By Pamela Brownstein
Well, we’ve made it eight and a half months. In Babyland language, where every week makes a difference, that’s 34 out of 40 weeks. It’s another mini-milestone in our pregnancy journey because if the baby’s born now, we can go to Beaufort Memorial Hospital. (Any earlier and we would have to go to MUSC in Charleston.)
Even though nine months seems like enough time to prepare for bringing a new life into the world, as we get closer to The Big Day, I still don’t know if I’m ready.
Recently I caught myself rolling my eyes at a restaurant listening to a screaming kid in the next booth. “What are those parents doing?” I thought. And I was gripped with dread: “Oh God, that is so going to be me.” Then I thought, “there’s no way MY kid will act like that because he will be disciplined and always well behaved.” This self-preservation lie that all parents-to-be tell themselves (my kid will be different) works fine for me.
I’ve learned a lot so far being pregnant. Like I never knew the value of Tums before, and most nights I don’t know what I’d do without those little chalky pills of relief. I also never understood the meaning of morning sickness, but being sick at least once a week for 34 weeks has showed me that it is nothing to take lightly. I’m also grateful for the invention of elastic, and find it quite liberating to wear stretch pants out in public.
I also found that being pregnant agrees with me. Everyone tells me that I look good, and, while some women gain a lot, I’ve only put on a modest amount of weight. Most days I feel happy and lucky and smile every time I see my stomach moving or feel the hiccups coming from the tiny person inside me. My thoughts range from fantasizing about playing with his little feet to freaking out because I don’t really know what I’m doing and what if he starts crying uncontrollably and I can’t stop it. Or what if something’s wrong with him or what if I won’t be able to breast feed. It’s easy to spiral into ‘What If’ territory with so many unknowns, but I have to slowly step back and remind myself that I can do it and not to doubt my instincts with this daunting new responsibility.
Even though I sometimes feel unsure emotionally, physically at least, my husband and I have done everything we can to prepare.
We had a yard sale and got rid of all the furniture in our guest bedroom, as well as our beloved bar from the ’70s. Left at the house by a roommate, the bar served us well for many years, but given our limited space and its impracticality, it seemed like the right time to let it go.
With an empty guest bedroom, we put in new carpeting and invited our families to help us transform the room into a nursery. The reinforcements came in one weekend from Ohio and Texas, and while the women ate and opened presents at a baby shower, the men were put to work doing home improvements and assembling furniture. The baby room blitz was a success and it’s comforting to know the Winnie-the-Pooh themed nursery is ready, even if I’m not.
While most people spend the month of December going about their merry holiday ways, I’m counting down the days until I give birth and trying to appreciate these nice, quiet moments I have to myself because I know it’s all about to change. With a January 10 due date, there’s no turning back now, and I can’t wait to finally hold my baby.
By Pamela Brownstein