In my last blog I wrote a bit about what I had been doing last year, which apart from being pregnant and moving house twice, turned out not to amount to much. However in this past year, where I’ve been feeling a new person grow and develop inside me I have noticed that I have felt differently, or at least more strongly about things than I had before. I have been thinking a lot about how, in a number of ways, this time of my life feels like a kind of ‘Now or Never’ time. The new year is always a good time for reflection so I wanted to put some of these thoughts out there – I’m very interested to know if other people have reached similar moments in their lives.
- Having a baby at all – Over the last few years I became increasingly conscious of my biological reality. My time was running out, egg wise. So from that point of view it really felt like ‘now or never’. We have been immensely lucky to have been able to access IVF on the NHS and appear to be having a healthy pregnancy. So in some ways this issue now feels like it’s almost past, although I won’t feel properly comfortable with that until he’s safely out in a few weeks time.
- Living a creative life – I will go on maternity leave in a few weeks time and everything will change for me. I’ll not be doing the day job for about a year, and may find that I can squeeze in enough scraps of creative time to build a different kind of career. I do very much like my day job, which is in mental health research, and think it is important. But it’s emotionally very tiring work and my heart does pull me towards something more creative. Maybe with all the change that will be happening in the coming year, this could be a good time to try to change that too. However, everyone I have spoken to who actually has a baby has said to me not to make any plans, at all, so I may be thinking well beyond my actual capacity to do stuff here.
- Reproductive rights – In my last post I talked about the tiredness I have been experiencing and how rubbish that has left me feeling. In many ways I have not felt myself. My pregnancy was very much a wanted pregnancy, and I have been fortunate never to experience an unwanted one. However, I have watched repeated assaults on women’s reproductive rights in the US this year with an increasing sense of dread. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be forced to go through an unwanted pregnancy. My very wanted pregnancy has really taken a toll on me physically and psychologically. I am completely in awe of what women can do when it comes to bringing new life into the world, and now I have experienced it cannot understand why it is not written or talked about more. But that superpower should be under the control of the women it is happening to, not a bunch of grumpy wealthy old white men.
- The climate – This is the one is the most profound ‘now or never’ moment in my list, not just for me, but for humanity. As I write this Australia is on fire. Homes, precious wilderness and entire towns are being lost. People and animals are dying. In London in the spring and summer this year I saw a number of Extinction Rebellion Protests and was very much on side with them. One evening my partner and I walked out onto Southwark Bridge, which had been closed by the protesters. There was a carnival atmosphere on the bridge and many of the protesters had bought art work, food and set up impromptu talks and musical events. The sun was setting and the air was hazy and warm. We walked, hand in hand, down the centre of a road that is normally reserved for cars. The effect was very romantic, but the air was hazy because it was full of pollution, and the protesters were there because we are at the vital tipping point now. We don’t have time to waste. I see a deep political cowardice on this issue running through governments across the world. Many of our politicians were happy to talk about having to make ‘difficult choices’ when they were merrily imposing austerity on the people least able to pay for it in the UK over that last ten years. But now, presented with an existential threat, they appear to wring their hands and say ‘oh but it’s too hard’. I’ve yet to hear the rhetoric of ‘difficult choices’ being applied to the petrochemical industry, or to our consumer culture. But now this is where the action needs to be taken, this is where those difficult choices need to be made. I wasn’t pregnant when my partner and I walked over the bridge that evening. But I have since thought about it a number of times and have felt guilty about having a baby. What kind of life will he have if we don’t act seriously now?
I also make art. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.