Given the pace of the last month this is likely my last entry before Fire Monkey’s invasion and the subsequent sleep deprivation apocalypse. It has been an honor sharing this journey with you.
Farewell and godspeed.
Just kidding. Sort of. Lately I’ve gone back and forth between, “I wrangle teenagers for a living. A baby can’t be that hard,” and, “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.” My mama friends tend to espouse the latter view, while Science Guy remains endearingly/mildly annoyingly optimistic. (“We’ll just get to hang out at home with the baby for three weeks!”)
Since coming back from spring break 3 weeks ago, people have started saying things like, “It’s almost over!” I’m certainly looking forward to not having a break-dancing watermelon strapped to my belly (and pushing on my bladder) 24 hours day. I’d love it if my ligaments would stop turning to mush and my hips could maybe go back to where they belong. And I’d really like to wear my cute summer dresses this year.
But I know that rather than an ending, birth is just the beginning of something completely different and unknown. That’s what scares me the most, I think, even as it’s exciting. Pregnancy was a new experience but I was fortunate not to have any significantly debilitating side effects and was able to continue my life almost as normal. I worked, I exercised, I traveled, I even ate just about whatever I wanted without any issues. (The fact that I mostly wanted to eat fruit and yogurt the whole time notwithstanding.)
When the baby’s here, though, everything will be different. I’ll be off for the summer anyway, but I’m sure exercising, traveling, and even eating (and certainly sleeping) will be radically reduced or changed for awhile. I’m reminded of a lyric from my favorite Maia Sharp song, “The Edge:”
I’m suddenly seeing that every beginning means something else is ending.
There have been a lot of beginnings and endings in the last 12 months, which might explain why I still feel a bit like an emotional pinball. The beginning of a new job was preceded by the end of another. The beginning of our marriage marked the end of living life just for myself. And the beginning of this pregnancy heralded the end of life as a party of two.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I cried pretty damn hard. Because I didn’t feel ready for another ending, especially of something that had only (officially) begun two months earlier. Of course, Science Guy and I had been journeying together toward this point pretty much since we met, but I had to grieve a little and face my fear of the unknown before I was able to rejoice, and I think that process is still happening now.
Of course I’m grateful for Fire Monkey. He’s brought me and Science Guy closer together and connected me with mothers around the world. And he really has been a very, very good baby so far. (Ask me again in a week or two…) I’m fully aware that many families struggle for years to conceive and carry to full-term and we just got incredibly lucky.
But as we wait for all the wonderful things his arrival will bring, I also need to acknowledge what I’m going lose. I’m going to lose my ability to make decisions based solely on what I want. I know this is a good thing, but let’s be honest: it’s hard. I’m going to lose some of my independence, and while I know I’ll gain interdependence in exchange, I’m sure it won’t be easy. I know I’ll lose a lot of sleep and probably a fair amount of hair, and I sure hope I get used to it like everyone promises I will. (No, I still haven’t cut the 24 inches of hair I’ve been growing since I met Science Guy almost three years ago.)
Amidst all the endings, though, I’m excited for the beginnings too. I’m looking forward to a lot of firsts and a lot of re-firsts when I get to experience things from Fire Monkey’s point of view. I’m looking forward to discovering what kind of parents Science Guy and I will be. (And leaving him alone with the baby for the first time, muahaha.) I’m really looking forward to seeing Fire Monkey’s personality develop.
So while every beginning means something else is ending, every ending also means that something else is beginnining.