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”.


8 Comments

  1. May 23, 2011 / 10:22 am

    Even though many people have been born, and many mothers have gone through your exact process, it is still life changing, and while it is happening you feel like you are the only one pregnant (at times) and you feel like something other worldly is happening and a veil between this and the cosmos is indeed opened during childbirth.  The biggest thing I learned about was Conscious Pregnancy… I spoke to Aaron every day and that relationship was there when he was born.  Even though you feel like it’s all about you, on another level you know you are connected to women throughout the ages who have done this for thousands of years and during labour you harness that group energy.  It really is very very special…. I get all nostalgic when I read this post.  Can’t wait to hear more.
    Big love, and I nominated you, so will of course be voting.
    xx

    • May 23, 2011 / 3:43 pm

      Thanks for the vote, hon. I love that idea of being connected to women throughout history.

  2. Esther Alexander
    May 23, 2011 / 7:23 pm

    Hadn’t thought of the generational connection thing before – you put it beautifully –  ‘ hidden in my mother’ – with, of course, oblique reference to  ‘when i was made in secret, hidden in my mother’s womb’ – one of those achingly beautiful and still mind-boggling psalms. It reminds me too of the book ‘Fearfully and Wonderfully Made’ by Philip Yancey and Paul Brand – have you read it?

    And then you started me wondering why it is that I read your blog?? Invariably there are other things I should be doing; invariably it is at some godforsaken hour (it’s now 5am here)… The answer is, I think, threefold:

    1) Like many mothers, I have still an utter fascination with babies, pregnancy and the whole life-process. I can’t imagine not having been a mother – it is one of my proudest achievements – though why that should be, I really don’t know, considering it is one of our most instinctual acts… so it’s interesting to be some sort of voyeur into YOUR  motherhood journey 

    2) I know YOU!! I do read stuff, sometimes, written by strangers. I can even appreciate it. But the fact that I know you, your mum, your family, makes me feel interested and connected in a very different sort of way. I’ve lived all over the world, and I’m so grateful the internet has facilitated keeping connections with people I know and love, as for many years in Trinidad (before internet days) I felt really cut off. Letters were it – and that’s not saying much, with the vagaries of TT post!!

    3) Last but not least, I love language. There’s an almost visceral thrill from a delicious word, phrase or way of putting things. It’s what stopped me in my tracks last night and made me write down a sentence from the book I was reading. It’s what makes me feel proudest as an English teacher, to see my students ‘get it’, to appreciate the wonder of a turn of phrase. And it’s one of the things I enjoy most about reading your blog.

    I only hope you have some time to continue it after the baby’s born!!

    Love you xx

    • May 25, 2011 / 12:47 pm

      Such a rich comment. I was chatting with my dad on Skype a couple of nights ago and it sounds like he enjoys your comments as much as anything on this blog! That phrase was certainly from the Psalm. I can’t help but think about how she’s being “knitted together” inside there. I haven’t read that book though.

      I understand the fascination. When I started thinking that I’d like to have a baby, I became interested in reading about others’ experiences. When I got pregnant, I became obsessed. I love that people who know me read this. I still find it surprising that anyone does but it feels like we’re sharing something special. Thank you for your kind words about my writing. You really are the one who should be blogging since you certainly know how to turn a phrase! Also, I absolutely intend to keep blogging after the baby’s born. Writing will probably be my anchor! Love you too. x

      • Esther Alexander
        May 25, 2011 / 8:48 pm

        You should NOT be surprised people read this – I’ve read a LOT of blogs and so forth, and while many are interesting, many are also rather self-indulgent after a time, and that’s one thing you’re not!

        Your tone – with self-deprecation and satiric wit – often reminds me of your dad, by the way!

        And SO glad you’ll be continuing after the birth….

        Any news of the contest?? I’ve voted a few times, I think!

        • May 26, 2011 / 11:55 am

          I think the MADS has a couple more weeks to go. I must admit that self-indulgence is something I worry about quite regularly! That’s probably why I don’t post as often as I’d like! Dad – now there’s a writer. 

  3. May 30, 2011 / 1:17 pm

    Gorgeous post as ever. I was just the same with the forums and babycentre addiction. This continued right until Frog was about 6 months old and I began writing my blog and working again. Funny how all-consuming waiting can be. x

    • May 30, 2011 / 1:34 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I’m determined to be patient though – maybe banning google is key. 

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