“How are you keeping?” is a phrase that is only used for very old, frail people and pregnant women. I understand the sentiment and the intention. It is to ask not simply “How are you?”, but “How’s the baby? or “How’s the pregnancy?” and of course the required response is fine, possibly with a slight roll of the eyes and a nod to feeling tired, but for me at least, it seems a little more complicated than that.
I do wonder if those women who are telling the truth when they say ‘Fine, maybe a little tired” even exist, or have we as women, shrouded pregnancy in this cover of lies, not admitting that it is a very strange, anxiety inducing state, that brings with it a host of emotional and physical symptoms, almost from the day you pee on a stick to the day you give birth. Or is that just me?
At the moment, at 26 weeks, I am at the stage where it is all going just too fast and I am silently screaming that I am not ready. NOT READY. I don’t just mean the practical stuff, although of course there is some of that too, but just not ready and when I even think of another baby I feel tears burn behind my eyes. My brain cannot cope with the idea of another person in our family. A baby who is utterly dependent on me. Someone we will all have to make room for in our hearts and lives, to make time for, to have energy for. I should point out that I am also at the stage where regular kicks and wiggles make me feel a brief surge of excitement, quickly replaced by a stomach turning anxiety. See? I said it was complicated
Pregnancy is all about waiting and not really knowing anything, just waiting for a huge change. Too much time to think and not enough information to think about. We have no idea what this baby will be like or how it will fit into our family. We just wait and hope all is well and healthy and wait some more.
Suddenly, though, there will be a baby, the waiting will be over and we will be shown, once again, that the capacity to love is infinite and I will find that I am ready, because that is just what happens. However much you may feel you are not ready, you are, or at least you will be when you need to be.
And so maybe this is why we smile and nod when asked “How are you keeping?” because the rest is simply to hard to sum up in a simple sentence and there is nothing that can be done other than wait.