Baby Daze Again by Jennifer Watts

I’m 49 years old and I’m having a baby.

It’s been 25 years since I’ve done this.

I’m confident I remember the what’s and how’s.

It’s unexpected, this little one. I thought I was done with the heavy load of parenting. Apparently not. Hear this: You never stop being a mother.

Here’s how I’ve felt. First, surprised. Second, a mix of excitement and nerves. Then, doubt. Finally, over whelmed with joy.

During a recent sleepless night, I spent time asking myself some curly questions. Can I do this? Am I ready?

My husband remains calm. He’s the rock he was the first two times round. Baby girls, little gems, came into our lives, little more than a year apart in the mid 1990s. Before the internet. So long ago!

There’s a sense of panic if I dwell on those early years. I don’t want a repeat of that experience. Colic and reflux, unsettled babes and an anxious me who got through by remembering that tomorrow is another day, and better ones are likely down the road.

Hold tight.

Of course, there are other things I want to forget. Let’s talk about the L-word. Is the pain of labour going to be as bad? Maybe there are better drugs. I will certainly be better at demanding them. Is the care more flexible, the nurses kinder, are pregnant women empowered in a way the system once didn’t encourage?

If not, I’ll be more feisty. This time, I won’t hesitate to be one of those mothers.

I’ll be more prepared. I know now that it’s pain with a purpose. Nothing we can’t handle together.

I picture the pain as a rolling ocean wave.

Here it comes, sweeping me off my feet, carrying me up to the dizzying heights of an impossible peak. Just when I think, “I can’t do this anymore!” the crest falls away. I’m riding the wave down the other side, coming to rest in the shallows by the shore, breathing deep before the next wave draws and curls. It’s doable.

I’ll spend the next few months reading updated how-to books. And follow long trails online, something that wasn’t available half a century ago. Some will help. Much may not.

I’ll plan a baby shower and pick up knitting. I’ll choose names, and have my favourites, although I’ll keep those close.

My own name, I have less trouble with. It’s an ageless one, traditional in the best way.

Grandma.

Do you like it?

I’m tempted to go with something young, G-ma Jen maybe. However, I’m happily ensconced in middle-age, youth lost to the privilege of growing older, something I recognise as a pleasure denied to some.

Besides, I have a new chapter about to start.

Did I tell you? I’m having a baby! Grand-parenting is on my doorstep thanks to both daughters, their husbands and some serendipitous timing, gifting me the very best present in my 50th year.

About the contributor

Jennifer Watts is a writer and former journalist who has lived in several countries. She has freelanced for a range of newspapers and is a contributor for Chicken Soup For The Soul and The Blue Nib. She lives in New Zealand with her husband and two children.

Related Articles

Jesus in the Tree, essay by Diana Powell

Diana Powell on why what a writer knows can be found in the most surprising details of a story

Waiting for Robin Williams by Mark Blickley

Mark Blickley is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Scholarship Award for Drama.

Serendipity

I have an appalling sense of direction. I won’t say that I have no sense of direction because I’ve got a reasonable idea of where I’ve been once I’ve got there, if you catch my drift

More Like This

Looking Out

In these excerpts from a longer article, Attracta Fahy reflects on the joys of simply looking. …I like to look out at the sky …it...

The Sounds of Silence by Ysella Sims

Writer and poet, Ysella Sims explores the complexities of our relationship with built and natural environments.

‘Hit me with your rhythm stick’ by Dominic Fisher

Poetry may or may not be a branch of music but you have to admit it’s got a drum kit

Notes from the allotment

Egg Yellow Marigolds It’s going to be a strange Easter, I told myself, putting on yellow marigold gloves to open the padlock.  It’s a tricky...

My Other Car’s A Garret by K.M. Elkes

Award-winning writer, K.M. Elkes suggests it is time to ditch 'the pernicious myth of the lonely writer'