The longest wait
I wrote the below 2 days before the wait was finally over and it did indeed turn my life upside down and thus delay the publication of this post and the many more I have planned to follow it…
I don’t think anyone is particularly good at waiting. We don’t like it. We get impatient. We start with the what ifs? We busy ourselves with distraction. And then we obsess with the waited for. We like things to happen on our watch. We want to know and be secured by knowing what’s round the corner and when.
I’ve waited for a lot of things in my life. I’ve waited for exams to begin and for the clock to end them. And then I’ve waited for results. I’ve waited to leave home and to embark on the ship that is university. I’ve waited to migrate. And I’ve waited to return. I’ve waited for application deadlines, for interviews and for start dates. I’ve waited for pay days. I’ve waited for a wedding. I’ve waited for much needed holidays to finally arrive. I’ve waited for overdue visits from loved ones. And I’ve painfully waited to exchange on flats — twice.
For all these waited for things I was undoubtedly a little impatient, but I knew the aportioned wait time (perhaps with the exception of the somewhat more dubious contract exchange dates). Exams were scheduled. University term officially commenced. Flights were non-negotiably booked. Pay days routinely scheduled. My wedding day was inked on several calendars far and wide.
But this time, I have no idea how long I’ll be waiting and it’s such an unsettling feeling. I’m waiting for my life to change with the certainty that it will, but without the certainty of when it will. It’s driving me bonkers.
I am past my due date — five days past it. I know cognitively that my due date was only ever a wild estimation — based on an anachronistic scientific calculation derived from an insignificant sample size of 18th Century women, coupled with the assumption that I am well acquainted with my body’s menstrual cycle (I am not) — and that the day will eventually come. But less rationally, this is not helped by the fact that I have been routinely using an app to count down to D-Day because D-Day was nothing but fiction. And now I am wondering if it ever will realise. I won’t deny that the symptoms are of the most convincing variety, by which I refer to the depictions of my womb’s contents stuck on our fridge in addition to my sporadically animate midriff and consistently active bladder, but I am nevertheless seriously asking myself whether I have made it all up. Maybe all this waiting is for nothing. If I am indeed pregnant, then I have no idea for how much longer. (That’s how it feels anyway as the truth is I have been booked in for an artificial kick-start if nature doesn’t organically get things going first between now and next week). But knowing the latest date that Baby Smith might join us, is anything but the same as knowing when — especially when you’ve spent the last nine months incubating this bump and the last five nights going to bed, wondering whether tonight’s slumber will be interrupted by preparatory bed-wetting and/or the onset of insane cramping and a new relation.
And now I am both desperately impatient for the wait to be over and the weight to be shed, but also unsure that I want this once distant horizon to near. I am fed up of lumbering around a fetal mass that I have affectionately nicknamed “Clem”; and I am so very curious to meet this little being (and even more curious as to whether it will look like me, whether they will be objectively cute or I will be biologically fooled into effusively cooing over a Gollum-lookalike); but also I am terrified that whilst I might yet being able to walk rather than waddle again, there’ll be much more in the way of challenge when this bulging concept disrupts my life as I know it… and will we even get on?
When Baby Smith allows, I’ll write all about the birth and subsequent motherhood so far…