A lingering, debilitating tummy bug, sensitivity to smells, a late period… I was in complete denial. I had a day of spotting and assumed that my period was scanty because I had been so sick – four weeks of the runs – on and off – for my entire family. My boss made a joke – ‘You’re not pregnant are you?’ I laughed ‘Don’t you have to have sex to get pregnant?’. I’d been too ill to contemplate sex, I couldn’t remember the last time. But I thought – ah well, let’s get a test and see. Almost as an afterthought that evening – without saying a word to Steve, who was playing with Ruby, I went to the bathroom and pee’d on the stick. Instantly, two pink lines. If you had asked me what my reaction would have been a few minutes before I would have said ‘Joy! I love babies and although the timing is crap, I would be delighted to be pregnant again.’ So imagine my shock when I immediately burst into loud and unhappy sobs.
We had planned for a much, much later pregnancy – I had just started a new job – literally two weeks before conception. I was so ill – I had already taken three days off work. The day after I did the test I was hospitalized for dehydration, and booked off for another 3 days. Ruby had just started Nursery School and was still crying every day when I dropped her off. I was struggling to work and mother and feeling guilty about getting a job – which we desperately needed because we were struggling financially. Nights were horrendous – Ruby has never been a sleeper and she started getting snotty and coughing. Steve went off to Martinique for three weeks on business. I moved in with my mom – and spent a weekend with my in laws – which in retrospect was a mistake, it is very hard being sick and miserable in an unfamiliar home. I became severely depressed. ‘Depressed?’ you say! ‘Surely not!’ How could you be depressed when you have been blessed with the miracle of new life? What kind of mother are you? What kind of failure as a woman? Don’t you know how many people struggle to conceive and here you are fecund and fertile? Ingrate!
But there I was. There I am. I’m 8 weeks in. Morning sickness (what a joke – all fucking day sickness) is dogging every step. Each day is different, some days I dry heave a few times a day, some days I retch when I see people smoking or think about broccoli. Some days I have slight, completely manageable nausea. Some days I wish I was dead. Some days I wish the baby was. And as I write that, through tears, I realize that I don’t wish that. At all. I just really want to want this baby, and I don’t know how to do that. I don’t want to make the appointment with a midwife, I don’t want to have to make any decisions. I don’t want to have to admit that this is really real. I just wish I could feel not sick, not sore, not sad.