From the beginning of my pregnancy, people have been telling me to enjoy every moment--minus the morning sickness, backaches, mood swings etc. And I have been blessed enough to be able to sail through these 9 months with hardly any of these pregnancy "side effects" that discourage people from enjoying the process. I was talking with my friend the other day, mother to 3 girls, and she tells me her labor for her first child was only around 6 hours and she pushed for maybe 15 minutes (shorter for each subsequent). I tell her she is good at delivering babies! She has always wanted children, comes from a hearty family of farmers, and she is a sensible person--she just seems like she would be good at having babies. I tell her I don't know how I will be in labor and delivery, but I am good at being pregnant.
When people tell me to enjoy every moment, they often follow that up with, "Really take advantage of this time you have where you can do things for yourself. It's the last time you have to be selfish, or for it to be just you and Mike."
And I try.
I have been extremely active these past nine months. I have had a social calendar which is filled to the brim on weekends, and many weekdays/nights (much to Mike's chagrin at times). I continued working for most of my pregnancy, I taught a playwriting class, I taught a theatre class, I have had a few of my plays performed (actually, my full length play, Free Space, opens tonight in Alaska!). I have visited family and planned several large parties. The last few months, in particular, I have taken advantage of seeing plays in NYC, traveling to the Caribbean with my husband, going out to movies and dinners, and nurturing friendships. I feel as though I have been sucking at the marrow of life, as they say, to eek all that I can out of my pre-baby days.
Besides taking advantage of doing things without an infant attached to my hip, people also tell me, "Savor the pregnancy itself. Time goes by so quickly. Before you know it..."
My friend, mother to 4 children, wrote me an email a few months ago about this and puts it well:
"Today, I think back to the baby years, the toddler years, the days when all it seemed I ever got to 'cook' was Cheerios and rice cereal, and I somehow don't remember how I got to this place? How did my babies change and grow up so quickly? O. is turning 12 this spring and my 'baby' will turn 6. I can't believe the boys are already 8 & 10. Where did the years go? My baby girl (O) is closer to driving cars and getting married than she is to her diaper days now. It is so strange and everyone tells you that 'it goes by so quickly' and you nod and say 'yeah, it does' and you think you understand what they are saying when they encourage you to 'enjoy it now; while you can; while they're babies' and you can't wait until they can walk or talk or tell you what they want and before you know it, they're sharing shoes with you and wondering when you're going to the mall next....Of course, each moment is precious..."
And I think about this, and there is no way I can understand because I do not yet have the experience of years...Although, even now, a few months ago, Mike shares with me how sad he is that our child is going to grow up, go to college, get married, and leave us some day. I tell him to "Stop saying that--you're making me sad too!" So yes, we are thinking in advance already, then looking back in imaginary-hindsight!
Experience or not, I do know, however, that I want to savor each moment, but I also know, there is no way to slow down time.
Take this pregnancy, for instance, as I do have the insight of looking back on 9 months. I have tried to savor each moment. I write in this blog. Mike takes pictures of my belly. We write messages in a baby bottle to our womb baby. We record videos of major events or baby-related activities. We enjoy several showers, feeling the love and support of friends and relatives for our growing family. We read about babies, pregnancy, and attend classes. We sing songs to the baby; Mike writes a song for the baby. We feel our little guy move through my belly, talk to him, coddle him...I really do feel like we are savoring the pregnancy. We are trying to preserve moments, and by preserving, hopefully remembering, and by remembering, hopefully keeping these moments with us and hopefully...slowing down time...
But it does not work this way.
We do preserve and try to remember. But it does not slow down time. In fact, I feel it advances time. I have spoken to many mothers who say their pregnancies seem to have lasted forever. When I am 15 weeks pregnant, one of our friends is 7 months pregnant and she says, "I can't even remember what it was like to be 15 weeks pregnant! That seems sooo long ago!" I wonder if I will feel like that at 7 months pregnant.
But now, at almost 9 months pregnant, 15 weeks pregnant still does not seem that long ago to me.
Others say the last month or two goes by slowly. "I couldn't wait to get the baby out of me!" Or "I was so bored!" Even baby websites give ways to encourage labor because, "By the time you're 39 weeks pregnant and within spitting distance of your due date, you're probably willing to do or eat anything to get to that million-dollar prize...more quickly."
But my last month has been busier than ever. Time is racing by like a rocket ship. I want it to slow down. I keep waiting for it to slow down.
The other day, I mention to my friend (the one who is "good at" delivery), "I know this may sound naive, but I wonder if I'll actually have more time to read and watch a movie and relax once I have the baby...I have been running around so much right now, I don't feel I've had the time to do that."
"I don't think it sounds naive," she tells me. "Infants sleep around 18 hours a day. And you'll be nursing a lot when he's awake. You probably will have more time to sit and watch a movie or read a book."
I also know that I am running on a crazy sort of adrenaline right now, which has surprisingly sustained me for 9 months, but it can't go on forever. I still am not sleeping well. This past Monday night, I get 5 hours and 45 minuts of sleep without getting up and realize that is more sleep than I've had my whole pregnancy, and probably for a few months before, as well. Of course, it has not lasted. Last night, I get up, literally, over 10 times in the night. And yet, I am awake by 6:30 every morning, ready to start the day. Yesterday, I work on my "to do" list from 8am to 9pm, almost nonstop and while enjoying 30 Rock and The Office, my body is impatient to start the next day.
The month before my wedding, I was living at my parents' house and not sleeping or eating much at that time, due to excitement/anxiety. Even though I would have only a few hours of sleep a night, I constantly felt wired, buzzed, with occasional bouts of anxiety and stress. I would wake up very early, eyes instantly wide open, completely awake, and ready to work on my next wedding project. But once I finally completed my vows the night before the wedding, and lay my head down to sleep...I relaxed. My part was almost complete.
When I woke up in the morning, I realized I'd had more sleep that night than in months. But this morning, when I woke up, my eyes did not shoot open. I did not feel wired, buzzed, alert. I was tired. I was dragging my feet. I wanted to go back to bed.
Of course, I perked up as the day went on, but that sense of relaxation that I had been missing all those pre-wedding weeks finally came to visit me when I knew there was not much else left for me to do--even though ironically, I was now finally on the day of the most excitement, the day all the preparation had been for. There was no need to be in my heightened stated of awareness, that extra adrenaline to make sure I completed all I needed to. I just needed to participate, love my friends, family, my husband...and that was it.
Thankfully, that day did slow down, seeming longer than most previous, and I was blessed to actually remember that day, as well.
Perhaps those days are to come. Maybe I will finish my "to do" list this weekend and have one week before my due date to sink into slow motion (although I do have social plans for almost every day next week...)...Or perhaps this will come post-baby, when I have done my part to make it to that wonderful state of finally having my little baby boy in my arms.
Or perhaps this will not come. And perhaps I may not want it to come. I don't know. That is the exciting thing about not having the experience to look back on yet...it is all a mystery to me, an adventure...
So I guess we'll just have to see where the infant car seat takes us!
2013: The Year in Pictures
8 years ago