My mom says I’m always on the go. She isn’t wrong.
When she called yesterday to ask a question, I was breathing heavy from trying to organize a high shelf in my kitchen. I had a piece of toilet paper shoved up my nostril to stop a particularly heinous nose bleed.
She told me to sit down until my nosebleed stopped, but I was eager to get ready to go grocery shopping, setting out my reusable bag and explaining to my husband that I’d printed out coupons, a list of items on sale at each store, and our grocery list. We needed to get meals for next week, but we’re also starting to prep and freeze food for after the baby comes, so we had a lengthy list. Two stores and four hours after we left the house, despite my husband suggesting that we stop halfway through, we finished our grocery shopping.
It was 10 p.m. and I felt like I got hit by a truck.
At a young age I learned that when I was booked solid, I had less time to be anxious. It was the very first way I ever coped with my anxiety order, though I wouldn’t have called it coping at the time. And to be honest, it worked! I was full of energy and had a head full of creative ideas. I’d just go from one activity to the next without stopping to think, “Do I need a break?”
When I was 23, I moved into an apartment alone. I thought I’d have a really difficult time with all of that time to self-reflect, but instead I took advantage of being able to come and go with no one asking where I was. Every night was booked, whether I was getting drinks with friends, working from a coffee shop, wandering around Target or hitting up a bar with coworkers. I rarely got home before the sun went down and I rarely stayed long.
When I met my husband, I had more of a reason to stay home. My need to stay busy was executed more in NEEDING to paint this wall TODAY or NEEDING to get such and such at Kohl’s in the next hour. I know very few people who can out shop me.
Around week 29 of my pregnancy, my body started to give me an attitude.
I hadn’t been working at 100% since I came home from my honeymoon and found out I was expecting, but during the first and second trimesters, I didn’t have a lot of down time. The first, I was asleep all. Of. The. Time. I took naps after I showered and was more than willing to crawl into bed at 7 p.m.
The second, I had a little bit of energy back and started to cook more, to shop more, to prep for baby more.
And then I got to that elusive third trimester and while I’d spent most of my pregnancy in awe of what my body COULD do (”I am growing a spinal column right now,” I’d tell my husband as I read from the baby books), I was all of a sudden in awe of what it couldn’t.
I can’t be on my feet all day. I can’t shop at 10 different stores. I can’t get a good night’s sleep. I can’t make plans in the morning, afternoon, and still be open for going out at night. I’m tired, I’m in pain, I’m achy. I’m SO excited to meet this baby and grateful that he (yes, he. More on that later) has not decided to come early, but I am also very, very new at this.
Not new at motherhood, though I am. I’m new at this sitting thing. This “being” thing. This lack of agenda or plan or distraction.
Luckily, there are a lot of things to do around the house when you have a baby on the way. I’ve realized that folding onesies quiets my brain without swelling my feet. Stalking the mom-to-be forums offers almost the same amount of of entertainment as an afternoon shopping and is better on my bank account. I’ve been fortunate to not have many anxiety flare ups during my pregnancy, so while my body has been setting off alarms when it comes to physical activity, my mind has been… relatively calm.
I can remember falling asleep in the summer as a kid, listening to the crickets with my window open. It was a rare moment in which I could relax. Today, the crickets have been replaced with the rush of a highway, but I’m finding myself more and more relaxing into the white noise and the light wind blowing.
It’s not easy to sit. To relax. To give up on planning it all out. But as I’m planning on teaching my son so many things, it looks as though he is teaching me the value in being still.
Have any of my fellow mamas struggled with pregnancy slowing them down?