It seems as if so much surrounding children involves waiting. And it usually begins with those first thoughts, "I'd love to have a baby." In the beginning, you may be waiting to ovulate or to see if your period comes. You may be waiting to take that pregnancy test or schedule that appointment to see your doctor. And then when you become pregnant, that first piece of waiting is over.
But now, you may be waiting to tell your parents or your coworkers or your Facebook friends. And then you may be waiting to find out test, lab or ultrasound results. Perhaps you're waiting until you can find out the sex of the baby or maybe you're just waiting until the birth date for that one. You're waiting for your belly to round or you're waiting for those kicks. You're waiting to feel better and less tired or you're waiting to indulge in your favorite foods (sushi, soft cheeses) until after delivery, per What to Expect While Expecting.
During your pregnancy, you can't imagine wanting to give birth any sooner than your due date, but as you get further in your pregnancy, you start to feel more ready and excited and anxious than ever before. You find yourself at 35 weeks thinking about your due date, only a month or so away. And as it creeps closer, your belly grows and you start to feel more uncomfortable, more ready to meet this baby. At 37 weeks, you start announcing to everyone that your baby is full-term now, and that he can be born whenever he likes! And you start thinking, any day...any day! You reach 38 weeks, certain that you won't have to wait much longer...will tonight be the night I go into labor? 39 weeks arrives and you're positive that there's no way whatsoever that you will still be pregnant and make that OB appointment next week. Your due date is here (yeah!) and you're STILL PREGNANT. You're certain this baby will be born sometime in the next 18 hours, and every hour that passes you start to realize your baby will be not born today and you will in fact be pregnant again tomorrow. You schedule an appointment for 41 weeks, hoping, praying, begging your body to still not be pregnant at that point. You have been waiting, waiting, WAITING to go into labor and you had no anticipation of making it to 41 weeks, let alone a whole new month you're now in! You were supposed to have a February baby, not a March baby! So you're at 41 weeks, scheduling additional tests to monitor baby, and you leave the appointment feeling like you're never going to give birth. You're the one woman that will remain pregnant forever.
You go to bed, settled on the fact that you will give birth to a four year old and that's just how it'll be. Or maybe you'll just go ahead and schedule that induction for a few days from now, as your body clearly can't do its job.
Only...you wake up at 3am feeling something you haven't felt before. It's kind of this crampy, uncomfortable feeling that makes you pay attention. It's short lived, your uterus softens and you glance at the clock. Okay, that was weird, you think. You close your eyes, only to feel this crampy tightening again, 10 minutes later. Hmmm... I might as well get up and use the toilet since I'm already awake. You make your way into the bathroom, and when you wipe, you notice the toilet paper is gooey. As you're walking back into your room, you feel another tightening, this time making you stop and pause. And then it hits you...the waiting is over! This is it! This is the beginning of your journey in meeting your baby.
You spent the rest of labor, working through contractions, but essentially waiting for labor to intensify, and once it does, you're waiting for the time to begin pushing. Once you start pushing, you're waiting for that final push that brings your baby into your arms. And then...it happens! Your baby is here. The waiting is over!!! Or is it?
You'll find yourself waiting for lots of changes and developmental milestones to be reached. And if you allow it, you'll find yourself spending much of your time waiting for the next stage to happen.
But I encourage you to slow down, notice where your emotions and thoughts are now, and steady them so that you stay in the moment. This is not to say you have to enjoy every step along the way and just be happy... no. I'm just suggesting that if you spend your energy waiting for the next moment, you're going to lose out on what is happening RIGHT NOW.
Your baby will be born. Your baby will sleep for longer stretches. Your toddler will start talking.
Take the time, now, to just be where you are in whatever stage of parenthood you happen to be. And notice how peaceful it can be to just be there, rather than always feeling like you're waiting for something else.