OK here’s the thing: I never saw myself as a mom. I’ve said it before; I’m not the most maternal woman. Babies don’t make me go soft, my ovaries don’t sing and I certainly don’t start cooing over them. Babies are nice while they sleep, and have always been better when I can hand them over to their parents after a few seconds. I don’t do baby.
But I’m about to. I suppose I don’t have much of a choice now. And I have to admit, I’ve developed a rather special relationship with Gong.
It hit me when I went for my first ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. Sounded like a thousand galloping horses, and I wondered whether that was really going on inside me. It scared the hell out of me! I just kept wondering whether it was really happening. And I teared up a little.
I feel like I only recently started processing the very tangible fact that I am pregnant. Six months in. And now that I have, I think about it every day.
So the other day, it was a Saturday I remember, I woke up really early. For some reason I couldn’t sleep; something just kept nagging at me and wouldn’t let go, and I couldn’t figure it out. There I was, lying in bed wide awake at 5.30am on a Saturday, unable to go back to sleep and not sure why because I love my sleep, and I’m programmed like a chicken: I go to sleep when the sun sets and will only open my eyes when the sun rises (or at least that’s how I think they operate – I’ve never been one).
Then I realized what it was: I’d barely felt Gong kick in the last 12 hours. I could feel the panic rising and threatening to drown me. Remember, I’m the Overthinker-in-Chief. My mind was going crazy, wondering whether I’d done something to hurt the baby while trying to stopthe floods of Budalang’i from filling my house the previous day (long story). Had I overexerted myself and shocked Gong into a coma? Had I pulled something? Torn something? Detached something? I was going nuts, while My Lover slept peacefully beside me. I didn’t want to wake him; I wanted to calm myself down because I’m a bad bitch and I can handle things.
So I pulled out my phone and read everything I could find on Baby Centre about what not to do while pregnant, symptoms not to ignore, baby movement patterns. I read it all, and none of it did anything to ease my anxiety.
Then My Lover woke up and I don’t know why I didn’t want to tell him I was worried, because I proceeded to act like everything was normal, I made breakfast, we talked and laughed, but on the inside, weh!
As soon as he left the house I tried to distract myself by working, which didn’t work. Then I gave in and started Googling everything I could think of, trying to get answers. I went back to Baby Centre and wrote a post, praying desperately that someone would tell me it was normal. Nobody did. So I called my doctor and when she asked me how I feeling I blurted out:
“I don’t feel pregnant today. I feel like my tummy is flatter, I can literally suck it in and I haven’t been able to do that in a while, has my baby disappeared?”
I’m sure I sounded crazy because in retrospect, none of it sounds sane. Even to me, who can justify everything.
So anyway, the doctor asked me the usual questions (are you spotting, bleeding, cramping, in any pain) and when I said no, she said I was probably fine but could go in for a check-up just to ease my mind. Now because I don’t like inconvenience – Nairobi traffic even on weekends can be hellish and I wasn’t ready to queue for three hours to be seen – I started rationalizing everything and telling her I could just wait a little. To which she said:
“You have to realize that you’re a mom now, and what you’re feeling is normal because that’s what we do; we worry about our kids.”
For a sec I thought she was talking to someone else before it hit me that she was not only talking to me; she had just called me a MOM! ME!
Yaani I even forgot she was still on the line while I let that sink in. Then I hang up and went right back to Googling “how to make your 23 week old baby move” so I wouldn’t have to leave the house, and I did what Dr. Google told me: I ate something sweet, took very cold water and tried pushing gently on different parts of my belly. I checked Baby Centre for any response to my distress call. I got two. I needed more. Two were not good enough. Why were these women on the Internet ignorning me? Did they know I was black? Why were they being so mean to me!
Then about two hours later Gong moved and I almost cried. Nothing else mattered at that moment. My baby was moving!
So yes, I’m a mom. Like, I’ll begin to understand things in that mommy realm that has always seemed so far from me. This is a really big deal and I don’t know how I got here. Oh wait…I know exactly how I got here…I don’t remember it all, but I think I know how this happened. Thank you jaegers and gin for helping me slide into my 30s with a bang.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I didn’t exactly plan for this because I didn’t think I was ready (who said all 30-year-olds are adults?), so this is HUGE!
Oh, and you know what else is huge? Me. The other day I was trying to feel sexy sexy so I decided to wear some lacy black lingerie that was obviously not designed for pregnant women. Let’s just say that I ended up looking and feeling like an overstuffed mutura. I could see My Lover looking at me like he wanted to ask me why I was punishing myself, but because he is a wise man, he kept his mouth shut. I’m trying to employ the same wisdom now, and telling myself that if going from modest Coke bottle to ndundero(ask your Kikuyu friends what that is) will result in the miracle of Gong, then I can take it. This is that mommy realisation.