Sounds like a horror film. Last week, at 22 weeks, I finally recognised that what I was feeling in my belly was the baby moving. You see the movement at this stage described as flutters or a feeling like gas but for me the best way to describe it is little pops as when you’re simmering chutney or jam and the mixture plops sporadically. It’s a lovely feeling. I was a little freaked out when, having realised what was going on, I didn’t feel anything at all for nearly a day, but he was reassuringly back in action that night. I can’t wait to be able to see him moving as well.
Other than that, there is not much going on pregnancy-wise. I have had low-level cramps on and off since early on but assume this is just my uterus growing. I was taken aback to see a stretch mark at around 16 or 17 weeks, which felt very early, but I suppose my stomach has never expanded even to this extent before, so not that surprising. I have graduated from a 34A to a 36B bra for the first time in my life, which is a complete novelty. I feel as if these breasts are not my own, particularly as the nipples are so much darker already, just as I sometimes feel as if my bump is an actress’s prop belly attached to my normal body.
I know some women don’t enjoy being pregnant but I am, so far. I have plenty of energy at the moment and am still agile and mainly discomfort-free. I’m already sad that I will do this only once in my life, just as I’m a tiny bit sad that I’ll never have a little girl as well as a boy. If I had some embryos frozen I might consider going again in a year or two but I think it would slightly tempting fate to start afresh at 44. I already feel I’ve cheated the system by getting pregnant at 42, and that was hit and miss enough even with my 41-year-old eggs. Most of all, I’m just very grateful to be in this position.
I feel very protective of my little man already. I was at a John Grant concert in mid-November and there was a particularly noisy section where he gets very electronica and there were sirens blaring in one song. I knew it was a bit ridiculous but I put my coat over my belly to try to muffle the sound, poor little baby with all that noise. Maternal guilt starts here I guess. I don’t often go to concerts but I happened to get tickets for a Paul Weller gig the following week and we just stayed in the bar, as it was too crushed and scary out on the floor. I met a friend who offered me her wristband for the moshpit at the front but politely declined.
I have an actual written list of friends to impart my news to and the girl with the wristband happened to be on it, so I was able to tick her off that night. Reactions have been universally positive. The first friend I told burst into (happy) tears immediately, not what I was expecting at all. My longest-standing friend, whom I’ve known since I started school at four, also cried. I asked her to guess what my news might be and she replied, “You’re pregnant?” I suspected I had given myself away several times over the years but I hadn’t; her explanation was that she knew I wanted kids but had absolutely stopped talking about it, so she reckoned I had given up on the dream or was doing something quietly and, either way, didn’t want to talk. Another friend guessed that I was adopting, close enough.
My Dad told his five siblings in one go at a family event and many of them called that night to congratulate me. I don’t think this normally happens when one of the nieces is pregnant, so it was a nice mark of support from a generation that would never have even imagined such a thing and for whom single motherhood was once a desperate shame.
At our age, contemporaries have largely finished getting married and having kids, so the prospect of a new little one really seems to have cheered people up. One friend whose mother has advanced Alzheimer’s and is waiting for a nursing home place said my news was the best thing she had heard all year. It’s certainly the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time.