Well, I'm 34 weeks pregnant today. This reality sends me into an ambivalent state of mixed panic and relief. Panic, because our family is about to change radically and ... What if Liam and I aren't best friends anymore? What if I'm a fairly decent mother to one child but a psycho mom to two children? What if I never get to sleep again? What if breastfeeding is as difficult as it was with Liam? What if Cora doesn't like me? What if Josh and I are way too exhausted to ever be intentional in our relationship again? What if I absolutely fall apart when my weaknesses that were uncovered by getting married and by having a child are added to by more weaknesses exposed by having another child?
However, I do feel relief, as well. Relief, because I have been blessed with a healthy pregnancy that has made it all the way to 34 weeks. I've known or known of a lot of couples in the past year who have gone into pre-term labor and have either had very long NICU stays or who have lost their babies. I feel so blessed that little Cora has had this much time to grow and develop and get stronger; and while I will be happy to not be lugging a giant belly around anymore, I'm more than willing to let her stay in there as long as she needs to get all of her little systems working reliably.
I feel relief because, while I have enjoyed this pregnancy and it has been fairly easy, I also really enjoy being not pregnant. I'm very excited to start the shrinking process again, and I'm hopeful that I can get myself back in shape a little quicker than I did after Liam. I certainly won't be able to spend endless hours each day just sitting on the couch holding Cora and gazing at her like I did with Liam. I'm assuming you burn more calories chasing a toddler than you do holding a newborn :)
I feel relief because I'm ready to get into this next phase of life. Preparing for a new baby has been fun, but I'm starting to feel ready to have a baby instead of a list of projects to work on to get ready for said baby. Her room is painted (well, the perfect color saga is actually ongoing, but I'm not going to say anything else about that now), her crib and nightstand are painted, her dresser is almost done being painted, her quilt & bumper are in progress, and most of the artwork for her walls is either complete or just needs to be framed. The only things that we really haven't started are recovering the glider for her room, painting her bookshelf, and sewing her curtains. The curtains and bookshelf will be pretty quick projects, so unless she comes really early, I'm confident it will all get done.
I feel relief because, so far (knock on wood), I have had none of the nearly preeclamptic issues I had with Liam. During that pregnancy I gained between 8-10 pounds of water weight between weeks 32 and 33, and my blood pressure shot through the roof. It was miserable. for the last 7-8 weeks of pregnancy I was constantly monitoring my blood pressure, trying to keep my feet elevated, and asking Josh to massage some of the puffiness out of my feet and ankles. I was swollen everywhere and ended up gaining nearly 50 pounds with that pregnancy. This time around I've only noticed swelling a couple of different times, when I've been on my feet too much throughout the day, and even then, it has only been in my lower legs. I've gained about 24 pounds, so I still feel hopeful that I can make it through this pregnancy at 30 pounds or less. Also, my blood pressure is still about the same as it is when I'm not pregnant. I knew I didn't feel good toward the end of my pregnancy with Liam, but I had no idea until this time around how hard that must have been on my body.
So yes, there is some panic. There's much more relief than panic, though, and I'm pretty sure none of the panic is godly. Yes, there will be changes. Yes, I will mourn some of those changes, just as I mourned some of the changes after Liam was born. Yes, sometimes that mourning will probably come in the form of somewhat irrational, weepy meltdowns, because that is what I do. Yes, I will be reminded anew that I can't do it all on my own, I am not self-sustaining, and I need constant Holy Spirit intervention to have a hope of parenting well. Yes, those reminders are often painful, but they are good.
And of course, I cannot predict what my relationship with either of my children or my husband will look like in the future, but I do know that God loves each of us more than I can imagine and He has given us as gifts to one another. I know He is sovereign over the joys and the heartaches we will cause one another. I know He has a plan for how each of us, individually and as a family, will bring Him glory. I know He is good, and hopefully, more often than not, that is where my mind will rest.
p.s. As I reread this post I realize it sounds like I have way more fear and trembling about adding another child to our family than excitement. I am very thrilled, but the fear and trembling part is pretty accurate.