After the Ultrasound as I was shaking uncontrollably, Garry took me to a nearby Café where I tried to regain some composure, both of us were absorbed in what had taken place and elated that in nine months time we would actually become parents. Like the majority, we had started as a couple, and then a married couple, and now we were going to be ‘mummy and daddy’. The implications were overwhelming, as we imagined and discussed, the pre-natal classes, the possible cravings at all hours of the day or night, the probable mood swings as new hormones bounced their way through my body. How much would a baby change our lives? Would we be able to survive it all?
The elation of being pregnant was also accompanied with equally powerful feelings of apprehension. As I got further into my pregnancy I waited anxiously and excitedly to feel “its” first movement. I enjoyed being pregnant, apart from the obvious weight gain and my natural concerns over what childbirth would feel like. How much pain I would suffer? Would our baby be normal? And how long would it take before I looked ‘normal’ again? These anxieties were combined with a severe lack of sleep towards the end of the pregnancy, as the birth was due in the warmer months. Trying to find a comfortable position in bed supporting this huge bulge in front of me was near nigh impossible, as I battled with several pillows every night under my legs and tummy.
Early in November of 1982, usually after I had settled into bed for the evening, I began to experience some strange sensations, as if there were bubbles bursting within my stomach. Was it movement or just plain wind? How does a new mum describe this feeling to a woman who has not yet experienced it? Does this “bubble popping” happen to every mother-to-be? I found myself continually holding my stomach, waiting for it to happen again. The bubbles were not as noticeable during the day as I went about my daily routine of work and household chores, but they were obstinately there when I finally lay down in bed at night.
Around this time my boobs started increasing in size, which of course brought favorable comments from my husband. Normally a size 34, by five months into the pregnancy I graduated to a 36B bra. I finally possessed a cleavage; even I was excited! Meanwhile my weight skyrocketed from 56kg to 72kg, although my diet was healthy. There were those odd occasions when I allowed myself a doughnut, biscuit or bag of chips, because… well, I was gaining weight anyway and was now “eating for two”, as so many of my friends and relatives loved to remind me. I noticed my arms and legs were also getting larger, along with my tummy which was protruding by the day.
**My Memoir The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available on Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**