Expecting a baby brings so much joy to your life. And from what I hear, so does actually having the baby. But amid the anticipation, there’s also a sadness that borders on grieving. I’m saying goodbye to Helen as I’ve known her so far – pre-motherhood. I already miss her in a tangible way. I feel like I’m standing on a dock watching someone I dearly love about to sail away forever, and not wanting to let her go.
I feel the same way about Chris and I as a couple. Lately I’ve been thinking back over the memories we’ve created together, just he and I. Walking around in our summer clothes at art festivals, him drinking a beer and me drinking an overly sweet margarita from a tacky glass, buying pottery and art we don’t need…throwing on our swimsuits to head to the beach or pool, our biggest responsibility being making sure we packed the sunscreen…me luxuriously cooking our dinner and sipping wine while he lifted weights or did work on his computer. I remember us cuddling on the sofa discussing what it’d be like if there were a little one crawling around. Would there be room on the sofa? Would we even be able to relax? At the time having a baby seemed very, very far away.
The fact is, our new addition is so permanent. Things will never, ever be the same (as people so kindly keep reminding me). And so in that sense, I’m saying goodbye, and for me – who as a child used to hide behind the door and cry when company left – that has always been hard to do.
My feeling a little wistful doesn’t mean I’m not excited, too. I haven’t met her yet, but already I wouldn’t change her for the world.
And a few nights ago, I actually dreamed about her! In the dream I could see her face, and I was holding her, dressing her, and breastfeeding her for the first time. I’ve always had extremely vivid dreams, and in this dream my emotions – uncertainty, anxiety, enormous responsibility, amazement, joy, and love – were all very real. Through that dream I’ve somehow bonded with our baby on another level, and now I can’t stop caressing my belly and talking to her and sending her my love telepathically.
I can’t speak for motherhood just yet, but pregnancy is a life-changing time full of unfamiliar, mixed emotions. It’s the peak of my life, the thing I was secretly putting off because I didn’t want it to be over (I said I’d wait until 35 to have kids!). It’s like the best piece of chocolate in the box that you save for last, or the best Christmas present that you don’t want to unwrap because then Christmas will be over. I don’t think anything as amazing will ever happen to me as having my first baby, and a daughter at that.
And so when I always said I’d wait as long as possible to get married and have children, that was the real reason – the “hoarding” of the experience. But now, I’m well on my way and I’m savoring every moment of it. I don’t want it to be over!