Pregnadvent Calendar, window 7: the quilt or flight reflex

There was one day last week when I wanted nothing more than my duvet. My Beloved tried to get me out of bed every way he could think. Bribery, cajoling, promises of treats and fried breakfasts and threats of bedsores and sleepless nights if I didnt get up.

I wouldnt get up.

Quite apart from the fact that I can sleep about 17 hours a day at the moment (or could, until a few nights ago, when a weird kind of insomnia started to kick in), I realised, most of the way through my day in bed, that I was basically hiding.

The only way, I thought, I could easily be persuaded to get up would be if someone turned up with two tickets to a holiday where I could go and lie on a sun lounger, next to a swimming pool, and read books and do nothing else. And not pack my bump.

So there I was. Lying in bed wanting two things that were impossible: to

a) Hide from it all or
b) Run away.

And that is before we even get into the hilariousness of me trying to run ANYWHERE right now. Let alone away from my own uterus.

I think this is natural. It was not about not wanting the stuff that is coming. Nor was it about not being excited to meet Doozer, when he arrives (and I am, Im so excited I might burst). It was about being overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, by the soonness of it all, the inevitability of it all.

At some point when I my stomach suddenly expanded to a reasonably large and round size, somewhere around 25 weeks pregnant or so, I remember looking down at it, and thinking Oh! That is my stomach! Oh! Its going to get bigger. AND OH, HE THEN HAS TO GET OUT OF THERE SOMEHOW!… – and this was basically an extension of that small panic.

Except bigger. Far bigger.

And including all the other things there are to worry about at this point. The possibility of things going wrong with the birth that we heard all about in birthing classes. The possibility of something damaging the baby in the process. The fact that I have no idea how it will feel when it starts, no matter how much I read, or how many classes I attend or people I talk to, I have literally no idea how it wil feel when it begins, how long the labour will last, what will happen – until I get in such a tizzy trying to consider all of those things that I can no longer remember when to call the midwife, or what Im meant to do or. And thats why I wanted to go to bed and not get up. Or run away and hide.

I think this is natural. Its pretty natural for me, anyway. The desire to run away or hide from something isnt new, or restricted to this. Its just what happens. Or rather, its just what happened last week.

So I lay in bed and was scared. And I thought through all the worst possible things that could happen, and the most terrible outcomes of any particular situation, and I pulled the duvet over my head and let these things race around my brain.

And then the next day I got up. And everything was ok.

There are a lot of scary things about whats happening. Theres no point in ignoring them, but theres no point in obsessing about them either. Not endlessly. I process things slowly – and, I admit, mainly process things by hiding under duvets – but the processing bit has to happen in order to feel calm and prepared and ok about the enormous stuff.

I have learnt a lot during this whole pregnancy thing. But this was one of the most important.

It doesnt mean Ill want to run away or hide any less in the future, or course, but at least Ill know that if I cant do those things, if those things are completely impossible, I can at least do one thing.

I can go to bed.

And that will solve EVERYTHING.

No, wait, that wasnt the lesson. Oh, well, it was something like that, anyway. Ill go to bed and think it through properly.