In the very last stages of pregnancy, all seems to go a little bit quiet. It’s easy to compare, because the three to four weeks prior to hitting “term” (37 weeks) are filled with activity; preparations for the baby, you frantically trying to *do all the things* before the addition to your life comes and flips it upside down. Anticipation of the forthcoming labour is prominent, and continuous thoughts about the big changes ahead fill your day to day empty moments. If this is your first baby, the days at home are quiet and spare time is paramount – you don’t realise that you should be relishing it until years later. If it’s round two for you, your mind manifests a great big day nap for your elder child upon first rise and you wonder how long you will last on your feet today.
There’s a suspenseful excitement in the air, sort of like the weeks surrounding Christmas time. When the baby does not arrive early, before your 40 week due date or even before 39, a more relaxed demeanour embraces you; a sort of acceptance that you’re in this for another few weeks. Gripping as it is, wondering every day when you will finally meet your baby in your first pregnancy, things are different the second time around. What you realise is that soon, your life will never be the same again. Surrendering to this notion is what allows you to finally take heed of all the advice to slow down, stop rushing through every moment, and cease wishing the days away until your next little bundle arrives.
During this time that feels like a slow warp, you approach certain things differently. When your first child talks to you, you squat down (with great difficulty) to look directly into his eyes and hear the unfolding drama among his toys. When he tugs your hand to please come and play, you allow yourself to be guided by him. When his daily routines go out the window, you don’t wonder what is wrong with him…you understand that there is a different scent in the air; all he has ever known in his big three years is about to be redesigned in an almighty way.
You personally take any time to yourself and hold it with a gentle but firm grip. You receive your normal duties with grace, but you don’t fill your days with more than they truly need. For once, you actually take time to do some minor deeds for yourself. This is a big deal for you, after having sacrificed most of those long long ago when you had your first child.
This time, being the second, sees your due date arrive and pass with little fuss. You know a little bit more about the natural process of labour, and you’re okay with seeing that through. That isn’t to say each day is easy, though. Everything at this point in the pregnancy is difficult…sleeping comfortably is impossible, your feet don’t know what is going on when you stand in the morning and now, the baby is sitting so low down in your pelvis that you are visibly waddling. But the finish line is in sight, and why rush towards it now?
When the baby still isn’t in your arms past 40 weeks, you start incorporating all the little “labour induction” DIY hacks everyone advises. You know in your heart, however, that none of them will work. The baby will come when he or she is ready, yes, but you bounce and walk and rub essential oils anyway, in the vague hope that something might encourage the process.
How incredibly marvellous it is to be pregnant, to grow your offspring from a basically invisible cell, into a person. We call it a miracle, but the science behind it epitomises perfection. How spectacular, the way our female bodies work in synchronicity with their male counterparts to begin, and then take over to produce a life. The pure precision of it all ceases to amaze me, despite it being universally prevalent and the most ancient practice to ever exist.
I am so very grateful to be able to experience the journey that is pregnancy, though it’s really only the very beginning of personal growth in a major way. Parenthood is exquisite; a beautiful and crazy adventure that can intensely change a person. It allows us to experience a love that is so pure, so previously unmatched and so powerful all at once, it truly is wondrous. Knowing this is what allows the sense of acceptance for enduring a very long pregnancy to prevail over the discomfort of it all. And when the time finally comes and the incomparable agony of labour passes, you have a beautiful, brand new human to hold in your arms. What an absolute treat.