I am 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Everywhere I go, people say, "I bet you're ready to have this baby" or "Not here yet?! You must be dying!"
You know what? I'm not.
I am thrilled to start this new part of our life, but certainly not overly-anxious. When the baby arrives, I will be ready. But not a day sooner.
I have struggled to put into words the keen loss I feel with the new addition to our family. It has nothing to do with regret or sorrow; it's a loss I've never felt before.
You see, for the past two years, my life has revolved around Jonas. His life revolves around me. He gets the very best of me (and sometimes the worst) and he gets all of me. Countless mothers have told me they treat their last child differently, cherishing moments they know will never be a part of their lives again and that disappear far too quickly. I always assumed Jonas was our last child, so that's how I've consciously conducted our time together. I drop everything for him, try to laugh when he makes me want to cry, and it works for us. We have a life that fits us perfectly.
Any day now, that perfect life will change. He will wake up one morning and find a baby. Or rather, he will wake up one morning and find that I'm not there to retrieve him from his crib and won't be for the next 2 days. Nor will I be there to put him to bed.
When I come home from the hospital, I will bring a baby with me who needs my constant attention. The constant attention I give him right now.
I don't want to break his little heart or cause him the inevitable pain and confusion that accompanies a new sibling.
"But it's the best thing that will ever happen to him."
"Children go through this every day."
"He will adore his new brother or sister."
"Kids are resilient--he'll get over it."
Sure, sure, I know all this, but I still wish I could shield him from the anxiety and sense of loss he will feel in the beginning.
Right now, it's just him and me. Today we went swimming and baked cookies, but each day has hundreds of special somethings that we do together. We eat breakfast, exercise, do crafts and other sensory projects; go to the library or grocery shopping or on our weekly dates. We dance in the car, quack to Elmo's Ducks, read books, sing songs, and play a daily game of "catch the naked baby" when I'm trying to dress him for the day. He helps me cook dinner, load the dishwasher, and tease the grandma sleeping on the couch. We are mutually cranky in the afternoon, so we go to the park and search for birds and dogs.
And it's always the two of us.
This season of life is coming to an end and we will be propelled into a world of split attention. It's exciting in so many ways, but I'm still in no rush to usher it in. It will come when it comes. The days of just Jonas and I are numbered and each night as I put him down for bed, I squeeze him, wondering if this is the last night we will have as just the two of us.
I cherish each moment I have with my boy. I will cherish my new child as well and that season will arrive soon enough. But for now, I'm focusing on what I already have--not on what I will have in the future.
So if you offer me castor oil or red raspberry tea, forgive me, but I will politely decline.