More options than you might think
Recently, many of my friends – mainly mothers from my playcentre and coffee groups – started being grievously afflicted with pregnancy again.
Of course I was thrilled for each of them, but I was surprised how hard I took it.
You see, I only ever wanted one child. Just one. I’m not greedy – unless we’re talking about profiteroles. And Finn is so much more than I ever wanted or dreamed of.
But I found myself assailed with regret that I’m so old and gnarly and limited of options; and nostalgia for Finn’s rapidly disappearing babyhood. It feels like just days ago a minutes-old miniature human was laid across my chest WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT WAS 18 MONTHS HAS THERE BEEN SOME CATACLYSMIC RUPTURE IN THE SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM?
But worst was the terrible, crushing grief that I would never again look into the eyes of my child for the first time, or have my newborn nestle into the crook of my neck, or nurse a baby in the still, enchanted hours when the rest of the world is asleep.
Husband finally noticed the inexplicable weeping – or the notable build-up of soggy tissues. “We could always try for another,” he suggested helplessly.
And perhaps if I were a decade younger and hadn’t been clinically infertile for most of those years, the conversation might have lasted longer than a croissant and cup of coffee.
I didn’t feel ‘trying for another’ was amongst my/our limited options.
Instead, I focused on the positives of having an only child – the freedom; never having to arbitrate arguments over who gets to sit in the passenger seat of the car – which was pretty effective. Also, I mercilessly tormented my pregnant friends about how their lives were effectively over.
So in May, when I found out I was with child, it was – to apply my gift for understatement – rather literally a shock to the system.
I hadn’t been feeling well: exhaustion and an inspecific nausea that came and never really went. ‘It feels almost like . . . morning sickness,’ I remarked to Her Goatiness, quickly appending ‘HAHAHA!’ to emphasize how outrageous the suggestion was.
If nothing else, I should have instantly recognized my pathological aversion to caffeine, since the only time that happened before was when pregnant with Finn. Yet it was only weeks later, when I checked my diary, that I considered gestation as a possible cause.
I felt entirely foolish buying a pregnancy test kit, and didn’t mention it to Andrew because, I mean, really. The whole notion was just so PREPOSTEROUS. I recalled reading a magazine once – probably Women’s Weekly – with an article titled: ‘I thought I was pregnant, but it turned out to be a uterine tumour!’, so I figured that was much more likely.
When two lines appeared on the pregnancy test stick, I had to revert to the instructions several times. Because no matter how many times I reread the sentence, ‘Double lines are an indication of pregnancy’, it still didn’t make any sense.
When it finally did, I toppled off the toilet seat. (Gave my head a nasty bang off the corner of the bath.)
Well I had to tell SOMEONE and figured it should probably be Andrew and since he was on a business trip, I Skyped him.
Me> I’ve got news. You should sit.
Andrew (warily but not half wary enough)> Oh yes?
Me> I want to show you something.
Andrew> Um . . . what . . . IS that?
Me> It’s a pregnancy test stick.
Andrew> Ok. Why are you showing it to me?
Me> Because it’s positive.
Andrew> Whose is it?
Me> Whose do you THINK? It’s MINE! I’m hardly going to be sitting in our living room holding someone else’s wee-soaked stick, am I?
Andrew> Hey, congratulations!