Mortality 2 (A tale of two pregnancy tests)

A month before Susie fell pregnant with Tilly she had a miscarriage. She’d been pregnant for about seven weeks, but we had only known for about two or three. I think some people thought that the fact that the miscarriage was at such an early stage meant that we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) feel much grief and loss, but it is quite frightening how quickly and deeply you become invested in a tiny growing thing (we were already calling him/her ‘Bean’).

In fact, the (over?)investment begins from the very first moment. The song below is about the two of us staring at the little window on the pregnancy test and waiting to see if Susie is pregnant or not. I wrote the song the next day – an indication of massive investment if ever there was one. After the miscarriage, I wasn’t really able to look at it for quite a while, but after Tilly was born I found a new place for it. It now stands for me as a bittersweet expression of the chilling and thrilling existential moment that is finding out you are pregnant (or that your partner is), not knowing what lies ahead, but knowing that whatever it is the stakes have suddenly become dizzyingly high.

In reality, though, the circumstances were somewhat less than ‘existential’ when we found out we were pregnant with Tilly. We weren’t huddled together on a Winter’s night in a pool of kitchen lamplight. We were in Dan Murphy’s on Chapel Street stocking up on bottles of winter red. Susie was about to head off for a work drinks function, and thought she should quickly have a pregnancy test so that she could have a few drinks with a clear conscience. She ducked off to the nearest pharmacy to purchase a test and then into the shopping centre toilets to ‘take’ it. By the time she finally got back I had a trolley full of bottles, which I dragged awkwardly behind me as I followed her into an empty aisle (for a bit of privacy) where she showed me the stick with the two blue lines. I guess I must have been in shock, because the first thing I did was take every single one of the bottles back to where I’d found it.

In a sense then this song is a song of two pregnancy tests; the circumstances of the first reflected in the gravity of the lyrics, the circumstances of the second reflected in the cheesy ‘Died Pretty’ meets ‘Ultravox’ character of the musical stylings.

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