It’s in this little journal I kept through my first pregnancy. It was meant for food—-but I’d be horrified to record what I consumed every day— so I kept track of everything else.
Across the top of the page I wrote a status report: February 1, 42 weeks, 10th month.
More than 2 weeks overdue, by now I was jumping rope trying to get labor started.
Here’s some of what I wrote:
I saw the doctor. He’s checking me in tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. to induce labor.
I’m 90% effaced and 4 cm. dilated. Technically I’m already through most of early labor and I shouldn’t have much trouble tomorrow. ( Ha! Famous last words…)
I’ve practically given up on nutrition and have been eating way too many Mrs. Fields’ cookies— though in honor of the baby’s health, I switched from chocolate chip to oatmeal raisin.
I’m relieved, excited and just a little nervous. It still feels so unreal…
We have a pool going for the baby’s weight. H picked 7 lbs. 12 oz and I picked 8 lbs. 3 oz. (neither of us were close; she weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz.)
I still can’t quite believe another person is going to come out of me. I’m so much calmer than I would have expected…. After all this time it’s hard to realize it’s going to happen.
Tomorrow is Groundhog’s Day. Larry says she’ll come out, see her shadow, and go back in for another 6 weeks.
Who knew the timing could have given me clues to my baby’s personality even before she emerged ; her fierce independence and iron will to do things herself—in her own way.
As I look back on the words I wrote that day, I wonder what I would say now—how I could prepare my former self for the most responsibility and the most precious treasure I would ever receive.
How would I put into words the magnitude of the exquisite pride and pain and pleasure; the hope and sometimes heartbreak that means mothering a human being.
From the top: where you have no idea what’s going on inside the brain of your newborn to make her cry…..and decades later when you’re still wondering what’s going on inside your kids’ heads…..
To the bottom: the feet so tiny I used to put them in my mouth…. are the same feet they use to walk out the door when they’re on their own.
I’m sure I would write different words than the ones that spilled over the page 26 years ago today.
Most importantly, some words I thought I knew would be redefined a few hours later:
Love. Commitment. Gratitude.
And one more word: that I heard first from the person I was about to meet; that expresses maybe more than any other word how I would come to define myself: Mom.