By PIA CAREEDY
There is a curious stage about halfway through a pregnancy. Somewhere in the middle, after the vomit train drops you off outside Trimester 1, but before you board the panic bus of Trimester 3.
You’ve made it through the first nauseating months in a headspin of disbelief, Disneyland level excitement, and worry. Lots of worry.
We’re really having a BABY / God I’m getting fat / Everything smells like garlic / Are there any good pregnancy Apps? / Mountain Buggy vs Maclarens / Col-o-strum….that is a weird word / Must write a will.
You’re prepared for the upcoming opening of T3: The Final Countdown. Wise women who’ve gone before you warn of nausea’s return, with the panic set to 11. You anticipate it will go something like this:
Oh holy hell a baby is ACTUALLY coming / Please just don’t get any bigger / Too many bibs…I have purchased too many bibs / This house is a hazard for soft skulls, let’s move / Get it out get it out get it out.
But for now, around the halfway mark, there is a period of calm. This magical stage is akin to the eye of the storm. An eerie stillness rolls in and you make peace with all that has passed, and whatever will be.
In movie-making, they call it the Golden Hour. As the sun moves below the horizon, light diffuses and washes everything on earth in a glorious pink glow.
Shadows disappear, skyscrapers twinkle, and the world is flushed with beauty.
Directors wait with camera poised to capture the momentary flash of Mother Nature’s silk knickers, knowing the visual power of what they get on film in those golden minutes will transform their entire story.
The scene is set for once in a lifetime romance (see: the permanent sunset in Serendipity) or haunting surrealism (see: Full Metal Jacket. Really see it, it’s very good).
In this magic moment of baby incubating, you feel Photoshopped. Like yourself, but better.
First of all, you look just splendid. Sure, things are bigger….all that buttered fruit toast had to go somewhere. Plus, you kind of grunt when pulling on boots now. And if you drop a lipstick on the floor in a public bathroom it’s a real toss up whether to write it off or attempt The Lunge and risk tearing your pants.
But overall, you’re a plump little apricot of expectant loveliness. Hair is magnificent in body and shine.
You rub oil into the bump before bed and think it looks pretty darn perfect, just as it is. You really need some proper maternity clothes at last, and spend a joyful afternoon buying a few swishy tops and the most expensive chunky cardigan you’ll ever own from Seed.
Nothing annoys you, and it’s funny, but you’re not so irritable all of a sudden. Since you got pregnant, people have had a strange habit of mentioning your appearance before they mentioned anything else, and GOD, it bugged you a week ago.
‘Gosh your boobs are getting big! Morning, by the way, want a decaf from downstairs?’
‘You’ve really popped now, look at THAT! Poke-a-poke-a! Read this article about folate deficiency, it’s not scary at all’.
‘BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP. That’s the sound of you reverse parking that arse into the building. Can I borrow your stapler?’
But during your Golden Hour, you really won’t mind. The compliments roll in so often you stop blushing and start genuinely saying ‘thank you’ in reply. People tell you how bright-eyed you look, and all women with children say they are deeply envious they didn’t look half as cute as you do right now. They’re lying, but it’s a real boost. The lady at the supermarket deli notices your ‘situation’ and asks if you would prefer that meat sliced fresh for you, as it’s better for pregnant women to avoid day-old slices of smiley ham. Her kindness makes your whole day.
You feel amazingly energized, and have a desire to go for cheerful walks around the neighbourhood.
You look up the prenatal yoga timetable at the gym - 5:30 Wednesday evenings. You don’t go, but you imagine that you absolutely could if you wanted to.
You astonish yourself by saying out loud one night: I’m not tired. And you’re really not. Usually, Masterchef ends and so does your evening. The final fireball explodes into an ad break, but instead of taking your hot water bottle and Mint Slice to bed as usual, you stay up. You cruise past 9:45pm, incredulously checking the clock every fifteen minutes, as Family Guy ends and American Dad starts and you’re still not tired for bed. You plan to go out dancing with your girlfriends this Friday night, and you’re going to wear HEELS with your pull-on maternity jeans. Yes!
You feel content. Labour is in the not-too-far, but far-enough future that it does not consume your every thought. You’ve taken a break from Googling every passing worry and symptom, and are really enjoying just letting yourself be pregnant for a while. You even have some sexy dreams and suddenly notice that, heavens, your partner is terribly good looking. And you haven’t mentioned anything to anyone about your constipation in days.
Things are amazing! Pregnancy is AWESOME. You could do this fifty times over, bring on the babies ‘cause you’re on a roll.
And…..CUT. That’s a wrap, folks!
The sun sets on your gestational glory. You crash back down to earth, all too soon. Your undercarriage starts aching, and you realize you haven’t submitted your Mat Leave forms for HR yet and HOW CAN THESE 80% ELASTANE LEGGINGS BE TOO TIGHT YOU JUST BOUGHT THEM TWO WEEKS AGO and so you have a little cry into the sleeve of your butter-stained $220 cardigan.
Like the pink sky at sunset, it doesn’t last long. But it’s a lovely pause in proceedings. Without it, the adrenaline just doesn’t stop, and it can make you dizzy. No matter how tough pregnancy gets, your Golden Hour – whenever it glows – is a chance to look around at all the pretty lights and think, ‘this is nice’, before they clear the set for the big battle scene in Act 3.