How're you feeling?

Thirty seven weeks long.

The weeks have rolled on and the sentiments have changed from “oh wow, you’re glowing” to “Gosh, not long now is it?” What used to be “You don’t look pregnant from behind” has changed to “Three weeks left? No… you look bigger than that!”

I’m getting used to the sympathetic glances from people that generally give me a wide berth as I waddle my way down the supermarket isle. I’m getting used to the misty-eyed looks from older ladies who “remember it like it was yesterday” and I'm also getting used to telling the same sentence over and over (sometimes to complete strangers): “Yep, just three weeks to go… I hope.”

I’m getting used to the same comment, over and over: “How are you holding up, darling? How are you feeling?”

People are surprised now, whenever I actually turn up somewhere. I’m really not sure if they’re just thinking “Wow… that thing’s still inside her” or “How is she still walking?” or if they’re genuinely concerned I may go into labour on their watch.

Regardless of others reactions, I can tell you with certainty that I’m feeling very very close to giving birth myself. This is a dangerous way to think, however, considering that realistically speaking I could still have another month of pregnancy in me (please God, no). However, baby has been engaged for three weeks now. And I’ve been politely telling him, “okay baby, now’s the time” for about three weeks too.

I’m also at the point where everything feels like it might be the start of labour. I’ve been bitterly disappointed several times, thinking I’ve had my first “contraction” only to discover I just really need to fart.

I’ve woken several times in the middle of the night to a braxton hick and have had to will myself back to sleep because I know that if it is the real thing, I’ll wake up again later.

I’ve eaten something spicy thinking “Let’s see what happens” (probably also the reason I’ve had contraction-like farts).

Everytime I sneeze I think, “was that my waters breaking, or just a bit of pee?”

Guys, the third trimester is glamorous, I'm telling you, but I’m ready to give it up. I am SO ready.

At least, I think I am?

I remember getting to this same point with Ashton. It should be noted, however, that back then I got a lot more sleep and a lot more rest in general. Even so, getting up to walk across the room was an issue, getting onto the floor meant I wasn’t going to attempt getting back up again for at least a half hour, and every second was spent with me “nesting” to prepare for my first born’s arrival.

When he finally came (on his due date, might I add) I was absolutely overwhelmed and exhausted. Three or fours days in, despite the newborn haze my mind had been forced into, I distinctly remember thinking “Couldn’t I have gone overdue?”

Couldn’t I have had just a couple more days to myself?

This time round, I know what’s about to happen to me. I can be certain, to some extent, of the pain that will come when those contractions finally starts rolling. I can be certain, to some extent, of what generally happens when a baby exits from between my legs. I can be certain, to some extent, of how chaotically exhausting those first few weeks can be with a newborn.

To some extent.

To some extent, actually, I have no freaking idea what my next month actually looks like.

I’m not sure I will be able to birth this baby naturally. I’m not sure I’ll be able to bounce back in the same way I did with Ashton. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go home with him in three days. I’m not sure of when I’ll feel like myself again, or when I’ll *temporarily* feel I’ve got a little control or freedom back in my life.

I’m not sure when I’ll next be able to give my toddler 100 percent of my time and attention. I’m already grieving for that too, a little.

The bottom line is, I’m not really sure of anything. So when asked “How are you doing?”, “How are you feeling?”, “How’s it all going?” the appropriate response, really, to me is:

“I’m not sure.”

That’s okay. I’m allowed not to be sure. I’m allowed to feel uncertain, or nervous, about how things look going forward.

One thing I am sure of, however, is that it’s far too late to back out now. And if, during the birth, I was able to swap places with my husband…. I’m 100% sure I would.

Rachel Chen