Deep Breaths

I’m better now. I really needed a couple of days off.

I’ve gotten sleep, tons of items crossed of our to-do list, sleep, cleaned and organized things, read, slept, watched movies. Oh, and sleep.

Being pregnant makes me feel self-conscious. At almost 35, I’ve spent the better part of my adulthood watching several things:

  • How women handle being pregnant while working full-time. How they treat their work, their coworkers, their bosses.
  • How coworkers treat pregnant women, no matter how the pregnant women behaved.
  • How pregnant women treat themselves, either acting like total prima donnas or workaholics

I have worked at places where bosses have been so incredibly awful to women when they become pregnant that it struck the fear of God in me. I mean, just awful. And then there are the women (it’s usually women) who have the choicest of words for women who work full-time and get pregnant/have children. To be fair, it’s never been the majority, but I’ve been privy to a level of vitriol from younger, single, childless women that can make your head spin – whether the object of their scorn deserves it or not. Of course there were the women who were so disrespectful to their counterparts who picked up the slack while they attended to their families that I’ve been equally as gobsmacked. Why is it OK that you drop everything for your kid’s doctor’s appointment but the woman in your department can’t do the same for her pet? All of these behaviors have been nothing more than that of people who have had the luxury of not having had to have their lives upended in one way or another.

But even working at a company where they’ve been nothing but supportive of my pregnancy has made me jumpy. And paranoid. And angst-ridden. And it’s turned me into a bit of a monster at home, the exact opposite of what I was shooting for. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I’m sore and physically wrecked. Yes, I’ve got a lot on my plate. But it’s my choice to worry and fret over my career. Over to worry whether or not I’m taking care of everything I need to before the baby comes. To fret over whether or not I have coworkers who might be irritated that I’m leaving for three months to have a baby. This is all my baggage, and it’s not the reality.

I woke up early again this morning and immediately my brain started circling the drains of everything that needs to be done. I’m not awake because of these things – I’m awake because I’m eight-months-pregnant and it goes with the territory. And for as tired as I am of being tired, I’m even more exhausted by the foul mood I’ve allowed myself to be in almost daily, for any number of reasons I can put my finger on. If I’ve learned anything from my hypnobirthing work, it’s that I can get in my own way better than anyone or anything. And that’s a lot of what’s happening here – I’m just getting in my own way.

Sure, again, a lot of what I’m experiencing is normal, but I’m the one who is choosing not to sit still. I’m the one who is obsessing over whether or not the bathroom linen closet upstairs has new contact paper in it. I choose to worry whether or not I’ve ordered the shades for the nursery, or whether or I’ll know what to do if the baby gets here and gets sick and how can I possibly handle that if the basement is a mess?

Which gets at the heart of the matter, doesn’t it? It’s easy to blame work, my unending to-do list with its myriad projects, even being pregnant itself on why I’m in a perpetually terribly mood. But it’s really just me making a choice not to take a deep breath, smile and let it go. Yes, I woke up two hours earlier today than I wanted, but I got to sleep by about 10:30 p.m., and even though it was not the soundest sleep, I’ve had worse nights. And I can get to bed earlier tonight if I need. Being upset about this is not going to get me those two hours of sleep, and it’s not going to make all of this change and uncertainty and healthy, natural amount of fear about becoming a parent go away. It’s just going to make me a miserable person to be around.

I have about 45 minutes to rest before I need to get up and get ready to head to the midwives for our first appointment with them. Then I’m going to head to work and put in a full day, happy to see my coworkers and friends after a long two weeks of not seeing many of them. I’ll remember to take some deep breaths, and take the rest of the day bird-by-bird. Hopefully by this evening I’ll have a nice dinner with my husband, read and get to bed at a decent hour, no worse for the wear.

For now, I’m going to be happy that the baby is kicking and up with me, and that I have a few extra moments to watch some L&O reruns off the TiVo, joyful for the chance at another day to get it right.