I’m over 37 weeks pregnant now, and the reality has sunk in that my third child could be born any day. Whenever I’ve gotten to this stage of pregnancy with my kids, it has felt really surreal and overwhelming at times…but this time feels even more bittersweet. When I was this pregnant with Major, a lot of my focus went into the emotional push and pull of accepting the division of love I expected to feel with two children. I was so scared that I wasn’t going to have enough love…and even more scared that the immense love I felt for Marlowe wasn’t going to come a second time. I placed so much judgment on myself and what I felt capable of. With a third baby, all that specific type of fear and judgment is gone, thankfully. I’ve experienced how completely your heart opens up and gives itself to another child, and I’m SO excited to feel that again. And even more excited to share that with Marlowe and Major. Watching them become older siblings to this baby is a feeling that guides me in my most overwhelmed moments. But the part I wasn’t expecting as I prepare for this child’s arrival is the sadness I feel to have missed out on a lot of the beauty of this pregnancy…and the fears I have for his birth.
I’ll start by saying that the baby’s nursery is finished, and his clothes are washed and put away, and all of that is settling my nerves and making me feel logistically prepared. So that’s a plus! I’ve also realized this time around how little you really need for a newborn. It’s only taken me three children to figure that one out. LOL. I also know all my faves, and I’ve been excited to add some new things to the mix. Check out my baby registry must-haves (all my consistent baby faves) and also this roundup of baby products I investigated when coming back to the newborn game after a few years off! Marlowe and Major have both been so helpful with organizing his room, folding, and putting away. I’ve loved involving them in the process, and I think it’s made their nerves go away as well. They’re SO pumped for their baby brother’s arrival, and whenever I see how excited they are, it settles my own nerves a bit. But I know that the part of all of this that I have the most fear surrounding is something that I have to do completely on my own: bringing my son into the world.
As much support as I’ll have (and I’m lucky to have some incredible people supporting me), birthing a baby is something you do alone– in your own body and with your baby. Nobody can do it for you. Birthing this time without a partner has made me get in my own head a lot about whether I’m strong enough to do this. Birth is so emotional, and so I knew early on that having Kyle there wasn’t going to feel right to me. Our intimacy level has totally changed now that we aren’t a couple, obviously, and in order to really let go and allow labor to progress (especially with a Home Birth) it’s so important to feel completely at ease in your body and support. I’ve realized that having a strong female energy present at my birth this time is going to bring that for me. I’ve elected to have my female midwives, my awesome doula (also a woman), and some incredible girlfriends– who are all Mamas as well. My kids will be there, and I’m excited for them to witness the miracle of birth for the first time, and to hopefully take that experience with them forever as they grow into adults as well. Kyle will, of course, meet his son directly after he’s born (and we both feel good about this decision), but not having a partnership present at this birth feels totally different! It’s been taking a lot of intentional thought and work on myself as I near the birth experience to get out of my own fears and to focus on the power I have felt during this pregnancy. Knowing EXACTLY how challenging birth is doesn’t help those fears either. I wish I could go back to the blissful ignorance of my first delivery when I really didn’t know how challenging birth was yet– and I didn’t know what to expect around each corner. I’m really hoping I can lean into the comforts of my experience as a seasoned birthing mama in the next couple of weeks, instead of allowing it to intimidate me.
I also really wish I could end this piece of writing with some incredible realization I had to refocus myself, to steady myself for labor, and to step into that Warrior Queen energy– but I’m just not there yet. I’m ok being honest about that. Every time I feel my Braxton Hicks contractions start to build (and I get them daily now), I also feel the panic start to build, as I wonder if it’s really “time”. I still feel resistance when I look back on this whirlwind pregnancy that I spent wrapping my head around my marriage ending, getting through a divorce, and making sure my kids came out of all of it emotionally cared for and loved. I haven’t spent a lot of time caring for my own needs or connecting to my growing baby. And I don’t get to have that time back. In many ways, I hope this birth process with my third child can be one of releasing what “wasn’t” with this pregnancy, and connecting to the visceral parts of what this pregnancy is: the way to meet the divine and perfect human that my body created during the most chaotic time of my life. The holiest way of meeting a person who has stayed with me so beautifully through it all– and the final moments of healing– as he joins our family as he was always meant to. I know that all of these expectations are a lot to place on an experience, a simple but powerful one that all mothers have gone through since the beginning of time…but I have faith that what is filled with fear is also filled with beauty. And that usually what we fear the most has a way of surprising us and feeding us in the most life-changing of ways.
I feel so grateful that by now in my life I’ve learned that each of life’s most intense challenges brings with it the biggest opportunities to grow in the deepest ways. I’m working so hard every hour of every day to keep my heart open to this type of growth and to stay open to whatever this experience will bring. It’s all there is to do! I would love to hear anybody else’s experience with staying open-hearted through fear, especially as it relates to birth and/or Motherhood. These are big topics, but so important to talk about, I feel! Thank you in advance!
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Photographs by Julia Dags