The very moment you think you’ve got it sorted, it all comes tumbling down. I’ve lost count of the mothers that have said this to me about their experiences with newborns.

I may not be a new mother but there’s something about having a family – planning for it, trying, failing, not doing it, doing it – that hurls you into a land so unchartered, so dangerously unrecognisable, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d landed on Mars in a snow storm.

Yesterday I felt great. I did stuff I thought would help the situation. I rattled around town buying uber-vitamins, water filters, fruit and vegetables known for improving sperm quality and packets of loose cotton boxer shorts. Then, laden down with my shopping bags of hope I arrived to meet BH, pregnant best friend and her husband for a trip to the theatre.

As the night progressed, my carefully constructed weave of control, started to unravel. Dinner was nice: No alcohol for best friend, conversations about how much the grandparents might visit, what she’ll be doing in the days running up to the birth, interspersed with other bits of chat I don’t really care about. During the play I kept noticing my best friend protectively grab her bump each time gun shots were fired. The puppetry was good.

By the time I got into the taxi, I wanted to be home. Not because I hadn’t had a nice time, not because I don’t love my best friend, not even because I was clearly feeling envious of pregnancy. But because it was the first time I’d ever admitted to feeling envious, and I hated myself for it.

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