Written January 30, revised to reflect the current countdown:
I’m at 36 weeks today. If Pudding is as early as I myself was, she’ll be here next week (eep!). If she’s exactly on time, as my nephew was, she’ll be here in four weeks. If she’s a bit late, as first babies often are, it could be five or even six.
A friend asked me recently whether I was feeling nervous or excited. I said, oh, so much both.
It feels like I have an important race coming up, but I don’t know when.
I don’t know whether it’s going to be a 5K, a 10K, a half-marathon, a full marathon, or an ultra marathon.
Also, I’m not a runner. I don’t even really walk. And even if I could, the type of running and walking to be done during this race is nothing like what I could do outside of it.
The only thing I know is I can do it. But even that knowledge is hard to grasp, because it’s so unprecedented — when else in life do we know we can do something we’ve never done before and which is totally individual and unpredictable?
What’s more, after the race is over, I won’t get to return to my previous life. I’ll be whisked away, exhausted and sleepless and probably ragingly hormonal, into a completely different world with new tasks and new responsibilities and new terrors and new joys. And while the race is relatively short and happens in a controlled environment with lots of professional support, the rest of this brave new world will be — so much of the time — just me, or me and Erik, fumbling along as best we can.
It would be irrational not to be terrified. It would be even more irrational to be looking forward to it. I am both. This whole undertaking, the whole of life even, is irrational.
So how does one prepare for the unknowable?
Clean the apartment, make food, gather supplies.
Rest well, eat well, drink well, move my body as best I can. Spend time with loved ones, spend time alone, or just with Pudding and Erik. And appreciate these last weeks of life as I know it.
Change is coming.
me, this morning
A postscript written this week:
Actually, my perspective has shifted on this, a little.
Over the weekend we went to an “easeful birth” workshop at my yoga studio, and it turned out to be mostly focused on hypnobirthing, which would have scared me away if I’d known. Fortunately I didn’t, because the workshop was so helpful.
Hypnobirthing sounds appallingly New Agey but while it’s not without its woo-woo elements, at its core, it is solidly practical. The basic premise is that fear makes us tense, and when we’re tense, everything is harder. So we learn ways to relax and feel capable in our bodies (with the help of our partners if applicable), and we start practicing these well before the birth day, so when the day comes, this relaxed state of mind will be easier to access.
Of course I don’t know yet that it will work for me, but already I’m finding the breathing techniques very soothing. What’s more, they give me something to do that feels like preparation for labor — in other words, whereas I wrote on January 30 that there was no way to get ready for this 5K/ultramarathon, the hypnobirthing workshop suggests that there is something I can do. And that, in itself, is deeply reassuring.
So well put Lisa, especially the part about how to prepare for something you know you can do, but have never done!
🙂 I could have said, too, that your yoga classes have also given me some measure of feeling prepared — both physically and mentally. ❤
I love this. I’m so excited for you and Erik. Because I’ve never had the chance to anticipate this mystery marathon, I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but your description is so vivid, I feel as if I have a better idea. I’m glad you feel so capable because I have felt so sure of your capacity from the moment you shared your news. 🙂
Thank you thank you, dear Stacie!! 🙂 ❤ It is a strange feeling to believe I can handle something that's so hard to imagine, but I am glad for that self-belief — whether it's hormones or whatever, I'm just so grateful it's there. 🙂
I just referred your blog to a friend who’s earlier in her pregnancy journey, and your lovely, thoughtful writing has already won her over! ❤
Eeeee, that makes me very happy!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤
Lisa, you look great, just beautiful. Sending you lots of love
You too, dear Aga. I wish we could teleport to each other and share a hug and some tea. 🙂
Dear Lisa, I’m late to so many things lately, but am now reading some of your wonderful entries here. I wish I had written a diary when I was pregnant with Jasmine. It would be wonderful to read it and see exactly how I felt then, not just rely on memory. (Especially now that her birth has found its way into the beginning of yet another book I need to finish. 🙂 ) If I had written down the details, I would’ve thought I was doing it for Jas, too, to read when she was grown up; but she isn’t very sentimental. Maybe she’ll ask questions about that time in our lives if and when she decides to take the journey for herself. I’ll see.
I haven’t communicated with you as much as I want to lately, because when I’m not focusing clearly (a state I’ve been in for a few months now) I tend to babble in “teach” (from the outside seeming more like “preach”) mode. I fall into this even though I just want to be emotionally supportive. I’ll try hard not to do that to you while I try to stay more in touch. I do have one piece of take-it-or-leave-it advice I like to give to new-ish parents, but it’s more for when you feel good and strong after childbirth. Until then, if you have any questions for a laid-back, any question is a good question kind of mom — don’t hesitate to ask me if you think my opinion might help you think something through.
I’m so excited to get to know Pudding through you and hopefully meet her someday. You’re going to be so wonderful with her. I think of your little family every day. ❤
Dearest Ré!!! No worries; I have been able to feel your good thoughts and encouragement throughout these months. 🙂 ❤ Thank you. ❤
I've already been very glad to have kept this journal, I must say, because with the intensity of each new phase, I do forget a lot of the details of the previous stages. I can only imagine parenting will be much the same, and I hope I'll be able to grab some moments to keep writing things down once Pudding comes out!
I hope you're doing well. I think of you very often and send you little bits of California sunshine — though it's raining and grey this weekend, but we've got some stored up. 😉 Big hugs and love, and thank you for the loving comment and all the thoughts behind it, both when you wrote it and all the other days besides. ❤ ❤ ❤