Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Beginning of the End; Glimpsing the Beginning

What a journey this has been. Six months of watching my stomach grow larger. Of feeling the first tiny flutters grow into strong kicks. Learning to get by on five hours of sleep. Hungry, hungry, hungry all the time. 

There is so much bewildering information available. Give birth like this! Raise your child this way! Educate your child that way! THIS is the right way, and if you don't follow these directions then your child will be RUINED FOR LIFE! At least that's the way it seems. Yet no baby, toddler, kid, or teenager ever came with an instruction manual. 

Today marks the beginning of the third trimester. The end goal is in sight. It feels like rounding the final bend in the 400 yard dash; you're already running out of breath, but the sight of the finish line just a hundred yards away is enough to give an extra burst of "YES! almost there!" so you can keep going. 

In some cases, it may seem like I'm unprepared. We don't know the baby's gender. This is completely by choice, though some people think we're a bit crazy for not mentally preparing ourselves for either a son or a daughter. Will gender make that much of a difference in the way we raise our child? We don't have a nursery, because the only room available for the tiny newcomer also serves as a storage room, music room, and spare bedroom. That's what happens when you live in a small apartment. A crib and a few bins of baby items will have to suffice. Also, I'm deathly afraid of bathing a newborn. They're so slippery!

I have serious doubts as to whether the baby will take naps or not. With so much movement going on right now before he/she is even born, there's a good chance of having an extremely awake, interactive child who has boundless amounts of energy. A baby strong enough to kick the heart monitor away from my stomach as the midwife attempts to hear its heartbeat is probably going to be a handful to raise. 

Yet in many ways I feel hopefully, cautiously confident that everything will work out for the best. Preparing myself to receive the newborn has been the most exciting part. Feeling like my world is prepared for him/her is more difficult, but still on the right track. Friends and family are so supportive! Even my music students and their families are gracious and ready to help in any way they can, with quite a few giving up their children's old car seats, furniture, and toys to bless our family. Many of our major expenses have already been provided for in this way, and due to the generosity of both my family and Chris's family, who are anticipating the arrival of the first grandchild.

The natural decrease in energy over the last few months has allowed me less time to give to others. Late night movies and dinners are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. After I finish teaching, there is rarely anything left in the reserve tank for hanging out with friends. Weekends are used for catching up on chores and errands that didn't make the cut earlier in the week. Even making dinner or doing laundry can be exhausting. It feels like a sort of cocoon is forming around me; I spend so much more time at home, often by myself when Chris is at work, because being out and about is tiring. It's like a safe haven is being formed for me and the little one. I still love seeing my friends, but the shift in focus from outward activity to inward preparation is clearly evident. 

A safe haven. That's what I want for the baby, in every way possible. So I am working on making myself feel safe, physically, mentally, emotionally. Enjoying our wonderful community. Focusing on the love and care of those close to me. Working to improve the areas where I need to grow. Hoping to change for the better in many ways so that I will be a strong, peaceful, nurturing mother. 

Praying for wisdom. 

Treasuring these final weeks before the baby arrives.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Stop reading parenting advice, whether that is online, in magazine, whatever. Mommyhood is stressful enough without all that insanity filling your head. Every labor is different, just as every baby is different, just as every child is different. Follow your mommy instincts and forget everything else. Trust that you know your baby and your situation best, because you do. :-)

    2. You absolutely don't need the $3,000+ worth of baby gear that parenting magazines insist that you "need". A crib and some bins of baby things are more than adequate. You might even consider ditching the crib for a while and sharing your bed instead. (Statistically it can be safer so long as you follow yadda yadda common-sense-but-we're-obligated-to-tell-you-so-you-can't-sue-us rules, and SO much easier for everyone to sleep.)

    3. There really isn't a need to full out bathe a baby unless there's been a massive diaper blow out. Lila didn't have her first bath until she was more than 6 months old. It was too much hassle for the full deal with the older two running around, so I just gave her a good wipe down when it was necessary. Nobody ever noticed the difference. (Interestingly, she is also the least afraid of water of all my children.) A bonus of this is completely avoiding the annoying as hell baby tubs. You can just wait until she's sitting up mostly unsupported, then plop her down in the kitchen sink and scrub away. :-)

    4. You're absolutely right to focus inward during this time. Rest up as much as you can now. Not because you won't be able to rest later, but because as a first time mom you won't *want* to. (Heck, as a third time mom I still didn't want to. I had a brand new baby's face to memorize!)

    5. You are already an amazing mom! You'll be awesome! :-)