Everyone -- okay, well, not EVERYONE, but enough people for it to feel that way -- keeps telling me how lucky I am to have the new baby to look forward to. How thankful I must be! What a wonderful thing! What timing, in the midst of so much sadness, to have something so purely joyful and happy to focus on.
The problem is: I don't feel any of those stupid things.
The oh-shit moment of general pre-baby non-readiness has morphed into full-on crazy anxiety about the reality of what's coming. Three children. Three! As in, the two I already have, plus ONE MORE.
WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF MATH IS THAT.
Obviously, I'm feeling a bit over-pummeled in general right now. I'm trying to grieve for my father, support my mother, adjust to an entirely new diagnosis for my son, juggle a full work load and the four-frillion mundane details of everyday life that we all have going on a regular basis, plus, you know, GESTATE.
There are probably even more people than that phantom "everyone" I mentioned telling me to be gentle on myself, to cut myself some slack, that there is no right way to navigate losing a parent, especially just weeks away from becoming one yourself, either for the first or the third or the Duggareenth time.
However, for anyone thinking they might want to use me as a compass, I should admit that I'm operating at an emotional level just north of basketcase.
I keep changing the text-message chime on my phone, hoping to find one that doesn't immediately cause an involuntary shudder of dread; then I go ahead and ignore the majority of messages I get anyway. Watching Noah's attentional difficulties interfere with karate class bring me to tears; I re-read his kindergarten IEP and evaluation results with a sense of relief and yet also know exactly what pages the worst parts are on; then Ezra keeps asking "Where's PopPop?" for some reason; no less than 15 minutes later I'm ready to abandon both of the little monsters in the produce aisle of the grocery store.
I've typed out and deleted more paragraphs as part of this entry than I can count. The whining! Oh, it's not any more tolerable from myself than it is from my children, who seriously: going to be left to be raised by the organic mangoes if they don't knock it off, so help me God.
The stress has -- unsurprisingly, I suppose -- taken a toll on my thus-far near-embarassingly "easy" pregnancy. I've lost weight, I'm back to my first-trimester habit of hovering over the toilet bowl shortly after dinner each night, I'm plagued by long and almost-daily stretches of false labor pains, I have a cold I cannot shake, I am constantly light-headed and tired and scatterbrained and sleeping poorly at night thanks to the baby's pointy, elbowriffic gymnastics.
There's nothing wrong -- my blood pressure is fine, the contractions are meaningless, my doctor is completely unconcerned with barely 10 pounds net gained in 33 weeks and simply reminds me to drink more water and "take it easy," blissfully unaware with how close he comes to getting kicked in the shins whenever he says that.
And I know. Welcome to the third trimester of pregnancy, which is BY EVOLUTIONARY DESIGN, made to be deliberately miserable so you'll want the baby to come out at the end.
But. I don't. Not really. Not yet.
I admitted this all to Jason yesterday, when we were out having lunch and I once again fretted about the logistics of LEAVING THE HOUSE OUTNUMBERED BY CHILDREN. I admitted that I think about the baby and only feel...dread. Fear. Not happy or grateful or joyful. More like...pangs of ohshitwhathaveIdonetomylife. Proactive disgust at all the messy postpartum business of lochia and leaky boobs and spit-up and all the sleep-deprived gruntwork involved in newborn care, and the fear that I have officially pushed myself past my mothering limit, and am doomed to lose my temper at SOMEBODY, ONE OF THEM, ALL OF THEM, every day for the next 20 years.
"That's awful, isn't it?" I said.
Jason looked at me from across the table and frowned like a sad little Precious Moments figurine. "Yeah, it is."
I thought about suggesting that this was not the most helpful reply he could have come up with (RESPOND TO MY HIDEOUS HONESTY WITH LIES NEXT TIME, OKAY?), but I noticed Noah was picking kind of roughly at a tiny little freckle that recently appeared near his thumb.
"Stop that," I scolded. "You're going to hurt yourself. It's just a freckle. Look, I have them too."
"I don't like fuckles!" he wailed. "I don't want any fuckles!"
Ezra raised his hands over his head and joined in. "FUCKLES!"
I covered my face and tried to not laugh. At which point the waitress -- who had been standing there for God-knows-how long -- cleared her throat and awkwardly asked who got the pancakes with bacon and who got the pancakes with eggs.