As I waddle through the final weeks of my first pregnancy, I am constantly fighting to hold onto my independence. I am perfectly aware that my life will change after this baby pops out, and at least once a day I have someone reminding me of this. So, this very much feels like “go time.”
This is the final stretch. This is the last opportunity to accomplish my goals and to take care of myself. It’s not easy. I’m struggling to find a healthy way to juggle all that I’ve put on my plate, without completely burning out.
Currently, I work seven days a week. I’m trying to build up my business and save as much money as possible before I go on unpaid maternity leave. I’m also studying for an exam so I can do more with my career once I come back to work. All of my free time is spent doing homework. Oh, and I decided to start a blog where I am committed to posting once a week. All of this is between the naps I can’t get through my days without. There isn’t much time left for cooking and cleaning, so I feel like I’ve been surviving on restaurant food, which makes me feel sick, and I am constantly looking at the filth I’m living in and wondering, “Can I really bring a baby into this?”
I have no energy, but I can’t help but feel that this is necessary. My life is slipping away, at least the life I know. I need to do all that I want to do before it’s too late. I need to go see a bunch of movies and keep going out to dinner, before I’m a hermit stuck in bed. I need to move forward with my career before I take a huge step back. I need to hang out with my single, childless friends who might not want to be around me much once I become one of “those people” who has a kid and forgets about everything else. I need to run errands. I need to register to vote and “help” my husband build a crib and go to IKEA to pick out more baby furniture to “help” my husband put together. I need to organize my life and get my shit together.
But I’m so exhausted. Where will I find this energy?
Am I crazy? Is this a terrible idea? This is the last chance I have to rest before this baby takes over my sleep schedule. It’s the last weeks for me to take care of my body to ensure that my baby is born healthy. Am I putting my baby at risk by running myself into the ground?
This is a very exciting time and I must admit that I am looking forward to motherhood, something I never thought I would say back when I was younger. I can’t wait for this sweet baby to be born. But I’m still slightly terrified. The me I know will forever be gone. The person I’ve fought for so long to become will vanish. The independent woman who has struggled to stand up for what she believes and do whatever she pleases, ignoring the constant feedback and criticism from those in her life—she won’t ever be the same. I can’t make another decision in my life based on me alone. This child will factor into every choice I make, and to be perfectly honest, the thought of that sucks.
I yearn to put all of my furniture on the street and fly to some island to live off the grid. I want to completely ignore my nearly 80K in student loan debt and simply take off, escaping into a more peaceful and fulfilling existence. But I can’t. For the rest of my life I will need to consider how my actions will affect my child. Will there be good doctors on my fantasy island? What is the school system like in my hut’s district? Will my child be around other children? Or is this imaginary home just the three of us? Will I be able to find a job on the island to help support my family?
Plus, all of my money now goes to the baby. I can’t save money for myself. All my savings will go to doctor’s bills, both prenatal and postnatal. I’ll also need to start saving for school and clothing and food to feed the little one.
The biggest fear I have is that when I finally figure this all out and seem to get a grasp and a moment to breathe, I’ll get pregnant again. We always planned on having more children. He/she will need siblings, and I will just have to accept being poor for the rest of my life.
Again, I’m excited and thrilled to bring this human into the world. Every kick reminds me that this is happening, very soon, and it’s fantastic. But is it so wrong of me to be scared? Not of the diaper changes and the lack of sleep, but the constant energy I will give to someone else. My life is no longer my own. My life belongs to this creature. I’m full of joy at the idea of my pregnancy being over, but part of me wants to go back a few months and do more for me. I guess I’ll have “me time” again one day—in about 20 years or so.