I’ve already shared the worries that have been keeping me awake recently. Writing them down and hearing that I wasn’t alone has helped a lot. I am definitely feeling more relaxed (apart from when I wake up in the night thinking, “Holy crap, any day now I will be responsible for AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING!!”). Those fears won’t go away, but I do think I’m managing them a bit better now.
Anyway, there are plenty of positives happening now, too. Among them are:
- Maternity leave
I intended to start leave at 36 weeks, but circumstances meant I ended up leaving at the end of 35 weeks instead. I feel lucky that I had the option to go so early! Time at home has helped me relax; the travelling for the last few weeks of work was really stressful. I am missing riding my bike, but overall being in charge of my own schedule, and being able to take a nap on the (many) days when I haven’t been able to sleep through the night is amazing. I have plenty to do, but I don’t feel like I have to do things at a certain time, which makes them all more fun. I’ve also been making sure to do fun treats and my favorite things as well as the getting-ready-for-baby stuff. I am missing work, especially my colleagues, a little, but overall I’m so glad I started when I did. I may change my mind if the baby’s overdue, though…
- The acceptability of doing nothing at all
Exhaustion finally hit me at around 37 weeks, I think. Everything suddenly felt much harder, and my back now hurts if I do too much standing/walking. I’m grateful this didn’t start earlier, though! The beauty of it happening now is that it doesn’t matter, because (as this is my first child) people don’t really expect me to do anything. I am massive and must look really uncomfortable, and people keep telling me to stop and have a rest. Earlier in the pregnancy I would have found this irritating, but now I am so grateful when people offer to do things for me. It is probably the only time in my life when it’s totally expected and okay to say I did nothing during the day. It’s not something I’d like to continue forever, but it does make a nice change for a little while.
- The bump
Did I mention I’m massive? Well, I am. And the truth is that I really don’t care. In fact, I love my bump. I find it really comforting. Because the baby’s running out of room, I can feel the movements more clearly, too, which is wonderful, except when it kicks me in the ribs. And watching it move is just the coolest thing! I have no belly button now, and in the last week I have finally had stretch marks appear around it (so far they’ve only been on my thighs and, weirdly, left boob), so I know it is still growing, though that hardly seems possible anymore! It hadn’t dropped as of my midwife appointment on Wednesday, but leaning forward is so uncomfortable in my pelvis that I wonder if it’s gone a bit further down.
Oh, and it’s quite cool that I can rest a cup of tea on it even when I’m sitting up straight. Crazy.
- The anticipation
This baby could literally arrive any day, and I am so excited to meet it. While I’m not naive enough to assume it will arrive early, I have been having very long & frequent Braxton Hicks for well over a week, so I know my body is preparing (even if perhaps the baby isn’t yet!). I’m glad we’ve waited to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. However, at this point I really can’t wait to find out! It will be so good to know who is joining our family in a more concrete way, and find the right name for it.
- Lack of fear about the birth
No, I’m not one of those pregnant women who is looking forward to birth – though I think it’s amazing if you are one of them! But at the same time, I am not afraid of it or anxious about it. I think this is linked to the above point about anticipation. I’m so much looking forward to meeting our little one that I don’t much care how it arrives, as long as it’s safe. This attitude has come as a bit of a surprise, to be honest, but I do think it’s a good one to take. I shouldn’t be taken by surprise when it hurts, but equally I don’t anticipate that will be the overriding sensation or memory I have. I’ve tried to take the pregnancy one day at a time, facing what arises when it arises rather than trying to anticipate or plan, and that’s what I’m hoping will happen with the birth as well. I had planned to listen to some hypnobirthing CDs, but in the end never got around to it. Hopefully my usual instinct to stay calm (or at least appear calm) under pressure will kick in, ha! I feel much more naive after writing all that down.
Overall, these positives far outweigh the worries. Let the countdown continue!