When it comes to motherhood, I’m an open book (hence this blog). And I’m no different in pregnancy. Even though this is my second go around, I’ve maintained the classic weekly bumpdates on Facebook just as devoutly as I did the first time around. I love sharing my journey and swapping experiences with others.
Until the very end of pregnancy, that is.
It’s funny, I remember feeling this way last time, too. In the weeks leading up to my due date, I begin to turn inward. I thought maybe this was just my introverted self, but the more I talked about it with other moms, the more common of an experience I realized it is. There is a sacred state of unnerving calm in the final weeks that is so important to tune into.
It can be difficult to do when expectations, anxieties and excitement take over, though. As our due date draws near, it serves as a reminder for well-meaning loved ones to repeatedly ask us when the baby will be here and if we’re feeling any signs of labor. The truth is, we don’t know, not even our care team knows, and it’s generally something that we don’t want to focus on. I know mamas who have intentionally lied about their due dates (genius) to avoid fielding these conversations entirely.
It’s not that it’s an offensive question more than it is a counterintuitive discussion to keep having. The final stretch of pregnancy requires us to be ready at any moment while also being patient enough to endure what could still be weeks – which feels like an eternity when you’re lugging around a full-term baby wreaking havoc on your body. And even when we do begin to experience signs of labor, it’s not something most of us care to share, and for good reason.
One of my favorite articles that my doula sent me last pregnancy, and again as a reminder this pregnancy, talks about this notion of silence and its direct impact in our birth stories: “Words of Wisdom: Keep the Sensations of Early Labor a Secret.”
It talks about how outsourcing the sensations of early labor to those around us can actually delay the entire process. What our bodies need most when we go into labor is a private, calm place where we can leave the questions and onlookers far away and focus on surrendering control to our bodies. I didn’t follow this advice as closely as I should have last time, and it opened the door to unnecessary panic and questioning that followed us through all 31 hours of labor – and that blew up my poor husband’s phone at a time when I just needed him to hold my hand.
These final weeks are the perfect time for me to practice this desire and need to turn inward. There are so many aspects of pregnancy and motherhood that require me to ask for help and keep my door wide open, but this isn’t one of those times.
This is a time for me to selfishly rest when I can. To be with my thoughts, or just sit in silence. To work with my care team. To treasure what final moments of pregnancy I have left as uncomfortable as I may be. To connect with my mind, body and baby without the pressure of answering to a timeline or fielding questions that have no tangible answers.
I’ve given nine months of myself to growing this precious new life, and I’ll spend the rest of my life watching her take on this world. But first, I have to bring her into this world. This is an incredible time that is meant to be shared between father, mother and baby. It is, in fact, the only time that we will have as just father, mother and baby.
So yes, my due date is at the end of this month, and yes, we could go into labor any day, but the only “baby news” I have is that I ate a delicious brownie to satisfy a craving today.
When there is actual baby news, you’ll know because we will share it when we are ready to share it. And if we don’t share it right from the moment my water breaks, it’s not because we don’t love and appreciate you. It’s because we are in the midst of experiencing a real-life miracle – one that simply, unapologetically begins with us.