Well, I’m finally here. I’m 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant – in just 2 days I’ll be at my estimated due date. That kind of means nothing apparently, only 5% of babies come on their due date, but our little man’s date is special – 02.02.2020 – so it would be cool if he did!
It’s a funny time of pregnancy when you’re here. Every night I go to bed and wonder if tonight will be the night. Yet, I don’t really feel like it’s time. Funnily at 37 weeks I started feeling like it was, but I guess your body just goes through so many changes through pregnancy. I’m feeling very tired, and hungrier than normal – and boy am I thirsty! So it’s naps and snacks and water, water, water throughout the day. I try to have a task to do each day – to keep me occupied – like cooking something, or today I have pilates then will do the shopping and come home and make a loaf of gluten free bread in our new bread maker (which I’m proud to say we bought yesterday brand new, never-been-used, in packaging off a woman on gumtree for $100, and they retail in stores for $170!). Little things like that give me a focus, and something to feel like I’ve done each day. That said, I’m also enjoying reading and just finished a great book called The Testimony by Anita Shreve (which I might do a book review of), and have now started The Blind Assassin by Margaret Attwood as well as Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali (does anyone else have two books going most of the time? It’s a novel and something non-fiction usually for me).
We have spent the last few weeks nesting – my husband renovated the living and dining room (as you can imagine, I was not a fan of the idea when he suggested it at 34 weeks, but am so glad he did because it looks amazing!), we put the final touches on the nursery, mum came and helped clean out (read: cleaned everything while I sat and talked) all the kitchen drawers and cupboards, and got other things ready around the house too, I cleaned out the chook coop and guinea pig enclosure (which was bloody hard work) and just generally cleaning and tidying so we don’t have to do it in the weeks post-birth. I’ve been making extras at dinner time too, so that we can have some frozen meals for those nights when we’re just too tired to cook and today I’ll go to Woolworths and get some ‘labour snacks’ like bananas, nuts and those yummy date and coconut things (and try not to eat them before hand!).
Overall, I’m feeling pretty chill. I’m not impatient to get him out – I don’t feel giant and I’m still managing to practice yoga almost every day which gives me more energy, as well as walking probably every second day too. I have been very aware this whole pregnancy of just staying mindful to where I am – mainly because it took 17 months to get pregnant and I know how desperately I wanted this, so to then wish it were over seems greedy. I just don’t want to be in the habit of wishing times of life away – wishing I wasn’t pregnant anymore, then wishing they were over the no sleep newborn phase, then wishing they were over the Terrible Two’s, then wishing I was pregnant with another one, then wishing that pregnancy was over… and before I know it they’re 25 and moved out of home and I’ll wish I had my babies back! Plus, while I might have more children, I won’t ever have this little guy inside me again – and I’ll miss that. It’s so special to have another human with me at all times, I really feel his energy and his presence so I just want to squeeze as much from this time as possible. Plus, let’s be real, as soon as he’s out the sleepless nights begin, and whatever my conception of ‘tired’ is now will be a distant (and fond) memory, I’m sure!
I did have a situation last week with a family member that really tested me – and afterwards for a few days I felt really anxious and stressed because they weren’t respecting my boundaries around minimising risk with some requests I had for when they visit with my newborn, and that boundary pushing just feels so invasive! This is a bit ironic because in my line of work I support people who push boundaries 24/7 but it’s a different type of boundary pushing when it’s about your newborn baby and they just won’t accept and respect your wishes. Especially so as I am pregnant and feel particularly vulnerable. Anxiety and stress are not emotions I want leading up to birthing, and so when I had an opportunity a couple of days ago I was clearly able to state my boundary again without getting into debate or discussion around it, and ended the conversation once I told them what the situation was, and now I feel so much better. Protective Mama Bear was able to be a Protective Mama Bear! I was warned by friends that people will have strong opinions about the decisions you make as a first time mum, but gosh I really did’t get it until I experienced it – it’s madness!
Having anxiety around this reminded me of some key practices I need to keep using: like deep breathing when I’m feeling overwhelmed, staying mindful and not catastrophising, and being assertive – I forget how much clear communication helps me to dispel anxiety, and how anxious I feel when I don’t feel heard, or don’t feel able to speak up. And I’m guessing I’ll be needing these tools a lot as a mother, because it seems like there are many opinions about things going around, and it is easy to second-guess myself and my choices when I’m feeling anxious, or I hear horrible stories and assume the worst.
I’m very excited for motherhood though, and excited to meet our beautiful son – to see a human made 50% of my husband and 50% of me, to watch him grow, and learn who he is and what he loves and just be there to witness and participate in all of that – it’s exquisite really. And so amazing to remember that not only am I gaining a son, but I am becoming a mother too, and that is so, so special and something I will be eternally grateful for.