I have always feared driving. The idea that I’m in control of something large and potentially lethal doesn’t appeal to me. I’m uncoordinated at the best of times.
I only got my provisional licence when I was 37.5 weeks pregnant. Yes, you read correctly. I waddled up to the instructor in 33 degree heat early December and crossed my fingers.
I knew I had to do it for Cammy. I knew I wouldn’t be able to not have the option of leaving the house. I knew I needed the independence. I had a perfectly good Toyota Sportivo sitting in the garage each day.
When I was 39 weeks pregnant I drove alone in the rain for the first time. I was driving to the shops around our suburb when I went too fast around the roundabout. I lost control of the car and spun around to be facing the wrong way on the round about, in traffic, in the pouring rain.
Thank God for lovely people, that’s all I can say. A man stopped his ute so no one could run into me. A woman yelled instructions to me but I was in shock and shaking. I tentatively yelled “help”.
The lovely woman came to my window and said “Oh, you’re pregnant! Are you ok honey?” I rambled about not being a confident driver and not knowing what to do. She parked her car on the side of the road and helped me, still shaking, safely to the side of the road and moved my car for me. She didn’t leave me until I had gathered myself and drove slowly… so slowly to my Dads.
Fast forward to now and I have a baby who also HATES the car. He doesn’t just cry… he outright SCREAMS. Like sweaty-holding-my-breath-someone-cut-off-one-of-my-limbs screams.
Thankfully, he’s got a heap better lately and only rarely cries (not screams) if he’s hungry or over tired. But for a while there I got anxious leaving the house.
Trips had to be close to home and well timed… and even then it was far from a guarantee and there was always the trip home…
Car trips involved him outright screaming while I sung stupid songs to him at the top of my lungs or turned up the radio or cried. I tried toys, mirrors, blankets/no blankets, adjusting the straps, different clothes, variations of air con and a hell of a lot of “it’s OK baby” and shhh shhh shhhing.
I still park in ‘easy parks’, can’t drive with shoes on, reverse ridiculously slow, and have a lead foot but I’m getting there. I’m still not the most confident driver but at least I have mostly peaceful trips now.