Now Boarding: Motherhood
I am coming up on my last weekend of being pregnant.
“You must be so excited!”
“You must be so ready!”
“I bet you can’t wait”
“I always wanted twins!”
“Get your sleep now”
“You must be so overjoyed!”
And I kind of am. Except for that I am not. I am just pretty scared. Which is what I tell my husband almost every day – “I’m scared. Are you scared? Why aren’t you scared? I’m scared.”
While he is focusing on the exciting fact that we will soon be parents of two little people that we made, that are part of me and part of him, that I prayed for; I am focusing on the fact that our life is about to change in such a huge way and no matter how many posts, books, and blogs I read about all of it (breastfeeding, sleep schedules, baby gear, etc etc) I cannot adequately prepare for this next stage of life. I feel like we are crossing a threshold of life that we will never be able to cross back over and it is exciting but it is also just terrifying. After Thursday, I will be someone’s mom. Forever. That is crazy.
I guess I would just like you to write a column that says it will, in fact, be okay. Hard but good. Awesome even. I have been asking all the moms I know what they like about being a mom and why it is great. B/c in my head I know that for all the sleep we won’t get, for all the confusion and uncertainty about the logistics of parenthood, for all the extra weight and stretch marks, it must be worth it b/c people keep having kids and they seem to love it. And I’m sure part of it is something that I won’t understand until they are here but I just don’t want to spend my last week of pregnancy fearing this huge change. It is just hard to be brave right now and I would like someone to tell me it really will be okay.
Here goes: It will, in fact, be okay. It will be hard, but good. Different, but good. Awesome even.
It will be everything you think it will be in terms of sleep and sacrifice and uncertainty and life-shattering change, and it will be worth it for reasons that are hard to articulate and describe, but once you’re in the thick of it, you won’t really care. You won’t really NEED anyone to articulate and describe WHY it’s worth it, because…it just IS.
If I may haul out a very tired metaphor here, picture yourself at an amusement park. You’re waiting in line for some unbelievable new roller coaster that you’ve heard everybody talking about. Maybe you don’t even particularly like most roller coasters, but everyone assures you that oh, you’ll like THIS one. Maybe you believe them; maybe you’re having second thoughts. Maybe you love roller coasters, but are still apprehensive because…well, what if you don’t like this one? What if it makes you sick or gives you whiplash? What if something goes wrong? What if it stops working halfway through and the safety bar malfunctions? And can it really be worth waiting in this awful, never-ending line? Maybe you’re thirsty or hungry or getting sunburned but it’s not like you can get out of line NOW. Maybe you wonder if you’re the only one thinking about getting out of line, which is a terrible thing to think about, after all this time and you’ve promised your husband you’d go on the roller coaster and he’s SO EXCITED and maybe you feel badly about not really having any fun just yet, or feeling so scared about a roller coaster that millions of people ride on every day. But mostly you are just so ready to GET OUT OF THIS STUPID LINE and punch anyone around you who’s acting all bubbly and fearless and happy about this whole entire situation.
That’s pregnancy for you, right there. Everything you’re feeling right now is so normal. I felt the exact same way at the end of both of my pregnancies, and that was WITHOUT TWINS, which probably would have amped those feelings up to eleventy million: that guilty-type combo of “what have we DONE” and “I’ve changed my MIND” and a non-stop hamster wheel of worry about everything that could go WRONG along with the still-terrifying outcome of everything going RIGHT: Someone’s mother. Forever. Oh. My God.
Now back to that amusement park. You get on the roller coaster, and your terror probably spikes the highest riiiiiight before the cars start to move, and again riiiiiiiight as you climb that first hill and everything pauses at the peak and then BLAMMO, you’re off. It’s fast and scary and thrilling. It jerks you around and up and down and all over the place and your body and brain are alternating between WHEEEEE! and WHAT THE HELL, MAN? Maybe it’s bumpier and crazier than you were expecting or maybe you’re really surprised that everyone made such a big deal out of it, because you can totally handle this wait wait wait nobody told you about a part with a pitch-black TUNNEL, holy crap, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
And then it slows down to a stop and you sit there kind of blinking and wobbly. “That was awesome,” you say, because it totally was. It was the best roller coaster you have ever been on in your entire life. And maybe (JUST MAYBE) you say: “Let’s do that again!”
That’s motherhood. You’re going to love it. Parts of it. Sometimes. Most of the time. It’s awesome.
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