Today I learned a new word, which at this stage of pregnancy (38 weeks, 3 days) is a special feat in and of itself. Zwischen. It's German, and it means "between."
It is the epitome of where I find myself lately. In between.
In between being childless and a mommy.
In between my body being my own and belonging to the baby growing inside.
In between the joy of holding my daughter and the fear of what comes next.
Pregnancy limbo. Zwischen.
I'm a weepy, curled up ball of tears at every Hallmark commercial, and getting through a Good Morning America spotlight of a child who has done/gone through something extraordinary without bawling is almost impossible at this point. I'm insecure about my roundness and constant waddle, but I'm proud of my body for what it's accomplished in the past 9+ months. I mourn the idea that these last few days/weeks will be the last times that H and I have that are truly "just us," but I look forward with indescribable joy at the idea of raising this beautiful little girl together.
I have 11 days left until our due date. 11 days (more or less) of "in-betweenness." And I have never felt so torn and conflicted about something so scary and beautiful. I've been blessed to have had an easy pregnancy: little to no nausea, weight gain has been minimal, baby has been healthy and right on track at every appointment, no extreme symptoms or health problems, and generally comfortable up until the past week or two. I have genuinely loved be pregnant, with every little milestone along the way, which is why I feel so torn: as excited as I am to hold my daughter and see our family move into this brand new chapter of our lives, I am so sad to say goodbye to pregnancy. Not because I fear what comes next won't be as good; in fact, I know it will be better! But the joy of feeling my baby move for the first time inside me, the little moments we share in the early morning when Daddy gets up to go to work and I can feel her begin to stretch and wiggle as she wakes up, too - those are the moments that I'm sad to lose. Those are the moments that catch me in my zwischen, my "in-betweenness."
And yet the idea of finally meeting this little girl who I have spent the past 9+ months bonding with, to finally see her chubby cheeks and tiny nose, to count the fingers and toes that have been wiggling around - that I have zero fear or doubt about. I can't wait to hold her, skin-to-skin, in those first moments outside of the womb and know that she is mine; to watch her daddy do the same and know that forever there is a piece of his heart that I will never be able to have because in that instant it now belongs to her. The joy of knowing that our family now has a completeness that we never knew before - that is the moment when my in between ends and my role of mommy begins, something that I look forward to with so much excitement, despite the fears of my in between.
Limbo, torn between two worlds: pregnancy and motherhood, the "now" and the "what's to come."
Ask me again a few weeks after Anastasia has arrived, after we have settled into some semblance of a routine with her, if I miss the in between. I honestly don't know how I'll answer. Truthfully, I know there will always be a part of me that misses the stages of pregnancy and the special bond that is formed during this time, but I can't honestly say if I'll miss this in between, this zwischen stage where everything is ending and beginning all at once.
For now, I will bask in the glow of the final weeks of pregnancy. Not so much the back and hip pain, the redistribution of my center of gravity, or my inability to put on socks by myself. But I'll enjoy my quite mornings with a squirmy baby that makes my belly move all on it's own; I'll fall in love with my husband all over again every time he kisses my bump goodnight or reaches over in the middle of church to lay a gentle hand where he can see her moving; I'll cry at the silliest things and not feel guilty about eating a donut at 9pm. Because this is my in between, my zwischen, and I'll enjoy every moment I have left of it.