So here I am, at 38 weeks pregnant, and expecting the egg timer to go off any second and signal that “today is the day you meet your son!”
And I’m terrified…
Terrified because I’ve never done this before. Terrified because the difference between what you read and what you live can sometimes feel like the difference between Hawaii and the North Pole. Terrified because this isn’t a babysitting gig where I give the kid back at the end of an hour or two. Terrified that I’ll screw it all up. Terrified that it will be nothing at all (and yet exactly to the “t”) how I imagined it to be.
Terrified because when I look in the mirror these days, I don’t even recognize myself. It’s like a reflection of an entirely different human being: someone else’s life and reality and I’m merely cast in the lead role for this particular performance.
That big belly I see reflected in the mirror and store windows is simply a prosthetic. The car seat in my SUV? A very convincing prop. The set design crew did an amazing job with the nursery they constructed in my spare bedroom, and the sound effects of the fetal heartbeat at the OB office are amazing.. but none of this is really REAL, is it?
And then I feel it. The tiny little man inside me squirming and kicking – stretching for more room, angling for a more comfortable position. Waiting for the egg timer.
What if I can’t do this?
My heart skips a beat. My shoulders suddenly feel so tense. Time seems to be swirling by so fast. Can it really be only 2 weeks – 14 days – until they expect him to be here? Until I’m expected to be a MOM? Until this fragile, innocent, beautiful child looks to me for life, safety, love, security, everything…?
What if I yell too much, and don’t cuddle enough? What if the bath water is too cold or worse, too hot? What if I can’t get him to sleep, or eat, or stop crying? What if my patience wears thin and my anxiety feels like a smothering blanket? What if my only goal the entire day is just to survive until he falls asleep again? What if, at the end of the day, I’m not the person I want to be?
What if I suck at being a Mom?
Words of encouragement, support and wisdom from my friends, family and fellow moms suddenly start to ring in my ears and surround my heart like a shield. Some days will be difficult, but you are strong. Some days will be long, but you will endure. Some days will be filled with more tears and heartache and frustration than you ever knew you could bear, but you will persevere. Some days you will feel like you’re at the end of your rope, but you will hang on, and there will be others there reaching down to lift you up.
I look ahead at the path forged by so many wonderful women ahead of me – women who support and encourage me and who have told me, with blatant honesty, that the “Mom Road” they travel has been so hard and so challenging, but also so wonderful and so rewarding.
Life isn’t lived in the single happy snapshots everyone posts on Facebook. There are melt downs, blow ups, train wrecks and tantrums. But there are those blissful, beautiful, incredible moments to even out the scale.
My heart is encouraged. I am terrified, but I am not alone. The path ahead is well-worn by the moms before me, who have promised to circle back should I lose my way, become weary or face discouragement.
Fourteen days, little man. I can’t promise there won’t be rough days, difficult days, overwhelming days. But I can promise that I will love you immeasurably and do the very best I can for you every day. It won’t be perfect: we will both cry and scream and flail helpless at times, but I won’t give up on you if you don’t give up on me. Deal?