“Another school dismissed confinements with a cheerful brightness, a ‘so-sorry-I’m-late-darling-I’ve-just-been-having-a-baby-where-shall-we-go-for-supper-afterwards?’ sangfroid which Flora, curiously enough, found equally alarming.”
– Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
Minions, it’s been at least half a dozen posts since I last confessed my idiocy, I’m sure you’ve been on tenterhooks the whole time to see how I would be able to best my sock freakout. I’m pleased/dismayed to be able to confirm that I have indeed topped it. Read on.
So, first J. and I were going to Britain together. Then Her Majesty’s Government changed their visa laws so we were going separately, him in September (next month, ack!) and myself probably in February. I’ve reconciled myself to my fate charmingly and just like a Real Live Grownup should. In spite of the occasional bout of annoyance/minor depression, I’ve risen.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, I torpedoed my emotional scaffolding.
(Dad, don’t read this next bit.) It was the first scheduled day of my period. I’m on the pill and regular as clockwork. And I made it through the entire day until 4:30pm. The office was practically empty, I was alone with my thoughts (first mistake) and realized that the usual torso-bending cramps that I should have been “enjoying” had failed to put in an appearance.
How shall I put this delicately? You’d think that impending physical separation from my husband for months at a time would reduce the the, ah, threat of unplanned pregnancy, right? How wrong you would be! Suddenly, a cramp free afternoon (which, had I been in my right mind would be an occasion for joy) became and fear-scape of previously unseen proportions.
I saw myself great with child…with said spawn’s father on another bloody continent. An entire pregnancy by myself, freaking out about every flutter, ultrasound, craving, and ache, without J. to tell me I’m being silly/order me to hospital. No one to send out on late night runs for ice cream when I’ve overreached my gravitational ability to haul myself upright. The fear that I wouldn’t be able to drive myself to work, since my feet only touch the pedals when the seat is all the way forward in the car – which would not be remotely possible with a fetus between me and the wheel. A new horror of my klutziness as I pictured myself slipping and sliding on winter ice, which is nothing new, but suddenly far more terrifying with the risk of harming my child.
I saw myself going into labor with only my mother beside me – whose hand I couldn’t possibly reduce to pulp in my agony since she’d, you know, originally reduced Dad’s hand to pulp having me. It would have smacked of ingratitude. J. not being able to be there for the birth of our first child, perhaps watching and offering helpful tips (no doubt ungratefully received) via Skype. I saw myself trying to juggle a newborn and still working so that I could retain my insurance to pay for this wrinkled, squalling, helpless thing… without childcare – this particular vision made me break out in a cold sweat.
I’m tough. But childbirth scares me. Childbirth without J. there to take my expletives, hold my hand, and remind me that our kid will totally be worth the current pain – that petrifies me.
As you may have guessed, the torso-bending cramps showed up just after I got home from work and the universe righted itself. Except for one single trembling woman who had to restrain tears of gratitude as she reached for her “feminine hygiene” products with an unsteady hand. I’m better now, but you’ll observe it took me a couple of weeks to be able to even write about it.