That Sinking Feeling

The rush of preparation and work deadlines have made the last couple of weeks fly by far too quickly for my sleepless brain to handle. In a month’s time, I’m going on my near 1-year-long maternity leave, which means I would have (by then) a little over 3 weeks before the Final Big Push.

And while I’m still terrified of the prospect, a calming feeling is starting to sprout its golden rays of sunshine.

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Surprise! Surprise! Tomato soup, wine (for the guests!), cupcakes and rice cakes are served!

Seeing my friends last night, surprising me at home with a beautiful baby shower (which my husband apparently initiated!), and hearing their stories or the lack of it, about birth and diaper changing and explosive poops in an airport without an extra change of clothes — it was reassuring to know that it’s OK to be unprepared, to feel unaccomplished and still know nothing about babies even when you’re just weeks away from bringing this little creature you made, out into the world.

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Gifts for the jelly bean and a free luxury spa treatment for mama after she’s done pushing jelly bean out.

“Because everything you need to learn will come to you when it finally has to,” is what one of my friends said during the baby shower, and it’s quite possibly the one truth that I am able to process and accept without making me hyperventilate.

It’s learning by doing, and no amount of fact-finding can replace the knowledge I will gain when I’m finally on that hospital bed and then off it with a baby in my hands. The learning curve will be steep but I will get through it, like every other woman that’s had a child over the last several thousand years has — and hopefully, with a little bit of grace and decorum while I’m at it.

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Filipino rice cakes topped with colored coconut flakes, made with love from a Norwegian. It doesn’t get any sweeter and stranger than that.

The love and effort my friends put into my surprise baby shower was overwhelming and it makes me feel proud to know all these amazing women — some with children, some without, and some who are trying. It’s a support system I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have, being so far away from family. They made me feel less unsure about myself, less alone in what I sometimes consider to be my doomsday plight, and just overall happy to be surrounded by a larger community of accomplished women, young and younger alike, who have gone through their own life experiences and have become the better for it.

Their sweet messages, kind and reassuring words, comical commentaries and ignorant quips have helped to fuel the calming fire I will need to get me through the next few weeks. Because labor isn’t going to be like the movies. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be icky. It’s going to be painful. It’s all going to be very new.

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Baby books all the way from Singapore and Manila, and a future piggy bank for the little jelly bean (papa was very happy to see this!).

But my body was built for this, as my friends told me. I just have to trust it, wholeheartedly, even though I’ve never really put much faith in its capacity to do remarkable things before (yes, I sometimes doubt if my legs are able to get me down a flight of stairs without falling — which is why you can’t make me go hiking without me grumbling about it). I just have to let things take its course and not try to control the situation, like I always do. It would be counterintuitive and in no way help an already difficult situation.

And now that the banner is down and the cupcakes all lapped up down to their last scrumptious morsel, its business as usual. The last stretch is here and the final pages of this chapter in my life is coming to an end… and we’re on to a whole epic new one.