Prior to becoming preggers, I was one of those people who launched face first into the pillow at night and didn’t stir until morning. I’ve always been an early bird, but sleep has never been an issue. In fact, it was the joke of the Calcutta dormitory that I could successfully zonk out mid conversation and sleep through power cuts at 38 degrees. Obviously the compromised space for my bladder has changed this somewhat – and for the past week it seems like little [or not so little] Freddie, is trampolining on it every night, provoking near hourly get-ups. I am in a PollyAnna mood this morning, so I should like to say that I’m GLAD for the interrupted sleep because it has introduced me to the bizarre joys of BBC World Service Radio. This morning, somewhere around 3am, there was a very interesting discussion between two female mayors, one of Houston TX, and another from Soda, Rajasthan, India … the other morning there was a debate about asylum seekers from Papua New Guinea making their way to Australia. It’s in those small hours of darkness, when one ought be sleeping; that philosophies are crystalised and dreams made. As I wrestle with my maternity pillow, a little reminiscent of Steve Irwin with a crocodile … I mull over the huge task of single motherhood which lies before me. I plan little Freddie’s first trip to India when he’s 5 … I think 5 is a good age, as he will remember it, and not be afraid of the adventure. I imagine his first riding lessons and this season’s three day events, complete with a baby and Labrador. I look across at the empty moses basket awaiting his arrival, and imagine it filled with a warm, gurgling baby.
I try not to think about the process by which Freddie will leave the warmth and comfort of my uterus …. perhaps the reason I’m grateful to world service radio is because it distracts me from the inevitable worries about my cervix dilating to the size of a bagel. It is the lack of control which we/I fear …. like so many things in this life, if I had a set date and was told my waters would break at 3.40am tomorrow; I could plan for the event [at least get some towels ready!] Yet once again I’m reminded that the beauty of life is found in the unknowns, the things we can never plan for or “control”. I am more and more convinced that a positive, empowering childbirth, is centred not in the physical, but in the psychological; I can control my mind therefore I can choose not to panic. I can breathe, I can see beyond the immediate pain, and visualise each contraction as one nearer to having Freddie in my arms … [does this sound terrible cliched?] – I think about those women who give birth on the streets in Calcutta, our grandparents who pushed out a baby and cooked dinner that evening … this is what my body was designed to do … to procreate, to give life, to nurture a foetus in my womb, to propel him into the world … and to love him, to show him the delights and wonder of a world we know so little about.
In the meantime; as I wait … I busy myself catching up with friends and realising that life will never be the same again … I’m on the brink of the next chapter, and the beginning of a new life for a little boy whose happiness will be the focus of the rest of my days.