April Fools' Day, and I am one day overdue. Feel like the joke might be on me! I was so utterly convinced that this baby would be early because I just couldn't believe my body would be able to go on carrying it for much longer. Anyway, here I am, attempting to enjoy the calm (yeah, right) before the storm and waiting, waiting, waiting. I thought I would take the opportunity to reflect on this pregnancy before it is forgotten in the fog of non-stop breastfeeding and nappy changing.
Before I found out I was pregnant for a third time, I was trying to accept that my baby-growing years were over (in what seemed like a flash), and to move on to new ventures: I'd applied for an arts grant to buy me some time to write a second novel, and I was pondering whether or not to go back to university, possibly to do something slightly different, or to begin the PhD I've always wanted to do. I was getting quite excited about the possibilities and the opening up of this part of my life again, but I also felt like there was unfinished business when it came to having another baby. This was probably nothing more than my raging hormones and it was something I was trying to approach with some rationality and practicality.
Anyway, fate or whatever, intervened and so began the rocky journey that has been pregnancy number three. I won't pretend it hasn't been a slog because it most definitely has been the hardest one of all. Harder than the first, which I always say was planned, just not very well: we are silly idealists and were not in any practical sense ready to have a baby (one of us still studying, the other earning hardly enough to pay the rent on an extremely damp and cold bedsit), plus we decided that we would move from London to Darwin when I was six months pregnant. It had been our plan to go to Australia and we weren't going to let something like a baby change anything. We really did believe that life needn't alter too much just because you have children in tow. How we laugh at that now! Anyway, the second pregnancy was again intentional, but perhaps a little sooner than advisable (although I love how they play together now), and again dominated by a move, from Darwin to Perth, mid-pregnancy. This time, I was determined to enjoy the pregnancy, to be able to nest properly in a house we own, and to generally make the most of the wondrous experience of growing a baby.
However, there really is no rest for a pregnant woman with a 2 and 4 year old, and a husband who works long days. Physically is has been far tougher than the other two - my body has felt a lot weaker than before, and there is nothing worse than feeling like you cannot play properly with your kids because you are not strong enough. In the past, I have from time to time felt a little emotionally absent, but when you find it difficult to carry your kids, or take them to the park, or just keep up with them, well that is very, very frustrating. I hope having another sibling will make up for the rather grumpy, lacklustre mother I have been this summer. We shall see.