This post deals with pregnancy loss and may be triggering for some readers.
Shock flooded me as I stared down at that plastic stick.
In a split second, my whole being changed from me to us. Me as the daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, colleague. To us - mother and child. I wasn’t yet a 'mother', but you featured in every thought, every movement, every decision.
Looking back, I think I knew. Why else would I have dug out my list of names at a random hour one working afternoon, just to mindlessly scroll through and select my three favourites for a boy and three favourites for a girl? Why else did I constantly say to James "I think I need to do a pregnancy test" with an err of giddy-ness and expectation, knowing that my period was always late but somehow this time felt different?
And then why did I prolong doing that test, as though I wasn’t ready for any outcome - the sadness if it was negative and the excited nervousness for the reality of a positive line.
Watch: A tribute to the babies we've lost. Post continues after video.
But when I ran to get James, speechless and pointing to the bathroom, I was all the emotions at once. I was scared. I was excited. I was proud. And as the days went on, I experienced the rollercoaster of the first trimester of my first pregnancy.
The full acknowledgement that my body was shared now - mourning the body that I would never have again while in awe at the sophistication of the female form, changing shapes and function to grow life.
The morning sickness that became all-day-every-gruelling-second sickness - so bad that I would have to pause meetings to secretly throw up and I didn’t brush my teeth for days on end because having anything foreign in my mouth set off my gag reflex. This brought tears of frustration - for every person I mentioned it to told me 'this is great sign, your baby is strong' while I selfishly thought 'I don’t give a sh*t about this thing in my belly, I want to feel better' then immediately feeling the immense guilt that I was already a bad mother for not putting my child first.