Trimesters and Absences

A year ago today, I woke up at 5am with a dull ache in my lower abdomen. Five days short of my due date and day five of my maternity leave, I got out of bed with the obligatory grunt. Went about the day as the previous four – restlessly trying to find stuff to do, not quite knowing what to do with myself with all this time off. The day before I’d walked the two miles to Hammersmith and back again after lunch with my manager. It was a Friday, and I smiled at myself in the bathroom mirror, remembering something I’d read about how it’s more common to give birth at the weekend – some fluffy theory about how you relax at the end of the week and perhaps that this had some effect on when things got going.

I kinda hoped this would be it. The ache was new. My pregnancy was an absolute breeze – no morning sickness or any other pregnancy related ailments, and I stayed active right up until Monkey finally arrived; still going running well into the second trimester, and once my bump grew big enough to make it less comfortable I replaced my runs with long, brisk walks.

I headed out for a long walk after breakfast, a five-mile loop taking me around Chiswick and back to our little house with the green door. The ache didn’t get worse, it was constant and albeit mild, it was there the whole time, something resembling period tummy aches, not that I had ever suffered those much. It stayed that way until the evening, and suddenly as we were sitting down to have dinner everything kicked off. By 11pm we were at the hospital and by 2am, just three hours later, I had my little Monkey in my arms.

That was ten years ago, my little chimp turns ten tomorrow – TEN!

Have booked a couple of lanes for him and nine carefully selected friends at a bowling alley on Saturday, and his presents I wrapped last night, all arranged across his bed for him to come home to Friday afternoon, as he is with his dad until then. Can’t wait. My tiny, chubby little baby with the blue eyes so huge they made him look like an impossibly cute little alien, has somehow morphed into a slender boy. Well, his eyes are still huge. And he’s now impossibly gorgeous, that baby-ish cuteness replaced by handsome boy-ish looks.

I sort of wish I had something profound to say, but nothing is coming to me. Perhaps tomorrow – his actual birthday – the words will come to me.

The words have shone with their absence today. Monday and Tuesday I wrote so much on Alice that my fingertips felt numb from typing, two whole chapters done, but today I’m not feeling it. To be honest, I think it’s connected to the amount of vin blanc B and I consumed last night to celebrate an anniversary, I’m never on top when I have a hangover – the day after a boozy evening I’m a different person. In my natural stage I’m energetic and hectic, with a hangover I’m sluggish and muddled. Oh well, I’m still ahead, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it too much.

B’s on his way home, so I’m going to make a start on dinner and iron his shirts – at least then I’ll feel more like I’ve done something useful. Actually, today has felt like one of those maternity leave days I had before Monkey landed – feeling restless, reading a book, browsing the news, watching a bit of TV. Generally being as useful as a stay-at-home-mum with kids who’ve flown the nest and therefore a pretty pointless existence.

Shirts and dinner it is, and then let’s hope the inspiration comes back tomorrow after its day off…


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