Most of our grey and rainy Saturday was spent wandering through Marylebone - buying crisp white cotton bed linen from The White Company; lunching on salads of smoked mackerel and white beans (M) and chickpeas, goats cheese, roast squash and sun blush tomato pesto (me) at The Natural Kitchen; and browsing the Scandinavian designer tableware and furniture at Iittala. Laden down with goodies, we cabbed it to Covent Garden where we watched the terrifically tense and brooding modern Western movie No Country For Old Men (photo above) by the back-to-form Coen Brothers.
In Marylebone, we also popped into Daunt Books, where M picked up Mario Batali's mouthwatering collection of simple, everyday Italian recipes Molto Italiano (photo above), and I headed straight to the Pregnancy & Childcare section. The first book I bought was Dr Miriam Stoppard's First-time Parents: What Every New Parent Needs To Know, with chapters on how to change a newborn's nappy, how to bathe and dress it (photo below), how to feed it, how to soothe it when it cries, and other basic guides.
This morning, M and I were lazing in bed (those days will soon be gone) chatting about how neither of us have ever changed a nappy, how I've never even held a newborn baby (and M can barely remember if he has). Basically, we have no clue. How can we bring new life into the world?
I remember my good friends D and J telling me of the day they brought their firstborn home. All the well-wishers had departed and they were left alone sitting on the sofa holding a newborn who wouldn't stop crying and all they could say to each other was, "What the hell do we do now?".
My mum emailed me this morning telling me that she and my dad had no clue either and it was worse for her because none of her family was around. She wrote that, "We even didn't know how to raise a little baby. When you used to scream with tummy ache due to wind and refused to feed I used to cry. But we coped, didn't we? You became so nice and sweet." This, despite being a paediatrician. She just muddled through and it all worked out in the end.
I guess we'll just have to take it day by day, but believe me I am now doing a lot of reading - witness all the magazines I have bought... and that's just half of them!
Another book I picked up at Daunt Books was Ann Pleshette Murphy's The Seven Stages Of Motherhood, which explores the various shifts in identity a woman goes through as her child matures from a fetus in the womb to a toddler, from a school child to a young adult. Its focus is not on pregnancy, birth and child-rearing but on the woman as mother, and I'm enjoying it because it begins with defining motherhood as an identity that begins at conception.
On Friday night, I also downloaded from iTunes an audiobook of Deepak Chopra's A Holistic Guide To Pregnancy and listen to it at night as I drop off to sleep.
Now that I've passed the 20 week milestone, I feel more secure in imagining a life beyond pregnancy and the life of our baby. The Chopra and Murphy books are very meditative and are provoking all sorts of feelings and thoughts in me, which no doubt will gradually surface in this blog.