For the last eight months, I've been planning. Getting the nest ready. Reading up (as I do). Largely excited with a tiny bit of natural anxiety mixed in. Friends and colleagues (and of course the daily strangers) have remarked about how well I am doing. How happy I seem. I am.
I walk around with my arms framing my baby, top and bottom. In part to answer my instinct to cushion the movement (I am still a pretty hard walker) and in part to signal to the rushing crowds of NYC streets that I wish they would slow down.
Now that I've gotten to the third trimester, I feel like I've finally figured out how to be pregnant - I'm used to the new responsibilities, the new feelings, the new body. The baby's room is ready (with more muscle from Gerry than me) and the bag is packed. A plan is in place at work for what happens with my responsibilities while I am on maternity leave. Things feel like they are falling into place.
And then I realized something a couple of weeks ago and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
While this is a new beginning, this is the end of me and Gerry as we know it.
And I freaked out. I felt the need to cancel all weekend commitments so that Gerry and I could have as much quality time as possible. After all, once the baby gets here, it's never going to be the same. It will never be just me and G anymore. I cried bittersweet tears and my heart raced. I wondered what would happen to us. Every time we had a sweet, quiet moment, I thought... oh god. All of this is going to be over. I am happy we have a baby on the way, but we aren't going to have this anymore.
And I felt this for a good couple of weeks. I felt panicked. After all, the months are dwindling to weeks. Weeks to days. Our time all of a sudden felt limited. What could we do? What amazing experiences could we have before the baby?! And no wonder I thought this way with all the rhetoric... Strangers most often will tell us when we are out to dinner, "Better do a lot of this now while you can!" That we better "have fun now because when the baby gets here, it's all over." Of course I spazzed. Of course I wondered what would come of our relationship - does the baby take over? Do we forget about each other and become so focused on the baby that our relationship takes a back seat? This is what everyone tells me happens. And so it was in my head.
And then taking a step back, I remind myself what a strong foundation Gerry and I have. The fact that we have talked through the changes we are currently going through. Confidence that we will continue to discuss the changes. And negotiate. And sometimes disagree. And ultimately come to resolutions and move forward side by side. That is what we promised each other almost a year ago and continue to promise.
After this realization I stopped seeing this as an ending. Having a baby and growing our family is a beginning, the beginning of an evolution. It will change everything, but it doesn't mean that something is ending or dying. It means that something is changing. And will probably get even stronger if we want. I know this is true when I can't find Gerry and then catch him in the baby's room. The corner bedroom, full of orange light in the morning sun and Gerry is just surveying. A look of eagerness, contentment and pride in his face. I love him even more every time I find him doing this. I know he will be an amazing father.
My heart is still racing a bit (ok fine, it is harder to breathe these days :)) but now because I am excited. Excited to experience all of the beginnings...