At the very least, I had shed the skin of not wanting to disclose my birthing story by going to the Mum’s group. Before Soren and while we had been saving for IVF and world travels, Natalie and I had been living on a shoestring budget. As an adult, my love for iced takeaway coffee drinks had evolved a full-blown daily caffeine addiction. Because we were saving our pennies, we limited ourselves to two weekend dine-in coffees and one on every Wednesday morning. We often conversed about what our life would be like after having a baby, full of idealism about bringing the babe along for our mid-week dates. We certainly had high expectations.
After spending my teenage life as an outsider, I had become rather deliberate about surrounding our budding family with good and accepting people. We’d set up house in the inner-city and made a lot of equally coffee-addicted friends with whom we’d become quite familiar. Some were friendly acquaintances, baristas, and some we considered our inner-circle. Our coffee people watched my belly grow in anticipation, getting to know us over our coffee orders.
The first coffee morning after the birth, Natalie sent me into our favourite café to get our usual orders. I clammed up in a way that I couldn’t grasp at the time.
“It’s just two lattes. Don’t order yours on skim milk, I don’t want to end up drinking yours.”
“It’s… It’s too much for me to remember, Natalie. You go in.”
Natalie took the hard line with me, which I needed, but hated it at the time.
“Just go in and order it, you look fine, you’ll be fine!”
I wasn’t really afraid of screwing up the order. This was the first time I’d been seen since the birth. What I was really afraid of was being asked how the birth went. I didn’t want to explain it. I didn’t want pity. I just wanted to lick the wound silently with my takeaway coffee cup at home.
But I relented. I ordered the coffees, and nobody asked so I didn’t tell.