Thursday, 19 March 2015

38 Weeks pregnant - Cause it’s a bittersweet Symphony - this life

My job, my one chore, my purpose, every week day at this point during my maternity leave is to clean the 'bomb site' that I call our kitchen. I throw on something warm and unimaginably unflattering and toddle my front heavy, cumbersome frame down to inspect the debris that my 'working man' has left behind. 

It feels quite therapeutic - bleaching the coffee and tea stains off the white surfaces, scouring hard set sauce from pans, scooping up the mountains of crumbs that must result in (one can only imagine) men preferring to eat toast off the unhygienic counter top as opposed to a plate! And I have found turning on the local radio station, nice and loud, while I am doing this, really makes the job a joyous one. It turns the chore into a Mary Poppins-esque scene; "And ev'ry task you undertake becomes a piece of cake A lark! A spree! It's very clear to see that - A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Well - a few mornings ago my humble kitchen was transported into a disco dance floor and I was taken back to the age of eighteen. My local radio station were encouraging listeners in a common guessing game of 'guess the year' by playing various hits from a particular time. For me - there was no 'guessing' involved. As soon as the first hit started I knew the year, I knew the time, I knew where I was, I knew who I was with and I was transported back to those amazing moments in my life. 

It was the year 2000, we had survived New Years, I was approaching my eighteenth birthday and I had my first ever real life boyfriend. The radio blared out 'Toca's Miracle (Fragma), Can't fight the moonlight (Leann Rimes) and Movin too fast (Artful Dodger). I swayed around the kitchen (and I like to think the baby was bopping away too) remembering those first kisses, those nights out, those friendships, that excitement and the anticipation of that time - life and independence was just beginning. Babies were the furthest possible thing from my mind.

Some of the happiest moments in my life have been punctuated by songs. 

I will always remember, during three months when I worked for The Queensland Government (Water Restriction Department), strutting down Queens Street in Brisbane, Australia wearing smart heels, clutching a Venti Starbucks Coffee, in the blistering sun, listening to Lilly Allen's version of The Kaiser Chiefs' 'Oh my God I can't Believe it, I've never been this far away from home'. I would listen to it every morning and in my head repeat those lyrics - I couldn't believe I was that far away from home! And I would feel as though I was floating down that street.

Similarly, music can take us back to dark, more painful moments. For example, during a 12 mile bike ride through the country (in an attempt to lose weight) where my pubic area was put through more than it could handle - oh the pain, the pain! - I listened to Mumford and Sons' album 'sigh no more' on repeat, several times. The men sang out "And I'll find strength in pain, And I will change my ways, I'll know my name as it's called again". Even now I hear Mumford and Sons' banjo start up, wince and cross my legs. I couldn't sit down properly for days. 

Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black' and anything by Adele takes me back to awfully painful break-ups. 'Warmer Climate' by Snow Patrol transports me to my year of travelling in 2007/2008. Baby D 'Let me be your fantasy' scoops me up and puts me on my first ever nightclub dance floors at 17. Oasis's early work puts me in my old tiny bedroom, staring at posters of Noel Gallagher, dreaming about the days I would one day be on 'Top of The Pops' and replace his wife: Meg Matthews (I still consider it an absolute travesty that this didn't happen). And East 17, oh East 17 (I can feel you judging me) - I. thought. they. were. 'it'!

If I want to feel close to my Father all I need to do is pop on some Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. If I hear Sinead O'connor start up "It's been seven hours and fifteen days...." I am sat next to my Mother in the car belting it out, hoping that she doesn't put her 'Wet Wet Wet' CD on next. My childhood ears were filled with 'Ace of Base', 'Gabrielle' and 'Alanis Morissette'. And my childhood was a very happy one. 

I have 7 days to go till I pop (supposedly) and my baby all week has been the size of a Leek. I have packed, unpacked and re-packed my 'hospital bag' several times and read lists (sometimes unimaginably long) of items women recommend you should take to hospital with you. Nearly all of them include 'music'. For me, this is a brilliant idea, as music has always brought me comfort. 

So a few days ago I started to compile my 'playlist for pain'. After much deliberation I decided to choose songs that either blocked the world out with their atmospheric sounds (Massive Attack, Portishead), songs by strong women (Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Chaka Khan) and songs that just make me happy (Shakespears Sister, 4 Non Blondes and Tears for Fears)! 

In those moments of agony and anguish, I hope that Chaka Khan will help me get through and make me feel like I can do it, that I am a strong woman, that I can do what billions have done before, that I am 'every woman'. 

"I'm every woman, It's all in me, anything you want done baby, I'll do it naturally" 

Well, almost naturally ... 

I am thinking of purchasing a different pregnancy app. Although the idea of my baby being as long and streamline as a Leek is reassuring. I almost hope that I don't give birth early so I can see what natural product is on the list for 39 weeks (a Marrow? an extra large pineapple perhaps). Back in the day a poppy seed or a pear was cute - but now, what am I to do with a 'Crenshaw Melon' or a 'Swiss Chard'? They are hardly the most comforting items. 

Enough with the fruit! 





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