This day last year was my due date. I was reminded of that fact when I ran into one of the midwives who attended my birth this morning (how crazy, right?). It feels so strange, and almost impossible that a year has passed since that day. In fact, this entire year has left me feeling bewildered at every turn. I seem to constantly be playing the "this time last year" game either in my head or out loud to Alex. "This time last year, we found out we were pregnant….This time last year, I couldn't see my own feet….This time last year, Emerson was spooning me in bed from inside my body." It's all my way of trying to come to terms with the enormous, night-and-day, life-altering changes that have occurred while being completely in awe of the miracle of life.
(I never got a good video of Emerson trying to rip her way
out of my belly—she was incredibly active in utero—but
I did take this one (very tame) video. You can
see her rolling around a bit and poking her elbow
out on the left side at the end.)
It's hard to believe that this time last year I was hugely pregnant and in agony waiting for labor to begin….looking for any possible sign that the end might be near. Little did I know I would be waiting another THREE WEEKS! That waiting was unreal. Both the physical discomfort and emotional impatience were at crazy high levels. The funny thing is, I went back and read my post from this day last year thinking I'd feel so far removed from whatever it was I was feeling then, but instead found myself still identifying with my April 24, 2012 self...
I can't seem to move forward or backward, but instead hang and float in what appears to be never-ending stillness and nothingness. My past life, and past self, have long faded away, yet my new life and self still feel so far out of reach. I know I am waiting for my baby, but I'm also waiting to feel connected to this world again, to feel anchored to an identity and move along with time and space like I used to.
What I didn't realize then was that the waiting doesn't stop when you give birth. Neither does the identity crisis. Emerson is here, and nearly a year old, but I still feel like my life is on hold. I still feel like I am waiting to feel "normal" again, to start moving forward, to somewhat resemble my old self. Because mothering can feel much like pregnancy. It can feel like nothing is happening or being accomplished. You may do nothing all day but take three naps and satisfy food cravings as a pregnant woman, or change diapers and clean up messes as a mother. But, something IS happening. Everything is happening. Life is being created, nurtured, developed, and enriched. All of your "nothing" is forever changing a little being's life. All of your "nothing" is the biggest "something" there is in this world.
But, it's difficult to always remember that—to feel like you are living your life with great purpose (in your sweatpants) rather than feel like you are putting it on hold. Last year, I sat on the couch putting the finishing touches on organs, strengthening lungs, and growing a brain. This year, I am sitting on the couch cuddling with a happy, healthy, loving little girl who is totally pumped that I am doing nothing but giving her my undivided attention. Though much of "me" is still sitting on a back burner waiting somewhere this April 24th, the smile on Emerson's face is exactly the reason I have given myself over to this past year (plus nine months) of transitionary limbo. And wouldn't you know, more life and meaning and depth has unfolded around me during this time.
Maybe life is what happens….when you are waiting for the rest of your life to begin.