at 39 weeks

  • I don’t go to bed without finishing every last dish in the sink. “If this is it, I’ll want to shower,” I think. “Shower, and add things to the bag, and be with J. I won’t want to do dishes.”
  • I watch J’s face a lot. When her body tenses up with the frequency of Braxton Hicks. With the new intensity of pressure. With a baby who’s fully engaged and ready. I watch her breathing.
  • I spend hours with our cats, wanting them to know how loved they are. Setting the intention to include them. These beings who got me through the whole of my 20s and into my 30s. These soul animals who I love, I suspect, more than I’ll ever love an animal again.
  • I am careful with friend time, not knowing how this time will change. Not knowing when I might be undistractedly attentive again.
  • I worry. That he won’t come for weeks. That he’ll come today. That seeing J in pain will break my heart. That the same people who have excluded me during this pregnancy will exclude me once he’s here. Talk through me. Ignore my new mamahood.
  • I take lots of photos of J’s belly. I realize how deeply I’ve come to love this atypical roundness in my wife’s body. That I’ll miss it.
  • I feel sad that I can’t breastfeed. I mourn that.
  • I let myself attach to this new class of students, which I didn’t think I would. I feel vulnerable with them. I feel that we’re sharing something indescribably sweet.
  •  I drink even more water and take lots of Vitamin C. I want to be strong.
  • I try to picture his face. His eyes. His mouth. I love him fiercely. I sing to him nightly.
  • I pace in and out of his nursery, resisting the urge to wash his things again. His linens. Resisting the urge to keep up the frantic pace of nesting that dominated the past month.
  • I watch as the world interacts with J, congratulating her when they see the belly. I think, “how presumptuous.” I think, “Oh, God, women who are placing their babies in other families must face this.” I think, “Why don’t you see me? I’m full term too.”
  • I cook. I bake. I crave heartiness: kale pesto and squash pudding and sweet potato hash. Foods of the season, his season, E’s season.
  • I think about the day of her arrival (January 19th). I wonder if he’ll come on her day, something shared between siblings who will never share anything.
  • I feel gratitude for our midwife. Our midwife who has been like a gift; I can’t even tell you. We showed up in her exam room all those months back, bundles of fear and anxiety. A thousand questions a visit. Vibrating with longing and fear of longing. She met every question. Just, met them. Honestly. Patiently. As if there were nothing wrong with us. As if we made sense. She made us feel safe, almost unbroken, strong enough to do this.
  • I fret about silly things. Will the clothes we want to take be clean (I do laundry daily). Will I have time to wash my hair. Have I put the sweater-cover-thing on the carseat correctly (it’s cold out there).
  • I wait. Like every parent before me, I wait.

9 thoughts on “at 39 weeks

  1. I am so impressed by your focus and attentiveness to yourself and where you are in this process of waiting. I feel like I am a cat chasing my tail, so many things to do. This is good inspiration for me to pull myself myself together. I was especially sad to read your line about breastfeeding. While it is a harsh reality, I hope that you will be able to mourn and then find peace. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing about how you experience motherhood and the space you are able to define and create. For now, I wish you patience in these last days…

  2. what a lovely post.

    as far as i could tell from the other side, Sugar (the ngp at our house) was much, much less ignored after the baby came — in fact, she was often less ignored than i was, because she was much more likely to be carrying the bean (i was in pretty rough shape), and for most people, the person holding the baby = mom. this was honestly sort of hard for me to take (feeling so lousy and being invisible, while she was healthy AND got the attention), but there is a fairness to it. you won’t be invisible for much longer, you really won’t.

    (oh, and you didn’t say quite this, i realize, but i was very worried while pregnant that we would neglect or not love our cats anymore, as so many people had told us would happen. that did not happen.)

  3. Such an honest and lovely post. I hope the little one makes his appearence soon. And don’t worry, I’m sure your cats will know how much you love them, even with the baby there. After all, I’m sure they’ll be more preoccupied with the new little bundle of cuteness :-)

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