I took this photo on 30th September when visiting my mum in Gower. I’d just found out that I am pregnant again. It brought mixed emotions having wanted to extend our family for a long time, but to choose to do so would be a big risk for us financially… and generally. A baby puts a huge strain on energy levels as well as everything else. However, my broodiness often led me to tears and even to acting like a teenager within our marriage: “It’s not fair” I’d said to Rob. I felt we are good parents and as such deserved to have another child. I’d put a lot of pressure on Rob and he’d agreed, but after a couple of months of trying the doubt kicked in – ‘What if we can’t offer two kids as good a life as we can offer one? What if we’re just giving into my hormones rather than using common sense?’ and so we decided not to extend after all – a difficult decision based on appreciating what we’ve got rather than grieving for what we haven’t.
So, we’re not extending our family – we’d tested negative at the point of this decision – and yet here I am now with a positive pregnancy test in my hands. Is this really the case? After three positive tests I was so charged by adrenalin, by fear, I decided to run. Physically run. If I’d had my bike I would have chosen to ride. Mum – please look after Meg for an hour – I have to go somewhere! I pulled on my trainers and left the house. I didn’t even have to think about where to go, my feet just took me there effortlessly along the road and to the foot of Rhossili Downs. The views up there are amazing on a clear day like today. You can see the world from up there. Perhaps I’ll be able to see as far as the future?
At the top is a stone trig point. I have a good friend who loves to stand on these – it’s inspiring and I’ve always wanted to do it although always been too afraid when I get there. What if I wobble? Sometimes it’s so windy up there it’s hard to even keep walking, let alone stand high up on a tiny stone platform. This evening, however, I was going to stand on it.
Pregnancy terrified me again. The tiredness. The sickness. Loosing my body. Perhaps loosing my hair again. To give up my cycling after a season of setting more PBs and another club record. To give up my Sunday date rides with Rob – our time together – how we fell in love. And beyond the pregnancy, how would Meg cope with a sibling? I was in fear overdrive. Where was the excitement? What about this magic that’s happened? What about this life growing inside me? The most natural and fulfilling experience we can have as a female human being. The incredible eternal bond it brings to a couple. Why was this going missed?
At the top of the hill I still felt like I hadn’t even drawn a breath, despite being at an altitude to be proud of. The highest point in Gower perhaps? Surely one of them. And there it is – my stone nemesis. The one which I always bottle it at. Not today. Not this evening. The wind was sensible, there is nothing to fear.
I climb on top and standing there (motionless as possible!) everything came into perspective. The view beyond this piece of rock is MASSIVE. The trig point itself is a tiny silhouette in front of a vast sandy beach with striking headland features at either end of it’s three mile stretch. From here people on the beach look like little lost ants. Beyond the sand is the beautiful reflective ocean which stretches on and on and on, with the now sinking sun about to meet it, broken only by the hazy strip of Pembrokeshire in the distance. It’s no wonder this scene is so well photographed.
But what people don’t so often turn to see or photograph is the view in the opposite direction. This trig point offers a 360 degree view and the ‘lesser view’ has been lit up by the dropping amber sun. Miles on miles of low flowering heather have been given a golden halo of light. It’s breathtaking.
By this point I’ve forgotten I’m even stood on this silly bit of rock, just an extra 5ft in the air. I’m turning and turning to capture the entire view. I’m trying to photograph it on my phone but it’ll never do it justice. Experience counts for everything and right now here I am and it’s filling my heart.
And that’s exactly it. Here I am. We’re going to have another baby – should everything go well of course. I’m here. I’m ready to experience the miracle of pregnancy again, to grow and nurture another being. To let my body and my instinct take over. To be part of nature as intended and not only exist in the man made world that so easily consumes us.
Climbing down I feel ashamed of my initial fear. We can’t live in fear. I head back to my mum’s at a steady pace, aware my hour is almost up. I pack the pregnancy tests away carefully to show Rob when we get home. Cuddles for Meg. Cuddles for Mum. Life is a wonderful thing when we remember to experience what it’s truly about.