I have been pregnant for 276 days. I think that’s long enough don’t you?
Time to evict the parasite and see what we’ve created. I’ve enjoyed the unique symbiotic relationship that exists between me and our unborn child more over the last few weeks than the rest of the entire pregnancy caper. I guess it’s the inevitability of the situation, or maybe just the awareness that the finite gestation period (of 280 days) is almost up and soon I will be reunited with my waistline and ankles.
Mind you, compared to poor Mummy Elephants (624 days average gestation) or a Mummy Ass (365 days) I suppose I have had it easy. Ironically enough, I find it easy to compare myself to both these animals at the moment!
It would appear, according to numerous magazines and websites, that my labour is imminent due to a number of ‘non-physical labour signs’. These include nesting, sleeplessness, emotional fragility, back ache and vomiting. Four of these I have often experienced after a really good night out – but that’s slightly off topic. Arguably a couple are also technically ‘physical’ but who am I to argue with birth.com or Google.
So having prepared myself with some robust reading, I am now over-analysing every twinge, movement, ache, pain, flush, cramp, and emotion.
I have tidied, cleaned, organised, washed, baked, cooked, gardened, planned, and filed. I have even alphabetised all three bookcases in our home. I had to force myself to step away from the Dyno Label-maker yesterday as I was about to commence labelling the non-fiction section with Dewey Decimal numbers.
Sleep eludes me which is the ultimate punishment. Apparently, it’s preparing me for getting up every 17 minutes when the baby arrives. Arguably it’s Mother Nature proving she is a bitch, as more than anything right now I would love eight hours solid painless deep sleep. Sleep is one of those things we take for granted… when I was in my 20s I would easily sleep till lunchtime if work wasn’t calling; in my 30s I slept off hangovers and jet lag and lost entire weekends due to prolonged lack of consciousness; and now I’m 40 and I can’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time.
I won’t bore you with details on the back ache and vomiting, but the emotional fragility is worth mentioning.
I’m not like other girls. Genuinely. I don’t get too caught up with emotions, gossip, feelings and stuff. I get a bit hormonal and moody with regular frequency, but apart from that I’m normally pretty stable and solid. And now I find myself crying at TV adverts, the news, a sad section of a novel, watching my kids play at the beach, grooming the dog, listening to my husband sing in the shower, the trauma of a full supermarket shop, looking at my beautiful shoes I can’t imagine I’ll ever fit or wear again, and literally spilt milk. It’s bordering on the ridiculous.
It also compels me to ponder motherhood, and what kind of mother will I be to this child.
There are many different parenting styles, and every mother is different (Thankfully! Imagine if all mothers were like Kris Jenner or Courtney Love).
I’ve heard it said many times that there isn’t a manual for how to raise a child. Amazon might offer a slightly different view on that assertion – they currently have 99,055 books listed under Parenting… with 15,329 just on Early Childhood Parenting. So there are plenty of manuals but I’m relatively confident that none offer 100% guarantee of success.
It strikes me that there are two key different mothers in the world… those that aim to be fair and a friend, and those who are always firm and therefore potentially a foe. I’m aiming to strike a balance somewhere on that scale. I want to be inspiring, motivating and passionate. I want to teach our baby proper values and morals, so they grow up intuitively knowing right from wrong. I want them to aspire to be anything they want to be and to appreciate the need to work hard to achieve it.
Speaking of work, I’ve been asked by numerous friends (and a handful of nosy strangers) when I plan on returning to work after the baby is born. This seems to be a critical determinant in classifying what kind of mother you are – those that ‘go back to work’ and those that ‘stay at home’ to raise a child. Seriously people - both of these things are work! I watch my ‘at home’ friends and am in awe at their patience, tenacity, selflessness and attitude. Returning to the office and leaving someone else to take care of the baby would be a much easier option for many. I’m going to wait and see how things go – for once in my over-planned and structured life, I’m going to wing it!