Sunday, 10 February 2008

Spring has sprung

On my way out of the hairdresser's yesterday afternoon, I was stunned by the unseasonable warmth of the day. The air even had a slightly smoky, sweet scent that suggested someone, somewhere, was barbecuing. It was the first time since October that I've looked up at the sky and felt a stab of pleasure just at being outdoors.

Of course, February tends to do this. We'll get a couple of days of mid-teens warmth - all the flowers will start to bloom; tortoises will crawl out from hibernation; people will, as I witnessed in Sainsbury's this afternoon, begin to wear sandals - and then wham! Next weekend we'll be knee-deep in snow.

I turn 29 next week. If my birthday isn't accompanied by howlingly bad weather, then my mum's, the week after, surely will be. For the past two years we've spent my mum's birthday in the fracture clinic with my nana, who has fallen on ice and broken a bone for two consecutive Februarys. With a whole extra day in this leap year in which to injure herself, my mum has jokingly forbidden her to leave the house until March.

If this post seems uncharacteristically poetic and whimsical as I muse on the strangely clement weather, don't worry. The moan is coming...

What's hard for me about spring, aside from the fact that it marks the passage of yet another season and still no baby, is that it's THE season to be pregnant. Flowers coming into bud, trees being reborn, lambing season - the analogies are just teeming. Everything's in bloom, it would seem, except me.

I think the reason I struggle with other pregnant people is that the sight of them really brings home the slamming realisation that my body doesn't work as it should. Everything else that I have achieved in my life - good grades in exams, my degree, my M.Litt, getting jobs, getting promotions - has been arrived at by a direct equation of hard work + effort + desire = success. This is the first thing I've really wanted that I haven't been able to get simply by pouring blood, sweat and tears into it.

Tori Amos sings, in one of my favourite songs, 'Spark', from the album From the Choirgirl Hotel, which she wrote immediately after miscarrying: "She's convinced she could hold back a glacier/But she couldn't keep baby alive/Doubting if there's a woman in there somewhere/Here, here, here".

I think that puts it really well. Not being able to do something as basic and innate as reproduce makes you doubt what the hell you're actually for.

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