Top ways to react when you find out you’re pregnant.
1. Squeal with delight.
2. Cry, with delight.
3. Jump up and down with delight, and then realise you probably shouldn’t be jumping up and down as that might result in a teeny tiny mini weeny babything falling out onto the pavement.
4. Call everyone you know, to share this amazing news in a voice so high they think they’ve been called by a member of the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ crew, in Bagpuss.
5. Swing by Baby Gap and buy a gender neutral baby hat on the way home, and cry into it with joy.
6. Go into a blind panic and start mentally listening all the reasons why, even though you REALLY want this, it’s a disaster on a scale far, far worse than Donald Trump’s hair.
I decided to think really positive . . . and chose 6.
Honestly, far from feeling some kind of epic, overwhelming, red-arrows fly-by elation, it was as if an encyclopeadia of All Terrifying Things had suddenly emptied itself into my blood.
I felt numbed by a wonderfully uplifting mixture of shock, fear, worry, sadness, exhaustion, depression, entrapment and tearfulness.
Other than that I was absolutely ecstatic!
There is SOME rationale to all of this panic, by the way. Allow me to explain.
My 'THIS IS A TOTAL DISASTER' list included:
1. I am 42
2. I am not 22.
3. Or 32.
4. I will be 43 when I have this baby.
5. When my mother was 43 I thought she was an OAP.
6. There is a 20-year age gap between this baby and my eldest.
7. If she had a baby at the same age as I had her, my new child would be an aunt by the age of 2.
8. My body and mind are 14 years more knackered than I was the last time I did this.
9. In those 14 years I’ve probably drunk somewhere in the region of 300 litres of wine, 200 litres of prosecco, 7000 G&Ts, 200 pints of lager, 570 cocktails, 150 glasses of Pimms (most on one individual occasion), and one Jaegerbomb.
10. After the Jaegerbomb I can’t account for any of my actions, so I’m not even sure exactly what I should be worried about.
11. In the last two years alone, I’ve drunk more alcohol than in the previous decade. Sperm doesn’t mind this; it makes itself fresh every day. But my old eggs are pretty much made of methanol now. Since the break-up of my marriage and the social, financial and emotional HELLFUCK that ensued, I can’t remember the last weekly shop that didn’t include a litre-bottle of vodka. And gin. Forget pre-pregnancy de-toxing; I’ve done pre-pregnancy nuking.
12. My pelvic floor muscles belong in a museum.
13. Did I mention that I am 42??
14. My three older children will hate me for doing this to them, see this as ‘replacing them’, and probably never speak to me again.
15. We will be destitute: we both work in an industry where there is very little paid freelance work any more. Between the two of us we earn about enough to pay for one nappy a month. And I need the first one already as I’m shitting my pants so much.
16. I hate being pregnant. (Minor detail, no? No.)
17. I hate losing my waist-line. I make no apology for this. Having a flat, toned tummy is what makes me feel sexy, strong. Yes, I work at it. Because it makes me feel GOOD. The minute I lose it, around the 4th month, I feel like a wardrobe stuffed with cement. Some people might be OK with this. I am not. Each to their own, and all that.
18. I will have to stop running. I HATE not running, even more than I hate being pregnant.
19. I hate morning sickness.
20. I hate being sick.
21. I hate giving birth. (Crazy, huh??)
22. I hate being exhausted.
23. I hate that fat pregnancy face thing I always get.
24. I hate the skin pigmentation thing I always get.
25. I hate having massive lactating tits.
26. HE might hate me having massive lactating tits.
27. In fact, he might hate ALL of me when I’m pregnant!
28. My 4-baby vagina will become ENORRRMOUS. Like a cave. Animals will hibernate in it. A pot-holing school will set up camp in it. We’ll lose our car keys in it and not be able to drive anywhere.
29. He’s a shit driver.
30. We don’t have a car.
31. We will never have sex again.
32. He will almost certainly run off with someone else less cave-vagina-ish, and I’ll be left leaking breast-milk from my wardrobe body, with his giant-nosed child pooing straight into its nappy-less pants.
33. I have literally JUST come through 15 years of raising children, and was rather enjoying the new, blissful taste of that rare, delicious thing called HAVING A LIFE again. Getting pregnant has taken that key to freedom and shoved it right up my ovaries. I’m now heading back to sleepless nights, a screaming baby, not being able to leave the house without a military operation lasting so long that whatever it is I wanted or needed has long since gone, rotted, closed down or become extinct.
34. Since my complete nervous breakdown two years ago I’ve been taking a mood stabilising drug to stop me killing myself through either mania or depression. This was quite handy for me, in terms of making it far as paying my next gas bill. But I’m now terrified that this poor little embryo has been created in some kind of dopamine soup, is head-fucked already, and is going straight to the baby madhouse.
35. In maternity terms, I am classed as geriatric. GERI-FUCKING-ATRIC!
36. I want to die.
On the plus side though,
1. I desperately want to have a baby with the man I love.
2. We will love this child, forever.
3. The child will love us, sometimes.
4. When we’re not arguing and exhausted and poor and feeling fat and under-sexed and over-stressed and wiping shit off the floor and crying, we will be extremely happy.
5. This is the luckiest, most amazing thing ever.
All joking part, the amount of worry that flooded me throughout that first day, was extraordinary. And totally unexpected. And almost 90% of it had to do with my age.
MY OLD OLD AGE. Geriatric mother?? Me?? Yes, me.
(I will talk about this subject a LOT in this blog! Having had children in my 20s, suddenly being a mother in my 40s was something I had never, EVER expected, and the fear of what I’d put my body through in the mean time, of how I would cope with being pregnant at this stage in my life, of how debilitatingly, cripplingly, painfully tired I would be, whether I could be maternal enough all over again, whether the age-related biological risks of genetic abnormalities were going to cause problems, my body’s recovery after the birth, the effect on my relationship, the effect on my relationship with my children, my career, my social life, my mind and so on and on and on and on, was IMMENSE.
And, as it turned out, totally unnecessary. But we’ll come to all that as the happy weeks pass!)
I felt as if, before proper whooping and celebrating could ensue, I just needed a day or two on my own, please, to get my spinning head around all the thousands of consequences, effects, conversations, complications, machinations, implications and any other cations I’d not thought about yet, that were filling my mind.
THEN, I could deal with this all properly.
THEN, I could register enormity of it.
THEN, I could celebrate.
Instead, within 20 minutes of finding out I was pregnant I had to spend the whole of that first day sitting in radio and TV studios talking to 1000s of people about, of ALL the effing subjects in the world. . . having babies! And trusting your own instinct to do things your way. PER-BLOODY-FECT.
This, without telling anyone my news.
Without spilling any beans.
Without letting any cats out of bags or embryos out of wombs.
And without shedding any of the tears of panic, shock and overwhelming joy I was feeling.
As the day passed, the news slowly implanted itself into the lining of my consciousness and started forming a thought embryo, as I went to Prêt for lunch and took the Underground back to Kings Cross, as I sat on the train and watched the world go by, as I cycled back home and finally sat down on our sofa, the panic and shock that had numbed me all day, ebbed, and the joy took over.
I AM NOT OLD! 42 is the new . . less than 42. 42 is YOUNG!
I’m not decrepit or geriatric or over any hills.
In fact, come to think about it I’m considerably fitter and stronger than I was 20 years ago! I’m calmer, happier, more confident and more able to deal with a whole ton of challenges life throws at me.
And more in love than I can ever remember feeling.
I’m going to be JUST FINE. I just need to do everything I can from this moment on to keep my baby – and myself - as healthy as possible.
And not drink any more Jaegerbombs for 9 months.
Or indeed ever.
So. Panic Over. I'm READY.
Let's get going on making this kick-ass, beautiful, amazing Forty Forty Baby.