It’s hard to believe that mid-November is here. This week we’ll hit the mark of being one month out from our guess date! At times that one month seems interminable, while at other times I think it will fly by. Knowing that priceless value of each moment now, Rick and I are trying to take it a day at a time and savor the last precious days of our relationship as a couple rather than…a family.
I must admit that having a baby around the holidays does present some interesting logistical and emotional challenges. The first, which presented itself to me this weekend, is the challenge of dressing a bump in cocktail attire. We hosted an engagement party for a dear friend, and it was a fancy event. I spent the week before planning food and decorations, but the one thing I chose not to focus on was my outfit for the night. I knew I’d spend the first part of the evening in and out of an apron, and moreover, I have reached my threshold on buying new maternity clothing. I chose to dress up a non-maternity work-dress and it was fine. But, had I really cared about it and not felt I could be a little slack as a pregnant host, it would have been a serious challenge. And it’s not just cocktail attire presenting a challenge now! I made it through the summer on versatile dresses, which carried through to fall, but now that snow is covering the ground I actually feel the need to wear pants – leaving me with two options: leggings and real pants. Leggings are awesome. They make me very happy and comfortable. But they have limits – I really don’t think they are super work-appropriate. And, when I wear boots and leggings, I recognize that by the end of the day my legs have swollen such that my boots have a calf-muffin top which is not my ideal of attractiveness. On the other hand, I can’t bring myself to buy any more maternity pants. I have two pairs and that seems like plenty to me. I can still fit in some of my normal-ish pants if I wear a belly band, and I have been doing that…but there are limits. I may have to give in and buy some more pants to house my orb-like belly through the next month.
More holiday maternity dilemmas include: alcohol-less Christmas parties that wrangle your weekends away from you. Over the next few weeks, I can’t think of a weekend where we don’t have any events planned, except for the weekend right before my Monday due date. So, though the third trimester is renowned for being uncomfortable and producing fatigue, there will be little weekend resting for me. I am not so much concerned about the rest, but with a busy work schedule, birthing classes, and other obligations life has felt so full that I have struggled to make the time in my mind to really sit down and think hard about the major changes happening in my life. I want to approach this milestone mindfully, and therefore I hope to find the space in these busting weekends to meditate on the upcoming changes in our lives. The feeling of being busy as I approach our birthing has made me feel emotionally disjointed – on the one hand I feel physically fine, with only minor discomforts to complain of, so I treat my life as though nothing has changed and stay busy – that’s all good. On the other hand, my physical limitations have not really hit me, so there has been little to incite me to slow down and give full credence to this very special and unique time in life – something I think I’d really like to do more of.
I find that planning for life post-baby is also interesting. We have a trip to Mexico planned in February. I have no idea how it will feel at that point to leave the baby and I worry that I will be distraught. But, on the flip side, I think we could probably both benefit from some beach time to ourselves to recall some of the magic that may be lost amidst breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and the chaos of a newborn. Then, looking further out onto the year, we have a trip planned to visit Rick’s brother in the UK and to make it a larger trip by spending time in Iceland either on the way there or back. This is one trip we will definitely be bringing baby along for – so it will be interesting to discover the ways that travel changes with an infant.
I find that the process of trying to anticipate these scenarios is extremely exciting, but it takes me away from my present moment: here on a couch with a sleeping puppy and a belly moving around of its own volition. It takes me from the sweet back massage that Rick gave me during our four-hour birthing class today. It takes me from the wild observations that come daily with a belly that has now eclipsed any views of my feet, legs, or hips. It takes me away from the novelty of a playing with an inside out belly button, or the sweet exchanges that go along with the imaginings Rick and I share about how our baby will look and act. I want to focus on these small moments – to observe them and write them down. I want the steps of this life-changing journey to be documented so that when I have a house full of chaos and little wild children I can look back and recall the beauty and novelty of these hours, days, and weeks of unknowing anticipation. Like your first time, your first love, your first travel – THIS time in life merits a pause to stop, reflect, and recall who you were before and after. I want the time to internalize these feelings and to understand that we’ll never have these moments back.