Published – 2009/09/25
It was an ordinary enough day, except that I had gone to the shops to purchase a pregnancy test kit from the supermarket, and less common, for me anyway, that the test turned out to be positive.
And so began my new life of emotional bewilderment- a curious blend of fear, longing, and desperate excitement. Fear that life as I knew it would disappear forever, longing for one cold beer after another, and excitement for, well, you know, the Baby.
Then, slowly enough, nine months passed.
And on another ordinary enough day I was woken up in the night with pains. It’s happening, my brain said. Nearly four days later, my body said, yeah, your right.
And after only six hours sleep over a period of four days, my ‘real labour’ finally began.
It was spent at home in a tiny terrace house with paper-thin walls. I was dimly aware, as I clutched my bedside drawers, doubled over in agony, that my guttural howls could be heard by the neighbours.
It was not our intention to labour at home because of some firmly held hippy belief that it would be more natural. But when we went to the hospital some bitch of a midwife drew us a picture of a woman’s uterus because we ‘didn’t seem to know what was happening’, and then sent us home with some panadol.
So instead of bouncy balls, spa sized baths, gas on tap and professionals on hand, we had two hot water bottles and a bedside set of drawers to lean on. A few hours in, one of the hot water bottles broke.
Returning to the hospital with only two contractions to spare (probably should have consulted that diagram earlier) pain beyond words bore down my birth canal. With the force or a semi trailer, tearing me in two and eliciting the primal screams of a wild animal, our baby was born.
It was all smiles, hormones, and erratic excitement for the first day or so – like The Yang coming home from the shops, beaming manically and wielding 100 new cloth nappies in assorted rainbow colours.
But we very quickly learnt that the hard part had just begun. We endured a battering of pain, fatigue, fear, and a loosening grip on reality for the next 6 weeks.
Not sleepless nights, but screaming nights. Not cracked nipples, but gaping, festering wounds. No perspective that this is possibly a phase, but a vice like grip of fear that it would last forever.
If I happened upon other humans during this time I wondered how on earth they had possibly been grown.
But that living hell doesn’t last for long. And while that particular brand of insanity doesn’t last, it is true that your life is profoundly changed forever. There is little way to express the beauty of that without sounding terribly clichéd. And maybe that’s because it’s so layered and complex.
It’s eye popping, jaw dropping, head scratching bewilderment. Its an XPT brain train, rushing and gushing into the unknown distance with a carriage full of screaming thoughts and feelings.
And the only thing that is for sure, is that the world of parenting is not, as some like to see it, a black and white world.
It comes in all the shades of a crazy, exuberant, rainbow that sometimes dims. And I started this blog, in part, to paint some of it.
To read my posts on the motherhood experience, go here