Monday, July 11, 2011

Am I ready?

37 weeks
Earlier in the pregnancy, I noted that everyone kept asking me, "How are you feeling?" Over the last month, as my due date rapidly approaches, the most common question has changed to, "Are you ready?" I get asked this at least once a day.

At first I didn't really know what this question meant, so I wasn't sure how to answer. It could mean so many things -- are you ready for labor, are you ready to have a baby around, are you ready to be a parent, do you have everything you need for the baby? A few weeks back, when someone asked if I was ready, I queried them back, "What do you mean?" They looked surprised, as if they'd just asked the question because it felt right, not really knowing what they expected me to say. They eventually answered, "Is the nursery ready?"

That was when I discovered that most people who ask this question really just want to know if we have our room prepared, if we acquired all the things we need for the baby once he's here. It's a perfectly understandable question, so now when people ask, I typically respond accordingly about all the baby gifts we've been moving into the nursery.

But inside the head of a hormonal soon-to-be mom, "Are you ready?" has much deeper connotations. In particular, I wonder whether I'm ready to go through this birth, and that's what I think about every day.

It's funny to me that I've been so confident throughout this whole pregnancy, knowing that I would be strong, I could handle a natural birth, and I was ready to bring my baby into the world at home. But the closer the due date gets, the more scared I seem to become. Some of this is due again to those pregnant woman hormones -- my emotions are up and down from minute to minute. But I'm also getting hit with the reality that the day is almost here -- it could, in fact, come at any time -- which is a bit frightening no matter how strong or excited I am.

I think part of the fear is in not knowing exactly when my son will appear. Those who know me know that I'm a planner. I like to know exactly when and where things will happen. Getting ready for a birth does not work this way. The baby will come when he's ready -- be that tomorrow or a month from now -- and I can't just schedule him into my online calendar like I do for everything else. Not knowing makes it more intimidating. But, oddly enough, it also makes it more invigorating. It reminds me that I can try to prepare all I want, but nature will take its course, just as it has for so many women before me. What happens will happen, and I will make it through, and soon enough I'll have a beautiful baby in my life, ready to accept my love.

So am I ready? As much as I can be.

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