Thursday, November 30, 2017

on mamahood: the early days, part II

When I first found out I was pregnant, the expected due date was November 30th. That is today.
After we had the dating ultrasound, they modified the date to December 1st. That is tomorrow.

I don't know how we got here, husband.

How is it that we are going to meet our little love so so so imminently?

3 months have gone by since I last wrote about any of this to you -- and amidst that silence, the egg has been growing and growing. Our newly burgeoning parent identities have been shyly growing too. Quietly at first, we acknowledge ourselves as Mama and Baba. We wonder: who are we to claim these names yet?

Even with 40 weeks to digest this idea, it all still feels so new.

Moments / Symptoms from the third trimester:

- Strangers yelling at me on the street while pointing at my belly: HEY! CONGRATULATIONS!

- Having our best friends throw us such a loving baby shower, like a mini-reunion from our wedding.

- Feeling baby kick and move around consistently every day ((what a blessing, how reassuring))

- Learning words such as: epistiotomy, mucus plug, glider vs. rocker, gestational diabetes, 
microfleece inserts

- standing in a real exaggerated, pregnant way on the skytrain to see who notices me

- the rollercoaster of being told that B could take 3 unpaid months off work, serious conversations and my serious doubts, a realization that I'm not the only parent deserving of bonding time, a unanimous decision to forgo money in order for this priceless investment, to being told that actually, he doesn't qualify for this type of leave, heartbreak, recovery

- poking myself in the finger 3, then 7, then 3, then 0 times a day to make sure my blood sugar is ok

- things that saved my sore back: weekly prenatal yoga, the little borrowed wedge pillow for side sleeping, weekly prenatal massage (thank you, extended health)

- waking up to find the sleeping bag and mat out on the floor of the baby room for the first time. My snoring has gotten intense, apparently.

- only 2 pairs of shoes fit me now

- every Friday, I would exclaim to Bryan, "We've reached 3__ weeks!" It always felt like an accomplishment.

On Nesting

Like a mama squirrel or mama bird, I have been bringing home feathers and bits of twig and leaves in my mouth to build this tiny creature the safest haven. 

In the past, I have always left the craigslisting to B, but this nesting instinct is real dude, and has been a happy, tangible way to express my love and creativity. 

Seeing the baby room up and ready this past weekend gave me an immense feeling of peace in my heart. We are so thankful to our friends and family who have contributed their generosity to this space. I sit in that orange rocker to brush my teeth at night, and everywhere my eyes flit to, I see an auntie or uncle or grandparent who lovingly gifted us with a treasure. This room feels like a warm community.

Baby: I will keep you safe while you're in my belly. I will keep you safe once you are out in our wild, wild world.

Something to confess: 

There is a part of me that mourns that we will no longer be just two. My best friend and I, my pal, my husband, my person. And I know, I know, he will still be around and it will be even better than before (you say, they say) because we will be a family with this new, beautiful being in between us --

But until now, it's always been just me and him. For 8 years. So you can go ahead and tell me that it will be beautiful with three -- and even I know that too-- but I am still sad. I am still mourning the end of this chapter of our lives. I already miss the quality of our twosome. 

Soon, this feeling will be replaced with something unimaginable and greater than I could have conceived at this naive point of writing. But. In the meantime, no need to reassure me that it will be fine. It's just my human way of listening to my human heart... and it is feeling tender and bittersweet towards this youthful couple who, once upon a time, only had to attend to each other. 

Our time together feels very precious to me right now.


♥ I started maternity leave two weeks ago. Before I left, the loves of my professional life threw me a surprise baby party on my very last day. Having only taught them for three months, I wasn't prepared to be as enamoured with them as I am. On day 2 of class, I said to them: We should probably try not to like each other too much, on account of me leaving in November.

Didn't work.

 I remember being 17 years old myself, and throwing our high school english teacher a baby shower, and know the kind of thoughtfulness and care that takes. I said to Maggie (being a fellow teacher, she gets the magnitude of this) that I could retire happily now-- I had reached, for me, my highest teaching accomplishment. Balloons? Haikus? A present? A cake???

One of my big sadnesses of this pregnancy is that I won't be there with them through to June, when they graduate and fly the coop. I feel so grateful that the counselling program has made me a huge sap and that I am now explicit when I cherish something. They were told often how proud I am of them.

After yellow cake, squeals and laughter, we spent our last moments together in our usual circle, sharing what we love about this class and one another. I asked them to pass around a smooth piece of jasper as they talked, and to warm up the rock with their words. I joked that I would bring it into the delivery room with me as a talisman.

♥ This mama officially convocated and received her Masters degree in Counselling Psych! Thankful that I got to walk across that Chan Centre stage for the fourth and final time in my life (highschool lol, BFA, B.Ed., M.Ed), with a 39 week baby bump to boot. 

Felt proud to celebrate my brain and heart in this public way, before turning my attention to the next task of celebrating my body and heart in a much more private way... 

 This next step ahead of us is big, my friends. 40 weeks is tomorrow.

 Recently, I was feeling a deep sense of denial about what is coming. My brain would literally shut down when I was asked about birth or labour. It seemed too enormous a task, and I just could not engage with it in any real way.

Then, we met our doula.

In her very warm, validating, honest way, she made it possible for us to talk about our fears and worries.

Mine: pain.

His: seeing me in pain.

After acknowledging these truths, she reminded us that as much as this feels new, we also have a breadth of experience with things like pain, and fear, and uncertainty -- and that we have weathered these very things together as a couple. Lord knows, Bryan has seen me in excruciating pain. Despair. I have been in certain tiny rooms of Hell.

So this is new. But not foreign. I can't tell you enough how much this perspective has helped us to lean into this next bit.

Like the rushing of a broken dam, I can suddenly envision myself in moments of birth now.

I somehow know that I can and will claim my birthright as a woman. That our species is powerful, strong, brave, good, honest: and that birth can be all of these things. That whatever form birth takes, whether it is medicated or not, includes a caesarean or not, it is a rite of passage that I am going to go through with pride and honor.

Because on the other side of this moment?

I am going to be born again into a mother. A mother!

This child is going to make me a mother.


  1. and this child is going to make me a grandma, happy and proud and happy.

  2. Such such beautiful words. I am so grateful that you take time to celebrate and reflect and commemorate y(our) life. I read echoes of my own heart in the lines above. I too feel already the longing for being two, and yet have longed for being three for some time. Wife! Let's have a quality day today, this 3rd of December while you are still pregnant. I have this faith like an ocean's tide or the turning of the earth that you, me, and our child will be OK. You are a strong, resourceful, and incredibly capable person. I love looking ahead to the days of seeing us grow into parents - and I promise to keep our vows alive - Papa