You know what the funny thing about pregnancy is? That it eventually comes to an end. And you know what awaits you at the end of pregnancy? A kid. I know this seems basic, but after a brief but frightening conversation with my 22 year old brother during which it came out that he had no clue that a woman doesn't get her period during pregnancy, I'm just not sure what everyone knows or doesn't know.
Any woman who has kids can attest to to fact that God totally designed the 3rd trimester to be so uncomfortable that you are willing to go through anything (even labor) to be done with being pregnant. This is how I felt when I was pregnant with L. I was huge and uncomfortable and ready to be finished.
Only this time, I'm not sure how to feel. It's not that I'm not uncomfortable. I am. Actually, within the past 48-72 hours or so, I've gone from feeling pretty good to "Wow, not sure I can last for 7 more weeks like this". When I got home from work Tuesday night, I took off my coat and said to D, "LOOK at my belly. Seriously, try to honestly tell me that it has not grown today." And he looked at me like maybe it was a trick and warily said, "Yeah, you do look bigger today." And then he shielded his face with his hands and waited for me to get all hormonal and angry at him. But I didn't, because I was happy to hear that I wasn't just crazy and that my belly had, indeed, grown out of nowhere.
I've also suddenly developed the waddle. I thought I was going to get away without it this time, but no go. Again out of nowhere, I can't walk normally even when I try. It's strange to me that I was actually aware of the onset of the waddle this time, because with L, D had to tell me that I was waddling (and even then, I denied it). And last night, the little one was hanging out so low in my belly that it was actually painful to walk. My mom thought I had hurt my ankle and was limping.
And while I am having trouble sleeping these days, my arms, legs and hips are having absolutely no problem in that department. Just when I can manage to comfortably arrange myself on my 4 regular sized pillows and 1 body pillow, one of those body parts chooses to go completely numb on me, forcing me to switch positions.
So with these and a few other complaints, you would think that I would be ready to just be done being pregnant. But honestly, I'm not so sure.
It's definitely true what all those women say: you do forget the pains of labor and delivery pretty quickly after it's all over. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I forgot about it immediately, but it wasn't like the memory of those awful contractions was keeping me up at night 3 months later.
However, lately I've been finding that the memories are returning, and it seems to be directly proportionate to how far along I am. The further along I get, the more I remember. It also doesn't help when I watch shows about pregnancy and babies being born. Actually, I'd say that watching those shows does the opposite of help. I used to cry when I saw babies born because it was such an emotionally poignant moment. Now I cry and slam my legs together and think, "I don't wanna". So, in a rare moment of rational thinking, I decided not to watch these shows anymore.
But aside from the labor part, I'm getting really freaked out about the actual "having a newborn" part. Well, no that's not exactly it. More like, I'm getting really freaked out about the "having a baby and a very active toddler" part.
Not like I wasn't freaked out about having a baby when I was pregnant with L. But when I was pregnant with L, I had the advantage of being blissfully unaware of what was about to happen to my life. I thought to myself, "Yeah, it will be hard, but how bad can it really be?"
And you know what? I'm not going to sit here and be one of those moms who tries to scare the crap out of any first-time expectant mother and be all like "Oh my gosh it's sooooo hard, you're going to be sooooo tired and soooo overwhelmed and you better sleep now because you won't be sleeping when the baby comes." Because yeah, it's hard, but it's not impossible.
And there's something to be said for experience and actually knowing what is about to happen and having the perspective to know that whatever hell you feel like you're going through at some particular stage is only temporary. So that makes me feel a little better. But I don't have any perspective or experience with raising two very small children, and that scares the crap out of me.
Thinking about having to return to "dread time" - when you're ready to go to bed at 10 or 10:30 and the baby decides it's time to wake up and stay awake until 2:30 - is scary for me, because this time, I won't have the luxury of sleeping until 9 or 10 when the baby gets up again. This time, I'll have L crying to get up at 7:30 or 8, and he won't care that I was up with the baby until 2:30, and then again around 5:30. He'll want to get up and play. And he's not content to let me sit or lay on the couch and observe him. He wants active participation, people! He wants me to show him approximately 158 times that the tractor is, in fact, still in the book next to the dump truck. And he's now down to one nap a day, which doesn't happen until noon or so.
Forgive me if I start to panic a little bit. But maybe now you can see why I'm not in a great big guns-blazing hurry to evict this kid from my uterus. Because as uncomfortable as I am right now, I know in a very real way that this baby is currently as low-maintenance as she'll ever get. A very irrational side of me thinks that I might not mind being pregnant for just a little bit longer. (Please, whatever you do, do NOT remind me that I said that when I'm 4 days overdue and a raging bitch, complaining to anyone who will listen that I just want this kid out of me! It's for your own good, I promise.)
Even though I'm starting to freak out, I know I'll do this. Sometimes, that's what parenting is - just doing it. I totally understand now why, when my pre-motherhood self would ask new parents how they did it, they'd shrug and say, "You just do."
Even if you think you're the kind of person who absolutely needs no less than 8 hours of sleep every night. Even if you think that you're the kind of person who'd sooner climb the walls than listen to a baby scream for 4 hours straight because nothing you're doing is working. Even if you think you're the kind of person who is too selfish to put someone else first all day, every day.
Somehow, you just do it.