1. The last month of pregnancy: It’s a glorious time. It’s when salespeople help you more quickly because they don’t want you to explode on the sales floor. It’s when none of your pregnancy clothes fit and your shirts ride up on your belly as if to tempt people with a Lewis Carroll-like sign saying, “Lift me!” It’s when you are already sleeping as though you have a newborn baby because, whether it’s heartburn, gas, or sheer discomfort in your own skin, you are up every hour.
2. The maybe-last last month of pregnancy: I’m not sure if I’m going to do this again. In the words of the New York Lottery, “Hey…you never know!” But the fact of the matter is that I don’t know if I will ever again feel that indescribable feeling of new life inside my abdomen. Or the unromantic feeling of a small heel carefully wedged between my ribs. Or like I am in a remake of “Alien,” watching my stomach churn like a storm at sea. These may be feelings I will never have again—feelings that can’t be photographed, feelings that are exclusively mine.
3. Dealing with other kids while immensely pregnant: A challenge. Standing serving pizza in 90 degree heat at your kid’s school carnival is the equivalent of running a marathon. Running after your 20-month-old as she decides to make a break for it and run, happily laughing, down the street is an opportunity to test out how fast you can run/how loud you can scream. Not overreacting to any little setback: I’m still working on that one.
4. June’s insanity: A lot has been written about the chaos of the end-of-school year for all parents—the crush of special activities, demanding special supplies/treats/etc. Add in the fact that we’re having a sixth kid and are moving (more on that in a sec) and the fact that there are at least two big school events EVERY DAY suddenly becomes, to put it euphemistically, somewhat trying/amusing. Shakespeare plays, school carnivals, orchestra concerts, school assemblies, end-of-school parties…let’s put them all in one week! Yeah! Oh, and let’s make it the week you’re moving and 39 weeks pregnant!
5. We are moving: We are moving. When we moved into our house five years ago, I was sure it was our forever house. “You said we’d never move,” my son says plaintively. “I also didn’t think I would have four more children in five years,” I tell him. But this has been a wonderful house for all of us. It’s quirky and odd and we have been so, so happy here. I know we will also be happy in our new, beautiful house as well…but I can’t even get my mind around leaving.
6. We are moving into my parents’ house. Our new house isn’t ready. So we are all—me, my husband, and soon-to-be six kids—moving into my parents’ house for the summer. The kids are beyond excited to have roommates and to live with their grandparents. I have so many levels of emotion as to how I feel about my parents’ extreme generosity—and the fact that I haven’t lived with my parents since moving in with them, a single mother of two boys, eight or so years ago—that I cannot possibly process it on a 39-week-pregnant hormone system.
7. My oldest son is graduating elementary school. He’s going to middle school, or, as he calls it, the school for the Magical Mystery Tour—puberty. Good God. There have been parent orientation meetings about sexting. SEXTING!!! Let’s add on top the level of PTSD torment I experience when I so much as think about middle school—to say that my middle school years were “awkward” would be remarkably kind—and throw in the pregnancy hormones. Actually, I have learned that us pregnant women—with the moods, the body changes, and the zits—are a lot like adolescents. All the feelings!!!!
8. I had my first bar mitzvah meeting at the synagogue for my oldest son. Standing up to say the shehecheyanu with my fellow parents while feeling my soon-to-be-newest kid kicking inside me was surreal and beautiful and terrifying and magnificent all at once. I’m dealing with a whole lot of feelings here, folks—pride, fear, anticipation, apprehension, excitement.
9. I’m having a baby. Probably next week. Who knows? There is so, so much going on simultaneously that it is absolutely overwhelming. But I think being a parent of this many kids has prepared me well—because, let’s be honest, there is ALWAYS so much going on. One kid has a crush, another one is learning how to poop in the potty, another one is getting her first bed, another one is stressed out about a school project or playoff game or competition. There is never a dull moment—literally. And in this case, all these things are huge and scary and liminal…and GOOD.
If I could write about all of them, I would. But in the meantime, I’ll just try to live through them all.