11 November 2008

The good, the bad and the absent-minded

I am a bad, bad mother-in-waiting. Let me preface this by saying that over the weekend, we cleaned the flat from top to bottom, which consequently inspired me to face the mounting pile of postnatal booty I’ve been stowing next to the lovely little cabinet I bought to cheer up what will effectively become the nursery (currently our bedroom).

It was through no lack of enthusiasm that I let the sorting of wee socks and bibs, hats and scratch mitts fall by the wayside for so long, and in fact, such apparent neglect was more a reflection of my own sense of inadequacy towards the classification of such tiny necessities and the sheer momentousness of giving these a proper home. At least, that’s how I’d built it up in my own mind.

The task turned out to be much less complicated than I’d imagined though (doesn’t it always), and in no time I was tearing off price tags, untying bows, un-popping snaps from plastic parcels and tossing aside miniature hangers and cardboard shapers with the speed and irreverence of a child at her gifts on Christmas Day.

The clothes and blankets, towels and books fit perfectly inside the cabinet’s dark, woody interior and suddenly the prospect of there being someone here to take ownership of these little things hit me like a ton of bricks and I felt very strange indeed. That same evening, we read through the manual that accompanied our intimidating, top-of-the-line, power-mummy pram and assembled it with relative ease.

We lay in bed and poured over products and advice, debated over sleepwear and toys, and even picked out a few essential items of furniture. We set out a game plan for transforming the flat to maximise on space and efficiency, easily solving what seemed insurmountable issues in past conversations. At nearly thirty-two weeks along, we were finally coming into our own as expectant parents and it all felt like it was falling into place.

Then today, I was rooting through a file of letters from the hospital, the midwives and the National Childcare Trust in order to determine when our first antenatal class was and saw that it was starting…last week. At which point the first real twang of maternal failure – one that is sure to hit me hard and often in the coming months - hit me hard, and I felt like the worst first-time-mother-to-be in the whole of England.

This isn’t the end of the world, of course: we’d double-booked ourselves in advance, signing up to both the free, month-long classes offered by the hospital and also the posh, expensive crash course the NCT advised we take, with the intention of doing both. The literature the midwives gave us claims, however, that the information each class offers is nearly identical, so as long as I write the NCT dates on the wall above my writing desk in permanent red marker and set the oven timer to go off a few hours in advance, we should still be ahead of the game.

I’m on holiday this week, and it was a hard-won holiday at that. Sorting out who would cover what while I’m away proved more difficult than it should have been and I’m still getting copied in on emails that don’t concern me right now.

The break and the extra naps have given me some perspective, and even though I might be a psychological mess in another fortnight, I’ve decided not to play the unbalanced-pregnant-lady-in-distress card and instead suffer through the next three weeks of work. Then I will have an entire year off (provided I’m not made redundant) with no strings attached, and can start planning the next phase of my life, as it relates to this little family unit and also my own personal development.

I’ll have two significant individuals depending on my ability to cope, you see, and I want to set the precedent early.


Anonymous said...

Another in the "Lass voices her unasked for opinion" series:
I think prenatal classes are important and you should definitely go. But I also think that a lot of parenting is inherent in our DNA...every child is different and because yours is yours, you will know him or her in ways that no book or class is ever going to be able to teach you. Embrace that and trust it and a lot of the scary stuff will be made less so.
The end. :)

Ariel said...

Hey, you're twice as pregnant as me! Tee hee. I wish we could go to classes together :(