A lingering cough is all that is left of my recent bout with pneumonia. But it is enough to remind me that I am alone.
My friends and family kept me stocked up with juice and food and offered more than once to stay and take care of me. But I can't stop thinking that something even worse than pneumonia could happen.
I am a single mother-to-be, and suddenly I feel very single. I managed to keep the dogs fed and walked while I was sick, but knowing that it could happen again after the baby arrives makes me think I would have to make different arrangements. People keep reminding me that having a baby changes everything, and I guess it does.
I thought I had it all figured out. I worked hard to get myself out of debt and saved the money for the adoption. I have been taking parenting classes and know all the best adoption sites on the Web. I have the cutest nursery on the block, complete with clothes up to size 2T, adorable cloth diapers and the gorgeous hand-painted high chair my parents gave me for Mother's Day. My dog trainer gave me exercises to prepare the dogs for the baby, and we practice a lot. I have picked out my birth announcements and made a list of everybody I have ever met, so they can share in the good news. I've joined Families with Children from China and jumped through all the adoption hoops required by everyone from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the People's Republic of China. But I never planned on getting pneumonia.
Being sick has given me plenty of downtime to think. It has changed my perspective. Oh, I still cross days off the calendar, but now I do it to see how much time I have left, not how soon I will leave. I would jump on the plane tomorrow if given the chance but, confidentially, I am glad that two groups have yet to travel before mine. You see, I need the time. I've got things to do!
I've got to regather my strength and sort through the many papers scattered around my house. I have books to read and toilet paper to stockpile. My new dresser drawers need to be lined. (And what about all those things I was going to list on eBay!) My friends warn that I had better do everything now, because there won't be time after the baby arrives.
Luckily, nothing I have left to do will stop the earth if left undone. I can probably raise my daughter to respect the decorative value of paper piles. And as long as the floors and toilets stay neat (courtesy of my cleaning lady), I don't think the baby will mind that her mom is a little messy. In fact, if she has a problem with it, I can always explain that it happened because I never planned on having pneumonia...
--by Linda L., LindaL3@aol.com, age 36, single mommy-to-be