My Pregnancy: Week 32

my pregnancy week 32Dear Woman in Target who looked at me but didn’t say anything,

This morning I woke to a deep anxiety that is wholly unlike me. I felt the anxiety shaking beneath my skin. It started small, almost unnoticeable. With every move of my preschooler wanting to sit near me, on me, and with every call from my toddler to “help” or “get,” I felt the trembling of my spirit. I already needed space and quiet. I took a deep breath to get ready, 3 whole minutes alone, and that’s when the little one inside me decided to kick and hiccup. I am never alone these days and yet the isolation was palpable in this moment.

Pregnancy effort is setting in; I find myself getting a little tired and worn more easily. I bundled up our boys for two simple errands. We trudged to the car after all the effort entailed in getting a toddler and preschooler ready for a cold morning out. Then my toddler fell backward out of the minivan and hit his head. After consoling and cuddles in the backseat of the minivan we decided to trudge forward. In focusing on my toddler I forgot the way my preschooler will take on other people’s pain sometimes.

I thought we were ok at the barber until tears returned to our toddler and came new to my preschooler. The sweet face of my toddler getting his hair cut, looking in the mirror and visibly trying to calm his quivering lip touched my trembling heart. I was too distracted in coping myself that I struggled to be patient with my preschooler who was also upset—upset because he worried about his “long” hair getting cut and sad that his brother was sad. The barber worked steady and quick. I took great appreciation that no one else was at the salon so early in the day.

So when we made it to Target and I had to go into the toy area for birthday gifts, I was nervous. My kids do a great job in this arena usually but today we’re all on edge and buying toys for other children. As we walked through the video section I eyed you, one row over. As my boys pointed out dinosaurs and cars and “what’s that mommy” with continued, endless conversation I saw you watch us and smile. We even came near you and I was waiting, anxiety in my throat, for you to make a comment about how fast time goes or how I must cherish it now as if this sweet moment didn’t come with the sustained efforts of the rest of the day.

Your had a nostalgic look for your little ones, or the ones you wish you had, or your grandkids near and far away. I even made eye contact with you for a moment. You smiled, looked again at the boys, and moved on. In your kind silence you offered me your perspective that I could imagine. More importantly you offered me space. You probably saw cute. I saw the anxiety shaking beneath my skin, the sore spot on my son’s head, and the tender edge in my preschooler’s voice calling for nap. It’s been a long morning.

All day I tried to identify it. The best I came up with is the recent sense of overwhelming around me. I’m pregnant which, I’m told, involves all sorts of hormones. We’re painting and re-organizing closets in preparation for baby and spring which will immediately follow. I’m also processing last year’s photos and videos before I fall behind once baby comes. And there are those 400+ links I’ve “saved” on Facebook that I really do want to get to even if they are from two years ago. Don’t forget the recent deluge of celebrations and parties and tasks to accomplish and commitments to meet. All these sorts of things sit like a cloud close above me or under my skin today it seems.

Thank you for not asking me to cherish today. While I cherish every day, reality looks a little different than a Hallmark movie sometimes.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and four. She enjoys the finer things in life, like compression socks and a full night’s rest.

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