Done work, a few weeks from Q’s due date, suddenly time means something different than it did before. An unknown quantity of hours, days, and weeks stretches before me, completely out of my control. Some days I am tired and sore, some days energetic. I notice I’m not nearly as restless as I would have anticipated. Though I have guilt about a whole week going by and not ‘getting anything done’, I am working to relish it, truly, and working to watch the guilt, be with it, until it passes. Until I remember once again that this time is a gift, and that getting things done is, always, only one possible goal. I tell myself, that’s not what this time in my life is for, and I lie down a little longer, feel Q practice her gymnastics, maybe trying to get comfortable just like I am, inevitably putting pressure on some body part of mine that screams a silent scream of glorious, ephemeral agony.
The days stretch before me. When once I was afraid of so many unstructured hours, now I am aware, only, of the minutes. I feel the sunshine, taste every ingredient before it goes into the soups, muffins, quiche and granola bars I am making for the journey ahead. I read, mostly fiction, having read what I feel I need to for the birth and the nursing, and knowing resolutely that I cannot prepare for this any more than I have, that I must wait for intuition and cues from Q to take over. I have indeed worked to know that, to feel that deep down, to be comfortable with it and just let it be.
I have always thought of time as something to be used extremely purposely, have struggled deeply with the anxiety of it’s passing without my explicit permission, as if each moment were mine to control and anything less was failure absolute. In my teens, I thought this time was to be used to find my identity, as if a laborious search was paramount, only to realize much later that by living my life and watching closely what I liked, felt, gravitated to would I be able to know myself. In my 20s, having learned to watch myself more closely, to give more honest yes’s and no’s to myself and others, I thought time was to be used to chase a decided upon dream: pick a track and go after it wholeheartedly to get what you want. I have seen so much of the world in this process, tried countless new foods/activities/ideas on for size, and driven forward albeit often hesitantly as exploring to my heart’s content quietly battled for top priority. There has been no destination arrived at, no one dream achieved. So, now in my early thirties, have I failed? I am grateful for the life I’ve built, unconventional and temporary as it may be. And so, I feel myself changing course, realizing maybe time does not exist for the purpose of reaching a destination. I have a new theory in the works, one where time is more central and my wants and needs are carried along on its ocean waves, where the universe’s timing is in charge and I am best off observing it, seeing how it calls to me or allows me to be. I hope there is some wisdom in this that has come to me with age, wisdom that allows me to be still, to be grateful; wisdom I’m counting on to help me make the decisions I need to make when the time comes, as it always does, and wisdom to keep me smack in the middle of this tempestuous, yawning, unstructured time without panicking.
And so, in this time I have now before everything changes all over again I’m not waiting exactly, though I am hyper-aware of the variety of sensations and wonder which could be a sign of labor. Is that burst of energy telling me something? Are there clues in the way baby moves or doesn’t; are there signs from the headache that suddenly lasts two days? So far, I think I saw the mucus plug but how’s a first time mom supposed to know that, really? For 2 days after that I really was waiting, convinced it was coming any moment, braced for impact, if you will. Nothing happened and nothing but time remains. I am surrounded by a bubble of endless minutes, hours and days, nothing pressing, nothing to be lost or gained by how I spend it, all of it a gift and none of it guaranteed. Sound familiar?