Pregnancy Help: Dealing With The Anxiety of An Impending Birth

Somehow, this pregnancy has settled into a nice routine. At 38 weeks and counting, my body seems to have adjusted to the aches, pains, and lack of sleep I've been griping about for months. Somehow, it seems like the "new normal". Even my ankles would agree; instead of 2 pork chops protruding from the bottom of my capris, I've somehow got magically slimmed-down ankles. I'm scheduling work for the next 2 weeks (despite my co-workers' comebacks of "Yeah, right, you're coming to the next meeting!") and enjoying the comments (and even the stares) of strangers about my obvious state of pregnancy. My wonderful husband has fallen into the routine of giving the kids dinner and putting them to bed, and then doing the dishes, while I put my feet up and "talk story" with him. Hey, I could get used to this! Um, except that...Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, is it? As much as I'm wanting to avoid this thing called "labor and delivery", what actually FEELS like "jumping (or getting pushed) off a cliff" -- deep down, I know I can't pretend it's not about to happen. Deep down, this control freak is really scared about the unpredictable nature of labor, and the fact that an unknown doctor in the group is likely to deliver my baby, not to mention the fact that I'm about to meet a little stranger. An interloper into what has become the lovely rhythm of our family.

I've spent this pregnancy in deep gratitude for the upcoming birth of this baby; grateful for the simple fact of my pregnancy at age 41, grateful that the pregnancy has progressed so well so far, and grateful for the support I have to go through this again.

But now I'm getting worried about the incredible changes we're about to face. Yes, I know. I'll fall in love with her the moment I meet her (or perhaps soon thereafter). My motherly instincts will kick in -- they always have before -- and the baby will be a wonderful addition to the family. Yadda yadda. But at this point she's still such a mystery; such an enigma. So close, and yet so unknown. And she's about to change everything. It's a little scary for a control freak like me to anticipate!

I feel protective of the three kids we have, and our routine that this new baby is about to smash. As excited as the kids are about their new sister, I feel anticipatory guilt that they surely cannot know the degree to which my attention will be taken away by the baby (and the killer sleep deprivation I will endure). And I groan when I think of the messy recovery from childbirth, the weight I'll have to lose, and the strategic clothing that needs to be worn by a lactating mother who also attends Board meetings and clinical consults.

So I think I'll just pretend that this is "the new normal" for a little while longer.

Baby? Who's having a baby?