Tuesday, June 21, 2016
THE OTHER SIDE OF 40 WEEKS
When I was pregnant, 40 weeks was my finish line. My end goal that drove me through each nausea-filled day. I was simultaneously impatiently rushing head first to last September, while also dragging my feet as the clock pulled me along with each passing minute.
On the one hand, I couldn't wait for the 40 weeks to be over: I'd feel like me again, get to eat/drink whatever I wanted, and most importantly, I'd get to meet my little girl.
But on the other hand, life as I knew it was changing. Forever. There were no take backsies or redoes. This change was permanent. What an amazing reason for my world to change, but still, I fretted each day as to how I would handle this wonderful and imminent disruption.
Just shy of 40 weeks, I wasn't left to wonder anymore. I dug my heels in harder as the pangs of labor began to intensify. But as I pushed Everly into the world, I realized I was also pushing myself to assume this new role. My mom told me the next day that she saw me become a mother as I held Everly for the first time. That sweet observation from someone whose opinion I value so highly has remained with me. Sometimes you need others to believe in you so much that you begin to believe in yourself. To let the confidence work its way from the outside in.
And all of a sudden, it seems, another 40 weeks has passed.
But this side of 40 weeks looks so much different.
These 40 weeks weren't spent anticipating, they were spent experiencing. I wasn't focused on an end date, I was focused on each day, each moment within these 40 weeks. I spent these 40 weeks memorizing a face, figuring out how to make a new little human feel happy and safe, how to make my current self feel happy and safe, how to be more patient, that it's ok to feel like crying, that it's ok to cry.
These first 40 weeks of Everly's life were the best 40 weeks of my life.
And you know what's funny? Now I find myself digging in my heels all over again. Not because I'm scared this time, but because I want to stay in these moments a while longer. I can feel the passage of time pulling us forward. It's causing Everly to grow soft strands of hair that barely cover her bald head, to grow a little (sassy) personality, to grow up.
I was surprised to see the app on my phone tell me Everly was now a whopping 40 weeks. I hadn't counted anything in weeks for a while. No more how many weeks pregnant are you or how many weeks old is she. Instead of it being a day marked with fanfare, it passed just like any other wonderfully ordinary day. It did make me stop for a moment, though, and think back on how far we both had come and how much there is to look forward to....with no end goal in mind.