I was 17 when I was pregnant with J. I sat the first year of my A levels when I was 5 months gone. I was allowed to do this on the condition that I told no-one. It was against health and safety rules. Only a select few knew about my pregnancy, and so the first five months were spent alone in a world where I no longer felt welcome. People I used to think of as good friends slowly started to disappear from my life. It was a difficult time, and now I remember:
I’ve just spent my free period revising in the quiet of the library. I am late for my geography lesson. I am beginning to grow, beginning to bulge out of my size 10 jeans and have undone the top button for comfort but promptly forgotten about it in my haste to leave my seat to get to my lecture on time. I rush down a corridor with a disorganised pile of papers and books in my arms, and remember my button just as my jeans start to slip. I grab for them and the pile I am carrying topples before falling to the floor in spectacular fashion. There are not more than ten people around me but I feel everyone watching. As I bend down to slowly retrieve my belongings and surreptitiously fasten my jeans, I wonder what I am doing here. I dont belong here, this doesnt make sense.
I sit in a physics lecture. Im not listening, I dont know what is being said or what I should be taking notes about. My mind is elsewhere, far away from here in a world which none of my peers are familiar with. Things which occupy my mind would either bore or shock the people in my company, so I regulaurly retreat into my own mind. And suddenly, I feel it. An unmistakeable kick, followed by more. It brings me promptly back to the real world, and I look around as if other people would have noticed this momentuous occasion, this miracle happening inside my body. But no-one is looking at me. No-one knows. The rush of emotion brings tears to my eyes and I shield my face and put my hand to my growing belly. I feel my baby kicking for the first time and I say nothing. Suddenly, my son is more real than ever before and I am surrounded by people who I cannot share it with.