Waiting for the real thing

A mere six days until the due date (a rather unhelpful bundle of figures, just by the way) I find myself attuned to my body with a heady mixture of obsession and denial.

Every little pain or change in the creature’s position requires close analysis. I find myself a casualty to online forums, pregnancy books and the babycentre website. I never thought I’d say it, but you really can “know” too much.

Words I nodded at glassy-eyed and not understanding have gained utmost meaning: hormones like oxytocin, prostaglandins and bromelain. I’ve become an encyclopedia of useless knowledge about anecdotal ways to speed this thing along.

But I’m nothing if not self-aware. I know I’m a little bit mad. So when I spent all day yesterday getting period pains at 20 minutes apart, I was disbelieving and told my mother and Laurence, trying not to excite them. A few big pains during the night and we’re back to this mild but strangely regular niggling.

Back when I found out that the likes of you were nominating Circus Queen for a MAD (Mums and Dads) blog award, it surprised me and made me reflect on why I was blogging.

Now that you’ve voted me into being one of five finalists in the Pregnancy Blog category, that and the “niggling” make me realise that really what I’m writing and you’re reading is a blog about waiting. Isn’t that an odd thing for both of us to be doing?

And it’s waiting for something so ordinary. And so not. Babies are born all the time. In a sense, this reproduction thing is just what a lot of people have done, do and will keep doing until, well, we have some kind of Children of Men scenario.

On the other hand, I can’t escape how life-changing this is. It’s not just that I’m waiting for sleep deprivation, curried nappies and a sharply inconvenient change in timetables – the reason why my body’s giving up and my brain’s gone feverish is that this thing I’m waiting for is also symbolically and concretely beautiful.

Someone watched a BBC program about the human body the other day and told me that a part of our children starts life in our mothers’ wombs. The egg that made my daughter was with me when I was hidden in my mother. That connects our generations in a startling way.

In her poetic account of her pregnancy love works like this, Lauren Slater mentions a study she’s heard about that concludes that fetal cells remain in a woman for the rest of her life. Motherhood leaves a mark that biology will not forget.

So maybe you’re not just reading this because I’m talking about the trauma of uniboob or how domestically challenged I am. And maybe I’m not just blogging because it’s a useful writing project. Maybe there is something extraordinary about waiting.

If you think Circus Queen should win the MAD blog award for Best Pregnancy Blog, please vote (for the first time or, if you nominated me, again) in the final round. Either way, thank you for continuing to “read me”.

Image: Laurence Jarrett-Kerr. He took this back when I was twenty-something weeks pregnant and called it “Waiting for the real thing” – a title I loved so much I had to nick it.

Circus Queen is up for a MAD Blog Award. To vote, visit http://the-mads.com/vote.htm, enter your name and e-mail address, select “Circus Queen” in the Best Pregnancy Blog category and click “Submit”.