There have been many sweet parts about this pregnancy. I have delighted in how kind people are to pregnant women and have accepted all the help offered with bags, doors, and chairs. People are genuine when they shout the random “Congratulations!” and no one makes you wait for the bathroom.
Despite these good things, I have been feeling pretty ready for this little pearl to arrive since mid-summer. One main motivator has been the complicated tension between folks celebrating pregnancy and the feeling of being something of a disappointment for the hassle my pregnancy causes. This was most obvious at the law firm where I’ve worked over the last two and a half years. While there were many statements and even some tangible actions of support, there was an underlying tone of frustration that I was allowing the pregnancy to change my work availability. After a random fall outside of the dentist’s office at 35 weeks, doctors wanted me to take it easy in order to allow the baby more time womb time. When I relayed this message to one boss, her response was one of worry, but mostly about how much I wouldn’t be able to get done if I went into labor early. Approaching 38 weeks, I was under the constant scrutiny of another boss as we prepared for an intense trial…her most frequent comment was “Do not have that baby early!” It was incredibly difficult to maintain my crazy caseload, stay positive and deal with my seemingly insensitive bosses. At some point, I started telling people I was excited for labor just so I wouldn’t have to be a pregnant Guardian ad litem any longer. I’m sure it was somewhat entertaining for folks at the court house to see me hustling down the hall with my large baby belly, but for me, it was mostly just stressful.
The other place I felt strained by limitations was at church. As an elder, there are many, many things I should be doing to make sure our sweet church is taken care of. But many weeks this summer, all I could do was pray, because exhaustion left me with nothing else to give. Fortunately, I know (and was reminded by plenty of kind friends) that this was the best thing I could do in those moments. But it was still a little haunting to know that, as the only elder who could be pregnant in our current group, I wasn’t able to carry my weight (figuratively, though literally that got harder and harder as the weeks went by as well!:).
At some point, I accepted that I am pretty much disabled (the SW airlines pre-board disability pass maybe should have cemented that one) because sudden fast movements were out of the questions, and just rising from a dinner table took considerable effort. And I do think pregnancy is probably a baby step towards the reality of how much parenting a child changes your availability. As we get ready to welcome this little child, I guess I just need to keep an open mind about changing expectations, and remember that it’s OK to disappoint people at times. Who knew carrying a baby would also lead to so much personal growth? Look at us grow.