Pace of life has slowed dramatically since the beginning of maternity leave on Monday. I started off the week in a flurry of motivation, working up a spreadsheet of meals to cook each day, cleaning the house and ordering all the remaining bits and bobs I need for the baby from Amazon (I am conflicted about this having previously ranted about the pitiful amount of tax they pay in the UK, but you can’t get everything you need on the high street and in truth, costs would go through the roof without them).
I also went swimming and met up with my NCT girls. We all sat outside a Lebanese restaurant by the river in Kingston with our sizeable bellies – comparing notes, concerns, niggles, cloth nappy strategies, pram options etc…
There was a table of women next to us who all had babies of the same age – maybe six months old. It was strange. Like looking at a future echo of our own group, we observed.
One of them took a picture of us all lined up against a wall, standing sideways with our bumps proudly protruding. We are all laughing. The sun is shining and we look so happy and nervous.
I’m very glad I signed up to NCT as I think I would be lonely and isolated without knowing those girls were close by and experiencing the same emotions as me. I’ve been off work for a meagre week with only my own company and I’m already starting to feel very insular.
Yesterday the only person I spoke to all day was the butcher. She looked at my stomach and said ‘steaks for two?’ and I laughed and said ‘for three’, thinking of myself, the baby and Jake – but then realised she thought I was having twins. I was too awkward and flustered to correct her – so I will now have no choice but to procure another child to wheel in there with my own after she’s born, in order to prevent her thinking I’m some kind of delusional looney.
During the course of the week my productivity has slowed and the hours available in a day seem to have diminished. By 2:30pm this afternoon I felt so tired. I crawled into bed for a cat nap and woke up to the sound of the Amazon delivery man ringing my buzzer. I looked at my phone and it was a quarter to five. I’d had the most intensely deep and dreamless sleep. As I lay trying to muster to energy to lift my bulk, I felt paralysed with other-worldly calmness and serenity. Like how I would imagine a shot of morphine would make me feel. I wonder whether that will ever happen again.