Spring has not entirely arrived yet in Maine, it keeps dipping a toe in the water- hesitant, cautious, not ready to take the plunge quite yet. But April is upon us now, and despite the light snow shower last week, I feel hopeful that the warmer weather is ready to stick around for a while. All of this changing of seasons and quick passing of time caused me to stop the other day and realize that we have recently reached our 9th month of pregnancy. It seems like just yesterday with trembling hands and teary eyes I passed the stick with two little lines to Josh and we looked at each other and said, “holy shit.” Now my belly is a visible hill under my tee shirt, a little mountain for the kids I watch to climb on or drive cars across, where I can see the little movements when I look down and can feel a little bum sticking out. Now when we go to bed at night and Josh sings or talks our baby moves at the sound of his voice. Now there is a crib and a sweet nursery all set up waiting for this little one’s arrival. Now this growing person has a name, Rowen, and we are counting weeks not not months until we get to finally meet them. And now I still can not believe this is happening.
When I was younger holidays were a mix of excitement, anticipation and anxiety- so much so that I threw up every Christmas morning due to my over abundance of holiday joy. I remember though, much of love of holidays stemmed from the mystery and possibility that they held. At birthdays I wanted to wait to open my presents last because I wanted to savor the feeling of what could and might be under the brightly colored paper and bows. It wasn’t a lack of gratitude for what I had or got, but there was always a little let down when it was over and the magic and wonder had passed. I feel just a little bit like that about this pregnancy right now. I am so excited and a little impatient to meet this baby, but I am also so happy to be right here we were are now. Right here where I haven’t made any big parenting mistakes yet, where Rowen is safely cocooned inside of me, where we don’t yet know the sound of their little voice, or their array of facial expressions, or if they have long skinny legs or chubby cheeks, if they will be easy to soothe or if we will spend hours pacing the floors of the apartment rocking, swaying and bouncing, if I will look down at their face and say- oh, there you are, or if there will be days and weeks of getting accustomed and familiar to this little strange being. There is so much possibility, so much that will happen and grow in the next year, and the year after that, and the years beyond, this time right now is precious and as it draws to an end I am holding it a little closer. I know when the time comes I will be ready to open my heart and let go so I can let in all the new and beautiful changes that will come with our baby’s arrival, but until then I am holding sacred and staying present in what a miracle this in-between place is.
Recently we had a party to celebrate our growing family and warm our new home. It was a whirlwind of family, friends and community all gathered together in person and in spirit to share well wishes and welcome this new life. I keep saying it, but I still can’t say it enough- we are so lucky and so grateful for the people in our life who support and love us. The day after the shower Josh and I read the welcome notes that everyone who attended the shower wrote to Rowen [which we will save and read every year on their birthday], I cried at least three times, then later we sat in the nursery and opened the thoughtful and beautiful gifts people brought us, we found out that the paternity leave fund that our friends created for us surpassed the goal they had set [thank you, thank you], and I cried some more. I remember in the early days of the pregnancy, when the enormity of what we were undertaking started to sink in on a new and heavy level, both Josh and I took turns having panic attacks and melt downs saturated with; how are we going to do this, are we really ready for this, and who is letting this happen? But under all that self-doubt and worry I kept saying, it’s going to be alright, we are going to be alright, and Josh kept saying, we are ok, we are going to be ok. And here we are now, and we are more than ok or alright- we are beyond blessed, we are full of joy, we are as ready as we will ever be to jump head first with eyes wide open into everything wonderful and terrifying that is parenthood.
Lately, despite the aches and pains of 9 months of pregnancy, and the challenges of navigating the world as a man who is pregnant, I have been feeling so glad that I have had this opportunity to experience this pregnancy. There was a time in my life when I assumed I would never want to, or be able to carry a child. There were times during the planning stages, when Rowen was still an idea and not yet a person, when I wondered what we were getting into, and could I handle it, and was I strong enough. But now I have no worries or wonders, this was absolutely the right decision. I know not everyone who wants to have a baby this way is able to, I know that there are so many beautiful ways to create a family that don’t involve growing one yourself, I know that if this didn’t work out we would have found another way to become parents. But right now, I just feel so lucky, I feel so connected to this person who woke me up at 3:30 this morning kicking and moving and has kept me up to watch the sunrise out our apartment window on Easter morning. I feel perfectly content to be right where we are right now, and also perfectly ready for the moment that Rowen is ready to enter this world and everything changes.