Thursday, 19 March 2015
34 Weeks' Pregnant - The Parasite and the Broken Woman
The person who left my house this morning at 8.45 was a broken shell of a woman I did not recognise.
She stepped out of the house with still wet hair scraped back into an imperfect bun, pink eyes rubbed sore and blood shot from tears shed over the last day or so. She wore all black as if in the aftermath of a family tragedy - and all elasticated. Nothing fitted anymore - nothing sculpted - nothing flattering. She shuffled down the road in flat masculine boots and didn't appear to care that her bra was clearly visible through her black stretched out raggedy top. There was toothpaste, snot and tea in patches on her black leggings she was sure - but she had no energy to look that morning for her other pair. She was also sure her outfit smelt less than fresh but didn't bother with a spritz of perfume to spruce herself up. Her make up had been done in a rush as she had only given herself 10 minutes to get ready and she briefly thought about her blusher that hadn't been blended in properly over her pale features and wondered if she resembled a scary porcelain clown.
But there were whispers in the trees that she used to take two hours to get ready, would never leave the house without her hair professionally blow-dried into a perfectly symmetrical style, and wouldn't be seen dead without heels.
Her baby pressed down on her pubic area causing a couple of twinges of sharp pain she couldn't describe properly to her partner or anyone else. She traipsed along the three roads leading her to her doctor's surgery clocking various people noticing her protuding pregnant stomach, but no longer caring or feeling self conscious about it, she just waddled past, head down, concentrating.
When she reached the doctor's surgery she checked in for her midwife appointment and asked aggressively for an emergency doctor's appointment. She was expecting to have to fight for it, but the receptionist for some reason took one look at her and said she could have one straight after the midwife appointment. She sat in the waiting room surrounded by chesty wheezing coughs, wet sneezes and elderly people with their rusty squeaky joints before the midwife called her in.
The midwife engaged in the usual chat. How are you? for example. Which is usually met with a very British "Fine". Today the usually private woman couldn't fake it.
"I have been better" she said sadly "I can't stop being sick and I get this...this feeling in my throat...like hot acid....and I cough and then I just vomit..... again and again..... everyday now.... I can't sleep because of it..... I just want to be able to eat a meal..or sleep a good night's sleep....I just keep on being sick....and the baby can't be getting any food.....I barely eat one meal a day.....he isn't getting enough food...... " she trailed off. All the while the midwife, large and matronly, didn't look at her.
"mmm...." she murmured
"you need to eat small meals throughout the day."
These words made a feeling half of utter rage and half of utter exhaustion sweep over her. Hadn't she just heard her say she was constantly sick? Hadn't she just heard her say she couldn't sleep? Had she thought she hadn't tried all the things pasted from wall to wall on every Internet site there was about pregnancy? Had she thought she hadn't tried yogurt, rice pudding, milk, dry toast, dry biscuits, every type of Antacid tablet and chew sweet and liquid medicine available?
Outside again in the waiting room the stranger, the broken woman, prepared herself for battle. She felt the stress of the last week boil through her - uniting with the acid. She thought about the prospect of having to move house at 34 weeks pregnant. She thought about the damp and mould that was spreading through the bedroom she had envisioned once for her son's nursery - that would not be. She thought about the reclining nursing chair she had wanted in the centre of her nursery with her crisp white brand new moses basket gently rocking aside it with her small rack of baby boy clothes in the corner. She exaggerated the tragedy of the situation in her turmoiled head with mantras such as "my unborn baby has no home", "I can not keep my baby boy safe", "I can not even feed my own child."
She thought about the battles she was to face in the coming weeks, with estate agents and landlords and the benefits office. She felt all the fight within her wane; wane to nothing. The doctor called her in.
She made it through the door of the small private room before it all collapsed. The house came crumbling down in huge splutters and splashes and small very quiet howls all in-between very British apologies of "I'm sorry.... It's because I'm very pregnant....I'm sorry....It's just all a lot to take.... it's because I'm pregnant...I wouldn't normally but I'm..... so pregnant"
The beautiful Indian doctor looked at her with huge pool like eyes of sympathy. Without moving her eyes from the woman's, the doctor reached behind to her desk and masterfully produced a box of tissues like a magician producing a white dove from a napkin. She listened to a repeat description of the sickness and sleepless nights and her worry of her baby not getting any food from her or nutrients, before gently offering
"you need to eat small meals regularly throughout the day".
The broken woman let out a sigh of acceptance.
The white flag was waved.
This was pregnancy.
The pregnancy they don't show in Hollywood productions.
There was nothing she could do - just nod her head and whimper
"I have tried everything.... but thanks".
The beautiful Indian doctor kept her large eyes all the while on her patient.
"I know it is exhausting. It is hard. But don't worry" she almost sang in a softer than soft pretty Indian accent
"The baby is a parasite*. It will take everything from you that it needs. Even if you don't eat a lot - it will take what it needs from you."
The doctor smiled sweetly at her and repeated very slowly,
"It is a Parasite..... and it will be fiiiine".
She finished and smiled and the woman felt warmer, safer. She prescribed her some medication to help with the sickness too and passed her a little green slip of paper.
And the woman, a little less broken, waddled back home, with her little green piece of hope in one hand, patting her Parasite with her other hand, feeling a little stream of promise break through the clouds ahead.
And it was me that returned home at 10.30.
*Parasite : A (generally undesirable) living organism that exists by stealing the resources produced/collected by another living organism.