, I admit, eased this week when I told not one but both of my bosses (separately because while they know about each other they do not know each other). It went surprisingly well with my longer-term and more acerbic boss (who is, I think it safe to say, fairly anti-child) giving an appraising look and mild congratulations while my newer boss was ridiculously positive. One week of employment down, I asked to speak to her privately and proceeded to babble about bad timing and unfortunate things so much so that she thought I was quitting and was seemingly very relieved when it was only that I’d be taking up progressively more room in the office.
Post confessional, I do feel small shocks of anticipation that burst giddily inside my chest at inconsequential moments. And yesterday I saw a piece of baby clothing I didn’t hate. It was a bright turquoise onesie with neon orange zippers, covered in the gnashing teeth of a crocodile print. It looked, I think, particularly me.