by Lilly

April 8, 2019

Content Warning: mental instability, suicidal thoughts

Jan 15th, 2019

Four months ago I found myself in Stratford Westfield crammed between two cubicles in the public toilet. One, smeared rather artfully with shit over the bowl, and the other blocked by a dirty nappy. One wouldn’t think to find sanctuary in a place like this. But it was there, located conveniently between the food court and Boots Pharmacy, that any noise could be drowned out. It was there that children wailed to be released from their strollers, where tiles chimed like bells from the impatient tapping of mothers feet, where hand dryers whirred and sinks gargled, and where I was able to let out a low, steady sob and clutch my positive test in panic – all the while remaining blissfully unnoticed.


After receiving the dreaded diagnosis, I composed myself and made my way to Nandos. I hadn’t been eating meat and definitely not fast food (ugh!!!), but in that moment my thoughts twisted and spiralled, and in the eye of the tornado that was my head the answer emerged like the warm happy glow of the golden arches: ‘COMFORT FOOD’!

So, while the relentless British rain prevented me from schlepping home to wallow from the safety of my own bed, I sat alone in the fucking food court to eat my fucking chicken and chips like the sad, sorry, stupid little fuck that I fucking was.



To be honest I’d known that I was pregnant for weeks, the test was just a necessary confirmation. To be even more honest, I’d been avoiding the issue because I was afraid of how much I’d want to keep it. The truth was, it had made itself known in a dream three weeks prior:


I am standing on a concrete balcony, leaning over the cold metal rail to take in the view below. The sky looms heavy and grey, and concrete spans around me as far as the eye can see. Below me a sea of weary-eyed suits shifts frantically, each one of them barges their way past the other, skittish like prey being chased. They are ever so desperate to reach their destination. Only one stands out amongst them – A lone figure who strolls calmly through the crowd. She is slightly plump, with a rosy complexion and light brown hair tied ever so gently in a bun. She is dressed unapologetically and fantastically in pink. From head to toe, shades from the harshest fuchsia to the softest blush adorn her figure, and she holds herself with effortless grace and composure.

She spots me, stops, and calls out:
“I was just like them!” She shouts.
“I shuffled and kept my eyes forward. Just like you! You should start wearing pink, everything changes when you wear pink… Big things are coming!”


I drifted awake blissfully, a soft happy glow spreading through me and gently placed me back into reality like a feather. It wasn’t until the next night, after the monotony of the day had worn me down and I was pining for a hit of the warm, fuzzy feeling from the night before (dopamine junkie that I am), that I thought to google dream symbolism. I browsed half-interested through a few articles, finding nothing particularly relatable or of interest, before something stopped my scrolling in its tracks:

“Pink colour brings a fresh feeling. It brings news of a baby girl or some news related to a female member in the family…”

I swear my heart stopped beating.

Anyone in my family can tell you that my perception of time is so warped I’m basically operating on my own non-linear timezone, and I’ve always sucked at maths, so reading this analysis forced me to re-evaluate the calculations in my head… When was my last period?
A month earlier I’d gone out in Clapham and gone home with some random guy. He hadn’t pulled out (wanker), but I took the morning after pill the next day. I’d spotted a few days later, so surely it had worked, right? It had to have worked! I didn’t have a plan beyond Plan B.




I sit uncomfortably in the doctors office. She clocks my nervous smile and laughter, but apparently doesn’t pick up on my white knuckles and clenched jaw.
“Congratulations!” She beams.
“Well…” I hesitate, “Thanks, but I’m really not sure.”
She exhales sharply and purses her lips.

My stomach drops.
“Well the thing is I’m really new to the country,” I rush to explain, trying to dissipate the judgement on her face “I’ve only just started feeling settled, and I’m sort of struggling to make ends meet, and-”
“Well of course it’s entirely your choice,” She interjects, peering at me over the rim of her glasses  “Tell me though, is there a partner in the picture? Someone who can help you?”


“…I see.”

Quickly scribbling down the dosage of folic acid I should be taking in the meantime, she tells me that reception will send out a request to Homerton Hospital, and they’ll call me in the next 3-5 days to set up a consultation . With that, the appointment comes to an abrupt end.
7 nail-biting days later, and still nothing. Turns out, reception forgot.
It takes another 5 days for the hospital to contact me, and another two weeks before I’m booked in.




Each day that I wait ticks by with a dread that envelopes me like a blanket. A familiar depression seeps through my veins, and I welcome it like an old friend. My heavy arms struggle to lift the sheets off my body, so I stay in bed. I stop answering calls, stop going to work, stop seeing people. The only time I leave the house is to re-stock my pantry with Crunchy M&M’s and pasta. I torture myself by watching Rugrats in Paris on repeat, and wail when Chuckie sings about needing a mum to hold him tight (clearly, I’m very emotional!).

Meanwhile, the Pregnancy+ app tells me that my body is a sacred vessel for new life, and each week she evolves into a new variety of fruit: Size of a raspberry, size of a grape, size of a kiwi, size of a lemon. I name her Clementine, after the song Dad used to sing to us, and we meet each other each night in the dream world.


I find myself searching for jobs and houses in my price range. I fantasise about a humble life on the NSW coast, where she’s happy and I’m stable. She could go to pre-school while I work for the council. On the holidays we visit her Da and Ma, and Clementine gets to feed the ducks and learn to fish. Just The Two of Us by Bill Withers is our song.
I find a little cottage on just outside of Tathra, and wonder how easy it would be to child proof.


I love her. When I press on my stomach I feel a hard ball where she sits, and sometimes it’s like there’s a playful little fish swimming around in me. I want to keep her, meet her, hold her, raise her… but I know that I can’t. I am unstable, with psychotic/depressive tendencies and a petulance for self-destruction. I have no money, no plan, and no partner to share the responsibilities. It was less than a year ago that I wanted to throw myself into oncoming traffic on a daily basis, that the voices in my head told me that they were going to kill me, and I awoke in a daze after rocking back and forth for hours talking to myself. Though I truly think I’m getting better and won’t have another breakdown, less than a year isn’t enough time to consider myself in the clear. If I crack and lose it again – what happens to her?


I want to be the best mother I can for her, but what happens to a child when their parent sees them as a saviour? A baby doesn’t automatically fix all of your problems, and I can’t put that kind of pressure on her.
It’s unfair to bring a child into the world when their parent isn’t able to properly care for them. She would be loved endlessly, and I would do everything in my power to be the best mother I could… But she would be brought into an unstable environment with no alternative, and though there is the option to give her up, unfortunately I’m not that strong or selfless.

I don’t believe in any kind of heaven or afterlife, I think all of that is just a way for people to better deal with grief and loss. In saying that, it is scientifically proven that energy doesn’t die, it’s just transferred. I don’t know where spirit or soul fit into all of this, but I like to thing that she will come back to me at some stage, when we’re both ready. When I have a daughter she will be named Clementine.




This is hard to think about, let alone write about. I wish I was the kind of woman who could confront her tragedies with ease and grace. The kind who faces her demons head on. Who doesn’t blink back tears, but lets her emotions gush forth in the fearless pursuit of vulnerability. Who, using a dainty ring finger to dab away the tears rolling down her cheeks, catches her reflection to see she is flushed with the glory of released tension. Unfortunately, though I try, I’m not that woman.

I approach vulnerability like a rat trying to pry the cheese from a trap: One wrong move and I’m done for.
It’s been four months, and I’m finally able to cry. Granted, this miracle can only occur in complete darkness, in the privacy of my empty bedroom (by which time it’s usually around 3am, and I’m able to rationalise that because it’s the witching hour, surely dark forces must be to blame for my uncharacteristic outburst of emotion!)


I’m starting to realise that I don’t have time to be self-conscious. Pregnancy gifted me a new sense of awareness and appreciation for my body. Before, I felt like a girl masquerading as an adult. Years of trauma had left me feeling like my body did not belong to me. A piece of it was still being held hostage, in the back pocket of a boy who decided he had more of a right to it than I did.
Now, a sense of power once lost has returned. I no longer feel like a ghost. All of the issues I had with a lack of self-worth now pale in comparison and seem almost juvenile. There are bigger things to worry about and a more important person on the horizon. Things like body and personality are constantly evolving, at such a rapid rate that any attempt to keep up with the flaws would be futile. What’s the point?  Self-deprecation is exhausting. Instead, I’m trying to focus on self-improvement.

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