I am not one of those women, for many reasons beyond my Scorpio Moon. My mother had a terrible time reproducing, since so many of her attempts at it ended up doomed to failure late in the pregnancy. Babies who were born too soon, or born dead at seven months gestation. And while I have never had any fertility problems, nor any indication that Kicky Baby was in anything other than excellent spirits and sterling condition, I don't dare trust in happy outcomes fully.
I haven't been able to since my father died and I learned in that unerasable way how deeply and how quickly things can go wrong.
I'm not overly worried mind you. Most days I even tread the line between cheerful and cautiously optimistic. I just know that I won't be able to relax fully and completely until I have a healthy baby placed into my arms, and there after I won't be able to relax again EVER. Or at least not until my children flee their nests and I devote myself to martinis.
In Yugoslavia there is a deeply ingrained custom that nothing is bought of prepared for a baby until after the baby is born. The reasoning behind it I suppose being that if summat goes wrong and you don't walk away with a baby to put into that room you've made then you will be even sadder that if there wasn't an empty room staring at you in the face, waiting to pummel you with reminders.
This tradition has deep roots. It's endemic. Even people who consider themselves rational, atheist-thinking people do it. And rebelling against it- man that was hard. The thing had got me but good. It had wrapped its chill tentacles around my heart and for weeks on end while I paced that no man's land between attachment to the baby and its ability to survive outside my womb I felt that just by merely looking at all the fluffy footed onesies I was jinxing everything, bringing on some looming, terrible event.
While Z could see my darkly pragmatic point of how-sad-will-we-be-if-we-have-a-room-but-n
So we continued to put our hearts and paintbrushes on hold, until I reached my 24th week of pregnancy - otherwise known as the magical point after which babies become viable (i.e. have a chance of surviving after birth).
And all of last weekend we worked, cleaning and de-cluttering that spare room in our house which had previously served as the resting place of all manner of miscellanous clutter and chaos. We had long ago decided how we wanted to decorate the space (jungle theme) and this empty, guest-less weekend we set about manifesting our vision.
Z enjoyed doing all the painting (he said it felt like giving his child something clean and lovely, and brand new; exorcising all of our clutter and the phantoms of whoever had been in that room before) and I enjoyed seeing him sport handfuls of pearly-grey paint all over his hair and face and clothes until he was as splendidly bedecked in it as an Aboriginal man.
On Sunday we braved the labyrinthine bowels of IKEA in order to acquire various brightly coloured things and Z earned himself some more Good Marital Karma points by assembling the wardrobe and then whipping up a bunch of pancakes for us to enjoy with X-Factor.
Our Mood Of Gayness and Affability became slightly strained by the application of these (best product ever! but boy does it seem to require an awful lot of concentration) where Z's engineer brain and Sense Of The Scientifically Real both had a battering.
Z: No! We cannot place the turtle sticker in the middle of the wall! My son will grow up to think animals float just willy nilly with no regards for the laws of gravity!
N:: Baby your son will grow up looking at bright things which will hold a lot more appeal for him early on that the principles of physics which he will likely as not spend his childhood trying to flout.
Z: We cannot attach that monkey hanging from a branch to the palm tree! Palm trees don't have branches!
N: But it's pretty! And aesthetically pleasing trumps accurate in a nursery.
But I only had to remind Z once not to shout at me over incorrect sticking technique and he bravely clambered all over rickety ladders to secure to the ceiling a string of leaf shaped fairy lights I'd bought ages ago and the end-result has pleased us so mightily that every few hours we go into that room to look at it and be gleeful.
Of course unhappy outcomes can still happen. And if we lose the baby then the nursery will make me unspeakably sad. And I probably won't be able to set foot in there without wanting to kill myself.
But I choose to say fuck off to the possibility of those outcomes, and we applied ourselves to the project with all of our best hopes and all our love, and chose just for a while to walk on the side of the sunny, happy angels instead.
My son's room (which will one day have a cot too):
The existence of teeny tiny clothes for teeny tiny people fells me every time with the overload of cute: