It’s not dull anymore. It’s terrifying. Hair-pullingly, face-scrapingly, nail-chewingly terrifying. I’ve got two days until my due date and I’m absolutely weeing myself with fear. (Not literally. My pelvic floor is cast iron, I’ll have you know.)
This is the second time around for me, and that means a number of things, but more importantly it means that I’ve done absolutely no preparation whatsoever. I’ve not been to any NCT classes, I haven’t read a single book – or in fact a single page of a single book*, I’ve done about 3.5 pelvic floor exercises – mostly now, as I’ve typed the words “pelvic floor”, I haven’t massaged my perineum (if you don’t know what this is, do NOT Google it or you’ll be scarred for life), I haven’t done a solitary yoga posture (unless “reaching under the sofa for three-day-old banana” counts), I haven’t researched correct breathing techniques. I’ve done nothing. Nothing. And suddenly it’s upon me like the biggest of brick walls slamming me in the face, and I feel so woefully under-prepared it makes me cry just thinking about it.
The two scary things are: childbirth (again) and having TWO to look after.
So with the first fear I’m just naively hoping that I’ll remember things from Teddy’s birth and do all the good bits (the Tens, the breathing, the swiss ball) and avoid the bad bits (shouting like a banshee, accepting pethidine as pain relief, not being demanding enough). But every birth is different, right? What if this is worse? What if it’s longer? What if I can’t do it? What if I need a c-section? What if Teddy needs me while I’m screaming blue murder? And what if it hurts just as much? What if I’m rubbish?
And then with the second fear, there’s this: now we’re going to have two of the blighters. Two. What on earth do you do with a toddler and a baby at the same time? Have I made the worst mistake of my life? Is Teddy going to hate me? Because you see the thing is, since I was made redundant back in June I haven’t really stepped back on to the mothering bandwagon very well – I’m just clinging on by a fingernail, to be honest. Before I went back to work, Teddy attended all sorts of classes – soft play, singing, baby sensory, swimming, massage… But then I went back to work, and I really only had him for one whole day a week to myself, so we just went to the park usually. Or the library. Or Waitrose.
And then work finished, and I failed to sign up to any other classes because I didn’t believe that work had… finished. We’ve been to the park a bit, and the odd play date, but I’ve never quite resumed where I left off. This makes me an utterly appalling parent in my eyes. It seems like everyone else is either following a regime of structured play dates throughout the week, or their child is running freely in woodland learning all about nature, or they’re doing both these things at once.
Teddy gets to go to the library if he’s lucky (and that’s only because it’s above Waitrose). So I’ve completely ballsed it up, parenting-wise. And in the meantime, I’ve become completely dependent on a husband who works from home, who helps me with everything Teddy-shaped – I don’t even park the car on my own. Now we’re facing the prospect of two small, very dependent beings, and I’m going to have to drink a very large can of Man Up, and I just don’t feel ready for it. I almost cried half an hour ago trying to get Teddy out of the car on my own. And then I almost cried again, when he demanded his train set when he should have been napping. And then I almost cried again when he went to bed, finally, without a murmur.
How am I supposed to evolve into a proper parent, and quickly, before it’s all too late, and they’re both in therapy? And how am I supposed to make sure that both of them are happy, tolerant, measured, unshouty beings, when I feel none of those things?
I am so scared. My life is about to be tipped upside down AGAIN – and it could be in a matter of hours, or it could be days, but it’s going to be very soon, and I really really wish I’d read a book about it.
* A single book to do with childbirth, that is – I finished Sarah Waters’ latest last week which was FABULOUS but didn’t give me much of an insight into birth and child-rearing, for which I shall only score it 99/100.