Boat Baby

Between the first and second stages of giving birth, the labouring woman often experiences nausea, delirium and panic. This is the transition phase, from steady but increasingly frequent and increasingly intense contractions, to the movement of the baby down the euphemistically-named ‘birth canal’. The textbooks tell you that this transition phase can last anywhere between 15 minutes and a few hours.

AGeddesI experienced something akin to this as I flew home from New York last week, and for a few days after. I had all the symptoms of the transition phase of labour – nausea, delirium, panic. Maybe it was just jetlag, but for three days I felt slightly ill, and I woke each night in blind panic, drenched in sweat, thrown awake by sleep apnoea, which only occurs when I’m feeling anxious.

I had trepidation about taking the girls out of school, despite my life-long commitment to and belief in home education. I panicked about moving aboard Carina, despite having done it twice before. I was terrified about leaving work, despite choosing a short-term contract with just this goal in mind.

Apologies for the hackneyed analogy, but I was a woman in labour, in transition to stage two of the process of birthing a new way of being (new for me, that is…I’m aware I’m reinventing the wheel here). I’m pleased to say I’ve made it through to stage two.

The girls have been out of school for less than a week, but already we have developed a tentative learning routine (I like routine…I love routine!). This week they are also taking swimming lessons each morning and we are having little adventures each afternoon.

Now that I am home from New York my work schedule has altered. For the remainder of my contract I must mark essays, exams and other assessments. So now I work to a different beat, fitting my plastic work schedule around my family, rather than the other way around. It feels good. Julian is on the boat this week – fixing, replacing, servicing, and I am clearing, culling, packing (or supposed to be – to be honest I’ve yet to do much of that). Moving day draws ever closer, the days are warming up, the sun is shining, and this Mama is ready to set sail.

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