The Tug of War in the Last Weeks of Pregnancy

I didn’t expect to feel these emotions so soon, when my due date is still weeks away. Plus, with my trend of going up to two weeks past my due date, I most likely have even longer. But, I do. I feel them.

It’s the tug of war of wanting to just be done with pregnancy.

I’m ready to have my body back, to be able to bend over, to hold my children in my lap once more, to not squish my husband, or to be able to roll over without feeling like a crane needs to come in my bedroom to help assist. I see it all over my pregnancy groups right now, we all feel same with this hugely pregnant state. I’ve felt “done” and kinda miserable off and on since 31 weeks. Yet, I swiftly feel the tug to the other side where I know that I will miss this. I’ve been in this place before, I know I will. I will miss the kicks on my right and her back on my left. I will miss having a belly table for bedtime snacks. I will miss her being contained, quiet, safe inside my womb. I will miss the attention my abnormally large belly on my tiny frame brings. I will miss my midwife. I will miss the preparations for birth and the tiny onesies folded in my drawer– waiting to be filled.

What caused me to feel it already? Cramps and practice contractions. My body has a history of starting the process now, weeks in advance before the big day. It was a dose of reality to me– it is the beginning of the end. Long and slow, weeks of prodromal labor is my norm. I know what is ahead of me and beside the horrible morning sickness nausea of the first trimester, this ending is the part that I most dread. The episodes of contractions that tease my mind in the “is this it, will it turn into something? Should I call the birth team?” only to fade away. This shift in my body recently is a reminder of my pregnancy mortality: it won’t last forever. My emotions get wrapped up in trying treasure the time left and deciphering body signs, time slows to a ticking second of a clock in waiting for baby to come.

This very well being our last child, my last pregnancy, it feels even more surreal. This whole time I have said, “I don’t want to do this again! I’m done!” Yet here I am, surprised at my feelings as I already know I will miss aspects of it. I think that is inevitable, no matter if more children are planned or not for a mother.

And then again, my hips are aching and I have to pee once more (didn’t I just go?). Being small again sure sounds nice, so I’m not lugging around an extra 40 pounds, leaving me breathless at the simplest tasks. I find myself imagining a baby amongst us, wondering how my almost 2-year-old will react. Will she be thrilled? Will she be jealous? How will I handle five kids? Maybe she should stay in as long as possible…

Back and forth it goes, between the physical discomforts as my body aches to be done and the longing of my heart to want to treasure it. How do we treasure these last weeks, when we feel miserable? Do we have these feelings to make the work of labor sound more appealing? Do we sit in this stalemate as an expectant mom to help us prepare for motherhood? After all, I find the same tug of war in watching my children grow. When they are babies I so badly want them to hurry up and sleep through the night, or to finally get out of diapers. Yet, that means they aren’t my tiny baby anymore. While I want them to move forward in life, thriving in their creativity or taking their first steps—  I also want to stop and stay where they are right now.

In every season, whether waiting for baby to come or sending off a teenager to college, there is the tug of war in the excitement of new beginnings and the hesitation of letting go to new changes.