Im sitting here on the sofa trying to figure out how to summarise the past 9 months of my life. It’s all a bit of a blur, really. First, I wasn’t pregnant and just about to remove my contraceptive implant after having it in for 3 years. Then it was knowing full well that had I not gotten pregnant within the last two weeks of March 2018 when the implant was removed, then I’d lay to rest the idea and longing to ever have the fourth baby I knew I wanted for years. Low and behold, it wasn’t long before I anxiously took that first pregnancy test and it came back negative…granted I took it too early, but I really had hoped that it would be the news I wanted. It would be another week or so before I decided to try again and see what the next test would say; “Pregnant, 1-2 weeks”!! I lost my mind and and couldn’t be happier!! This was it! I was finally pregnant after years of wondering if I should go for it or not, and there I was sitting with a stick that was telling me, “Hold tight, Rute; your life is about to get WILD from here!!”
It wasn’t long before those first days began to feel a little tiring. The Sun was a little brighter than I wanted. Things seemed louder. My nose was going into overdrive and I could virtually smell anything behind a closed door. Pregnancy Symptoms. Those dreadful things that happen to you when you’re meant to be elated with emotion because in about 9 months time, you’re meant to be bringing a new life in to the world- your world. The tiredness began to cripple me, to a point where my work suffered. I couldn’t even stand the sound of my own children after they’d come home from school because my head was constantly pounding. I had to keep the curtains closed and pretend I lived in a cave, somewhere far, far away. Low and behold, the worse of it all hit me when I least expected it; “Morning Sickness”. A day in and day out occurrence that basically left me for dead each time I made a run for the bathroom. Those were some horrendous days. Months, even. They were so bad, I wondered if I had made a big mistake in getting pregnant in the first place. After all, this was all my doing, I wanted to get pregnant, I was happy I was pregnant, and yet I had forgotten what it felt like to be pregnant. I fell into the most excruciating prenatal depression I had ever known. Regret ruled my days as a result, and I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted the whole thing to end. I felt like a monster for even feeling that way; that I had deliberately created a life in me, a life I had been dreaming about for a good 6 years or so, and yet when the hormones kicked in, I wish I could have undone the whole thing. It was awful. And how much longer would I be feeling this way before I were to do something I’d truly regret? At that point, I didn’t know if remaining pregnant would have been the bigger regret, and it hurts me to this day that I’d even let my mind get that point.
But all the sleep I did during those months helped. It took my mind off those thoughts and before I knew it, the morning sickness was over, the exhaustion was being eradicated, and I could bare the sunny days and blue skies again! In fact, by late July, I was already heading off to Portugal with my husband and our three children in a two day road trip from London! Suddenly my body looked and felt better, my “bump” was growing nicely, and those horrid thoughts from a few months before were distant, although sad, memories. All I could think of was living in Portugal during my one year maternity leave, where I’d live in the middle of a Mountain rage, my children would attend a Portuguese school here, and I’d have my darling baby girl right here in this beautiful house that’s surrounded by nothing but peace. I certainly didn’t have much of that in London…
And now here we are. The night before my due date (and elective c-section) and I’m looking back at the past 9 months and how my life has changed so much. I went from wondering around aimlessly at life and trying to figure things out, to moving my entire family over from London to Portugal and live here for a year so I can have my fourth and last baby. All the worries and anxieties I had about doing this have melted away as we enter the beginning of the Winter Days and the Beauty of Christmas. I’m so happy that when all the voices around me told me this would most likely not work out, it was me I listened to the most. When I feared taking such a big, grown up step, I did it anyway and honoured why I wanted to do this in the first place; for my children and for my family. We are now surrounded by freedom and by peace. Sometimes tiny little birds fly onto my kitchen window, and when I look outside, I see the green mountains that peak above the clouds guiding me in my new life here, even if it is only for a year. I just wish I never had to leave. And perhaps I’ll have to come back to Portugal for good. This is my country, but one I moved away from since I was a little girl. It feels so good to be back, and my children seem to be loving it even more! For that, I am grateful. It’s when I see my children the happiest they’ve ever been, it makes this whole thing worth it. And tomorrow, a new life begins again.