I was young to become a mother. But the test couldn’t have been more positive. It was like waking up from a dream, where I smoked with my morning coffee, went clubbing on a Monday and couldn’t have been more ineffectual. I am relieved it wasn’t real.
I felt pregnant before I knew I was. I bought one item of baby kit every week of pregnancy. Small, soft cotton effects, arrestingly white. A lifetime of emotion invested in thread and loop of every appliqué icon of babyhood. I went to university, every lecture bigger, slowly. Occupying more space. Squeezing past seats. Deflecting attention. Paying attention to movements, shifts and fidgeting inside. Someone else is here.
The day finally came, and after six hours of intense induced labour she was next to me. Outside, the sun was stirring the complexity of the earth and air was hazy with heat. I looked in to her eyes, she looked in to mine, and she wailed mournfully. You know that nervous feeling you get when someone has you pegged, can see right through you to all your flaws, as panic rushes like cold gin through your limbs? The jig is up. The boss is here and she’s not happy. “You’re not cut out for this. Completely inexperienced.” I calmed her down with a drink of milk and we started to look at how things could go from there.