On The Arrival Of An Unexpected Gift by Caroline Jenner

The pregnancy was planned, I’d wanted to have a child, in fact I’d wanted to have two, and I knew that life would change once the baby arrived. I’d enjoy going to the pub on a Sunday lunchtime, have a drink with friends and then come home and sleep that long somnambulant slumber of leisurely weekends with no responsibilities and no ties. As the bump grew bigger so did the awareness that when the bump arrived, once it was there, all flesh and bone and blood, those slow, torpid afternoons would no longer be a thing, that demands might be made any time, night or day, dancing to the tune of someone else’s timetable. I wondered in my semi-conscious state whether I had made a mistake, whether I should have considered more carefully the implications of my selfish lifestyle.

“There’s no walking away from this,” my mother said, in gleeful anticipation of grandchildren.

I realise this is one gift that cannot be returned, this lifetime commitment weighs heavy. I go into denial. I decide to ignore swollen ankles; terrifying nightmares; a face covered in spots. I decide that I will carry on doing all the things I did before, only perhaps a little more slowly. And then you arrive – all mewling and new.

“A girl,” they say, “are you breastfeeding?”

“No idea,” I say, still not willing to make a decision, still not convinced that I am ready for motherhood.

Selected: Weekly Write #16
Published in Issue #30

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