Today is my first day of maternity leave. I decided to take it early as the walk to the train station, which is meant to take all of five minutes, takes me more than twice as long with my excruciatingly slow waddle. The walk exhausts me.
On the train there are good days — friendly SMRT personnel wielding flashing plastic sticks step inside the cabin ahead of me and ask people on reserved seating to give up their seat. On bad days (of which there are few, thankfully), I get a woman pretending to sleep on her seat (cracking open an eyelid to check and see if me and my pointy jutting-out belly were still there in front of her) or a cranky Singaporean woman pulling a canvas grocery bag behind her, yelling at me to “Don’t walk like that, lah!” because she was in such a goddamn hurry to catch the train she had to plow right through me. Walk like what? I thought, bemused. Like a 38-week old pregnant woman? But I let it pass.
Today though, there is no stuffy commute, no need to endure the discomfort as my nose sweats inside the N95 mask because of the haze. Mama makes breakfast: a mug of Greek yogurt mixed with honey, blueberries, oatmeal and chia seeds, chilled for about an hour in the fridge for the seeds and oatmeal to soften.
We take a leisurely train ride to Vivo City to have a haircut and a wash. The people at the salon marvel at Peanut’s size, ask me when I’m due. The lady at the cashier shares that she has two kids, that in Korea pointy pregnant bellies mean the baby’s a girl, round bellies mean boy (the opposite of what I’ve been told by my local colleagues). The birth would be painful, she says, but it’s all worth it. She shakes my hand and wishes me good luck.
Colleagues ask what I’ll do during these early days, while I wait for Peanut to make his appearance. Won’t I be bored? I have plans to read so there’s no question of being bored, but I keep that to myself.
I’ve just finished The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s the first book I picked up to read while at my OB/Gyn’s office on Saturday. I found it serendipitous that Ashima was also two weeks’ pregnant with Gogol at the start of the book. I like to read on the Timsfors recliner the Hubby bought for me at the Ikea on Alexandra Road. I think Peanut doesn’t like it when I sit too long on the recliner — my belly edges up on my left side until it resembles a lopsided peak. By the shape of the bump (and because I know his head is already low and engaged), I guess it’s either his back or his butt. It’s a sign I need to get up and walk around for a bit.
This is the first long-ish vacation I’ve had in a while — no work, no school — and while I’m impatient for Peanut to come out I know I should relish these last few days of quiet and sleeping when I feel like it.