MY PREGNANCY... AND OTHER SURPRISES!
Journalist Rebecca Horan is in the last third of her first pregnancy. So what does it hold for a career- driven woman who is excited, anxious – and has never read a baby book in her life?
Rebecca Horan on her unexpected news – and how she’s coping with it
Iam well into my third trimester at this stage and this week I was caught off-guard by my ‘past life’. There I was, precariously perched on my big purple gym ball, with an assortment of snacks in my swollen mitts and trying in vain to concentrate on series 5 of The Good Wife when a notification lit up my phone. It was a Facebook memory from a year ago and all of a sudden my screen switched from my baby scan screensaver to a bronzed, toned, sand- covered me.
I blinked and looked at it again. It was definitely me. There was a Coors Light in one tanned hand, a colourful beach bag in the other, the sun was shining, the weather was good – you get the idea. My tummy was looking up at me, I was looking back at the holiday snap and that’s when the tears started to fall.
Instead of putting the phone away like I should have, I then decided to torment myself and scrolled through my other memories. Two years ago I was having fun at surf camp while my friends posed up a storm in the background . Four years ago, I was celebrating a work milestone, my first official report from outside the Dáil for a well-known radio station. I looked very important, quite smug actually. Then my first morning debating the stories of the day on national TV appeared, I was all coiffed hair and red lips, oozing confidence.
Then our wedding day popped up – look how young we were, look how delighted we were with life and look how blue the sky was? Then seven years ago, probably just three weeks together and we were sitting staring at each other in a Mexican restaurant with Cajun sauce smeared across our faces like lovesick fools. Eight years ago, and I was surrounded by large animals on safari and again looking like I was having the time of my life.
That was my limit. I locked my screensaver and up came the baby scan again, the baby that’s kicking and punching me and reminding me how important she is, how the tequila shots and the busy career will just have to wait.
You see most of us retain memories of a unicornfilled past. We think school- days were the best days of our lives, that college was unforgettable, that that trip to Sydney was life- changing, that our first job was exciting, that our bodies were better. But we don’t like to remember the falls, the heartbreak, the empty bank accounts, the exam cramming and the myriad fat days. We forget the emails we sent begging our parents for $50 just to get out of the ratinfested hostel in the Bronx, the break-up by text from the love of our lives, the terrible, soul- crushing jobs and the first time you said goodbye to someone you really loved.
Nowadays I wonder if in a year everything will have changed for us, but I figure in a year I’ll still see Facebook notifications or old reminders of my ‘past life’ and I will still romanticise and fantasise about how perfect things were.
The past can have a funny way of making you feel proud of what you have accomplished but also sad for what you’ve lost.
But the funny thing is that if you were to look at real-time tapes of your old life, you’d notice the sky wasn’t quite so blue that day and that in fact the rest of the holiday was a washout; that living out of a backpack can be slightly unhygienic and can cause random itching; that the surf instructor you flirted with for the entire week turned out to be more interested in your hostel roommate; that just after that nightclub selfie you had an almighty row with your then boyfriend; that all the wonderful job posts usually came from working 14-hour days for minimum wage, living off a diet of chicken Pot Noodle with a narky boss to answer to.
Though these memories took me back, my attempt at living in the present is going a lot better. I try my breathing and mindfulness with the dog on the yoga mat and I’ve decided the now is good. The future is full of promise.
One memory I do know will never pop up on my Facebook feed will be my labour. That little beauty won’t be on social media.
I also know that my tummy will go back to normal, the exhaustion will subside, there will be other beach days and nights out and career victories, but all with an extra roommate – the bump.
That Mark Zuckerberg has a lot to answer for...