With the impending birth of my first child, it's probably not surprising that I've been thinking a lot about my mother who passed away six years ago. I know how much she would enjoy experiencing her first grandchild and feel sad that she missed out on the experience. But at the same time I feel like I have an essential part of her inside me which has been awakened and means she is experiencing all this through her. (I know this is probably just some physiological/psychological trick of my brain to cope with all the emotions, but it doesn't really matter because I know she would be very happy knowing I was so content and happy and looking forward to my child).
After my mum's death someone said to me that I would miss her the most during the happy times and I think I finally get what they meant. The level of excitement and joy I know she would be experiencing contrasts all too painfully with what can only be described as a lack of interest demonstrated by some people I really thought would care a little more. But at the same time I have to admit I've been quite overwhelmed by the support and even excitement of other people - particularly my friends and my friends' mothers (my aunt has been fantastically supportive and interested but she does, after all, share half my mum's genes). My conception of family has changed so much since my mum died; she really was the glue that held us all together. We are all living our own lives going in different directions. I don't think any of us have changed as such; it's more a case that different aspects of our personalities have come out more strongly since she passed away. My mum had this incredible capacity to bring out the best in people; she gave all of us unconditional love - even if she didn't always understand what we were doing and why. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons none of us left behind seem to have the required levels of both strength and lack of self-absorption to continue her legacy.
J is incredibly excited as we count down to "b-day". I don't know if he'll cope if the baby goes over the due date. The doctors have changed their tune from 4-5 months ago when they were warning me of possibly having to deliver early by c-section (the expected diabetes and hypertension never materialised); at the moment - although one is never taken off the high risk list once put there - it looks like they'll let me go up to 10 days over before inducing if both the baby and I stay healthy. J keeps on asking me if I've hit the point where I just want the baby out. "Not yet, I know it needs to cook a bit longer," I tell him serenely as he paces around the house reminding me to check my blood pressure and count the number of kicks, etc. I'm tired and often uncomfortable but quite content to rest and nap and have J wait on me hand and foot. And he has been very good about that I have to say. For both of us our greatest fear is that having got so far something will go wrong at the last minute. By the time the baby comes out, it will have been four years in the making.
I feel like I have to write down this stuff before the baby comes out, the pregnancy happy hormones vanish and J & I are juggling the biggest and most important challenge of our lives while almost certainly suffering sleep deprivation. It will be a huge test of our relationship but dare I say we've survived worse before. I don't know if it is just the pregnancy hormones (I have never felt this 'right' about something in my life) but I have huge confidence in our ability to not only survive but thrive in being parents. J has a very caring, empathetic, loyal and responsible side to his personality which is recognised by kids and animals (I suspect I fit into the latter category) - he resembles the malamute dog in personality (both good and bad). While I have the "inner-Gitl", part of my mum, inside me that just seems to instinctively know how to provide unconditional love and acceptance, and has this serene confidence that all will be right in the end. Undoubtedly we'll make our share of mistakes but our child will be loved and cared for by conscientious parents, and brought up with a love of animals, books and learning. We're not perfect but neither of us can think of a better start to a child's life.