Destination: Some Place Else

…to get away for if only a moment

31. The Shifting State of Self

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What better time to reflect than as I was lying in bed with a book, alone. I know that this quality lonesome time will become few and far between as I’m moving towards a new chapter. So I will relish these times while I can. I am literally hurtling towards my due date. In 6 weeks, I am going to be a mother. Where did the time go, where did I go? I know when I first found out, even saying those words, ‘I am going to be a mother’ sounded foreign, like it was meant for someone else. When I was younger, I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to be one. To be honest, the idea freaked me out. But as time has gone by and I’ve gotten older, with a beautiful niece and nephew around and finding a man I wanted to share that with, my feelings began to change.

I was always saying I’m not ready; I’m not ready. There was always something on top of my bucket list that I had to do first. Travelling and having a good time were definitely high on that list. I just couldn’t quite get my head around having to say no to certain things. I’ve always liked having the freedom to say ‘nah, let me shout you this’ or, ‘no probs, I’ll come out.’ As we move into one salary land that will have to change and that’s ok. I always put a lot of pressure on myself career wise too. I was always striving to work hard and be ambitious, setting goals of where I had to be by when. But then as I hit about 30, I had this realisation that I already was successful, I was just measuring it in the wrong way. I look to my friends and family and who I am as a person now to know I am successful. I still do want to have a great career and I will always work hard, but I also know I want to prioritise family life for a little while now too.

So much has happened in a year in terms of growing and changing as a person. I’ve moved through so many states of being. I think of all these models of self that I have presented throughout my life. Some have been transient, some have changed and some are the same as when I was young. I was never really thinking about what kind of parent I would be. Before Lewy it was just me I had to worry about. Then you get in a relationship and it becomes about you as individuals and as a couple. Now there is this huge change, where someone will rely solely and completely on us and that is damn scary. The fact that their life depends on you is massive.

I knew Lewy has wanted to be a dad for some time. Watching him with other kids, I always joke that he is a baby whisperer as they just tend to love him. I am pretty sure he is going to be a much better parent than me. This is not me waving some competitive flag; I just think he is much more patient than I am. But I guess until we are in that situation, neither of us knows just how we will react. All we can do is love and support each other and never stop communicating, even when we are sleep deprived and covered in baby poo.

Most parents have told me, you think you are ready and prepared and you think you know what you are in for, but when that time finally arrives, you realize you were completely kidding yourself. A guy at work said ‘it is like being hit by a truck, but in a good way.’ It is just so different to theorizing about it or all the practice you think you’ve had on your nieces and nephews. Because when it is just you, your partner and your baby at home for that first time alone with no help- all bets are off. I guess time will tell but I think I just need to know not to put pressure on myself to be perfect…hell to have it even half right. As long as I can get this baby out of me in the safest way, then that is the first step. Then comes the real test, parenthood.

I have moved through a gradient of emotions with my hormones –one minute I am laughing hysterically, then I am crying and confused. I’ve kind of loved that too-experiencing feelings so intensely. It has put pressure on our relationship at times, but then it has made us stronger because we have been able to talk about our fears and anxieties about this next massive step. My love for Lewy is just getting stronger and I think that is pretty rad. One minute it was us, then we were getting married and then you were there…our little pea. Yes that old, weekly comparison to a piece of fruit or vegetable has stuck….even though you are well and truly past the size of a pea. At first, though I was quietly freaking out on the inside….all that hesitation I had ever felt has just floated away.

So even though I have no idea what you look like or who you will be – I feel this beautiful connection with you. I guess it is a bit like what faith is. Though I can’t see you, I know you are there and it is such a powerful bond. It is like a higher presence is playing out, making me completely present. This pregnancy has made me more self aware and connected that I have felt in years, if not ever. Having something kicking you from the inside, moving around, knowing that they are feeding off you and you are keeping this little being alive spins me out. Heaps of people have said how happy I seem and I am. It makes me think, was I just wasting time and distracting myself from what was actually really important to me?

There are so many things that can be an obstacle in the parenthood journey. Just getting pregnant is the first step. For some couples, it takes years or unfortunately never happens and there is no other sentence for that other than it fucking sucks. Knowing this fact, has made me so incredibly grateful to get to this point and I hope I never take for granted the gift that having a child can be. I just hope I measure up. But you know what, I know this baby is going to be awesome because they are off to the best start at life. They will be completely and utterly adored by those around them and even though they are being born from two kinda crazy, quirky parents, that is also pretty cool too.

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