She’s nearly 7. Seven!
This is my oldest daughter I’m talking about here. She’s nearly 7 years old. Yeesh! I will never forget that afternoon I found out I was pregnant some nearly 8 years ago. I’d been feeling a bit unwell for about a week. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had this stomach bug. Nothing was digesting…. I had a constant gurgle. I was considering seeing a doctor about it but hit up Facebook instead to vent my woes (as you DO in 2009 and then got poked or vampire requested- yes the early days of Facebook… weird huh). A friend of mine jokingly replied that I might be “up the duff”. A quick trip to google told me that “up the duff” is Scots for… “knocked up”.
This was a scenario I had not considered. I had naively thought that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant due to my crazy periods and the gut feeling I had taken after my dad’s side of the family with the difficulties that those women had (and have) conceiving and carrying babies to term. With that in mind, and the fact that I’d been married for close to 4 years (without using contraception in that time), I was shocked to learn that I was in fact… up the duff.
It’s not that it was unwelcome news. I guess we knew we always wanted to have kids but going from “someday” to “today” was a shock to the system. I snuck into the nearest chemist and bought a test (it came with two sticks… to confirm or deny the first stick’s analysis). I went home. It was mid-morning and the sun was streaming into the bathroom. The flat we lived in was on the top floor with great views of the city and warm natural light almost constantly. I waited those few seconds and watched the little line appear. The line that indicated your pee had the magic in it. (Yes babies ARE magic or miracles if you prefer.) I nearly fell off the seat.
And then something really unexpected happened.
I started to cry. Sad tears. Like tears of grief sad. A wave of intense sadness came over me and I saw my life… no… no her life in an instant (I always knew she was a girl by the way). I saw her grow up. I saw her become a woman. I saw her have a family of her own. Childhood was a flash in the pan… but there she was- this person. A baby. A graduation. A wedding. The circle. All of this stuff… all of it… grounded me. Floored me. Punched me in the gut and sent me reeling. I knew I should have been over the moon. Elated. So very very very happy. But I wasn’t.
It took a while for me to come out of that dark place. It wasn’t that I felt unfit for parenting (although in those first few weeks after she arrived that could be debatable- she wasn’t burped for the first 24 hours and trust me a baby with wind IS MISERABLE), its that I had never once become aware that my life would end.
It’s madness I know. We want to forget or pretend that it isn’t an absolute fact. But… nobody lives forever and my life did end that day. “Me” became “we” in those brightly lit seconds. The little stick I held in my hand confirmed that my old life was over. In the minutes that followed, our new life passed before my eyes. Mine and hers. The future was filled to the brim but all I could seem to see was the end.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones who was able to emerge from the darkness quickly. Not everyone can. Not everyone does.
Seven years is gone in a flash as I knew it would on that warm afternoon. Lots of things have changed in that time (particularly that sweet baby face into the wild grin of a gappy-toothed nearly 7 year old). The world around us seems to be more frightening with each passing day (I dread reading the news, logging on). I worry about her future sometimes. Particularly the world in which she will live.
That is how I find myself here. Now. Doing what I’m doing… looking for a place among the doers and creators. Engineers. Perhaps to offer a mother’s perspective among the giants of industry. For now, motherly advice will have to do.
Don’t you think you ought to put the phone down while you walk up the stairs, there?
See you soon- I better get back to work… lots to do.
Make sure to eat your vegetables. And drink enough water… oh and don’t forget to put on sunscreen……. and…. see ya later.