Those with sharp eyes may have twigged to this a few weeks ago.
The sequence of recipes I’ve been posting for the last few months hasn’t been coincidental. (In fact, it’s been done once before.) But it has been incredibly hopeful, tracking the progress of something that had its genesis in a speck, no larger than this full stop.
We kicked off this chapter of growing a human from the size of a poppyseed to a pumpkin on Mother’s Day, with a chicken, leek, porcini – and poppyseed pie.
It was a very good Mother’s Day indeed.
The next week there was sparse cupboard sesame noodles. It was hard to concentrate on many other things. There was the first tugs of tiredness, an overseas spouse and frantic googling of HCG numbers and progesterone levels.
We then graduated to the dimensions of lentils, with a warm roast tomato, pesto, bocconcini and lentil salad. And that was the last savoury salad I could consume for quite a spell.
Soon it was time for smoothies. Very cold, blueberry, oat and chia smoothies, drunk very slowly with a straw as our potential offspring unfurled to the diameter of a blueberry. This was the week that the rollicking nausea descended with a vengeance. It was a series of dark weeks where food became foe and the only safe harbour was a place I could lie still at a 33 degree angle with my hands folded just at the bottom of my rib cage. It was a week for making early departures from one of my oldest friends’ hen’s nights and piercing my thumb through dozens of mandarins just so I could inhale the morale saving spritz of citrus.
Then we moved on to the proportion of raspberries, which found their way into squat little raspberry, apple and flax muffins. These were salvageable, so long as they were consumed within five minutes of waking. This was the week when I discovered that drugs aren’t always the solution, when the medication I was put on to stop me emptying my stomach multiple times a day made me shudder, my limbs jolt like quicksand and my mind more paranoid than a smuggler in airport security.
The answer when things are truly wretched, is often ice cream. So these coconut cherry ripple custard popsicles were born. And this was the week resolved to white knuckle it through with the adages of ‘being sick is a GOOD thing’ ringing in my ears.
Then we graduated to dates. Here we celebrated with cake (cake being relatively soothing. Cake, smoothies, anything with dairy were sheltering ports). Sadly roast vegetable salads with tahini dressing may never be the same again. There is a pizza with mushrooms and truffle oil and crispy kale that is beloved by The Hungry One which that still haunts my slumber. And candied ginger is now a horcrux to a time of sheer terror, ruined by over reliance (no, it doesn’t work). This date and apricot loaf, smothered in butter saved me many times when the creeping fingers of hunger and king tides of exhaustion crashed in.
And then we grew to the size of a brussels sprout. I managed to consume at least four forkfuls of this brussels sprout slaw with mustard cream, which was a significant victory. Green vegetables are on their way back. This week, we’re up to plums and we can safely come out of the closet.
They say be careful what you wish for. Since this stowaway took up residence I have been violently and publicly ill at a major work event under the sails of the Sydney Opera House in front of people I respect. I have quivered and shuddered at a beautiful wedding and tried in vain to maintain conversation. I have been sick on the side of two freeways, outside in a once-in-30-year-storm while reigniting a pilot light and on a stationary bike. I have cursed and cried in the shower, on the kitchen floor and hunched at a toddler’s table, desperately trying to persuade him to eat a piece of salmon, while the very smell of it has made my insides invert. And there was one terrible day that shall hence be known as #MaxolonMonday when I honestly thought I could not go on. But you do. Toddlers care not for poorly mummies. There are baths to be run and books to be read and clean clothes to be wrestled into and bad dreams to soothe and dinners to be cooked.
Yet, I have also never been happier. I have seen the future on a monochromatic screen and it has two arms that wave and legs that bounce. There’s a curve of a nose that is identical to Will’s.
There were times in the last year where my computer bookmarks were littered with scholarly articles on the benefits of having a single child. There were reckonings and disappointments, specialists and expert acupuncturists all weighing in. There were litres of bone broth made and sipped and silent prayers to powers that be that I don’t have names for. And there was hope, even when things kept slipping away. You see, I grew up with a sister. I hope Will feels the same about his sibling as I feel about her; that he cannot imagine the world without them.
If our Balinese blessing from last year had stayed with us, they would have been due within the next month. I’d be waddling about and posting a recipe about a rock melon this week. But I’m not. In this iteration of ‘Poppyseed to Pumpkin’, we’re nigh up to plums.
And by the time the sticky summer sun returns to Sydney – on a date not that long after Christmas, cross fingers we’ll be scratching around for recipes for watermelons (heaven help us).
Here we go again….