The Terror


When I found out I was pregnant I was immediately drawn to search out others like me, I instinctively craved a community of women going through what I was

I’m the first of my close friends to have a child, and although I’m fortunate enough to know a few incredible moms in real life (Including you, Audrey and Christine) mostly I sought this company online.

In the early weeks, as I hungrily scrolled through innumerable mommyblogs I felt like I was missing something, there was so much being unsaid about this experience.

They wrote (like I wrote, and will write) about expanding bellies, morning sickness, nursery decor. And these things are important, witnessing your changing body and morphing appetite and making preparations to welcome a new being into your home and your hearts is no small thing- it’s important and everyone writes about it because regardless how much you read it’s always different when it happens to you- if only because it this time it IS happening to you.

But in addition to staring at this new body in the mirror, watching in shock as my belly begins to poke itself insistently into the world, as a thin network of blue veins begin to reveal themselves just below the skin of my chest, in addition to all of this, everything I do is now tinged with the knowledge that soon I’ll doing this plus.

Dishes plus diapers. Laundry plus more laundry and more laundry and (I hear, I have been warned) ever more laundry. My days will be filled with all of the innumerable daily tasks I do now PLUS breastfeeding and shushing and rocking a tiny squalling creature on just a few hours of sleep.

This part of things is terrifying in its incomprehensibility.And I didn’t find much written about this, the terror felt when you look at the days and weeks and months after your due date, and that makes me wonder if I’m the only one sitting here quietly panicking.

Yesterday I drove to work after somewhat of a late start ( due to a night where “morning” sickness made a very surprise, very unwelcome return) and as I navigated the turns to get to Adam’s work I found that I was going through a half finished to-do list in my head.

I was thinking of the laundry overflowing our bedroom hamper, my car that I still haven’t vacuumed out after our Easter trip to see Adams family, our lawn, scraggly at the edges and in need of a trim. I found that without even being conscious of doing so, I was berating myself for this list, for all the things that remain unfinished, half-done.

And that berating, that nasty inner voice scolding sounded mostly like a panicky refrain of “If I can’t even get this shit done now, how will I do it when…” ?

When the baby won’t stop crying. When I can’t leave the house on a whim. When noisy chores have to be scheduled around naptimes.

I very rarely feel like I have it all together, most days I feel like I’m trailing one step behind, promising myself I’ll do XYZ when I have more energy. When I have more time.

And sometime within the past few weeks, perhaps as this pregnancy seemed to edge beyond that trepidatious first trimester, it became apparent that that fuzzy blob we first glimpsed six weeks ago will probably be lucky enough to develop into a child I will one day (in five and a half months, in fact) hold in my arms… It’s exhilarating.

And terrifying.

Because I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Perhaps this is why it’s not written about, because you never know how until you just…do.

We visited my sister in law shortly after she had twins a few years ago, and as we sat in a rare moment of stillness while they were both sleeping, I looked at her and her spotless house and two older children and just this whole world she was holding together, and I said in awe “I don’t know how you do it.”

She chuckled and said “I don’t know why people keep saying that. What’s my other option?! I do it because I have to.”

And that’s exactly it. I’ll do it, because I have to. But right now, from this side of the fence I have no idea how. And that’s terrifying.

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