Time Will Tell: Waiting and Worrying
My head is not quiet.
Two days ago it was quiet, or relatively so. With three weeks to go before my due date, I was living in a surreal space. I know what’s to come (more or less), but I was having a hard time believing it’s coming so soon.
Having a second baby is a weird experience. Before my first was born I was anxious, though just how anxious I didn’t actually realize at the time. I was still lost in that first-time-mom fog of dreaming about sweet babies and sighs and soft blankets. Because you don’t know, do you? You can never really know what it’s like to have a new baby until you get there yourself.
This time I know what it’s like, and yet not really. What will it be like with two? How will I be? Is it going to be okay? For the past several weeks I’ve been more focused on meeting this new little being than I have been about how he’s going to get here and what will happen in the days and weeks and months after. I feel like I know this child already -- the one who likes to stick his feet in my ribs, the one who gets hiccups a lot, the one who dances when I eat something sweet, which are all things Connor never really did. I’m trying to picture him -- his hair, his cheeks, his fingers. Will he look like his brother? Will he have my eyes?
And then on Saturday night I woke up around midnight having contractions. They were the mild Braxton Hicks type, slow but rhythmic, and unlike anything this mama who has never labored before has experienced. I thought, Hi! Are you getting ready to come? andGood. We can do this together.
Then on Sunday morning I got cranky. At first I blamed my efforts to play around with design (never a good thing) and then I retreated upstairs for a bit.
And then I couldn’t breathe.
I’m not ready, I thought. We don’t have the hospital bag packed and the car seat isn’t installed and we haven’t figured out where we’re going to store the receiving blankets. We need to get the windshield replaced. The dog needs to go to the groomer. We need more freezer meals!
The list I had made the night before suddenly seemed overwhelming and despite being organized, I felt ill-prepared. I let that feeling of the list, the list drown out the little voice in my head that was telling me that’s not what this is about.
But I don’t want to think about that.
Like a big girl, I did think about it and realized I was having an anxiety attack. Yes, we have more stuff to do. No, none of it is critical; the hospital bag is half ready and we can chuck the rest in if we need to, and the car seat can be installed quickly. But I’m not ready.
I need to think more about this whole birth process (more on that in another post) and I need to sit with my thoughts for a while. This baby might be as challenging as Connor was. I might not cope this time either. It might be better or worse, happier or harder, but I need to internalize the knowing that ultimately it will be okay.
It will be okay.
So I took a deep breath, let the anxiety in and acknowledged its presence, then watched it leave. I don’t know what the next day will bring, or the next three weeks, or the next three months. Whatever happens will happen, and it will happen on its own schedule.
I’m not ready, but I don’t have to be.
It will be okay.
Robin Farr is a writer, a conference speaker, a communications pro & a mom to a four-year-old boy with another on the way. Her motto is "Live the life you're meant to." She writes about motherhood, her struggle with PPD, & finding inspiration at http://farewellstranger.com.
Photo Credit: diophoto.