Pregnancy: Week 24
On Thursday morning, I woke with a smile. 24 weeks pregnant, feeling good, and looking forward to my first appointment with the midwife-led unit I’ve chosen to attend for giving birth this time around. But that wasn’t the reason for my smile. The night before we learned that my brother and my sister-in-law welcomed my new baby nephew into the world.
I’d been waiting on tenterhooks for news in the days leading up to it – every text message or phone call had me leaping for the phone. So to learn the news, and then the relief to learn that everything had gone well and mother and baby were doing well, it was joyous.
And you just have to hold on to the joy in life don’t you? It’s been a rollercoaster of a week in our lives. While one brother and his wife welcomed their new baby, my other brother and his fiancée and her family were saying goodbye to her mother, who passed away a few days later. I don’t have the words to describe how heartbroken I am for them. There are no words I guess… I just pray they have the strength to get them through the difficult months that lie ahead.
As it happens, I spent the week reading Naomi Stadlen’s What Mothers Do…especially when it looks like nothing.” I had heard such good things about it – and now I know why. Between reading that book and everything else that was happening, I spent a lot of time thinking about motherhood this week.
How do you explain the place a mother holds in your heart? How do you describe the way you change when you become a mother? Naomi is right – we don’t generally have the words for it. We don’t generally talk about it. But giving birth is about more than bringing new life into the world – it changes the lives of the new parents, the grandparents, all the family.
On the day Little Man was born, I kept looking at him thinking “That’s my son. My son. I have a son.” And later, the realization that inevitably follows, “I am a mother.” I thought I knew what the meant. But I didn’t. I’m still learning in fact. And every day, Little Man teaches me a little more.
And now I’m starting to think about bringing a new little one into the world – my daughter. I’ll have a daughter. And I think it will be different second time around. When I read “What Mothers Do”, the chapter that really struck me was about the struggle after baby arrives to accept your new identity, to stop trying to “get back to normal” and to create your new normal instead. To finally let go and accept the changes instead. To come out the other side of those months of babyhood and realise that not only had my baby grown, but I had grown, and the pre-baby Lisa, she was still there, not lost, but now she is only part of who I am, part of a new identity that includes the identity of mother.
This was meant to be a post about being 24 weeks pregnant – not a rambling essay on the thoughts that have been swirling around my head this week. But really those thoughts have been the key to my pregnancy journey this week.
There were some pregnancy related events this week – like that first MLU appointment I mentioned. When I visited the Midwife Led Unit, I was given the grand tour. And it certainly was grand! I almost felt like pinching myself as I was shown where I will give birth, all going well. A large welcoming room with a birth pool at one side, the bed where I’ll stay at the other. A private en suite. A pull out sofa for Charlie to sleep on if he wishes to stay. “Once you’ve had baby,” the midwife explained, “you are free to check out any time between 6 and 48 hours after birth – whenever you feel ready.” “Check out?” I thought, “Good luck getting me out of here!!”
The MLU seems worlds away from the more sterile hospital setting I experienced last time. I can’t wait to report back at Easter time about how I get on there. 🙂
Find my complete pregnancy journal here.