It wasn’t that I didn’t like babies, I sort of did, but the thought of cold-bloodedly ever making the decision never entered my mind. I was 31, I was a good aunt - babies had nothing to do with me.
But, somehow, after a terrible argument with Stanley (now father of my, gasp, three children) and a two week period where he refused to speak to me, we patched it up.
It was winter and I had on the most unromantic nightgown you can imagine. We’ll pass on any gratuitous details. Except to say that we had the traditional half-hearted bickering about who was going to make tea (yes I know who the hell drinks tea after sex?), and I lost. As I walked back into the bedroom I knew I was pregnant. There were no lights or drum rolls - just a total knowledge that I was going to have a baby.
I bought a pregnancy test before I had even missed a period and there was the pink stripe. Was Stanley surprised? Yes he was. Was he shocked? Pretty much. He was a lot older than me and was worried about not seeing his children grow up, which sadly he didn’t, as he died almost five years ago.
But, having had one he thought we had better have another one, heir and a spare I suppose, although not very much in the material sense. So we planned to have Hannah. I was so into the baby thing then that I knew the minute I ovulated but nothing happened for a few months. And then one night I knew I was pregnant. This time I waited for while and went to my local doctor and had a blood test, I was at work when he phoned me that evening, he was more excited than I was, because I already knew.
So that was it, we had a boy and a girl. We were happy, but I had this sneaky “baby-looking-over-my-shoulder feeling” that I couldn’t shake.
I also had a gall stone, which it turned out I could shake, right into a bile duct, so shortly before Christmas I found myself in hospital while doctors poked around trying to find it before they whipped out my gall bladder. Hannah was seven months old. I was grumpy and drugged. We had a quiet Christmas. Then on January 14 I was obviously feeling better and we returned to the double bed. And once again I walked down the passage and knew I was pregnant again.
I snuck off the pharmacy and bought a home pregnancy test and did it, leaving it on the windowsill. This time Stanley was at home, and I was about to go off to work. He brought me a cup of tea. He gave me the tea, and I gave him a small piece of plastic. He was gracious enough not to faint.
I am not a person who enjoys any particular sense of prescience in life. I am not even that aware of my body, in fact I once walked around with a broken bit of vertebra in my spine (actually I can thank my youngest, Grace, and her hurried arrival for that) without realising that I really did have a bad back. But I knew without a doubt every time that I fell pregnant.
So if I didn’t really plan them, and had no terrible symptoms in early pregnancy, how did I know? I have no idea. But I know they were part of a bigger plan.
Perhaps my father put it best when he saw me holding Alex, my firstborn, “So,” he said, “you’ve got the baby you always wanted.”
I remember thinking, “how did you know that, when I never did before I had him.”
When did you know you were pregnant? Do you remember when your child was conceived?