The end of pregnancy is quite literally all the feels. It can be a roller-coaster! You seem to be in this new weird place. One foot into pregnancy and wondering what this new life will look like with this baby. But also one foot already in the future as a new parent. Our minds are preparing as best they can, our homes are ready (or almost). We may have already been through that nesting spell. Car seats, bassinets, diapers, baby’s first outfit, and a birth bag are all getting checked off the list. It could be…..any…..moment or your scheduled date is approaching even faster than you thought!
For months and months we watched our bellies expand. It was gradual yet it also felt like all of a sudden. Just when we thought, “Ok, this is big, I don’t think it can get any bigger,” our bellies grew just a little more. The fluttering movements changed into jabs, and rolls, and stretches, and “oh my gosh get out of my ribs!” We put up with nausea, aches, pains, bolts of lightning through the crotch, and learning how to navigate normal, daily routines in our rotund beautiful bodies. After awhile socks are just too much effort. Am I right?
Our physical bodies aren’t just the only thing riding the roller-coaster of growing a human at the end of pregnancy.
Our minds are taken through the washer like it’s on a heavily soiled extra rinse cycle. They would dry out but sometimes it is like when the load gets put in the dryer but no one hits the start button. We are excited, then miserable, maybe worried, maybe anxious. Some days we feel like crying. The best thing to do when that strikes us is to just let it out. A good sob is healing for the soul. We may even be so happy to still be pregnant and not taking care of the newborn we long to hold. That is OK too!
Other moments our minds may be in that happy, excited state. The thought of cradling our newborn in our arms may be elating. Whether happy or not many times we think, “I just need to make it to the end of this pregnancy.”
Then the end comes.
What will this birth be like? How will life be with a newborn? Am I ready for this next chapter?
The end of pregnancy is a mindfork.
We want to make sure we are doing all the things that can help us prepare for a smooth labor and birth. But we also want to not overdo it and not stress ourselves out. You may be packing knowing that you are headed in for an appointment in the early morning and this is your last night with your baby comfortably (well, as comfortable as possible) inside. Or there’s the new things your body starts doing! Every new sensation sends us to thinking, “Is this something? Is this it?!” There’s discharge, and contractions, and mucus plug, and loose bowels. All of it means labor is coming, and all of it means it could still be days or weeks away. The inability to be in control of when this baby will come can be so frustrating. The baby is the only one who has any control and our communication with them in the womb is well…hard.
If you are feeling a little out of your gourd or emotional as you await baby’s arrival know you are not alone. Most of us as we near the “any minute” stage of pregnancy are right there with you. One minute elated we reached the end! Hooray! Then the next minute we are scared for what’s ahead. “What will this parenting gig really be like?” Then one minute back to “Yay I can’t wait to meet my child!” and then maybe back to “When will this baby come?!”
So it is always a good idea to talk about your feelings and thoughts to a trusted partner or friend. Call your doula! Take some slow relaxing deep breaths (which is also great practice for any birth!). Try to enjoy the last moments of feeling your little being move inside you or whatever may be your favorite part of being pregnant.
Please know you will be a wonderful parent. You already are!
Having a baby is a huge life transition. Nearing the end of pregnancy can make it all the more real, which is why these feelings can come upon us. Rest assured you are not the first to go through the emotions you are as you sit in these final weeks, days, or moments of pregnancy. Every parent who has been in your shoes feels you and hears you.
Authored by Andrea Stainbrook