I was probably the most miserable pregnant woman you ever met at the end of my last pregnancy.
It was the end of summer, I was exhausted and my toddler daughter was non-stop all day long. My daughter arrived at exactly 38 weeks, so when that day came and passed during my second pregnancy, I became bitter indeed.
My son arrived, healthy and robust, on his due date. I skipped around the hospital room screaming with joy. I was no longer pregnant.
Yesterday—four months and one week later– I had to visit the midwife for a quick check-up. I walked into the office, expecting to feel relieved, happy that my body was back and my bladder was no longer compressed.
Instead I burst into tears.
The books—Your Happy Healthy Pregnancy; Birthing from Within; The New Mom’s Guide to Pregnancy—brought it all home. My belly is flat. My baby is growing (too fast). It is over.
When a pregnant woman waddled by, one week overdue, complaining to her husband, I wanted to shout at her to appreciate it, to relish the anticipation and the excitement and the promise of what is to come. But I refrained. I know all too well how those last weeks feel.
My son may be my last baby, that pregnancy my final one. Until I heard the whirring ultrasound machine next door, I had no idea just how sad that fact makes me.
I held my hands over my empty belly, aching for my son who is now on the outside. We can’t appreciate our pregnancies when sciatica, shortness of breath and exhaustion are upon us, but afterwards, believe it or not, we just might miss those kicks in the ribs.
I would do it all again just to have that anticipation and excitement a new baby brings. I may never have that again. But I do take comfort in the walking, the crawling, the speaking—the many firsts we have yet to come.