Patience is a virtue

I am not so sure

There are two schools of thought on waiting.

Andy Warhol (and no doubt millions of masochists out there) thought that anticipation could only enhance experience. I have to agree that this can apply nicely to sex, chocolate cake, tropical adventure holidays, airport reunions, the latest episode of TrueBlood and a nice cup of tea and a blazing fire after a walk in the rain.

Yes, waiting can intensify that frisson of discovery and heighten that shiver of pleasure that runs through you when your lips touch your lovers’ after a long absence; it can make a warm dark chocolate pudding a mood-changer and the sight of your parents waiting by the airport gate one of the happiest moments in life.

But when it comes to babymaking, I subscribe to the other view of waiting: that it is nothing more than pure, unadulterated agony.

My period is due today. The fact that it has not arrived could mean nothing. It could arrive at any moment, in which case life will hit the reset button and I will be sitting here in a month’s time doing EXACTLY the same thing.

This is completely maddening to me. In this space between knowing and not knowing, my head is flooded with bouncy, badly behaved thoughts of possibility. Could I be pregnant? If I am, maybe I should not have drunk seven coffee the other day? They say foetuses look like beans – oh god, maybe I have turned mine into a coffee bean. Could coffee mutate my foetus? Maybe we could go with a coffee theme for the name? Sara Jane Ristretto? Hugo Machiato? Or a coffee region? Quindio? Jack Jamaica Blue? Is that why Gwyneth Paltrow called her child Apple? Why else would you? Did I remember to take folic acid every day ?(I know I didn’t). Would the baby have my eyes, eyelashes and cheekbones and his mouth, curls and skin tone, which really would be the ideal combination?

I would really like to stomp these thoughts down into a small dark place because a) they are ridiculous and b) I know that each of them represents a small ratcheting up of my excitement levels, which will only in turn mean more sadness when it turns out that I am not, after all, pregnant.

My best strategies for taming the flow of expectations have been a) work, b) transferring my emotions onto other objects of desire – eg, the aforementioned chocolate cake, travel plans, TrueBlood episodes and books. But none of them really works, and I could end up being quite fat if I go too far down the chocolate cake path. Nature can be cruel and perverse. Really the only thing to do is wait.


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