As of Sunday, I’m now 28 weeks pregnant, which means I’m officially in my third trimester. And what a difference so far between this and my second trimester! Up until I left for my Midwest vacation less than three weeks ago, I was working out at the gym 3-4 times a week, going for long walks, and doing a pretty good job keeping up with an active social life. Now, I get winded walking more than two blocks and a flight of stairs has become scarier than a tall man in a dark alley wielding a french press and a waffle iron (think about it). I’m not sure if this is a general symptom of third trimester pregnancy or if I’m still on the mend after landing myself in the hospital for four days, but at any rate, I’ve become very intimate with my couch in the last few days.
Where I used to forget I was pregnant for a couple hours at a time, I’m always hyper aware now of this baby I’m carrying. He moves around with such strength and such frequency, he won’t let me forget. And with every kick and every punch and every roll of his tiny body, I feel more connected to him. As excited as I am to finally meet him and hold him in my arms, though, I wonder if there won’t be a part of me that will miss sharing this space and time with him. He feels like mine now, but when he’s born he’ll be his own person, separate from me, and I already feel bittersweet at the idea of watching him grow up.
In less than three months, I’ll be a mom. I count back three months ago and remember what I was doing then. I was in London, about to leave for Paris where I ate bread and cheese along the Seine and listened to accordion music through my open hotel window late at night and fantasized about staying there forever. I could still forget for several hours at a time that I was pregnant — that my whole life was about to change — that as old as I am and as much as I’ve experienced, I’m still in a very distinct “before” period. Because I know the day this baby’s born there will be a deep line drawn in my life, separating who I was and what I knew before and who I will be and what I will know after.
There’s a little bit of mourning that comes along with all this. Does every mom-to-be feel this way? I’ll miss how things have been — the flexible schedule I’ve kept, the sleep, the painless travel, the free time to daydream endlessly. But I’ve been missing a lot already. At every age, I miss my younger self a little more, and in this year I turn 35, it’s only more intense with impending motherhood. I miss myself at 22, and 27, and 31. I miss myself and the lives I’ve lived, but I’m always happier with each passing year, and I can only imagine the happiness this year will be tenfold.
I’m ready. I’m ready for that deep line and the life that comes after.