Today I lumbered gracefully into my 38th week of pregnancy.
People at work look at me and snicker. Or they say, "not long now." Of course, they're right to do either one of those things. I keep running into stuff. And I keep dropping stuff that I can't quite figure out how to pick up without falling over. I may or may not roll my eyes a little bit too much. It's also possible that whenever I get up from a chair I grunt like a caveman. And I waddle. It's a sassy waddle, though.
With TCAP tests next week at the school, they've nervously scheduled a backup teacher to take my place as a proctor just in case I randomly go into labor during the test . . . . I don't think there's a testing irregularity form for "proctor's water broke during test."
I was reading a book to my kindergarten music class the other day and it contains a beautiful drawing of a family of panda bears.
One of my students said, "You are like those bears!"
I said, "Because I'm going to have my own baby bear?"
She said, "No. You're shaped like them!" Touché, little girl, touché! When you're 5 years old you can say stuff like that and it's ok.
There is only one response to all of these things. Laugh.
We have to laugh.
Someone recently said to me, "Has anybody shared with you yet how horribly disgusting and terrible the month following the delivery will be?"
Yes - I've read all about that. It's kind to share that information, actually, because nobody needs to be surprised by any of those recovery details. But you have to laugh at the question.
I have also received a number of comments about the surprising growth of my belly. "You are just absolutely about to pop!" and "I wouldn't have guessed you'd gain so much weight!" - yes, friends. If you ever choose to reproduce, these poetic declarations will be bestowed upon you, too! It's like a rite of passage.
We have to laugh.
Laugh and laugh often.
Whenever people ask me how much weight I've gained (and they do ask), I answer honestly. I've gained over 50 pounds. As of this week I've stopped counting. I know folks who have gained more or less than that, and if I'm ever pregnant again I imagine I'll have a different experience one way or the other. And it'll be ok. In fact, this is ok. Because really, friends, really? I have an awful lot of important stuff on my mind these days and my weight is not currently on the list of important things. As long as the doctor and midwife are ok with it, I'm ok with it.
"She is clothed with strength and dignity - she can laugh at the things to come." - Proverbs 31:25
"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." - Proverbs 31:30
And another favorite of mine - something that my namesake did way back in the book of Genesis. I try to remember that I have this woman's name, and that this was her reaction to a fulfilled promise . . .
"So Sarah laughed to herself . . ." Genesis 18: a little of verse 12
My stomach is covered in stretch marks.
My face has changed.
My feet are different.
My hands are different.
My legs are different.
And in two weeks or so I'll be an empty vessel, but that will also change me. And for the next several months I will just continue to change.
In fact, in a few years I'll still be different - permanently altered by this experience.
And the person on the inside of a body that bears a human life is different.
I don't really understand all of the ways that my mind has changed - I expect I'll be discovering those differences for a long time to come.
A little levity goes a long way.
We need our spirits lightened when we are looking down a road paved with life or death decisions. Some parts of the parenting adventure will be small . . . almost unimportant. Other parts will deal directly with the mortality and future of my child.
And here's the really crazy part - it doesn't matter what everybody else tells me in the way of advice - I will still be the only mother of my child at the end of the day, and our situation will still be different from everybody else's. It'll come down to my husband and me. And we'll have to trust ourselves and trust the good things we know.
Yeah. The kid's initials make people say "Dy-No-Mite!"
His parents are nuts. :-)
Listen, ladies (and gentlemen - maybe there are men reading this musical mothering blog, I don't know) - don't be worrying about what folks are looking at when they look at you. Don't be worrying about anything but the step right in front of you, whatever it is.
Take it easy.
"She can laugh at the things to come." - and the things right now . . . and the things that are passed and gone.
Listen to this song. Have a chilled out Thursday. Don't take the words of other people too seriously and try not to take yourself too seriously - this is something I struggle deeply with. I have struggled with it for years. Life is better when we can put a little laughter in the middle of the great struggle.