This November has been a warm one. In between the glorious rays of sunshine and the 70 degree days, you can find that familiar chill of November. The stillness of the bare trees as the leaves fall, the browning of the earth as the days become shorter and colder. It serves as a reminder that Old Man Winter is most definitely coming, he never lets us down. This November in particular has been full of a different anticipation, the sacred kind of a mother yearning to hold her newborn baby.
I have been blessed to be surrounded by women who find themselves beautifully pregnant. November has been a month of new babies, from friends, family members, and my own doula clients alike. Behind all of their pregnant glory, each one shared a familiar chill that I often see in the end of pregnancy. Much like the month of November, there is a stillness that a woman will claim at the end of her pregnancy. Unlike November, for a mama who finds herself in the tenth month of pregnancy, the days seem to grow longer. Pregnancy hormones seem to be in overdrive during these last few weeks, and most women are ready and waiting. I’m here to hold your hand and remind you that, Mama, you’re almost there. After months of preparation your due date lingers, then passes. Slowly the days pass as forty weeks of anticipation suddenly evolve. Anticipation becomes impatience, the days turn to hours, each one heavier than the last. This is it. You have reached the end of your pregnancy. Now what? Mama, you’re almost there.
It’s late at night, you’re up again for another midnight bathroom visit. You are used to this now, this is your routine. Your body is ready for late nights snuggled up with a sleepy, hungry, ever so precious baby. Your baby has other plans, remaining comfortable in your nice and cozy womb. Come on out, you will your baby. Mama, you’re almost there.
Your eyes are heavy as you gaze down at your swollen body. How can I get any bigger? Your thoughts drift as you sleepily sway from left to right, alleviating the pressure of baby on your nearly empty bladder. Then it hits. A cramp deep down, a twinge way back. A surge of excitement, is this it? The contractions subside after a few minutes, maybe hours, and you head back to bed. Will it ever be it? Mama, you’re almost there.
There is no more room for meals in your freezer. You’ve eaten all of the easy, one-handed snacks that you had bought for early labor and breastfeeding. It is time for another “last trip” to the grocery store, this one has to be it. You get more coffee for the midwife or doula, you stock up on your favorite chocolate. You could use an extra bar right now. You think about how much your body has changed these last few weeks just waiting. How big can this baby get? Mama, you’re almost there.
You’ve left work. At home, silently knitting endless booties, you are thinking of the hours you could have been putting to use. Rest. You are doing the most important work. The hard work. Your partner is by your side, you hold hands and review the crinkled pages in your stacks of pregnancy books, searching for a sign. Your voices carry in the emptiness. When will you hear the first coo, that first cry? Mama, you’re almost there.
The days pass, you wonder if you will make it to 41 or 42.. 43 weeks? Can you even do this? You are walking everyday, eating gallons of dates, pineapples and hot sauce, and thinking about hooking up your breast pump to encourage the natural timing of birth. You put on a smile as you reassure your friends and family, any day! You secretly wonder, will this baby ever come? Mama, you’re almost there.
Mama, beautiful, weepy, achy, ever-growing mama, I have been in your shoes. I’ve walked the long and lonely path that you see before you, suspended between the end of your pregnancy and the beginning of motherhood . As your impatience turns to doubt, I stand by your side. Feel me with you, deep down in your heart, when you can’t take one more day. These quite, still, delicate moments. I am convinced that these are the moments that help make us into mothers. They are a passage, a challenge, a right. Mama, you’re almost there.
As mothers, we wait. These last days are practice. These last days are emotional ones. You may find yourself tearful, anxious, uncertain. Wait. In the dark silence of sleepless nights and endless days, find the light and the courage to stay strong. The time moves slowly during these days for a reason. These are your last moments to bond with your baby as one living, connected being. Embrace this sacred, tiring, beautiful end of pregnancy. This is the beginning of motherhood. Mama, you’re almost there.
Have you passed your estimated due date? What helped you through that tenth month of pregnancy? Share your experiences below!
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PHOTO CREDIT: HEARTLOVE PHOTOGRAPHY