It was due during the first day of October. Usually it arrives and leaves like clockwork, but this month was different. I was having the usual sensations; a heavy tugging in my belly, like someone swinging from a tree branch only just strong enough to take their weight. A thundering rush like a river filled with melting winter ice. A dull ache like a blunt knife being thrust into my lower region time and again. But there was no blood.
The thought ‘I might be pregnant’ crowded my head. I felt this beautiful calmness, and couldn’t stop touching the small bump of my stomach, imagining a little life taking shape just underneath my skin. I imagined it would be a girl. I started thinking about names. Freya was one I had suggested to my boyfriend months previously when we had talked about wanting a baby in the future, and it’s been sitting patiently in my head ever since.
We have magpies visiting our balcony every day without fail and, having been brought up in North Yorkshire with the superstition that a group of magpies can predict the future, I repeated the well-known rhyme ‘One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy….’ going as far as the number of magpies I could see. For days I would see three magpies, and for days I said to myself ‘the magpies have predicted a girl too…’
Today I woke up to find blood. We weren’t pregnant. It was like the wind had been taken from my sails. I feel like everything that’s happened in my thirty years of life has been leading up to the day when I will embrace motherhood. As it happens, my season of preparation will be longer than I’d thought. But that’s okay. That’s okay.