Finishing work at 36 weeks

When everything else in my life fell apart, I kept working. When everything I knew and trusted had gone, and I was deep down in a black pit of despair, I could still remember my alphabet and move paper around a desk efficiently. Eckhart Tolle tries to reinforce that we shouldn’t be identified by what we do, but who we are as people, saying ‘I am’ is simply enough when you get asked what do you do. But when my first marriage failed, while I didn’t know who I was, I was able to keep paper-shuffling and by focussing on organising a diary, through looking after some body else’s life; I found my own.

I found that I like my own company, there was nothing to be scared of by being on my own. I learnt to control my thoughts, I learnt that my thoughts are just that, they are not me. Some days when I am tired, frazzled, hormonal; I have to struggle to remember that is all they are, that voice can be loud and clear inside my head. But it is inside my head, it is not the truth of me.

I found that I would rather walk anywhere; I found I like watching the sea roll in and roll out on a tide; I found I would rather have a glass of red wine and a conversation over dinner than go clubbing; I found that I am quite happy going to the cinema on my own, or indeed the theatre too; I found that I like exploring new cities; I found that I can read a book once and if it resonates with me, I will remember passages of that book for years; I found that the girl who gets excited when she sees the Red Arrows, is still there. People have told me that I have a passion for life, that I light up a room, the party can start when I arrive. I don’t know that, I can only go by what I see looking out. But I also found that the past 7 years of my life have been the making of me. I am finally comfortable in my own skin. I’m not the girl who looks like a boy, I am a grown woman who’s husband says she is beautiful, and when she looks in a mirror, can sometimes believe it. I’m not the swimmer that almost made it, I am just someone who loves being in water, but prefers the gym or a hike to keep fit. I’m not the girl who flunked out at school, I am the girl who would prefer to learn a different way.

I’m 36 years old, a girl I went to school with had a child at 15. I cannot imagine having children at that age, or any other younger than now really. Finally, I am ready, I know that is why I’ve remained calm and relaxed through this pregnancy. While I’ve shed tears of frustration when we didn’t know if he was going to stick in the first place, when the placenta was low and a c-section likely, when he was breech and c-section likely, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed this journey. I love how my body knew what it needed, even when it’s owner had no clue.

The last month has been hard work. Through the second trimester when I had boundless energy, much more than I had before I got pregnant (go figure), I thought, I can do this, I can work up to when I need to finish with no problems. Then I started with the random sleep patterns, the luminous, psychedelic dreams that had me sitting up in bed bolt upright wondering what was real, the bed I was in, or the dreamscape I’d just left? As I got closer to last Friday, and I got more and more tired, I wondered how I would cope. Would I be able to manage to the end? Would this cold that I had hanging around me let me be in the office so I could handover? Most of all, I wondered how I would adjust to not working, seeing as it did identify me for so long?

On Saturday morning, I didn’t feel any different, in the afternoon I went to the zoo with Sam and we watched the baby elephants playing for half an hour, laughing and revelling in the experience. (One child stood there for a nano second and said ‘I’m bored, can we move? We were both horrified, but decided that although life itself was in 3D, she didn’t recognise it without her DS, Playstation or whatever). On Sunday I stayed in bed most of the day, reading, and practicing my cough. Yesterday, I woke up at the same time we always do, Hubs made me a coffee (decaff) and brought me some juice, I stayed in bed drinking both, when he left the house I got up and pottered around ready for our three-month inspection. The agent didn’t arrive, on phoning her, she told me that a reminder hadn’t gone off, and asked if I was available now? I said no, I really needed to go back to sleep as I wasn’t feeling well. I slept for the rest of the afternoon, admittedly still waking up every hour or so, but felt like a human being in the evening.

Today, Hubs brought my drinks in, I’ve had breakfast, put a load of washing on, listened to a podcast and am about to have a shower. I’ve been given 2 days this week to finish the projects I need to do to complete my handover. While on Friday I wasn’t sure it was enough, today I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I can prioritise my time to complete them. I don’t have a phone ringing, visitors arriving, people asking questions or interrupting saying ‘I know you’re busy, but…’ 2 days now seems like a luxury. This afternoon I’m meeting Sam again, we’re going to the National Gallery of Victoria to look at a new exhibition, although we may not get out the tea-room. Tomorrow I have another ultra-sound scan (on my fibroid particularly), but I’m still going to get a peep at Peanut. Thursday Hubs and I are both meeting with Haider, Friday I have a chiro appointment.

My bump changes shape daily as Peanut moves down ready to launch, I’m getting signs and symptoms that he’s not that far away now, on Thursday I will be 37 weeks pregnant, he can put in an appearance at any time. I laugh with Hubs about he’s cleared to land anytime after Friday, but if he arrived tomorrow I’d be happy. I’d be annoyed I didn’t get everything done, but I’d be happy.

I was worried about my transition from Working Girl to Baby Mama, would I get lost along the way? But you know what, I am enough, being Peanut’s Mama won’t define me any more than being an Executive Assistant does. I am.

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