I found myself at a baby shower a few weekends ago. I say found myself, because it quite literally felt like I was lost in a deep dark wood in which everything was made of babies and soft toys and little shoes. I was absolutely terrified. Everything was pregnant, yes everything, and glowing and excited. I was not.
A baby shower is a beautiful thing. It is a time for the mother to-be to be supported and for the unborn child to be celebrated. I think that the concept is a beautiful one. It is a time for women to come together, tell stories, share experiences, complain, ask for help and just glow in the light of all the estrogen and progesterone being exuded. It was all a bit much for my head space.
At the time, I was on my last, pack of contraceptive pill. I had one more red pill to go and then I would be done forever. You see, I have been on the pill for 2 years. I know, some might say, “Only 2 years?” I feel that it is 2 years too long. I hate the idea of creating false rhythms in my natural cycle. I also hate that I have to pay to not get pregnant. Ok, so I only pay R 15 per pack but still. I am paying. Why? Condoms are free? So I had decided to stop the pill, abstain from sex for a few months, find my natural rhythm again, go back to using condoms, being terrified every month and weeing on sticks everyday. Madness I know. But this was my choice.
At the baby shower we played games, helped choose names, ate cake, drank champagne. Ok, maybe that was just me. There were so many babies everywhere, even a fresh one. 2 weeks old, so fresh. I wanted to touch that soft spot on its head but decided otherwise. The person who calls a baby fresh , should definitely not be poking its head. I moved away from the freshness and focused on the fact that all these women had wanted babies. They obviously had all chosen this right. Right? Before I had a chance to cheers myself and down my next glass of champagne the mother of the freshness began telling me about her baby. I can’t remember how it happened. Maybe I asked in a panic.
My life,and all the new plans I had for it, is now ruined. This woman had had her first child at 26, that was 2 years ago and this here freshness was the second and last. She too had decided to stop taking the pill. She too had wanted to look after her body. She too had wanted a natural rhythm. She too had not wanted to pay. She too had wanted to say a big fuck you, to the system. 2 condoms out of millions had broken and resulted in a baby. Twice. She too was horrified.
The big bang began happening on the inside of my skull. Things were falling to pieces. I had just had the talk with my lover. I had told him everything that I was planning and he had sat quietly and listened and agreed and told me that he was happy to do whatever I wanted and whatever I thought was best for me. I had even gone so far as to say that if I were to fall pregnant I would be happy to call us a family. I, me, Thola, had said that I was willing to maybe, possibly, sort of have a baby. Just 2 hours before the baby shower I had said those words. Now here I was, at the baby shower, drowning in soft little shoes, baby onsies and blankets that make moms ooohhh and aaaahhhh. I needed air. Lots of air, more champagne and a whole years supply of my contraceptive pill.
I left the baby shower, went to the pharmacy, got my next few packs of the pill, got home, sat down, stilled my brain, took my lovers hand and told him that there was no fucking way that I would stop taking the pill. Not any time soon at least. The things that I had seen and heard were the things that my nightmares are made of. Nipple cream for cracked and bleeding nipples. Mother nappies / giant sized pads. So many little baby things and baby friends and pregnant friends and and and….. Don’t get me wrong. I want babies, loads of babies. Little mixed race caramel-drops following me around like ducklings wherever I go. But I’ll wait. I’ll wait until the card store has caramel baby and black baby cards, until you can buy baby shower gifts with mixed families and black families on the boxes, until they create a blood catching device that does not make me feel like I am wearing a nappy and until the contraceptive pill is free. I will wait until it is no longer my responsibility. I’ll wait until the freshness no longer frightens me.
So I suppose, it’s back to popping pills for me.