It’s always strange, the last week: Knowing change is coming, worried about how that change might feel, excruciatingly elated at the thought of meeting your baby, on heightened alert at every twinge, wondering if this is it — if today will be the day. Sometimes I can’t really believe I’m going to have three children to mother. Sometimes I don’t think about it at all.
But today, some reminders to myself in motherhood as I wait in this wonderful, strange place of limbo.
It will be easier or harder than you think; do not get caught up with expectations. Say no when you need to. Say yes when you need to. The point is to listen hard and know truthfully what you need. Allow for grace. Forgive yourself for slipping back and slipping up. You’ll be tired to your bones. It won’t be the time to be mastering those parenting and discipline books you’ve been reading. Snuggle often. Say I’m sorry. Everything is seasonal. Make self-care an absolute priority. Showers feel better than made beds. Get the takeout if it means you can have a nap. Ask for help if you need it. Pay for it if you have to. Ask for space and healthy boundaries if you need that, instead. The point is to listen hard and know truthfully what you need. Treat your marriage with care. Fall into its strength. Don’t concern yourself with how new motherhood third time around looks, or how it’s supposed to look. There will be mess. Allow there to be mess. Life with a newborn is not how Instagram will have you believe. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. You do you. Remember that babies don’t keep. Savour this time and protect it from the pressures that take away from it. Slow down. Put away distractions. Sip the tea slowly. Play the music. Let them dance. The five of you come first. Big families need care. Most of all, be gentle with yourself. Give yourself the kind of care you’d give a friend. You are their mother, yes, but you are yourself first. Find any ways, big or small, to love yourself well through this time of change.
And now, we wait.
And soak into these final days.