Keeping It Real in Late Pregnancy

32 weeks in, it’s getting real, y’all.

Sure, I read some books and did some daycare research much earlier in. I’ve also been lucky enough to go through the pregnancy journey with a few other friends, so an empathetic ear and information-sharing has never been too far away. Nevertheless, it all feels pretty surreal until someone gives birth, someone else is one week from her due date, and you suddenly find yourself with a carseat base in your backseat.

The shower which once seemed so far into the future is suddenly here, on a balmy, hot August afternoon. Our due date is next month — What? Up until this point I have been continually overwhelmed with gratitude for the generosity of our friends and family — From hosting parties to buying gifts to offering advice, it seems that the shared experience of either 1) being a parent or 2) having been a child brings out excitement and warmth in everyone. And in the midst of it all, as baby carriers and clothes and toys accumulate in our baby room-in-progress, it all begins to feel imminent, in a good way.

Koalas and sea otters testing out the baby gear

My excited anticipation of being a mother and the changes and challenges that come with it fight with the desire to soak up (aprovechar (see the second definition), if you will) my current life, which I also love. I know that my current life is pretty clutch, and though I’m sure that my life as a mother will be also, the uncertainty of it does give me some anxiety. What will birth be like? How will my husband and I adjust to make sure we prioritize our relationship after becoming parents? How will my new identity as a mother, one who will need to dial back on physical activity for a bit after birth, mesh with my current identity as an active, energetic person? How will we find the flexibility we so cherish now in our new lives as parents? And how will we raise an open-minded, kind, loving, generous human being? The optimist in me is fine with all of this, and even excited to figure it out — The perfectionist in me wants to do it right from the onset. Ha.

I found myself this week, hitting the 32-week mark, feeling a little guilty about this anxiety. Pregnancy and parenthood is a blessing, right? What right did I have to feel fearful on a journey during which so many have experienced loss or pain or difficulty? My pregnancy has been relatively easy, joyful even. Does being scared diminish my gratitude for the joy in the process and outpouring of love we’ve experienced? I know it doesn’t, but sometimes at 4 AM after you’ve had your first morning bathroom trip of the day and can’t fall back asleep, it has a way of getting stuck on repeat and feeling that way. Also, hormones.

So in summary, thank you to all of those in our lives who have overwhelmed us with support and love over the past 8 months. Over the next few weeks, things will only continue to get more real as we attend a childbirth class, tour the hospital, and begin the process of legitimately organizing the baby’s room. At some point, I will even have to stop riding my bike, which I have accepted — But in the meantime, here’s to less guilt, more sleep, and keeping it real. 8-ish weeks to go.

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