After another 6 weeks, the morning sickness stopped as soon as it had started. I was pleased; another couple of weeks of projectile vomiting, and I’d probably have had a termination. It’s not nice to say, but let’s be honest. I was only keeping the baby because… well… I’m not even sure now. It was just an impulse I had.
Before you start trying to psychoanalyse me, let me save you the trouble. I am a genuine hedonist and thrill-seeker, as well as a sexually promiscuous exhibitionist. I do what I like, when I like, and the only reason it’s not fine with people is that I don’t have a cock.
How does Urban Dictionary put it? Oh yes. “Slut: A woman with the morals of a man.”
I’m not entirely sure I have morals, at least in the traditional sense; and you know what? I don’t give a flying fuck. If you do, that’s your problem, not mine. Don’t get me wrong—I like being liked as much as the next person does—but enough people like me just fine, without my having to pay lip-service to outdated concepts of morality and archaic societal norms.
Mind you, most of the people who like me are men, and it’s probably fair to say they like what’s between my legs more than what’s between my ears. Again, I don’t care. I’m not planning on breeding with any of them, so it’s a moot point.
And, right back to the matter at hand. For reasons even I can only guess at, I decided to keep the little bun baking away inside my oven, as opposed to having it scooped out and flung away like a would-be fried egg with a penetrated yolk. I bought a book, and started researching baby names, but mostly I just called it ‘Bun’ whenever I addressed it.
And I did talk to it. Most of my acquaintances probably won’t believe that, if they ever come across this account, but I did. I was pregnant. I knew there was a soon-to-be baby in my womb, and I knew that if my obstetrician could be believed, he/she wanted to hear my voice (in his office, if nowhere else, I wasn’t comfortable calling the foetus ‘it’—he was a nice man, a gentleman, I think, and I could see that it hurt him when I used that term—so I called it, ‘he/she’ and later, ‘Bun’. I am capable of some empathy).
So I talked to Bun, just chattering away about this and that: the various flats I was looking at, an article I was writing—I’m a freelance journalist, and I write utter shite for a variety of women’s magazines, and that’s all you need to know about my job—eventually, once I’d found a new place, I asked Bun its opinions on blinds vs. drapes, carpet vs. real wood flooring, and pastels vs. brights.
I never got much of an answer, but it didn’t matter. Pastels don’t suit my colouring, as a rule; and I despise neutrals. They’re a blight on British housing, brought to us by ridiculous foreign emissaries of global fashion, whose ideas are propagated in a manner that’s nothing short of fascist. If I want maroon walls in my dining room, I will have maroon walls in my dining room, and I defy any TV personality with dodgy hair and a slightly bong-eyed expression to paint them sea foam green, ecru, or any other ‘calming’ colour.
As it happens, I do not want maroon walls in my dining room, nor pub carpet on my floors, nor giant displays of plastic flowers. I do want to be surrounded by colours, and textures, and moods, and bearing all that in mind, I decorated our 2-bedroom flat (in the city centre, freakishly conveniently located) accordingly. The dining room walls—obviously, I’m in some way obsessed with the topic—are a colour midway between terracotta and peach, and beautifully offset by the gleaming teak of my grandma’s antique table and chairs. She left them, as well as the rest of the furniture in her 3-bedroom house in Dublin (plus the house itself) to me, and I always shop for properties with enough space to adequately display the various items. Because she had a lot of very dark furniture, I have opted for big windows that let in lots of light, throw rugs and carpets in various gentle, warm tones, and mostly pale additional furniture.
I know what you’re thinking. I saw the sales assistant, when I marched into the sofa shop, 6 months pregnant, looking like an angry beach ball, and asked for the corner sofa in Dazzling White (not cream, not beige—a white so bright it cuts, on a sofa with edges that could do the same). I saw him, and, acid reflux making my stomach a boiling ocean, backache making me rancid with irritation, I just stared him in the face and told him to shut the hell up. He did; I got my sofa; and, by about 2 months before Bun was due, I had a new, brightly-furnished, lovingly decorated apartment. And it suits me. And I knew it would suit my Bun, whenever s/he arrived.
I saved the nursery for last. That was not a sentimental decision in the slightest; I just had no idea what to put in a nursery. Finally, I bought a load of white, wooden baby furniture and a couple of quarts of cherry-red, cobalt blue, and sunshine yellow paint, and turned the room (the only one in the entire house with pale wood flooring, white walls, and a 3-foot tall stuffed Polar Bear that Da thought the baby would like) into a finger-painting explosion.
The crib was red, and I bought blinds for the windows in the same colour. The rocking chair and toy box were cobalt; on the toy box, I added some fat white clouds and a smiley-face sun (I’m no artist—it actually took me 3 tries to get a sun that was A) vaguely round, and B) not menacing in any way). The yellow went on the enormous dresser with the attached bookshelf, and also, the gigantic, multi-faceted item that was apparently a changing table. That had a big, ugly beige bag, which was ostensibly for soiled nappies, on the side—I removed it, bought a ridiculously-sized tie-dyed shirt in primary colours off the internet, sewed up the bottom of the shirt with my pathetic, crooked stitches, and thought that looked much better. Then I added a few children’s books to the bookshelf, as well as something called a ‘baby starter pack’ of clothes to the dresser, and decided I was pretty much set.
The final addition to the room was a 3-foot painted canvas of me, resting my chin on one beautifully manicured hand, just above the cot. I know how vain that sounds, but it’s vain to have an actual painting of yourself in the first place, so who cares where I display it? Besides. Everything I’d been reading indicated that babies liked both bold colours, and their mum’s faces; my massive green eyes and raspberry-lipsticked mouth would be comforting, when little Bun arrived. As for me, I thought I looked damned sexy, in a subtle, Mona Lisa sort of way, and I took to going into the nursery to look at myself and muse, when I was feeling pensive.
Which is why I was staring at a picture of myself, standing in the middle of the nursery, when, 2 weeks before my due date, my waters broke.