Please note this is not the story of Nora’s conception just an FYI.
Nora is one of the strongest people I know and she’s only 4 months old. Many of you might think this is a completely ludicrous statement for me to be making, but here’s why.
One of my main reasons for starting this blog was to use it almost as a form of therapy (it’s way cheaper than those weekly sessions and who as the time for those). I have always enjoyed writing, whether or not anyone enjoys reading it is a different matter, but here we are. I think I am finally ready to talk about the thing that I really need to talk about, the big elephant in my virtual room as it were and that would be Nora herself. Some of you may know if you follow Humans of Greater London (we featured a couple of months ago). Nora is super special not only because she is 4 months old but she’s 4 months old and I have only known about her for 5! I found out on July 16th that I was pregnant, July 17th I was given a due date and in the early hours of August 17th, Yvo, Juno and I were joined by the most perfect human I have ever known, our daughter Nora. Within the first few hours of her existence she had already changed my outlook on life. (Would you like some crackers with all that cheese).
I can literally hear your eyes rolling as you read this, how did you not know you were pregnant you moron. Well let me tell you, you know those signs your body gives you to tell you you’re pregnant well mine didn’t give me them. And well as far as far as baby weight is concerned I actually gained more weight in my first year of University, so make of that what you will.
Anyway this is a post of how I felt once we found out I was pregnant and we were about to become parents. Like where do we even begin with that one!
I think obviously the first emotion is shock and to be honest I think saying shock might be under selling the emotions I was feeling that balmy Thursday afternoon. I was shocked because I had been going to the Drs for pancreatitis treatment since April and no one had even uttered the word pregnancy. I’m not a doctor, but honestly how is that even possible. I was shocked because I didn’t understand how my body could let me down in such a way that it wouldn’t let me know what was going on. Like, hello Mother Nature why are you still around? And finally I was shocked because a baby had survived and hidden in my stomach for 8 months without anyone knowing.
Fear, this was definitely next. I can honestly say as I lay on that hospital bed with the jelly still on my stomach I was all consumed with fear. Fear that in 4 weeks time we would no longer be Pru and Yvo, we were about to become Pru and Yvo the parents, like what the actual fuck? I became so fearful for my unborn child that had stayed hidden for so long. I mean I hadn’t exactly been looking after myself, I’m talking about 1 euro beers at Kingsday kind of treatment. I was crippled by the fear that I might have done damage to this little life that I knew nothing about.
I can only describe what came next as sheer unadulterated panic. I was 22 years old when I found out (this was a week before my birthday), I basically considered myself a teenage mother. How was I going to be a parent, I’m stressed enough raising a dog I thought, a human life is a whole different ball game (turns out this is not strictly true). So yes I was in a fit of blind panic about how I was about to become a mother in a months time. But slowly and I mean very slowly this panic started to fade, as we became more organised I started to realise that actually Yvo and I weren’t going to make the worst parents and our unborn child was actually going to be ok.
After panic I had a brief fling with fear again, that little rascal still likes to come and go when I’m feeling like a bad mother. However what I felt next is probably what I am most ashamed of. It wasn’t an immediate emotion, this one slowly crept into my mind and lodged it’s way into my subconscious. I started to feel a sense of loss, a loss for the life I thought we were going to have. Of course I wanted a baby somewhere down the line, but somewhere not immediately! I know a lot of you reading this probably think I am a horrible human and incredibly selfish but I was so taken off guard by this imminent arrival it was not part of the plan! I needed time to process what was about to happen. I have to be honest a couple of times after Nora was born those thoughts of what could of been did try and fight their way into my mind and sometimes they won. But I am happy to report they are long gone.
In the weeks leading up to Nora’s birth I was in emotional turmoil. I would go from panic to fear and back again. I was still at work at this point and keep having to tell people my story would often make me feel incredibly anxious about what was to come. But then something happened, Yvo and I joined an NCT class, and you know what, I learned that everything I was feeling was completely normal, HOORAY! Everyone woman in the room had the same feelings I did, they’d just had slightly longer to deal with them obviously!
A lot of people have asked me how I stayed so calm in the week leading up to Nora’s arrival and the subsequent weeks after. And the truth is, calm is the last thing I felt. My mind was awash with worry constantly and blind panic a lot of the time. However over time my severe anxiety turned to excitement about our baby and our future together. But the truth is, what i experienced in 4 weeks is what everyone woman has for 9 months.
So there you have it, that’s why to me, Nora will always be the most amazing and strong little girl. She survived 8 months of a pretty rough ride, (I did make the last month pretty enjoyable for her). She will always be my prime example of fate and of what is meant to be. Nora was exactly what I needed in my life, I just didn’t know it.
When Nora was a week old and sleeping in her bed, I was standing by the sink doing some washing and I was in a flood of tears not knowing if I could live like this. But here we are 4 months down the line, I could not imagine my life any other way.