Good Old Fashioned

Entry by: Alobear

16th June 2016
Sarah looked at her swollen belly in the bedroom mirror. She stood face-on and then sideways, running her hands over the stretched skin and trying desperately to feel anything other than weariness and despair. She was so huge now, that strangers had actually commented on it on the bus.

"Ooh, you look like you're about ready to burst!" one old biddy had exclaimed. "Do you know if it's a boy or a girl? Have you got a name all picked out?"

The baby was nearly two weeks overdue, Sarah knew it was a boy and, in fact, she did not have a name all picked out. She declined to share any of this information with the random punters on the bus, however, simply smiling inanely and waddling off at the next stop, even though she should have stayed on for several more.

Everyone was asking her about the name, and everyone had an opinion about what it should be.

"George - that's a good old-fashioned name," her aunt had said last time they'd spoken. "And, you know, if it's good enough for Kate..."

Sarah knew that certain members of her family thought a good, solid English name would somehow remove the stigma of her impending single motherhood, and make her respectable again. She had offended their good old-fashioned values by being unceremoniously dumped by her erstwhile boyfriend, but could apparently mitigate the situation by naming her baby after the new prince. This was not her plan.

"What's it go to do with them?" her best friend, Vanesha, said, indignantly. "You should shock the hell out of them by going completely the other way - call him Jaguar or Legend, or something crazy."

Sarah had managed to laugh at that idea, though she wasn't entirely certain Vanesha was joking. As tempting as it would be to defy expectations and go for something outrageous, she didn't think it would be fair to the poor kid. He was already going to have it tougher than some, growing up without a father, though Sarah supposed that was better than having one who resented him.

If only she could muster up some enthusiasm for the whole thing, finding a name might not seem like such a huge task. But, now that the reality of what was happening was literally impossible to ignore, it was starting to occur to her just how much her life was about to change. She had been so sure, at the beginning, that she could do this alone. She didn't need anyone; she could read the books, do the classes, build the nursery, plan the finances. She was a modern woman - she could do it all. And she had. All her friends, and a fair few of her family members too, had said how amazing she was, how together she seemed, how impressed they were at how she was handling everything.

But all that was just good organisation skills at work. She had always been a planner, so it was easy to do the research, make a checklist, and tick each item off, one by one, to a predetermined schedule. Sarah had a feeling that the baby itself, once it was here, wouldn't allow that kind of approach. And the unpredictability of it all terrified her. Naming something made it real, and she wasn't ready for that.

But sticking her head in the sand wasn't going to solve anything. It wasn't as if she could change her mind at this point. Late or not, he was going to appear sooner or later and she would just have to get on with it. And a baby couldn't go through live without a name, could he, even if that tactic did save Odysseus from the cyclops.

Everyone said that meeting your child for the first time was such a profound experience, that it was accompanied by such unconditional love and certainty that it was impossible not to feel joy and connection. It was evolution's way of ensuring parents were invested in caring for their offspring, after all. Sarah just hoped that programmed chemical response wouldn't let her down.

And maybe, just maybe, she thought, when she finally met her son, he would know what his name was, and he would tell her. She would wipe her mind of the countless suggestions of others whether old-fashioned or modern. She would wait for that moment when it was just the two of them, alone against the world. And then she would know.