Today I am 34 weeks. That sounds unbelievably close to the end. It doesn't feel that close, but it sounds like it. Time has slowed down. Up until about 32 weeks, this pregnancy sped by. I felt wonderful, I enjoyed being pregnant and I looked forward to what was to come.
Now I'm starting to feel some dread. I'm starting to feel uncomfortable. The heat is largely responsible. And not being able to bend over. Those two characteristics are responsible for most of the negative feelings I'm currently having towards being pregnant. Last night, with the thermometer still hovering at ~90 degrees, I left the comfort of our air conditioned family room to the non-air conditioned kitchen. I made myself a rootbeer float, the entire time thinking
"I am dying. I am dying. I am dying."
I knew, somewhere deep down, that this wasn't true. But the heat seems to take away any capacity I have for rational thought. Our 109 year old house has radiator heat, so there is no easy way to install central air. We have a little room unit for MJ's room, my room, and our family room. If MJ was content to stay in one of these areas my job would be easier, but she is not. So I try to play along and be a rational human being, but it seems I am unable.
The other dread I'm starting to feel is about having a newborn. If you've read this blog for a while, you'll know that this is a very wanted baby. A very longed for baby. A very tried for baby. But I still feel a little dread. Last time around, I felt much more dread. I didn't like babies. I didn't even like little kids, and figured they'd be pretty uninteresting until they were about 10. In reality, I really enjoyed having a newborn; MJ was an easy newborn, it's just the other 2.5 years that she's been not so easy, but totally interesting. So while I have a more firm understanding of the upsides, I also have a more firm understanding of the downsides.
I also have some fear about some of the things I feel committed to. Last time I was committed to natural birth and breastfeeding. I didn't do real great at either of them. So this time around, I find myself even more committed. From reading other mom blogs, I feel like a bit of a rarity on those fronts. It seems like those moms who had c-sections last time had a scheduled c-section this time. Those who had trouble breast feeding seem to not be doing it at all this time, or to be not as insistent that it will work. Instead, I find myself thinking I've learned from my mistakes and will definitely do better this time. Am I setting myself up for even more failure and disappointment? Having committed to a VBAC, I'm slightly terrified of failing at it.
The saving grace through all of this, is a better understanding that none of it matters as much as it seems to at the time. MJ's birth experience and my breast feeding prowess don't define our relationship. Despite what brochures at the pediatricians office tell you, there are other, far more important, aspects to the person she is becoming. Do they play a role? Probably. I don't want to fully downplay their significance, but I think that part of the reason women play up their significance so much is that they are so damn hard. So if they're that hard, they must matter a lot, right? Otherwise, why bother?
To me, the reason they matter has more to do with insurance purposes. We all pay a lot for insurance, but how often do we really use it? How often does it matter? For most people, not much, but if you need it you're sure glad you have it. Similarly, the reason to avoid a c-section is not so much about the birth experience but about those rare bad outcomes. The reason to breastfeed is that the antibodies might save your kid from a life threatening illness. There are other, touchy feely reasons, but it's not like those touchy feely moments don't exist if you give your kid a bottle. It's not like you're not ecstatic to meet your baby even if they don't come through your vagina.
So anyway, yes, I'm committed, but no, in the end it probably won't matter that much. Ask me in two months time how that's working out for me.