lost in transition

Now that we’re just over two months away from our due date, some panic is setting in. It’s not so much panic that we don’t have everything ready. I know that will happen in its time. In fact, we have just about everything we need for Egghead with the exception of diapers. No, this panic is a bigger one–an overwhelming anxiety about the fact that our lives are suddenly going to change quite dramatically; things for the two of us are never going to be the same again.

I’m not sure why this is coming up so suddenly. It isn’t as though I haven’t thought about this before. Perhaps it’s this refrain we are hearing from new and experienced moms–the “Oh, just wait! It only gets worse!” or “Oh you silly, naive pregnant girl. Enjoy life now because everything you enjoy about it now will soon be gone,” or my new favorite from my sister, “Are you sure you still want to have kids?” Hearing this constant barrage of negativity does tend to focus a person on what one is not going to like about parenting. Whether or not this is actually the source of my anxiety, it certainly doesn’t help.

But I can’t blame the negative nellies entirely. No, there is a fairly real fear that has surfaced that maybe I won’t like that my life has been taken over by a child, that perhaps my transition to motherhood won’t be as natural–or joyful–as I once thought. The thing is, my life isn’t that interesting. I’m not a party girl. I don’t go out much. Mostly J and I enjoy a quiet existence, but I know that too is going to be gone soon. And for so long, the idea that this quiet, simple existence was going to change completely once our child was born has been a welcome thought. It is what we clung to through a year and a half of trying to get pregnant. It’s not that I don’t welcome that change now, but I’m a little petrified of what it might do to my relationship with J or to my own sense of self.

Perhaps this is one of the hazards of having children in one’s mid-thirties or after having been with one’s partner for over a decade. We have had so much time to establish our lives together, and I have had a great deal of time to discern what sort of person I want to be in the world. J and I are closer than ever, but this closeness hasn’t always come easy, and at times, the work to maintain our relationship is downright hard. What is going to happen once Egghead is thrown into the mix? And what of all the work I have done to be a stronger, more successful woman? Will I lose my own aspirations because I’m caring for an infant who doesn’t care what his mothers do for a living so long as he’s loved and fed and has a clean diaper? Will I resent this?

Honestly, I know that J and I will continue to do the necessary work on our relationship, but I know it’s going to take greater efforts too. I know that I’ll want to be a great role model for my son, so in a way, I suppose I’m aware that I’ll continue working toward my personal and professional goals as well–but, again, with greater effort required. So why am I so afraid? Where is this anxiety coming from?

I have to assume that some of this anxiety is normal. If I weren’t thinking about the changes we’re about to undergo, I would be setting myself up for certain shock. If I didn’t anticipate that the changes might be hard, I could be looking at some serious PPD. I think I’m just longing for that happy state of anticipatory glee–wanting to be the naive pregnant girl for even a few hours a day. But that’s not realistic.

Ultimately, change is coming–big, big change. It will most certainly be hard at times. It will most likely make me cry at times and long for my quieter, easier life. But then I also know that this change is going to bring us the greatest joy we’ve ever known. And all of that is what we are in this for–the challenge and thrill of parenting. After all, for J and I, change is not the worst-case scenario; stagnation is–and we all know that stagnation is incompatible with parenthood.

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17 Comments

Filed under blogtherapy, Egghead, us

17 responses to “lost in transition

  1. A.

    I second all of that! 🙂

  2. You’re right. Change is coming. But change is not always bad. You won’t have all the answers now and most of them you will have to make up as you go. But you two will make wonderful mothers because you have taken the time to live your lives and love each other before jumping into parenthood. I love this post because I am sure many women who are about to have a baby feel the same way.

  3. Elsha Quinn

    I certainly don’t think you’re a naive pregnant girl, and also I question whether such a creature truly exists. I think she is a persona cast on joyous pregnant women by naysayers. I mean, how dare anyone have the audacity to be “happy” about having a child? Don’t you know you know you should be in a constant state of somber mourning for the end of your child-free life?

    Pfft. I think having a child is like any other big endeavor. You do your best to learn, expect some surprises and hope for the best. You’ll get out of it what you put in. 🙂

  4. K

    We too are nervous but more excited. Just under 10 weeks from now, our lives will change forever. Every time we think about it we get so excited. I think the hardest part will be me starting the school year right when she is due. That is the most stressful thought right now!

    • reproducinggenius

      I hear you on the school year starting. This is the first time I’ve actually been happy that I haven’t been given classes and won’t have to start teaching until January.

  5. poppycat

    I think it is going to be terrible and hard, I think it will suck your soul and still be absolutely perfect and more beautiful than you could ever imagine. I loved reading this post as I got a taste of this same feeling not to long ago.

    Time to reinvent yourself. Enjoy!

  6. Meh. I think the hardest part — or the biggest change for my relationship was just the fact that someone always has to be with the baby. So you can’t just leave, or both go to the gym, or go to a movie last minute. That’s the only thing that still bugs me.

    The other hard thing is that you need to re-learn how to share labor in your relationship. And when there’s a baby, some of the workload is more difficult to distribute than others. I think any couple who has taken a good long time to build their relationship before they have kids shouldn’t find this to be too daunting. Because you’ve learned how to communicate. And you’ve learned to be sensitive to each other. It is not so bad. Plus there’s this cute little person around to break the tension. 🙂

    • reproducinggenius

      Thank you so much for this. It’s the very sort of non-doomsday, practical advice and reassurance I need right now. Many, many thanks. 🙂

  7. I think I may have been one of those “just wait” people, but for me, that isn’t negative at all. It is something you cannot imagine until you are living it. It is both easier and harder than you can fathom. It is such beautiful change, and you are right, there is no room for stagnation at all. I am so excited for you three, and the journey you three will walk together. To me, it’s like x-mas… just wait! You don’t know what is coming, but it will be AWESOME!!!

  8. vee

    Oddly, though things round here are of course amazingly, wonderfully different now we have a baby, I’ve been surprised at quite how much things have been the same, though like OOHM’s says, with a fair bit more sensitivity and negotiation. Seeing your wife mother your child will be one of the most wonderful and welcome changes in your relationship, I’m sure.

  9. Jean

    I am just a lurker under normal conditions. But I just wanted to comment on this post.You are so right to feel all of the emotions you are feeling. And you will wonder until your precious one comes into your life. I will tell you what I remeber feeling after the birth of my first child 29 years ago.It felt like our life began in that moment.Life before was hazy good memories.It will be wonderful. Yes sleepless at times trying and a good cry never hurt anyone when you need one. My friend called me at the birth of her first grandson her daughter was doing everything by the book 🙂 and I told her he will live through this even though when I had grandchildren I will have my fourth born in August I thought this baby will never live through this lol. This child you will raise and adore. Whew even when they are in there teen years ( okay I am getting way ahead of myself here lol) This is a wonderful begining for you both. And your legacy goes on from here. From your child to your grandchildren. It is the most awesome feeling. And if you think you are in love now with this baby just wait till you have your first grandchild. But…..Lets get you through this labor and delivery!!!! You will both do wonderful.Best of luck to your family.

    • reproducinggenius

      “It felt like our life began in that moment.” This is one of the most beautiful things I have read. Thank you so much for commenting and for sharing your story.

  10. reproducinggenius

    I’ve only commented specifically on a few posts here, but I wanted to thank everyone who shared their thoughts here. This issue has been an odd one for me, and I was hesitant to put it out there for fear that I would seem like an ungrateful pregnant woman. I do welcome the change that we have ahead of us, and I know it’s going to be the best thing that ever happened for the both of us. Still, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these very real fears with all of you. Thank you for your wisdom, your kind words, your experience. I love my readers.

  11. tbean

    Honestly, unless you are young, dumb and naive, I think it is totally normal to freak out about how much your life is going to change. How could you not? I do that and I’m not even pregnant, nor do I doubt for even a fraction of a second how badly I want to have children and how certain I am of that need.

  12. Darling, I know I’ve been such a bad commenter, but you have to know that it’s posts like this that make me keep coming back to you. I just adore you and your brilliant perspective. I hope to be able to handle the big changes you’re facing with as much grace one day. All my love. xo Sarah

  13. friend, i’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile now, and you’ve inspired me to do it sooner than later. i’ve had over a year to mull over how much has changed for h and me and “us”, and the gist of it is this: it is better now than it ever was. we understand the value of quality over quantity. you find nooks and crannies of time to be “you” and it is sacred.

    your heart is growing bigger every day, and once you meet your boy, and let the reality of fambly sink in, you will love your wife even more deeply than you thought you could. i promise. 🙂

  14. Catching up now that we’re back…

    You are right, obviously, that things will change. And things will be more difficult and more wonderful than you can imagine. Sometimes I think back to what people told me before our son came into this world…about relishing the quiet beforehand specifically. Well, it’s certainly quiet and lovely when he’s sleeping/napping and just as quiet as before…and yet there’s this beautiful little face to stare at.

    You and your wife will get through the hard times and hopefully be even closer than you were before. I know that’s happened to us. And things will be totally different, but it will be hard to imagine things any other way.

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