I see you, little mama.
You haven’t quite gotten used to that name, yet. After all, you haven’t met your little one. You haven’t seen his or her little nose or kissed each one of his or her little fingers. You feel tired: tired of being pregnant; tired of well-intentioned strangers; tired of the looks directed at your over-stretched belly as if they’ve never seen something so foreign. You wonder if anyone has ever seen a pregnant woman before. You wonder if you’ve entered into an alter-universe, where you are first woman anyone has seen who has carried a baby for nine whole months.
And yet, with all the anticipation in meeting your little one, you’ve come to realize that you’re going to miss the little slithers and rolls in your belly. You’re the only one who gets to experience this pregnancy. You’re responsible for a little life and you feel as if you’re uniquely qualified to carry this little baby. And you are. You are the only mommy this little one will know. You are perfectly suited for the job… really.
Your anticipation in your first meeting can quickly transform into anxiety; you have no idea what to expect with labor or delivery or the first few sleepless nights, for that matter. You may not know how you’re going to be able to become the mom that you know this baby deserves. You’re about to take this test and you haven’t studied nearly enough. You feel unprepared for the task at hand.
You know not to expect to sleep for a few months. You know to expect to love your baby. But–a word of caution–don’t set too many expectations for what is to come.
Don’t expect to know how deeply you’ll fall for this little baby. Don’t expect to understand just how sweet those first few weeks are–despite the bloodshot eyes and uttered prayers for at least two hours of sleep. Don’t expect for these days to last; as all little mamas soon discover, these moments are fleeting. Don’t expect not to cling desperately to the late night wake-up calls as you ache for one extra snuggle with that little baby. Above all else, don’t expect for your baby to stay a baby for too long.
Don’t expect how much this little one will change your relationship with your partner. You can’t begin to understand how deeply you’ll find that you need him, or how much that baby needs him. In an instant, he turns from your lover to your family; a man you will be bound to for the rest of your life. And despite every temptation to take it all on yourself, let him help. He wants to be the dad he is meant to be.
Don’t expect to be the same employee that you are right now. You will give 100% of yourself somewhere; most of the time, you’ll invest more of yourself into your little family than your career. You might even make an unexpected job change; you may choose to stay at home. Don’t expect for that transition to be easy; but I can speak for myself in that it was the best decision I made for our family.
So put your swollen, tired feet up and get as much rest as you can. Expect to have the most exciting, most challenging, and most rewarding ride of your life. Expect the perfectly imperfect joys of motherhood. I suppose there really is only one thing to expect: the unexpected.