Seasons (Waiting On You)


“Gestation: the period of development in the uterus from conception until birth” – Oxford English Dictionary

“It could happen from any time now!” – everyone



The midwife has come to the house and is listening to the baby’s heart. Through the monitor it sounds like this: wow-wow-wow-wow-wow-wow-wow-wow, and I do not know if I will ever have a more favourite sound than this fast rushing stream. It is an old-fashioned moment: I am lying on the sofa while the midwife takes my blood pressure and checks the baby and Adam gets to listen to her through this old wooden trumpet shaped thing that looks as rudimentary as the tape measure they use to measure your abdomen. The sun comes in at the window and I know I will always remember this moment, so despite how clichéd it is I could weep. I do weep, frequently, these days. The culprits include strangers who smile kindly at me. Baby animals. Manipulative TV shows. I was always overly sentimental but at times I think oh come on! This will get worse, I know.

I am 39 weeks pregnant with our first baby. The uncertainty around exactly when and how she will arrive is mostly fine and at times unbearable. I am on maternity leave and all I do is sleep and re-pack my hospital bag and read my books about birth and do some cooking “for the freezer”, just like they do in the movies. It is lovely, and I am happy and mostly not too anxious and I know there is a thunderbolt coming and that there is nothing I can do about it.

Most nights I get up at 4 or 5am, starving, and eat a bowl of cereal and look at my bleary-eyed reflection in the hall mirror on the way back to bed. For the rest of the night I have the deepest, quietest of sleeps, as if my body is being kind because it knows what’s coming. In this last week my face has got fat and I care a little bit but not that much. I think maybe once I was an object of desire for a small, niche demographic of humans but I feel very far from that now. This is ok, I think. I waddle and I look like I am carrying a beach ball under my t-shirt. This bump is a perfect globe, one that makes me head to the loo eight times a night.

It seems like a long time ago when I peed on a stick on an October night and the result was POSITIVE then we lay on the bed, not embracing, not saying anything (except fuuuuuuuuuuck in our heads), until we dropped off to sleep. Any period where the seasons change three whole times feels like a long time. Now that era is nearly over and soon she will be here. Adam hasn’t got much work on at the moment so gloriously, we are together a lot, and I cannot resist announcing the significance of each moment – this could be the last time we go to the cinema with just the two of us! This could be the last meal we have out before we are parents! She could come today! She could come tomorrow! I say these things a lot but I cannot fully take them in. We wake up in the morning and it is just me and him, it has been this way for 6 years, it has been everything. From now on we will watch things reshape.

He takes a picture of me outside in a garden with this ridiculous bump and we know we will look back at the photo from the future and remember this moment fuelled with all its meaning and imbue it with even more. I have photos of my mum, pregnant with me, that are the same. I have photos of us all, as a family. We are living in the middle of what people call a special time. It turns out I don’t care very much about being original. It turns out I want what most people want. That the things that are meaningful for most people are also the things that are meaningful for me.

At the last scan (unless the baby is overdue, this was the last time I would see her until I see her) I felt more entranced than ever at this wondrous biology, at her gorgeous spine, at her perfect heart. I do not know why people need religion: nothing is more weird than the fact that humans and other animals grow their own offspring inside them, nothing is more strange and spectacular. Nowadays, I talk to her a lot and already I love her. Already everything is changed.


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