In my other life

In my other life I am blooming. 

In my other life, I had my baby shower last week. There were cakes and there was pizza, and we joked about Pizza Baby (whose gender and secret name we know now) and how he’s going to have to wear pizza themed clothing for most of his young life. 

People give up their seats on the tube for me. My coat doesn’t do up any more and there’s no need for me to wear the Baby on Board badge because it’s obvious I’m gestating a human rather than chubby. I feel annoyed at how big my boobs have become but T says he likes it, and who am I to argue. My girlfriends let me into their special club, because I’m about to be One Of Them. 

I’m worried about the birth, of course. I’m worried that PB will come along without the chance to have a caesarian because, truth be told, I don’t feel like I could cope with childbirth. But what will be will be. I worry that something will go wrong with the birth because I’ve waited so long for this baby, and my body has taken so long to right itself and do what everyone else seems to do without thinking about it. 

My parents are on tenterhooks waiting for The Call. I am my mum’s firstborn, after all, even though I wasn’t born from her, that’s what she calls me. She cried when I told them I was pregnant. She thought we were “taking our time”. I know they worried for me and want this for me. Even though my brother, their biological child got there first. They know something of the pain of infertility, my parents. It took them many years before they adopted me and sibling #2, and by the time they had their bio children they had given up hope. So they know, and they are desperately happy for me. 

And somehow it means something different for me, who doesn’t have a genetic heritage that I know of, other than a mismatch between my understanding of my adopted culture and the gaps in my understanding of my birth culture, the one that matches my appearance and makes people do a double take when they hear me speaking perfect English. 

And for T and me, we are excited to move to this new chapter. I worry that Dog won’t get enough attention, that he’s used to being King of the Humans, but T tells me it won’t change how I baby him. I do baby him. He’s my first baby, and he’s not a substitute for a human baby – he’s much more furry, for a start. I really can’t imagine loving a baby more than Dog, but it’s not a competition and I think the heart expands to find room and even if I love my baby half as much as I love Dog, he’ll have more love than he knows what to do with. I’m sure I’ll love them equally in quantity, but differently… The same way as I love T and Dog. 

I’m on autopilot at work. Everyone knows now. I’m now One Of Them, the women who leave and never come back quite as whole in the work sense. The pressure comes off a little bit and yet – and yet I know some of my childless female colleagues envy me that. Not having to fight that fight any more. The knowledge that I’m doing something greater than all of it… That I’m doing what those men can’t do. I’m on desk rest for a while. It’s nice enough. The girls at work are solicitous and we chat in the bathroom about names, and buggies and working from home and how long I’m going to be away for. 

I can’t quite believe it’s happening. Truly, it’s always been someone else and not me. Always the Aunty, never the Mum. It’s my turn! I’m exhilarated and scared at the same time. I know I’m going to be sleep deprived and vomit covered and cross at T for going back to adult life and escaping it. But I also know that this is a life changer. We are no longer Us, and yet we are Us… It’s just that Us is four now, a balanced family unit. 

For us adopted ones, it’s kind of mind boggling to think about. PB is the first person I’ll ever have known who is genetically related to me. I “knew” my first mother for ten days until I went to live with my new parents, the only ones I can remember. And I don’t spend vast quantities of time thinking about it but I do think in passing that 38 is a lot of years before meeting someone who looks a bit like you. (Not counting all the ones at work who are conflated in white men’s minds, because we apparently “all look the same”. The ones I can’t really speak with because they know I’m British; I’m not one of them. I can’t speak their language: the language of belonging.)

I don’t tell all this to PB. I heard he can hear me so I tell him about Dog and how much his older fur brother is going to lick him. I tell him that mama and papa (or whatever we decide to call ourselves) are looking forward to meeting him. Although, truth be told, he does look a bit funny on the 4D ultrasound I insisted on getting privately. I’m hoping that’s tech rather than being quite as weird looking. We know we will think he’s the best looking baby ever, when it’s more likely he looks like a potato. 

Our apartment is not at all ready. We have somewhere for him to sleep and somewhere to change him but other than that, we are woefully underprepared. We will muddle along like all new parents do. I umm and aww about Facebook posting, knowing how much it wounded me during the long years of infertility. I decide that we’ll maybe do one announcement, but not be like those people who ban their friends from taking photos. We want our friends to think he’s as cool as we do. 

I wonder if he’ll come by his due date? Only a week to wait. We can have curry. We can do those things people do to help the baby arrive. We’re almost there. These are the last days of this identity.

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. We are ready to be parents. 

In my other life. 

 

 

(PB: “Pizza Baby” was the result of our first IVF cycle and 10+ years of infertility without a natural pregnancy. At 2 weeks, my first ever positive pregnancy test. At 6 weeks we saw a heartbeat. At 7, a heartbeat but slow growth. At 8, no heartbeat. I miscarried “him” between 9-10 weeks. PB was due next week.)

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46 comments

    • Nara

      I’m sorry to hear this. Hope you’re okay. I am really fine despite this… I just think of what might have been occasionally. (I’m not doubled up with grief or anything… I just allowed myself to think of it when I wrote this.) Sending you hugs. X

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  1. TryTryAgain

    It really hurt to read this, I’ve given up thinking of all my other lives, it’s horrendous. I often think of your PB and what you’ve been through, I’m so sorry that this time has come around. I’m so hopeful for you with your upcoming appointments and that some answers and help can be found. I know that this waiting time is the absolute worst. I’ll be thinking of you xxx

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    • Nara

      Thank you! I can imagine it must be horrible – I’ve only gone through it once, and I can’t imagine how difficult it is to go through it so many times like you have. Thank you for your support. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you my friend! I am okay, honestly… Just let myself think about it yesterday. I don’t often! And aside from this, I’m really fine! X

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  2. Savannah Mae

    I was thinking about you the other day, wondering if you would have been getting close. I pray that your heart is comforted during this time, as I know it’s aching. It’s hard not to imagine those “other life’s” and fantasize about the “what if’s” and “should have been’s”. Big hug xo

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    • Nara

      Ah, that’s really sweet of you to think of me. I really don’t think about it that often. I had kind of stopped thinking about due date etc. So it was weird to think about it. I am genuinely a lot happier than this post probably made me sound! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mamajo23

    So heartbreaking and real- thank you for sharing your heart. It is so hard to let go of ‘what if’ and ‘what should be’ and sometimes it is ok not to completely let go and mourn it for a bit. I have so much hope that moving forward your reality will eventually include more than you dreamed of.

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    • Nara

      Thanks as ever for your support! That’s exactly what I was doing. I honestly don’t obsess about it or even think about it very much… I just let myself imagine it yesterday and it was kind of a shock to imagine that I would be due next week. I did get a bit emotional but I am fine now! X

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    • Nara

      I’m sorry you’ve been through this too. It’s sad to think of all these people who have been through it. More than we think. I hope you’re okay X

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    • Nara

      Thank you. Sending you one back! I really don’t allow myself to think about it a lot. Strange really. I think it just hit me because I suddenly realised what date it was, that I’m my normal self when I would have been massively pregnant (or even already have given birth). It is surreal to think of. X

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  4. EmilyMaine

    I am so sorry you have to watch this story in your mind like a movie you can’t touch and find your way into. It is beyond heartbreaking. This is a very moving post. I hope so much that you can find some answers xx

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  5. flatwhitetogo85

    I am so sorry. This is heartbreaking. Although I’ve never had anything close to PB, I’ve had a lot of the same internal monologues and hypothetical decisions and hopes and dreams. I’m so sorry about everything that happened and understand why it feels so raw as you approach your due date. I’m sending lots of British hugs (i.e. nervously patting you on the back).

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    • Nara

      Ha… The British hug! It’s my usual type! 🙂 I am much more happy than I probably sounded in the post, honestly… I just let myself think “what if?” for a minute. I’m sorry you’re going through this too x

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  6. RJ

    Such a great picture of what should have been. These dates are so hard to stomach, my heart hurts for you. Sending you lots of love.

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    • Nara

      Thank you. I think we all must have those reminders every now and then. Not all the time, but I guess the dates are strange reminders of what might have been.

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  7. Nara

    Me too! It was really odd. Not my usual unemotional stuff! I almost cried in Starbucks! I think it was just the date and realisation of where I would be now. But I’m much better/happier than I sounded in the post! ☺️

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