After I wrote that post earlier this week, the one about knowing only what I don’t know, I decided that I wanted to make a more concerted effort to prepare myself, both emotionally and logistically, for this baby’s arrival.
The night after I wrote that post, I really started making space for this baby. Honestly, I think we started making space as a couple after our couples pre-natal yoga. Since then Mi.Vida has started embracing this pregnancy, and this baby boy, a lot more fully. His change in attitude has helped me open my own heart. We’re both looking into the future with a lot more love, tenderness and excitement than we were before.
Making space emotionally has helped me take concrete steps to make space physically. I finally started unpacking the baby clothes and putting them where they belong. I’m cleaning out the few spots that are available so that stuff can be shuffled around. I have a giant pile of baby stuff in the garage and all of it needs to be incorporated into the already cramped 1200 square feet of our house. I’m sorting through what we do have and liberally allocating clothes and toys and books and just-plain-junk into throw- and give-away piles. I’m actually taking some of those piles to the Salvation Army and other thrift stores around town. I put the bed up on risers and bought drawers to go underneath. Even Mi.Vida went through his old dress shirts, something he’s been meaning to do since June.
Of course we’re still in a bit of an inbetwix place and that makes it hard to part with everything that should be heading out of this house. I’m not prepared to give away the maternity clothes that don’t really fit anymore (yes, I’m at the point where much of my maternity wear doesn’t accommodate my belly) as there is the slightest chance something will happen to this baby and I may need them again. I’m not ready to just give away everything girly of Isa’s because there is also the slightest chance this baby may be a girl. As soon as he emerges happy and healthy, brandishing a penis, all that stuff will be out the door.
Until then I hold onto it tentatively, refusing to dwell on the reasons I’m keeping it. I tell myself I’m being prudent, that it would be foolish to donate something I may need in the future. I can find places to store this tuff until after the baby is born.
So I’m trying to make space. I’m trying to find ways to incorporate this baby into our house, into our family, into our lives. I’m taking the steps necessary to be ready. I’m trying to embrace this new member of our family even though his arrival is uncertain.
The truth is everything is uncertain. This just feels more so because the chances are higher, but of course numbers don’t mean much when tragedy happens. I don’t know why I dwell on the horrors that befall pregnancies when I could obsess over our chances of being in a car wreck or the next big earthquake. It’s just the way my mind works.
Today I had my 34 week OB appointment. My attitude toward these appointments puts a magnifying glass up to my attitude toward my pregnancy in general.
First, I get very excited that my appointment is coming up. I spend the whole week before eagerly waiting its arrival, even though I know the actual appointment will be anti-climatic, mundane even. I think I just appreciate that these appointments mark the passage of time, they represent the undeniable fact that we are, in fact, moving closer to time when we’ll eventually meet our son.
Then I go and the whole thing feels very routine. Nothing exciting happens and I usually walk out wondering why I let myself get so excited about going in the first place. And then, as I’m leaving, I’m usually overcome with this intense emotion, it’s like a floodgate of anxiety and sadness is released all at once and I almost always end up sobbing in my car while someone waits impatiently next to me, ready to steal my parking spot. Most of the time I’m not even sure why I’m crying–I can only guess that these appointments are an opportunity for me to face my true fears, to embrace the terrible what-ifs for a moment before burying them deep inside again.
Right now I’m really busy with work and my partner and my daughter. I’m forcing myself to focus on each day as it comes and to celebrate the constant movement of my son as a great sign that he’s doing okay. I only let myself dwell on his movement for the day, allowing it to put my mind at rest because RIGHT NOW, he’s obviously thriving. I don’t let my mind project darkly into the future, I don’t allow a kick or roll to be overshadowed by a reminder that movement today does not guarantee his well-being next week, next month or even tomorrow. Instead I just remind myself that right now he seems fine, wonderful in fact, and there is no need to worry that something might be wrong until his movement (or lack thereof) suggests it. I am re-embracing my old mantra from the last pregnancy: Everything is okay until you know otherwise.
All of these are my small but significant ways of making space. I acknowledge how strange a time this is, filled with eager excitement to meet my son, the mundane reality of each and every day before he comes and my very real fear that something may happen to him. I take the time to be with my partner, to open my heart, and his, so we’re both ready to embrace our new child. And I make room in our house for this child we’ve wanted so much, so that he feels he belongs here as much as the rest of us do, despite his delayed arrival.