Aside

the nature of passing time

I see the days falling away as my eldest child grows and changes and matures and we get closer to the end of babyhood for the littlest one. I feel a low level of stress – almost like I’ve got to meet a deadline I am unprepared for. In the little moments with each of my boys I wonder how much I’ll remember of this time… The urge to somehow capture it all consumes me, as I desperately repeat phrases, questions and gestures in an attempt to keep them all close to me.

How soon Arlo has moved into boyhood, how incomprehensible is the size of his heart and his emotional mind. He’s taking on so much; the reflective and absorbent brain and its trillion firing synapses such a wonderful, beautiful thing to witness. And how careful one must be right now – the evidence of influence so obvious as his vocabulary expands and so too his understanding of the life he leads, and that which surrounds him.

And since recognising this desire to keep something tangible, to catch the words and even the actions and store them somehow outside of me so that they are real, I have made peace with the reality that it is unnecessary to burden my heart with such a task. Instead I realise now that I must just “be” in every single second I spend in the presence of both my boys, so that each special moment is engraved upon me, burned beautifully into my soul for all of eternity.

Aside

coronavirus cover up – Mask McGowan rules in favour of false positive

It’s day three of a snap five day lockdown in Perth – glory land throughout the Covid19 saga as every other city in the world struggles to keep it under control, people dying in the hundred thousands and everyone wondering when this crap is going to end.

Here, we have been marching along to the orders of Premier Mark McGowan: ruler of the state and upholder of persistent and strict border controls, which disallow entrants into Western Australia without a police approved pass. Perth has remained an outlier; not a single community case of transmission in ten months of mayhem… and Marky McGee is not about to let one single test stuff up his record.

Sunday the 31st of January. Word on the street is spreading quickly; a hotel quarantine security guard has somehow contracted the Rona. Macca acts fast – all of Perth will go into five days of lockdown. People who have absolutely nothing to do with anything anywhere even remotely close to the places this infected man has visited, must shut their lives down. We have to SHUT. IT. DOWN. The super spreader’s housemates are tested…they’re negative. 600 close contacts are informed of the grave danger they have been exposed to, and they’re all tested. They are negative. Mums all over Perth are planning McGowan’s usurpation after six weeks of school holidays is prolonged by another five days of care-for-your-own-children but no parks, no playgrounds, no play dates.

Every single western Australian is compliant. Yes sir, yes sir, how many days should we stay home for, sir? Five days he says. And masks everyone! Don’t forget your mask! DO NOT FORGET YOUR MASK! Also there is no singing allowed, anywhere at any time.

Toilet paper is gone within hours and there is no room for walking in the supermarkets. Masks are compulsory as well as check ins for contact tracing. No mask, no entry. But never mind being pulled up by the Covid marshals – the vitriolic stares from other civilians will pierce your soul and make you feel like an outsider, if there ever was one. We won’t step a foot outside of our limits; we aren’t allowed. Yes sir, yes sir, we’ll march in line to your orders, sir. Unquestioning and unequivocally trusting, the people of western australia stand united against Coronavirus yes, but too, against both the rest of their own country and certainly the world.

Days go by and testing numbers remain stable – negatively stable. Not a single second positive test is reported. The law abiding citizens of Perth are doing all the right things…staying home, doing one session of exercise per day and only going out for “necessities.” The people are exercising their acquiescence; masks are being worn in ridiculous scenarios – people are alone in their vehicle, masked. People are out walking, alone, masked. People are masking their children when it’s not one of the rules to do so. People are utterly compliant and their compliance is unnerving.

The final stages of the snap lockdown creep around. We are waiting and watching for announcements to tell us we can resume our state of incomparable perfection. Unexpectedly, the negative test results keep coming and many presume a false positive from the original germ-man. We wonder what we have endured this stay-home and mask-wear rubbish for. Why have we had to keep our children home, why have the parks been taped in plastic?

Sunday arrives and restrictions are lifted. Kids can go to school on Monday, parents can sigh a breath of relief though many still work from home – wary of being in the workplace with potential microbes hanging about.

Some rules still apply, however. Mr. Premier wasn’t going to let us off so easy…after all he does have a facade to maintain. As we moved further away from the first “positive” case and no further eruptions occurred, the love of his people faltered slightly. There was one man who tattooed Mark’s face on his arm, but he remains the sole idiot to date. We had to continue with the mask wearing, and it became the “strictest in the country.” For one case, guys. ONE. Thousands of people had to have their breathing obstructed by a stupid piece of cotton (if you’re fancy) for two entire weeks, FOR ONE CASE. When leaving the house, babies had to look at half the face of their mother and wonder where the rest went. Confused, bemused and continually grabbing at the thing hiding mummy’s smile, their mothers wondered if kids were experiencing effects for the long term. Maybe not for just two weeks of this annoying directive, but more of this would certainly see it.

At 12:01am on Valentines Day 2021, the mask rules were to be lifted. The Fringe Festival was on, and obtuse regulations were to be adhered to until EXACTLY one minute past midnight. At 9pm the same evening, the people were masked and not allowed to remove the sheath, unless to take a sip of a beverage. Immediately to be replaced, however and with not a moment to lose. The Mask Police were rife, lingering behind those who dared to dwell too long with their drink, or take a desperate sip of fresh unimpeded air. The Mask Law seemed more stupid than ever, when in just a few hours the people would be free to remove the face cover and continue living normally.

And that is precisely what happened. Most of Perth were snoozing when the veil was lifted; not only the mask rule but too the pretense of rampant coronavirus in Perth. The question became clear: what is the true agenda of Premier Mark McGowan? Are his directions those as advised by the Chief Health Officer…or the polling office?

Aside

the wise guide inside

Two glasses of proper champagne and only bits of sleep last night and I’m attempting a settle; he’s 9 months old and the sleeping struggle is tangible. Chopin’s Nocturne No.2 in E-Flat Major has overthrown my monkey mind…I’m simply swaying in rhythm to it. Through the alcohol induced mist, the music is piercing a little tiny hole into the turbulent year I’ve endured with a second little boy in my arms, during both sleeping and waking hours.

He thrashes about. Overtired and uncomfortable and palpably searching for some remedy that will send him into the ether, the realm of sleep so desperately needed but that which continuously slips through first his and then my fingers, accompanied by a sense of longing dreamt about, and wonder too, at what could alter the plot of this story.

And then there in that space, I am not. I’m strolling through the local marketplace. I’m right in the very midst of my sleep deprivation, a time where the mind can’t be trusted to act accordingly, when through the dreamcatchers swaying daintily in the breeze I see it. A passageway I had not yet encountered, although many times I had passed this way. The ceiling seemed to narrow as I stepped cautiously inwards; the wall not graffitied colours but shimmering rock, flecks of some things glinting and other things gold and hard to make out…was this an illusion?

It was there at the smallest cave-like part of the passage that I came to a blackened pot, sitting neatly on a small fire somehow propped up and unlikely to tumble. An intoxicating smell was inviting my senses forward; it was coming from a dark blue liquid thick with humbly sparkling silver. I could swear the word “sleep” appeared in the curls of steam wafting from the pot, but was I even really there? The cauldron sat confidently, and so too did its owner. There was nobody with me, and then there was, and I blinked a few extra times as a force sat me down and I was there, wasn’t I? She stirred the contents with a large golden ladle as I watched, mesmerised and wanting nothing more then to feel it, to bathe in it and just to have it engulf me entirely. 

I heard no voice, only the whisper of a question unanswered. 

Why did you walk this way?

I had a thousand words and none at all, my mind fractured with memories of moments and sounds of un-stillness. The magical substance lured my eyes and the desire to immerse myself was growing stronger. I wanted so badly to take some of this magical potion home with me. Something was telling me that once I had it, everything would be okay. The months of sleep deprivation would be over, I would be sitting pretty; routine established and structure ruling over my life. In a sudden moment but with what seemed like a million minutes before it, this notion was gone. The pot was empty, the contents non existent.

I blinked twice then three times, and my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the nursery. Then, the fog that had engulfed me for so long dissipated alongside 9 months of heartache. In that moment both my body and my mind had a realisation that would change the way I was currently existing. As if I was coming up for air made of clarity, I understood. 

I had been trying too hard.

I had been trying to fit a mould pressed upon me by thousands of words either read or uttered, in my quest to fulfil a role of perfection. My baby would not be the one to sleep on demand, at a specified time. He would not follow the same routine every single day. He would not be “a good baby.” He would need my help; the touch of his mother and the sway of her step; her beating heart close by, to settle him into a reverie filled slumber. And, so what.

In an instant I was ready to learn this new jig. For too long I had allowed the pressures of this modern day to try and construct my life. The saying “square peg in a round hole” never sounded more true; and I was the hand jamming that poor peg over and over and over again, not noticing that it was the wrong shape the entire time.

I have always been a sensitive mother. I have endless patience for my children, and like most of us, I want the very best for them. But in my mission to provide the blocks that support a smart and contented child, I had let slide the intuition that was so crucial to my own happiness. I had stopped listening to my gut in exchange for “advice,” and in doing so had completely blindsided myself.

Motherhood has become something different in the current era. From being a role that many women once intuitively fit into, to one that is now overwhelmed with information, mothers feel the weight of expectation coming at them from all sources. And the information is often contradictory, shaded by the preface that “something that works for one child may not work for another,” and “every child is different.” 

The counsel advises, but only experience truly teaches, they say. However, by the time that “experience” has taught us anything at all, it’s too bloody late to use it. And then, if we decide to go for round three, the lessons we learnt the second time no longer apply. Oh, that’s what it means by “every child is different.”

Having children continues to be the most awesome experience in my life thus far. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, it doesn’t mean I love every moment and it certainly doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing. I don’t. I’m getting to know MY boys and what works for them, and I’ve finally realised who I should really be listening to…it sure as hell ain’t the internet.

So what if your baby falls asleep at the breast. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be 25 and looking for nipples to suck himself to sleep…(or is he?) 

So what if you rock and cuddle your baby to sleep…one day he will fall asleep in stillness, in his own bed, probably in his own house.

So what if your baby sleeps in short stints…this may be the only time in your life that you are excused from chores because of time restraints.

I could go on. Just remember, whether you’re a parent yourself or an advice-giver – that pegs come in all shapes and sizes – and even you are a different shape to your littlest and most precious peg. Everything will be okay, and even if it isn’t now, it will be eventually. Don’t stifle the voice within, trust it. You have got this.

Aside

“Real Mums”

Arrived home from successful trip to the shops today with both boys and no disasters. Tears in the last 3 minutes of driving – nothing compared to the usual throat screaming marathon, anxious steering wheel tapping and attempted utterances of comfort.

Neighbours passed by as I tried to juggle baby, items and toddler from the car up the stairwell. Walked out to say hello – my infant has grown so much since they last saw him and we were overdue for a chat.

Proceeded to discuss “how things are going.” Was honest; things haven’t been easy. Neighbours empathised as they did the same thing – coming from Zimbabwe with no family support and then raising two children had its fair share of difficulties.

Vented a little about my morning – a disaster if there ever was one. Pondered the loss of my patient temperament as I was tested over and over by toddler (somewhat targeted) and un-slept baby (purely a victim).

Neighbours mentioned that on a couple of occasions they had “heard me, (shouting),” and had commented to each other about it, expressing that I must be a “real mum.” Was evident that they were not judging in a negative way, merely empathising and sympathising. Still, I laughed awkwardly and explained that my fuse has reached near the end of its tether and on no sleep it is particularly minuscule.

Since this chat, I have felt a bit strange about these observations. Today has been a very hard day for us; this morning I felt like a monster in front of my toddler after a night of no sleep with the little babe. The day was topped off by an acknowledgement and confirmation of the beast that lives inside me; one I am ashamed (am I?) to be harbouring like a wild animal being kept at bay.

I have questioned, on this day and one of many, whether other people lose their shit like I do. I won’t go into detail now; these are just some thoughts I needed to get down before I shower and rest my weary brain… and write myself a reminder to keep my balcony doors closed when somebody in my family has a melt down, regardless of their age.

Aside

A mother’s lifeline.

I’m standing at the breakfast bench typing this and my eyes are flicking to my one o’clock every few seconds. The baby monitor is in the corner there and I see a sleeping face in black and white amidst the tschhhhhhh sound of white noise. The little face is no longer sobbing; it’s been a while and he’s in a deep sleep now. Seeing that calm, peaceful face is what reminds me that having children is not entirely what I expected, but at the moment I need more reminders of the good side among the rest of the chaos, to make everything seem okay.

The last six months has been madness. When you have a dependant infant that regularly wakes at one and two and three hour intervals, the repercussions of sleep deprivation make themselves known to your everyday existence. At a time that could be seen as “prime-of-my-life,” I have found myself sinking further and further into the well of a deep existential crisis, where time moves very slowly and there is no horizon. The clouds and the ocean meet and blend; an ominous storm seeking to stifle me – challenging me to break the shackles that bind the limbs of my mind. I feel that each day, I am simply surviving.

I struggle to think like my well slept self. It takes my mind precious seconds to locate files, to categorise and to create. I start sentences with intention and with minor distraction find myself lost, unable to remember the target of my diatribe. There are times when it doesn’t return until much later on, once the lights are off and the friends have gone home to their full night’s rest, uncountable in number.

Each night before bed, I manifest a reality that tonight will be the one that everybody sleeps uninterrupted and we all reunite at seven AM. And then at eleven thirty I groan inwardly, disappointed yet not surprised that nothing has changed. In the minutes that tick by between two and five am and wake up after wake up, I wonder if this will ever truly end. The sour pessimism that coats my mind is difficult to control with un-slept, unregulated emotions.

The cries of my baby used to tear me quickly from the sheets, but now my heart does little more than drag my body upward and forward; the call of duty of a mother unyielding. The skills acquired from five months of sleep destruction are refined, even amongst the fatigue that plagues my brain. Changing a baby entirely in the dark from nappy up to sleep suit is easy. Throw a swaddle across a bed with one hand whilst safely holding a sleeping baby in the other arm? No help required. Wrap him swiftly and gently, and replace in cot…done. My body remembers exactly where to step, even in the pitch black of a room desperately encouraging consistent sleep. The stairs are not obstacles, only the wind trapped in my baby’s tummy is the true enemy.

For some this might seem dramatic, but I’m sure there are others that know the place I frequent in the corners of my mind. Seemingly relentless, no end in sight, can’t give up, can’t have a break. Must simply go on. I am waiting for someone to rescue me, to tell me the secrets and answers, to whisper the advice that will be my salvation. As each day dawns, however, a second little boy climbing into my bed and kissing my hands and face reminds me to stand boldly up. The sun has risen, we are alive and I have two incredible children to care for. Despite how gruelling this is now, one day it will all be a distant memory, when my boys will no longer be babies. They won’t sleep in my bedroom, they won’t rely on my body to comfort, to feed and to nourish them. And then my longing will be for another realm I’m sure, though I’ll feel relief that I made it out the other side of this one. It seems that after all, like always and for ever, it is this love between mother and child that is the true lifeline.

Aside

Shower Thoughts

Shower time is thinking time. And time to pause, strain my ears and wonder if I can hear a baby screaming outside or just in my head.

Last night I pondered something that I’ve never spoken with anybody about. It’s the use of a bath towel. Usually you use your towel 2-3 times before washing it, or even more (is this just me? What is the normal amount of towel uses before washing?) however my issue is this. You dry your body with your towel. Your whole body, including your bottom and V or P is exposed to some part of the towel. You dry your face with it and in between your toes. Behind your ears. Your underarms. Then you hang it on the rack to dry, ready for use again in the morning.

The morning comes and you do your routine. You need to dry your face again because naturally it is wet from the shower, but how do you know which part of the towel you used last night on your bot? Are you happy to dab dry your face this morning with the part of towel you used on your V or P last night? Is this like using the same chopping board for meat as for vegetables? Are we cross-contaminating here? Despite being “clean” from the showering, the skin itself carries millions of little living things on its surface. The more hidden parts of the human body even more so, and the parts that live in underwear, well…

It would be a ridiculous luxury to fetch a fresh, clean towel for every shower, surely. Until I find a way to get around this perplexing problem, I shall remain thwarted and confused each time I shower. Will post again when a solution is imminent; am open to suggestions or advice.

Enjoy your shower tonight!

Aside

When you have a baby…

When you have a baby, no one gives you a manual. They give you some documents, they scribble on paper with medical words and lots of boxes. And then they send you on your way, in a daze of fatigue from a long and excruciating labour, to strap a fragile new life into a big metal machine and head for shelter within the confines of your ever changed home.

When you have a baby, no one gives you a manual. Many people tell you their story; they share fragments of experience that you won’t really be able to make sense of until years later, once you have been there yourself. By then you will have replicated this practice to other new parents, time after time after time.

When you have a baby, no one gives you a manual. Is this not like any other learning experience? Where are the official guides and mentors? The midwife who shared your pregnancy and labour has disappeared and here you are, babe in arms, a curve in your lower back and not a clue in your head.

When you have a baby, no one gives you a manual. How are you to know which cry means what, how to quiet, calm and soothe an infant? They tell you how to put him in his cot, how to swaddle and wrap him, but not how to read his tired signs and that if you see them, it’s too late. That he’ll stop using his maternal melatonin at 12 weeks and that’s where the baby bubble ends but by then you haven’t slept more than three hours at once for three months straight so what’s another sleepless night anyway.

When you have a baby, no one gives you a manual. The baby screaming in pain leaves you constantly questioning yourself; what you’ve eaten that could cause him such agony. The whole experience is a perpetual search for answers that seem uncatchable to the grasping hand of a mother in distress. But to give up on breastfeeding is not an option so you soldier on, nipples wrecked, bra wet, daggers at anyone daring to come close.

When you have a baby, no one gives you a manual. You see shapes in the shower tiles and hear crying in the silence, and you pick up your phone only to forget why you needed it. Some nights you’re up every darn hour; the baby’s cry pierces lucid sleep that evades, evades, evades. There isn’t a single time you don’t do it though, in the depths of your soul you know that baby needs you and not responding isn’t physically possible.

When you have a baby, no one gives you a manual. But complaining might be seen as ungrateful; you’re lucky to have been able to bear a child, when some women have not the body nor the time left to fill such maternal desires. The struggle is commonplace as nights turn to day and weeks to months and things get little by little, easier to manage. In time it’s all a distant memory; he turns one, two then three and by now you’re ready to take it on again. Mother Nature has succeeded, the lens of time foggy as you try to recall what being in the thick of it was really like.

When you have your second baby, everything has changed. You have that marvellous and sought after thing – experience – and it’s here that you realise that when you have a baby, no, no one gives you a manual. It is you, who writes that manual for yourself. You, the mother, did the work. Now you know… until you realise that in fact this is not the same child. It’s a new life, a new story, a new experience. And you smile, for not many things in life could be both more magical and more difficult, than having a baby.

Aside

The Simpson.

I am currently in awe of a purchase we made recently, which took a long long time to occur. It’s an item that always seemed a bit haughty to me; it’s The Clothes Dryer. In the years before new neural pathways grew and I realised what a dryer would do for my time management, I would scowl upon seeing one tossing things about on a day that the sky was being blasted with sunshine. Like, what is wrong with hanging clothes outside on a clothes line, I would think. I knew the dryer made your clothes feel soft, but it was an unnecessary luxury for people who cared not for the environment and were too lazy to peg their clothing outdoors. Now, as I type these words I am serenaded by the sweet sweet sounds of The Simpsons spinning drum; its third load today. I’m 30, and I have come to my senses.

The exact foundation of my very stern frown toward the dryer is easy to pinpoint and that location is definitely within the realms of my childhood. Our clothes line was always full and still to this day I have never seen either of my parents put a load of washing on and stick it straight in the dryer upon completion. The dryer was always an extreme last resort; used when washing had weathered the start of rain or a late winter afternoon and needed a few minutes of heat to get the damp out. It was expensive to run and “bad for the environment.” Without looking any further into this, it was my contra-dryer theory for many years.

Recently, however, I became a mother of two, and I am all about convenience now. Any parent knows that laundry is a huge part of, um, life, when you have children, because of how feral kids can be. They play in sand, dirt, mud. They pee themselves. They poo themselves. They vomit on themselves, and you. They drop food on everything and they dribble, just to name a few of their strengths. So when we increased our household to four people, our washing naturally increased too. We needed a drying mechanism for the coming winter…and holy cow. How my life has changed since it’s arrival. Now, I cannot believe how many hundreds of hours I can look back upon, having spent WASTING my PRECIOUS time HANGING WASHING OUTSIDE, and bringing it in. No. Those days are gone, my friend, gone gone gone.

Never again will I spend my winter minutes hanging bits and pieces outside in the snippets of sunshine, only to dash back at the onset of rain. Never again will I hang stuff outside and leave it out there for days and days due to recurrent rain and intermittent sunshine. My washing basket will never again overflow due to weeks of rain. Rain, rain, rain. Causing havoc for clothes washing slaves everywhere. But now, my life is complete. Who knew you could be best friends with a piece of machinery?

Rant over.

Aside

A day in the life of; “mummy”

I started the day changing a poop filled nappy with a ten week old baby smiling up at me. Seconds later his brother walked in carrying his pyjama pants and wearing a low flying pull up that was filled with 12 hours worth of pee, and unbeknownst to me – a fresh three year old poo. Upon its removal, aforementioned poo overflowed and left a nice thick swab on each inner thigh, resulting in a direct-to-shower order. With toddler in the shower and fresh baby bottom, I cleaned up the paraphernalia and proceeded to my other four legged children to release them from the laundry where they sleep. Alas, the morning of shits was incomplete. The laundry floor was punctuated by dog poo, and four eyes looking innocently up at me. Hoorah! Record set for most number of defecations before 8am.

The morning proceeded surprisingly well following this exciting beginning, with toddler playing independently and baby sleeping when required. Miraculously, I did my own exercise! I know. NOTE: none of these successes would have been at all possible without our aupair Rose, who made breakfast for both toddler and myself and then played with toddler when requested.

The time arrived to run some errands. Departing at midday and cutting a long and repetitive story short, it took me two hours to get to two different locations due to the angle of baby’s car seat and it’s incredible ability to produce a screaming baby. And I don’t mean a crying baby, when I say a screaming baby. I mean the sort of scream that makes you ram the car into park before it’s actually stationary. The sort that makes you jump out of the car at a busy set of traffic lights, looking calm but really panicking. The kind that sees you pulling very quickly onto the shoulder of the freeway, hazards on, eyes narrowed at the oncoming trucks. The sort that can make you cry, but you can’t because you’re handling a large and dangerous machine and there are three other living beings relying on your unhindered skill. I binned the last errand and took my infant home, put him in the baby carrier and held him close to my chest until he got up the wind that had caused so much pain, and fell, exhausted, to sleep.

With baby attached and toddler occupied, I moved into attack mode at home. A new dryer arrived; I cleared the space and gave directions. I located a missing toy and cleaned up the bookshelf on top of the fridge – on a step ladder. Yes, baby still attached. I whizzed around like a little rocket until my back was complaining too much to continue, so I removed baby from carrier and placed in bed where he remained, peacefully, until the next feed. A dream!

I tidied. I rearranged two pantry shelves. I made dinner. I answered two phone calls and lent an ear to those that needed one. I bathed my toddler and fed him dinner with one hand, baby drinking milk from my breast in the other. I dealt with an explosive poo, I sponge bathed one baby and cleaned the teeth of my other child. I read a bedtime story, I fed baby again. Once the children were sleeping, I shifted gears in order to rectify the sty my home had become. I cleaned the kitchen. I emptied three garbages, I packed up a play pen and one million plastic toys I wish we didn’t have. I vacuumed. I tidied the living room, I hung a load of washing, I made a cup of tea. I collected stray toys and found a home for all of them inside wardrobes, in baskets and ready to be upended all again tomorrow.

I fed the dogs, administered medicine, took them for a wee, put them to bed. Finally, I showered. In the shower I emptied the shelves holding shower products and cleaned out the soap scum that had been pressed through the little holes because it felt squishy and fun. After a few more bits and pieces I got into bed, knowing I need to sleep as soon as possible because I would be up to feed in a few hours time. And then I wrote this.

Aside

waiting for a baby

In the very last stages of pregnancy, all seems to go a little bit quiet. It’s easy to compare, because the three to four weeks prior to hitting “term” (37 weeks) are filled with activity; preparations for the baby, you frantically trying to *do all the things* before the addition to your life comes and flips it upside down. Anticipation of the forthcoming labour is prominent, and continuous thoughts about the big changes ahead fill your day to day empty moments. If this is your first baby, the days at home are quiet and spare time is paramount – you don’t realise that you should be relishing it until years later. If it’s round two for you, your mind manifests a great big day nap for your elder child upon first rise and you wonder how long you will last on your feet today.

There’s a suspenseful excitement in the air, sort of like the weeks surrounding Christmas time. When the baby does not arrive early, before your 40 week due date or even before 39, a more relaxed demeanour embraces you; a sort of acceptance that you’re in this for another few weeks. Gripping as it is, wondering every day when you will finally meet your baby in your first pregnancy, things are different the second time around. What you realise is that soon, your life will never be the same again. Surrendering to this notion is what allows you to finally take heed of all the advice to slow down, stop rushing through every moment, and cease wishing the days away until your next little bundle arrives.

During this time that feels like a slow warp, you approach certain things differently. When your first child talks to you, you squat down (with great difficulty) to look directly into his eyes and hear the unfolding drama among his toys. When he tugs your hand to please come and play, you allow yourself to be guided by him. When his daily routines go out the window, you don’t wonder what is wrong with him…you understand that there is a different scent in the air; all he has ever known in his big three years is about to be redesigned in an almighty way.

You personally take any time to yourself and hold it with a gentle but firm grip. You receive your normal duties with grace, but you don’t fill your days with more than they truly need. For once, you actually take time to do some minor deeds for yourself. This is a big deal for you, after having sacrificed most of those long long ago when you had your first child.

This time, being the second, sees your due date arrive and pass with little fuss. You know a little bit more about the natural process of labour, and you’re okay with seeing that through. That isn’t to say each day is easy, though. Everything at this point in the pregnancy is difficult…sleeping comfortably is impossible, your feet don’t know what is going on when you stand in the morning and now, the baby is sitting so low down in your pelvis that you are visibly waddling. But the finish line is in sight, and why rush towards it now?

When the baby still isn’t in your arms past 40 weeks, you start incorporating all the little “labour induction” DIY hacks everyone advises. You know in your heart, however, that none of them will work. The baby will come when he or she is ready, yes, but you bounce and walk and rub essential oils anyway, in the vague hope that something might encourage the process.

How incredibly marvellous it is to be pregnant, to grow your offspring from a basically invisible cell, into a person. We call it a miracle, but the science behind it epitomises perfection. How spectacular, the way our female bodies work in synchronicity with their male counterparts to begin, and then take over to produce a life. The pure precision of it all ceases to amaze me, despite it being universally prevalent and the most ancient practice to ever exist.

I am so very grateful to be able to experience the journey that is pregnancy, though it’s really only the very beginning of personal growth in a major way. Parenthood is exquisite; a beautiful and crazy adventure that can intensely change a person. It allows us to experience a love that is so pure, so previously unmatched and so powerful all at once, it truly is wondrous. Knowing this is what allows the sense of acceptance for enduring a very long pregnancy to prevail over the discomfort of it all. And when the time finally comes and the incomparable agony of labour passes, you have a beautiful, brand new human to hold in your arms. What an absolute treat.