Adventures along the journey to parenthood

35 Week Update

Today is January 24th. That means our due date is one month and one day from now!

For the most part we’ve been feeling calm. I feel about as ready and as prepared as a new mother can be — which means not very much, but I feel OK about that and I feel confident in myself, in Ted, and in our community of support. Our child now has clothes, diapers, and a place to sleep. We’ve got plenty of burp cloths, blankets, and cute snugly toys. We continue to clear out our upstairs rooms in preparation for his nursery – Ted is installing handrails on our stairs, building more storage shelves in our basement, and will be moving over some new furniture this week from his grandfather.  Upstairs has been the location for my office, which I haven’t had much use for since the end of grad school, so we are dismantling it to make room for the future. I’ve been sorting through photos, memorabilia, letters, and school papers dating back to middle school! It was a wild trip down memory lane going through it all: photos of high school rock shows and sitting around in the Manual courtyard, hall postings from college featuring lots of profane art, a written out database of all my mix tapes for various friends, and so many letters! I was a prolific letter writer through middle school and high school. I bet I wrote at least a thousand. Most of these letters were between me and my friends from Marwood, a Unitarian Universalist church camp I attended for 4 years. Re-reading them, I’m embarrassed by my obsession with my own angst, broken heart, misunderstood soul, etc. It reminded me of the “Twilight” book series, which is a guilty pleasure of mine — the level of unhealthy angst, self-loathing and pathological obsession with boys — the books take me right back to my 13-year-old self and that’s why I enjoy them. I look back now and see what a privileged life I had and wonder how I couldn’t understand that then. The teenage years are fascinating. Eventually I managed to get over myself a little bit and became much happier. That gives me pause — if I got over myself even more now, would I become even happier still? Probably. Damn the ego!

I found scores of letter from my grandparents who passed away this last year, making those letters so precious to me now. My grandmother wrote to me weekly without fail through 4 years of college. It was so sweet – did I say thank you enough? Did I call enough? It made me re-think some of the other letters I was going to toss — what if I toss all the letters from a dear friend, but she passes away this year? Won’t I want that letter that captures her thoughts, her tone, her handwriting and smudges? I’ve saved at least a few letters from each of these people who are still important in my life. What about the letters from fellow campers who I haven’t spoken to since middle school? What if they become the President of the United States? Won’t I want those letters then? I decided to go ahead and toss those. 🙂 A line must be drawn!

90% of it is being tossed or burned, but I didn’t throw it all away – I’ve kept a few choice selections even from the embarrassing times in my past, because they so beautifully capture a moment in time and a moment in my personhood. I just have to make sure they aren’t so scandalous that I can’t face my kids stumbling across them – inevitably they will, the little snoopers!

I mentioned that I’ve been feeling calm and content over this whole impending life change, but I have to admit that anxiety is setting in. I’ve been having anxiety dreams nightly for the past few days. Along with that I notice myself getting physically, mentally, and emotionally worn out much more quickly. Part of this is due to work – we’re in the midst of a very stressful time, I’m conducting my first employee reviews this week, and there is already serious drama brewing. But this too shall pass.

I can’t blame all the stress on work – some of it has to be related to this baby. Our lives are about to change irreversibly. I know it will be positive, everyone says so. But I’m still mourning a little over the loss of my childless life – which I associate with youth, freedom and independence. I know it’s not impossible for a mom to be young, free and independent, but still, it will ALL be different. I had some of these reservations early in our pregnancy – is this really a good idea? Now I wonder how I can best enjoy the time I have left before parenthood takes over my identity and my world. Last night I found our youngest cat, Little Boots, snuggled up in the big crib upstairs. It’s designed to transition into our child’s first bed. I said to Ted, “There’s going to be a little boy sleeping in this bed” and it just freaked me out. It makes me a little teary even now. I just can’t imagine it. And it’s knocking on my doorstep, only weeks away. Fully out of my control.

Those are the scary thoughts. But the truth is I still feel a surge of happiness every time he squirms and kicks, and I know Ted and I are about to have a whole lot of fun. It will be an adventure! And when it comes to my day dreams and nostalgia about the exhilaration of youth and freedom, really what I’m thinking about is risk-taking and adventure. This will undoubtedly be one and I think we’re going to really enjoy it.  Risk-taking is what makes you feel the most alive (a new job, a new move, a new love) – the struggle, the challenge, the discoveries. There’s no turning back from this one. It’s sad and scary to say goodbye to the past — to what we know, what has given us joy and treasured memories, and what makes us comfortable — but I think we’re about to enter a new golden era.

Ted just came in to tell me about his anxiety dreams from last night. I told him about mine. 🙂 At least we’re in this together!

35 weeks pregnant and happy at Ted's art show: January 19, 2012

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12 responses

  1. Lila

    I think a nice thing to do is send letters written by friends when they were younger to them, to show how they’ve grown up or how cool they were then. I won’t lie, this comment is borne of my narcissistic horror at the thought of anything I wrote being thrown away. And yes, I have many shoeboxes of letters in my parents’ house, and I’ve never thrown a single letter away. I don’t know how! Good for you for being realistic and more practical than I can bear to be.

    January 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    • I almost mentioned you in the post Lila. I re-read (or at least skimmed) through every letter before determining whether to keep or discard. The first one I picked up from you was from 2004 and started off with you telling me that you would never ever throw a single letter away because of how it was a historical marker of time. Which was so funny to read as I was going through a huge purge of historical markers sitting in boxes for years — I only see them when I go through them to move to a new home or throw them out. No worries, I only found a few of your letters so they both have survived the massacre and are now preserved in a plastic sheath within a binder. xxoo.

      January 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

  2. DONNA BALLARD

    You ROCK!

    January 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm

  3. Ellyn

    I had Otis at exactly 37 weeks. I am not saying this to freak you out, but to assure you that what’s gonna happen is gonna happen, no matter how prepared you try to be. I hadn’t even bought a crib mattress yet! Hang in there. If you have any questions–gross or otherwise–feel free to hit me up 🙂

    Is it too early to schedule a play date????

    January 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    • Heh. I told Ted this last night and it did freak him out. 🙂 I think I’m ready for it, be it today or in 6 weeks, I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I will certainly be hitting you up with questions and a play date will be delightful!

      January 25, 2012 at 7:23 am

  4. Meghanbird

    I love the frankness of your writing. It’s a neat for those of us who haven’t had this experience to read about. Keep it up! I’m intrigued. And I know that a child of your’s and Ted’s will be pretty awesome. Can’t wait to hear more about him!

    January 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    • Thanks Meghan! I don’t think I know how to not be frank in my writing. It’s probably a skill I should figure out – it’s not always appropriate. 🙂 Hope all is well in Philly.

      January 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm

  5. lesley dials

    So glad you are doing so well! You look so beautiful! I still look at Eliana’s first newborn pictures and have a hard time believing she was in my belly only the day before. So glad you are enjoying this very special time!

    January 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm

  6. Lila

    Thanks for indulging me Sarah 🙂 Excited for you!!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm

  7. Juliet

    I loved reading this so much, and that Lila commented took me back to the days at Pratt. I am responding while nursing my second daughter, Stella (who is already 9mos old), and one thing I kept thinking is that parenthood, and motherhood gets better and better. It is great. Warm wishes to you from your old RA and Brooklyn jogging partner 🙂

    February 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    • Hi Juliet! I’m so glad you stumbled across the blog and wrote a note! I’m glad to hear such positive words about motherhood. I’m feeling worn out and a little demoralized this mornig so your words have arrived at a perfect time. What’s funny too is that I spent yesterday continuing the task of digging through school papers, photos, art, etc. and from the hundreds of photos I pulled out two to scan and share on Facebook — one is of you and Lila and Kate from your senior show at 4th Floorland! it’s so sweet. I’ll get around to actually doing the scanning one of these days. 🙂 I also dug out a bunch of old 4th Floorland fliers that had been posted around school and I saved several of them as part of my new Pratt memorabilia binder. It’s crazy to travel back in time in that way, digging through so many forgotten and wonderful things from another lifetime.

      Thanks for the love and support! I’ve spied on you and your sweeties a bit via FB and you remain, as always, such an inspiring figure – just by being you. Keep being awesome! I hope we stay in touch through the blog, FB, or something other fancy internet thing. Love, sarah

      February 6, 2012 at 8:30 am

  8. Carey

    Sarah- I just read these past few entries on your blog and thought I’d comment (mostly because some of those angsty and ridiculous letters must have been from me!). I know when I was pregnant I was right there with you–excited about having a baby, but not about how much everyone said my life would change, because I liked my life quite a lot as it was. And totally and completely nervous, freaked out by the idea of having a baby (my mom told me to think about not being quite so frank and honest when family members would ask if I was ready!). As my daughter is going to turn one in less than two weeks, I think “everyone” was right and wrong– it isn’t that your whole life changes but it shifts and turns into something more– and you are in total control of how much “you” to hold on to. It seems like you will do an amazing job with this. All the best!

    February 12, 2012 at 7:30 am

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