I feel huge. My belly is well swollen into a tight bulge, the tiny life inside me writhing against the diminishing real estate. At the best of times, it is mildly uncomfortable. However, most of the time, I find myself in various states of jarring pain as little elbows and feet jab into soft parts. My son’s favorite thing to do right now is push his bottom out as hard as he can in a great, awkward protruding lump from my sternum. It’s unsettling to say the least.
Beyond the physical discomfort, my hormone levels are wreaking havoc with my emotions. At any given moment, I feel like breaking down into a sobbing mess of tears. There’s a soreness that rages in my brain, the result of which is no doubt contributed to by the difficult environment in which I find myself. I feel like a wounded animal, ready to lash out at anyone who dares get too close.
What I feel most strongly, however, is bigger than this. The larger emotion is the simultaneous compulsion and reluctance to the inevitable change in my life that my son will bring. To say that I feel terrified is an understatement. I feel weak and helpless against it, as I stumble ever forward to the anticipated due date and his arrival. Questions about my fitness as a parent, whether my instincts will kick in, how I’ll manage to care for this tiny being who will be so dependent upon me, flurry in my brain like stirred bats.
I’ve read that courage is not absence of fear, but embracing the fear and doing the thing you must do anyway. I’m hoping that I can be courageous in the face of my fears. So much of my being has been tested throughout this experience. I have had to live with the choices I have made, for better or worse. And, as terrified as I was to stand up to those who would roll right over me, I have done so. None of it has been easy, clean or even left me feeling particularly good about it. Still, the deeds were necessary, painful as they were. The road is long, and the journey far from over, but I feel as though I’m getting somewhere.