Saturday, May 2, 2015

On Preparing for the Biggest Transition of My Life

Here is a post that I wrote a week and a half ago (4/22/15) – grateful I finally have the chance to publish it before the birth of our little one - which is still impending!

Me at 37 weeks!
So for those of you who may not know….the big news is I am pregnant – finally – 38 weeks pregnant to be exact!  I am very excited about this turn of events and have been luckily having an enjoyable and eventful pregnancy thus far.   Today marks the day that I enter into my birth month as sometime in the next four weeks I should have this baby if all goes well. 

As I prepare for labor and childbirth and the gigantic, never-ending task of parenthood that comes after, I find myself really thinking about how much my life is about to change.   I truly believe that this is the biggest transition and life change that anyone could ever go through, except (as my husband reminded me) for death.   Once I have this baby, it will never again be all about me.   I may never again feel comfortable turning off my cell phone and completely checking out from the world unless I have secured reliable care for my little one.   As my cousin-in-law Michelle put it in a recent message to me, “Soon things will never be the same…they will be more hectic, more trying, and BETTER even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment.”

Of course, as those of you who have been reading my blog for a while are aware, I have been wanting  to be a mom for a very long time, practically as long as I can remember.  As I’ve watched this baby grow inside me (he/she was just visible moving around in my tummy), I am in awe of what our bodies are capable of – at no time have I ever been so connected to my mammalian roots.  As much I am tempted to think my way through all of this, it is the animal part of me that knows how to birth this baby and the animal part of me that knows how to nurse and take care of it.   I am honored to carry this baby and to be so close a witness and participant to this miracle. 
I've got big shoes to fill!

Still, there is definitely a part of me hanging on to the familiar and comfortable, a part of me that is not quite ready to let go of the status quo, a part of me that is not ready to let go of life as I currently know it.   Right now, I live in a world where I get up leisurely, plan out my free time however I want it (for the most part), and generally put my needs first.  If I’m hungry, I grab something to eat.  If I’m tired, I get some sleep as soon as I can.   If I feel like coming home and reading a book or listening to music on a Friday night, I do it.  I am often able to do nourishing things like go to yoga or massage or acupuncture or dance classes, and as I near the end of those things, I ponder what other relaxing things I’d like to do with the rest of my day or evening.   Of course, I too have to pay bills and go to work and do chores like everyone else, but for the most part, I live a pampered, easy life. 

That pampered, easy life is going to vanish in an instant sometime in the next hours or days or weeks.   Soon, I’ll be lucky if I even get a spare moment to go the bathroom, eat a quick snack, or grab a thirty-minute nap.  I’ll go through a mysterious, challenging, transformative birth and then launch into weeks and weeks and years of care for this helpless little being who will need me every moment.  I’ll do the best I can and give as much as I can and then give even more beyond that.  I’ll encounter depths of tiredness that I never even thought possible.   I’ll deal with more pee and poop and spit up and fluids than I ever thought possible.   

This book I read a long time ago by Barbara C. Unell called The Eight Seasons of Parenthood names the newborn / baby phase the Sponge phase because you are wrung out and constantly dealing with fluids and mess while “surrendering your former identity to the essentials of caring for a baby.”  Coincidentally, she calls the pregnancy phase the celebrity phase as you "go through the self-absorption of impending parenthood."   Basically you go from being Cinderella at the ball to Cinderella the household maid – a giant change in status in a very short amount of time.

That brings up a whole other aspect as well.   Not only have I gotten accustomed to being a pampered adult focused on my own needs, I have also gotten used to being a pregnant woman at this point.   As a pregnant woman, you get to be the center of attention often, get to go to prenatal yoga and meetups and classes, and get to join this transitory clique of pregnant women.   With any luck, I’ll get to continue growing relationships with some of these women “on the other side” and get to know their babies as well, but we will see.   Pregnancy is a window into a whole other aspect of society that you don’t get to experience at any other time in your life.

At this point, I feel like I’m right at the transition.   A lot of the women that I’ve met along the way are now gone from the pregnant circles, and if I’m lucky, I’ve received an announcement or text from them sharing the great news of their baby’s arrival.  I’ve received several cute photos of women and their partners and the miraculous little ones that emerged from the bellies that I got to know these past few months.   Now a lot of the women at these pregnancy events are earlier on in their pregnancy journey and I’m one of the “senior” or “queen” mamas sharing advice and tips of the trade.   It truly seems surreal to me.  There is a part of me that can’t quite grasp how these women I got to know as pregnant now have these cute little ones that came out of them and are now knee deep in the unknown that is early parenthood.

Right now, I just can’t quite get it into my brain that this belly that I am carrying is going to go away and the squirmy little creature inside of me is going to come out of my baby and completely rock my world very soon – any hour, any day, any week, now.   I am basically on alert for the next few weeks.   When my time comes, I will go through whatever labor experience is in store for me and transform through whatever that entails.  The being that is Kimberly the married, young adult will disappear forever and become Kimberly the mom, a completely new incarnation of myself.   The next phase of my life will begin.   The world that I inhabit will shift.  Am I ready?  I hope so – I’m not sure you can ever truly be ready.  

Nervous and Excited!
While I am naturally apprehensive, I look forward to filling up the pages of this new chapter and seeing who me and my baby become – together we will embark in a new world and on a new adventure together.   I look forward to experiencing the rest that life has to offer and to loving this little one inside me on the outside with all of my heart.  

Stay tuned for more tales “from the other side” once the initial storm subsides.  You can also follow photos and updates re: our little one at    Thanks for your support and well wishes!

Photos courtesy of my neighbor and friend Sherrie Ladegast!

I've had this song from my Biodanza class in my head lately - "Adiumus" by Karl Jenkins.   Apparently, it is also connected with the movie Avatar which I was fond of a few years ago.  For me, it brings up themes of bravery, courage, leaping forward, and solidarity with others.

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