In the last week and a half, I find myself having entered that uncomfortable end stretch of pregnancy. My hips and pelvis are sore and achy. My back hurts. I am exhausted, and having trouble sleeping. I have gas, bloating, indigestion... All the unattractive and annoying things about the 3rd trimester are really starting to catch up with me. So, I did what any modern women would do in my situation: I complained about it on facebook.
After stating to the world that my body was in a state of 34 weeks pregnant mutiny-meltdown, one of my friends replied: "Makes you that much more ready and 'eager' for labour!!!"
But, no. Not really.
When I was pregnant with Nik, I remember major impatience in the final weeks. I began my maternity leave at the beginning of November, and did not head to the hospital until the night of December 10th, so I had a lot of time to just sit around and wait for our mystery baby to arrive. Some evenings I would enter our perfectly set up nursery, look at the tiny clothes in the dresser or sit in the rocking chair and think, "This is a nice room. We should put a baby in here."
In addition to the normal new mom anticipation of my first little baby, there was another factor making me wish for the birth: I was crazy itchy. I had been unlucky enough to suffer from a major PUPPS rash during the last month and a half of that pregnancy, red and angry over my brand new stretch marks. I spent a lot of time scratching and trying not to scratch, rubbing my belly with ice cubes, and trying to ignore it long enough to fall asleep. When my OB/GYN told me it would likely go away when the baby was born, I could only think, "Well, bring it on."
Touch wood, but I haven't experienced any itching with this pregnancy. And I'm not really longing for a snuggly little thing to complete the nursery - the first snuggle-bug is still here. The factors are just different this time around, and even with the late-pregnancy discomforts starting to pile up, I am not yet feeling that impatience for baby to arrive.
I think my perspective has changed. With my first pregnancy, I wanted to get it over with, get it done, get to the baby part. Having lived through it once though, it seems to me that there will be lots of time with baby, and the pregnancy seems so fleeting by comparison.
Babies are so easy to care for, so portable, and so connected to you in pregnancy. They never cry, never need to be changed. There are no worries about how much they are getting to eat, or whether they are warm enough. You don't have the hassle of dealing with car seats, bulky strollers or snowsuits. No one is spitting up on your dress 5 minutes before it is time to leave.
Also, consider what a small portion of your life is spent feeling another life move inside of you! If the average mom has 3 children, feels the quickening beginning at around the 4 month of pregnancy, and carries to term, that adds up to maybe 15 months. Over an average lifespan of 80 years, that works out to less than 2% of your life where it is possible to feel your child from within. Less than 2%! When you consider that many women (and all men) go their whole lives without ever experiencing this sensation, how could I wish for it to be over all the sooner?
I am also still in the process of getting mentally prepared for the arrival of a second child. My labour with Nik was difficult, and my transition to mama-hood went over a rough road. Since then, a combination of time, information, and experience have soothed those growing pains, but I still have more fear to let go of before I will feel ready to face the next birth with confidence.
Appreciation of the briefness of pregnancy, and a more realistic understanding of what is to come... These things make it easier to say in the face of a possible 5 or 6 more uncomfortable weeks to come that baby is still better in than out.