The Waiting Game
Yesterday was a year ago since my son’s due date and all those feelings of waiting and wondering and the nervous roller-coaster belly flutter came flooding back as I flicked through photos of what I was doing this time last year.
I had finished work two weeks before and spent most of it flapping around – tidying up in a way that was completely out of character, arranging books on shelves in the nursery, counting and sorting the number of newborn vests we had and taking pictures of my ever growing belly. And in between that, I drank a lot of raspberry leaf tea and practised my hypnobirthing and read about breastfeeding.
I made the baby a mobile out of felt; I had this overwhelming urge to make him a gift that he would keep forever – like he was a little baby king and I a lowly shepherd.
“What if the baby comes and I haven’t finished making this?” I remember saying, and the urgency felt so real.
We put a waterproof mattress protector on the bed (my husband’s idea) and assembled the bedside crib and then worried that it wasn’t the right height and considered buying a new one. And then I counted the vests again and ordered a few more in a tinier size just in case. I made soups and lasagnes for the freezer and told Rene he wasn’t allowed to eat any of it and that he would thank me for it later (he did). I kept thinking, “The baby can’t come yet. There’s still so much to do!”
Part of me wanted to keep the baby in there forever. I was happy doing ‘this’ – pottering around and making meals and keeping the house tidy and getting organised. This was comfortable, this was safe. I knew what I was doing and I’d grown quite used to having a big belly. What was coming next was new and scary and would change everything.
The May bank holiday weekend came and went. We spent most of it eating and walking – we joined some friends doing a beer mile in Bermondsey before sloping off for a Brick Lane curry. We walked a 10k round trip into Hackney and pottered around a market selling 90s sportswear in a completely un-ironic way. We both felt old and out of place as we sat there reminiscing over Kappa tracksuits with poppers that were apparently back in fashion, and ate Ethiopian curry with a sausage roll. Then we got some cake boxed up and waddled home across the marshes to eat it on the couch.
And at some point over the course of that weekend, I realised I was ready. Well, as ready as any new mother can be. The fact that we were going to greet our baby with love meant that our imminent arrival would have everything he could possibly need for the time being (and there was always Amazon Prime for anything else). Besides, it really didn’t matter if I felt prepared - babies aren’t waiting for a green light. They come when they come, ready or not. It’s the first of so many surprises.
To all the mamas and papas playing the baby waiting game right now… I’m sending you ALL my best vibes. You have totally got this!