Tales & images from life as me…

Help! A tiny person’s coming

Who’d have thought that a miniature human weighing just a few kilograms and unable to walk or talk yet, could cause so much fuss!

I’m learning that it’s all very well getting pregnant and moving across continents and playing ‘new house’, but at some point you will be forced to face reality and actually prepare for the arrival of this tiny person in a way that you have never prepared for the arrival of anything else in your whole life.

In the past month I’ve done antenatal classes (where I learned to clean chicken korma from a doll’s bum!); discussed my birthing options (until I’m so confused I’m considering just requesting that I be knocked out until it’s all over); and bought all sorts of mad additions to the house (including the cutest cot you’ve ever seen, a daunting looking bath contraption and a car seat which hubby is currently proudly sporting in the back of his car!). But even all of this has felt a little bit like play-acting… until, one fated sleepless night I decided to read the dreaded baby book. Alien words like ‘transition’ (previously a nice innocuous word suggesting a positive change – a sort of caterpillar to butterfly thing perhaps? Not in this case!), ‘crowning’ (previously associated with gold and diamonds. Not in this case), ‘episiotomy’ (that word should not contain the phonetic of ‘ease’ in any form!)… and as the night wore on the reality that this baby has to come out, one way or the other, set in.

It’s an odd concept to actually face: having to prepare for pain. This is not something we do. Pain is something that’s generally a surprise and warns us something is wrong. There are very few circumstances where you plan for it. I mentioned this to hubby. “Torture?” he suggested, helpfully! …Fantastic!

And the one piece of advice everyone thinks it’s worth offering up…? ‘It’s really important to stay calm.’ HA HA HA.

With this in mind I decided I should really get back into yoga. I am really missing my DVD-assisted guru, Nina, in TZ, plus I thought it might be a good way to meet people. I’m told to bring 2 pillows and head for a local church hall by 10am. At 5 to ten I have two big orange sofa cushions in the back of my car and am desperately searching for a parking space in our new town. I get a bit lost, which results in a late entry just after everyone has said who they are and how pregnant they are. I stumble in, red faced, massive orange cushions in tow (everyone else has little, tasteful, discreet affairs I notice!) and everyone turns to me in unison. “Hi,” I say to the expectant (in more ways than one!) crowd, dropping a pillow onto someone else’s mat space and desperately trying to retrieve it without groping her in my flustered state. “I’m Mel… and I’m late, sorry.” I add pointlessly before plonking myself down, a little too hard for the size of me, in the only remaining space. Needless to say no one spoke to me for the duration and my hopes for some mummy networking were crushed. Oh well, maybe next week, with smaller pillows and better parking planning! Still, the yoga itself was ok.

And what does this weekend have in store? Well an exciting visit to Oxford to visit our hospital and meet our consultant, see the facilities and learn even more about the grueling ordeal ahead! Whoop whoop! Maybe they’ll take some more blood and urine if I’m really lucky!

The upside of all of this, though, is that it is all part of the preparation to actually meet that tiny person. I’m glad I’m being forced to take all these steps or I might never have got myself ready. I’d have happily done 10 months of pregnancy and then gone ‘oh, maybe I should consider the baby at some point!’

I guess my plan is simply to set expectations, of myself and of tiny person, as low as possible. That way I won’t be disappointed, I might just be pleasantly surprised. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, just that so many people share such awful tales of misery, isolation, pain and the occasional psychotic break that saying I plan to get showered and dressed every day is just a step too far, so I’m not saying that.

Managing hubby’s expectations, however, may be something of a different ball game. Even at this stage, he looks at me dragging my enormous self around and exclaims ‘Darling, tomorrow you must do nothing. NOTHING. Just relax.’ But in almost the same breath there are expectations of cleaning, collecting things in town and what we might have for dinner, and on returning from a day in the office there is always the expectation that you have achieved something. And NO, having tea with a friend or undertaking a creative pass time does not count – it falls, apparently, into neither category. It is not physically relaxing nor achieving something that contributes to the house… hmmm. A difficult one, particularly as I know that once baby actually arrives every mum I’ve ever met has told me that the only way to survive is tea with friends and lots of cake! Oh well, I guess it won’t be too difficult to avoid as long no one talks to me at yoga!

So, we’re almost there: 1 set of shipping, 2 dogs, 3 expected visitors, 4 more medical appointments and 5 weeks remain before we might just end up with a baby that hopefully doesn’t go too pear-shaped! I’ll keep you posted ☺

Note: For those of you who signed up to this blog because you were interested in my travels, my photography or my writing, and haven’t the slightest interest in kids don’t worry, I don’t want this to become a parenting blog and I’m not going to stop traveling, taking pictures or writing, but I guess since it’s all about ‘life as me’ some of these life things do have to come into it. And how I manage being a mum and trying to still be me, is bound to be a big part of the next chapter. Bear with me, I’ll try to keep it light and human.


8 responses

  1. `Having a child is also a photo worthy travel adventure… 🙂

    January 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm

  2. and you’ll be such a great mum! Remember all these tough Tanzanian mamas popping them out, can’t be that hard… or maybe it will be but won’t last forever, only a few hours 😉 xxx

    January 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    • Thanks for reminding me, that was another point I wanted to make- that all this hectic preparation (antenatal classes, yoga and the like) also still feel slightly ridiculous in light of the country I have just left. Put in context it all seems a lot of fuss, and all over such a tiny person! Might add it in tomorrow! 🙂 xx

      January 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm

  3. carriepots

    Love the way your writing makes me smile Mel … it always conjures up the funny side of whatever overwhelming drama you are experiencing !! Keep going kid … it is pretty brilliant even to have found the energy to write this latest blog, bearing in mind all we know about the incredible recent upheavals in your life! Your ‘tiny person’ is gonna be just wonderful!

    January 19, 2014 at 11:51 pm

  4. Melissa, This is a powerful piece of work by Tom Yeomans, one of the guiding lights in the Psychosynthesis movement. He gave this presentation called “Soul Wound” at Kripalu Center’s first Psychotherapy & Spirituality Symposium. There were world class presenters such as Deepak Chopra, etc, yet I found Tom’s work by far the most moving and impactful. Why am i sending this to you? Because it talks eloquently to the necessity of seeing a newborn child as what s/he is a spiritual being. Enjoy it!! http://www.synthesiscenter.org/PDF/Soul-Wound%20and%20Psychotherapy.pdf
    And if you find this work of value here’s the website and direct link to all free downloads: http://www.synthesiscenter.org/PDFgallery.htm

    May your coming birth
    be a rebirth
    of your own spirit
    as well as a welcoming
    of a fellow traveler

    You are crossing the boundary
    from one identity
    to another
    the soul knows
    the heart knows
    may you be blessed


    January 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm

  5. One more thing since you are in England: William Wordsworth was a mystical poet. This poem also talks to the soul entering the world if you are not familiar with it.

    January 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm

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