Here I am, three months into my newfound role as a mother to my son.
It's a calm Friday evening and I've adopted the Danish approach to daily living - hygge (it's all the rage in the publishing world of late). Soulful jazz softly plays in the background, a candle is flickering, a tumbler of red wine is within very easy reach, baby cries are a distant memory - I'm truly unwinding and the juices are flowing.
Spring has finally appeared, casting new light over a bleak wintery London. The new season breeds optimism and a welcome chance to reflect on the transition so far.
I go back to the very start - the moment when I discovered I was pregnant. It was an instant rush of complete shock... then denial, despite the GP confirming multiple times that it was a fact. I took more than a moment for it to sink in and I left the surgery feeling lost, empty and completely ill-equipped. A mother-to-be? I'm so not ready.
Before I knew it, I was officially in the throes of my pregnancy journey. There was no time to think, just simply cope. Some women are lucky enough to avoid the hurdles of the first three months, but I'm sure I can vouch for the others by describing the reality as something like this - endless nausea, unsightly shingles symptoms, perfecting the art of sleeping in every corner of a room at any time of day or night, weird cravings for refined carbohydrates to avoid throwing up, all topped off with having to drag my alien body to work and scrape through the day. It made me think, 'morning sickness... surely this needs a more appropriate label. Especially as it's not just limited to the mornings -- how misleading!
Then you reach the 12-week scan, marking the journey as official. That moment when you are confronted with the first glimpse of your baby growing inside of you with your inconspicuous bump, and you might even witness it 'perform for the camera 'with enthusiastic acrobatic moves. It hits you - shit just got real. Then came the tears... for me anyway. Joyful tears, anxious tears, tears representing all different types of emotion. You name it, I had it.
When the long awaited surge of energy finally arrived, I gained a new lease of life and that's when I began to embrace pregnancy, saying farewell to that awkward in-between stage.
The burgeoning bump, the fuller boobs (more of an advantage to my other half than myself), the thicker hair, the alleged dewy glow to your skin (which I always found hard to see), and lastly an overall strong sense of empowerment is what I remember the most. You are going through your daily rhythm and motions while a tiny human grows inside of you. It's pretty incredible stuff. Rather than slow down, I strangely felt inclined to rev up, to a sensible degree, staying active both mentally and physically. That feeling of my baby kicking me while I was pitching and running client meetings, or in the midst of a solid sweat session such as a rigorous spin class with blaring house tunes in the background. Slightly controversial I know, but it worked for me and I'm a believer in listening to your own body. There was of course time carved out for much needed tune-outs and cosiness too -- think lots of aroma-infused baths with candles, meditative yoga sequences and the occasional glass of red wine thrown in. Yin and Yang. Balance. Nesting. Ommmmmmmm.......
Fast forward to the final stretch, and I remember calling my mum, dad and brother and seeking comfort and reassurance from being overwhelmed from what was imminent. 'What's going to happen to my career?' 'I'm going to have so much free time, I'll be so bored'. 'I really like my life the way it is'. Their response still sticks in my mind - 'Don't be stupid, your life is about to gain a higher purpose and meaning'. That pretty much sums it up.
After two at-home reflexology sessions in a week , a jam-packed Saturday walking through Portobello Markets, slurping steaming spicy bowls of ramen with my darling mother, a late afternoon pub get-together and lastly an impromptu dinner party at home with friends, that moment that you try to imagine in your mind finally unfolds. Off to the hospital we went in the middle of the night, with a slightly inebriated husband juxtaposed with my sober alert mother, and the very friendly, high-spirited taxi driver Max in control, singing his best rendition of Bob Marley's 'Every Little Thing's Going To Be Alright' to the radio, as I hung my head out of the window to inhale the crisp night air.
That moment our lovely midwife Maria placed him on my chest was something so magical and surreal. After more than nine months of growing inside of me, we finally encountered our tiny creation. The mental and physical exhaustion, shock, tears and fear subsided and a gentle calmness suddenly filled the room. We had become a three and had our very own sheet of blank paper to fill in.
Despite the murky waters of this new unfamiliar territory, and undeniable feelings of uncertainty, from that moment on, I chose to simply embrace motherhood and make it my own. And to this day, it's my biggest project yet with endless teachings in sight.