Avid readers will know that R is now 39 weeks plus 2 days pregnant. Sunday is the due date, which means that almost certainly Sunday will be spent impatiently waiting for something to happen only to wake up on Monday with baby bump still in situ. However, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my pregnancy learnings, before the new chapter of parenthood begins:
1. No one quite knows how to deal with a mum-to-be who isn't pregnant. At work last week someone felt it appropriate to ask me to 'explain again' how it is that I will be taking maternity leave in the next few weeks. It surely isn't that hard to understand - let alone same sex couples, what about all the couples who adopt?!
2. Being the non-pregnant partner can be quite tough. You get a lot of the emotional baggage of becoming a parent, without society's natural sympathy which is directed to pregnant women.
3. More people than you expect will ask 'how did you do it?' We've almost always happily answered this question to hopefully demystify the process. Again though, it really isn't rocket science.
4. Everyone's an expert. No, really, they are. Even if they haven't had children, they will tell you exactly how pregnancy is, will be and what parenthood is like.
5. Cliches become part of a depressing routine: get sleep now while you can; your life will never be the same again; you'll go to work to relax; if she's born on time she'll be oldest in her school year; you'll never get a full nights sleep again...
6. Horror stories are de rigeur - no one ever tells happy and uneventful birth stories. They always feel the need to share the horrific, dramatic and terrifying, conflating blue lights, sirens, drips, doctors, forceps, surgeons etc etc ad nauseum.
7. Babies need an inordinate amount of stuff. We now have a whole room full of what can only be described as 'baby equipment'. You start getting competitive with other parents about which buggy you choose. The fact that we've *not* opted for a travel system appears to be something of a political statement.
8. Moving house seven weeks before the due date should be avoided at all costs. Ok, so it was the right move and we now actually have room for a baby, as well as a garden. It was worth it, but was by far the most stressful house move of my life.
9. After a certain point, if you are in the pub (even having an innocent shandy), without your pregnant partner, you are teased for being irresponsible and 'leaving her at home'. She's pregnant, not ill!
10. The biological stuff means very little. When I set up this blog it started off by dealing with the fallout of me not being biologically linked to my child. It felt like a big deal to start with. But now, all those months on, I feel without question I am this child's Mama. The donor was just that, a donor. And while I am grateful for what he did, it is me who has supported R through the pregnancy, will sit by her side in the birthing suite, and bring up our daughter. Parenting is about proximity.