According to the little home-doppler I have, little bubble is still alive inside my belly, heart beating away according to his own rhythm. According to my expanding girth, he’s growing according to plan. According to my exhaustion and emotional lability, I’m suffused in enough hormones to be sustaining this pregnancy.
And yet I don’t believe it.
If I didn’t have the doppler to enable me to check daily (or more often) on his heartbeat, I think my brain would be on fire with anxiety. As it is, it’s barely held in check. There’s no way I’d have been able to purchase items (buggy, babygros) at the “baby market” yesterday where so many secondhand baby-related items were on sale. Even *with* all the tools at my disposal and a constant self-harranguing to focus on the rational, it’s been a difficult thing to do.
Superstition. I feel like I’ve thrown away that goddamned metaphorical umbrella and now I’m out here unprotected, begging it to rain.
The rational part of my brain told G. that if the worst happens then having spent 300 EUR on a buggy will be the least of our concerns.
But it’s not the money that’s bothering the irrational part of my brain. It’s hubris. It’s dramatic irony. It’s superstition and fear and history and all the stupid ways we’ve been conditioned to expect our lives to hit dramatic beats as though we live in a story.
About ten years ago, not long after myself and G. got together and I’d moved back to Ireland and we were seeing each other daily and l was swimming in a constant bubble of happiness and love, I developed a similar sense of impending doom. Half-jokingly I suggested we needed to have a fight or do something to disturb the peace and joy we were experiencing with one another – seriously, it literally felt like we were living in one of those movie-montages where a car or cancer or some other bolt out of the blue was going to be the only acceptable narrative conclusion. And as I am (obviously) the main character, it would have to be G. who would be ripped tragically from me.
How could it all make narrative sense otherwise? What kind of boring-ass film shows the details (and the drudgery) of the daily happily ever after?
G. wisely pointed out to my crazy little brain that we weren’t living in that kind of movie, but rather more of a slapstick comedy and – so long as we always had blue pillowcases – the worst that would happen would be irritating or embarrassing stuff like bouts of explosive diarrhea, or tripping and breaking glasses.
So now, obviously, I’ve an irrational attachment to blue pillowcases and whenever one or the other of us travels on our own (or even together), we’re required to pack a blue pillowcase in order to keep heart-rending drama at bay.
So far, I guess it’s worked? I mean, I suppose we’ve had our years of pain and heart-ache. G.’s mother died before we made it to our marriage. 2011 was a hell of one miscarriage and loss after another.
It all seems survivable in the rear-view mirror. After you’ve already lived it.
But that fear that it might happen? That still feels way too pointed and possible and unbearable.
The rational parts of myself might try and give rational pep-talks to myself like “you can’t control the future” and “just be happy in the moment” and “in the worst case scenario all you’ve done is live through this pain twice”. But the irrational brain is not listening. All it wants is an excuse, a blue pillowcase to cling to in order to get through. It needs tailismans and ritual. It needs a sense – no matter how false – of control.
But it’s not going to get it. And acquiescing to it’s irrational desires doesn’t actually make anything better, because some unknown jiggery-pokery will just rear its unexpected head and send this part of me spiraling again – just like it did last week. So somehow, somehow, I’ve got to learn to be okay with loosing control.
It’s not like I don’t know how. I kind of know how. The trick is to keep breathing, to come back into the body I’m wearing right now and slowly folding myself into the awareness that I’m okay, that it’s now and I’m here, and that lack of control means I’m actually free. I’m free from the responsibility of it.
I don’t actually have to carry the weight of it all.