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This is a guest post written by Julia Merrill of befriendyourdoc.org:
The final weeks of pregnancy are full of conflicting emotions and emotional turmoil. Maybe you’re calling your mom every day for advice, or trying to spend a lot of time with your partner while it’s still just the two of you. You’re excited, you’re exhausted, you can’t wait for this pregnancy to be over. But you’re nervous too, unsure what to expect. The one certainty is that your life is going to be irrevocably altered.
You’re Going To Be Different:
As big a change as your body has gone through, your personality has changed as well. While you were growing a little person, you were growing into a mother, yourself. Your brain has changed, along with your center of gravity. You’re going to question assumptions you held before you had children. Your opinions may change, sometimes radically, once you’re a mother. Before I had kids, I rarely locked my door. I was trusting, and thankfully, no one ever took advantage of that. Once I had a child, it was as if my sense of danger turned on. Someone flipped a switch, and the world looked different, more random and dangerous, full of terrible drivers and rude people, and toxins and slippery surfaces and other things that can hurt your baby.
You’re Going to Get Powers:
Maternal instinct is real. When my first child was born, I questioned whether I had any at all. I loved my baby, but I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy and bonded when I breastfed him. I felt icky and uncomfortable and a little bit resentful of the tiny stranger at my breast. I questioned whether I was up to the challenge of being his mom. But I vividly remember the day that I got my answer. I was feeding my son little bits of chopped up sausages in his high chair. He began choking. Instantly, I whipped him out of the high chair, turned him upside down, swept the bits from his mouth, and he was fine. It wasn’t in the books, it wasn’t any way recommended to handle a choking child. But I did it instinctively, without thought, and it worked.
As I sat there shaking afterward, the adrenaline coursing through my body, it hit me like a tidal wave: I knew what to do. When called upon, I had what it took to keep my tiny human alive. It was humbling, and awe-inspiring to me.
When their children are in danger, mothers have lifted cars and successfully fought off wild animals to protect them. You might think you’re the most nonviolent person in the world, but once you’re a mother, you’re going to find that you do have it in you to hurt someone, if that someone is a threat to your child. There is no one more dangerous than a mother protecting her offspring. You’re going to grow eyes in the back of your head, and develop a sixth sense for when your kid is in trouble.
You’re Going To Be Tired:
Prepare to lose sleep for the rest of your life. Okay, I’m kidding, it’s more like for the first six months, and then again, for some months around the terrible twos. And then again, later when they start driving, until they’re around twenty-five. My own mother assures me I’ll start losing sleep again once mine have their own kids. The point is, kids make us worry, and they take a great deal of energy.
Take these last few weeks of pregnancy to nap as much as possible, and once the baby comes, sleep whenever he does. The housework will still be there when you both wake up. If you can afford it, consider hiring a cleaning service. If you have pets, consider a dog walking service. Take help when it’s offered, and ask for it when it’s needed. Give yourself time to rest, and when the baby is awake, play with the baby. No one ever lay on their deathbed wishing they’d done more housework. The moments with your baby go by so fast, and you’ll never get them back again. Spend as much time as you can together, making memories.
You Want to Take Care of the Details
With so much overwhelm in the final weeks, a lot of details will slip through the cracks. When the time comes to head to the hospital, you will feel a mix of exhilaration and terror. A lot will be going through your head, and the last thing you want to worry about is whether you’re wearing shoes or if you have a cord to power your phone. That’s why it’s always recommended that you put together a hospital bag in the weeks leading up your due date. Pack whatever you anticipate needing. Hair ties, a robe, a labor and delivery gown, socks, slippers, lip balm, moisturizer, device chargers, headphones, clothes for the baby. Any creature comforts you can think of. Then be sure to pack up copies of your driver’s license and your insurance card. Gather it all up, and put it in a bag that you can leave by the front door, right next to your comfy shoes. It might not feel like much, but having control here can almost feel like an accomplishment.
It goes without saying that your life is about to change. You’re going to have baby-proofed cabinets, corners, and light sockets. You’re going to wind up reading food labels and second-guessing all your decisions. That’s normal. But you’re embarking on the greatest adventure of your entire life. You’re getting ready to meet the most important person you’ll ever know, and you’re going to love them more than you ever thought was possible.
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