Here I am.
Let’s get straight back to it, shall we?
I feel pregnant.
Dad – don’t panic. I am not pregnant. Like Frank Field’s political career, that ship has sailed. And sunk. With no possibility of excavation. There will be no more buns in this oven, no more potty-mouthed little twats running around with 50% annagram DNA.
But I do feel pregnant. And it’s not just because I look pregnant. During my month in Edinburgh being A VERY BUSY AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR WHO DIDN’T FUCK IT ALL UP AND ACTUALLY THE SHOW WENT BLOODY SELL-OUT GREAT WITH FOUR STAR REVIEWS AND EVERYTHING THANK GOD, I managed to consume a fringe-show’s budget worth of cheap Scottish fayre and bad wine, so that my midriff now appears to be gestating a sizeable haggis-baby.
Haggis is lovely. But I don’t want to give birth to 8lbs of it in nine months time.
No. I feel pregnant because it’s September. I always feel pregnant in September because this is the month when I was first pregnant with both my babies. Yes, I know this reveals something about the sexual habits of their Dad and I, usually on holiday in Spain, feeling a bit less fat and a bit more attractive due to tanning. Also: Rioja.
As soon as the temperature drops, along with the first of the leaves, I start to feel slightly nauseous. I start to crave green apples and polo mints.
It was one evening in early September 1998, wrapped in a blanket in my suddenly freezing flat, that I rang my family and told them the expectant news, taking regular breaks to vomit. Oh the pride they must have felt in their unmarried, living alone, constantly vomiting young relative. The next day I bought a smashing over-sized jumper in that season’s must-have khaki-green colour and wore it virtually every day for the first trimester.
September 2009, I walked eldest to school for her first day in year five, wearing that same, now eleven year old, khaki jumper. I stopped at Morrisons on the way home to buy a pregnancy test that I knew I didn’t need to take; my basket was already rammed with tell-tale pregnancy booty; three bags of Granny Smith’s and a five-tube pack of polo mints.
And that trusty khaki jumper swaddled my quivering, sick body through another autumn of early gestation.
It’s called muscle memory, isn’t it? Trauma victims can find certain smells and sensations trigger a physical response, one that flips them back to their original hell. Pregnancy wasn’t hellish or traumatic for me (that shit arrived in the labour room). Aside from the sickness and the booze/fags ban, I bloody loved it. I desperately wanted both my babies and felt like a living legend for being able to grow them. I was strong. I was healthy. I was also terrified, but ready for the changes.
So like a sort of happy PTSD, September senses flip me right back.
And so it is that on this September afternoon, with the light, the temperature and the leaves beginning to drop and with a new school term underway, I am swaddled once again in that now twenty-year old khaki green jumper, craving apples and mints, feeling that familiar mix of excitement and fear growing inside me.
This time, while there’s no baby to be born as spring turns to summer, I am at the beginning of a gestation of sorts. I have no job and no idea where I’ll be living next month. I need to find work and find a house. I need to get divorced and get an overdraft. And I need to buy a new jumper.
Maybe by the end of the third trimester, I’ll be standing on more solid ground, maybe even with a concrete path ahead, maybe even one which leads to me taking my own show to Edinburgh next summer.
Yes. Maybe this time next year I will be feeling September-sick again, wearing twenty-one year old khaki and proudly sporting another sizeable haggis-baby.
The best thing being that unlike an actual baby, 8lbs of haggis will never start talking and having opinions and parasitically sucking up all my cash and good looks.
Oh, I ❤ my sheep’s pluck foetus…