I was doing much better towards the end of my second trimester. I’d done some buggy research, watched lots of One Born Every Minute, read huge chunks of the pregnancy book. I was even feeling excited about the prospect of a real live baby coming into my life. But then the third trimester began and whomp. It was like being hit with a ton of bricks.
In a matter of days my belly got much bigger. It sticks out. People offer me a seat on the tube. There are curved hollows either side of it where my midriff used to be. My boobs have started getting in the way of my arm. I feel ugly. There’s a pain in the middle of my back that strikes when I nap on the sofa. And yet I know, I know I have been incredibly lucky in terms of physical symptoms so far. For the first time pregnancy-induced bad times feel like they’re in the post for my body and I’m scared of them.
And time is running out. I have to choose a birth plan, finish the baby book, pick a buggy, cot, car seat, toys, highchair, breast pump, blankets… I wish this was a Communist country and the Government would just deliver a standard-issue baby pack. I am so sick of the sight of the Mothercare website and I still haven’t bought a single thing. And as for reading up on a baby’s development and how to actually be a mother? I definitely don’t have time for that in between the pilates, pelvic floor exercises and perineum massages.
In case you haven’t noticed, my emotional state has flipped back to my pre-12 week scan mindset. I’m depressed and loopy but this time it seems like there might be good reason to be panicking. At last I can tell I’m growing another human inside me. What was I thinking?
That’s a pretty good question. I decided to conceive because I wanted a baby. But why did I want one? Well, because the thought of having one made me happy and the thought of not having one made me unhappy. So an entirely selfish decision, basically. But this isn’t like thinking you want to learn to ice-skate, doing so and then reaping the endorphin rewards once you can do it, or wanting an iPad, saving up and enjoying the Facebook app. This thing has taken on a life of its own. Literally.
Six months ago I quite fancied having my own human but I now see that what I’ve done is outside my control. This is so much bigger than me and I can feel that I’m losing myself to it. No wonder the author of Frankenstein was a woman. I’ve created a powerful monster who has decimated my emotional self and is wrecking my physical self. Will there be anything left of the old me in 18 years’ time?
Apparently the joy of having a child makes it all worthwhile. But what if Junior is a horror? My children could be stupid, ugly, selfish, murderers, rapists, UKIP voters… It certainly looks like they’ll be warped by the burden of my resentment. I can imagine myself screaming that I want my tits back, and the ability to hold urine, and legs free from varicose veins. I might beg for my sanity and my emotional wellbeing. And no doubt my offspring will laugh in my face and say, “Sorry, Mum, but you chose to have me. In fact, I wish I’d never been born.”