Anticipating Motherhood: Take 2

Nine months.

That’s three-quarters of the Gregorian calendar. One full academic year.

It’s also the gestation period of a human being. Nine months, or 40 weeks – 280 days – span the growth and development of the fetus before baby arrives.

I’m not sure where the time has gone, because I recall thinking how very distant my estimated due date seemed back in March, at my first prenatal appointment. But here I am, 39 and 1/2 weeks in, with a center of gravity that threatens to topple me over! I can’t believe I’m in the homestretch. Less than a week to go!

What are my sentiments? Mostly, I can’t take the suspense anymore – I need to put a face to the tiny human who’s been squirming and kicking in my belly vigorously, particularly in this final month. He comes alive in the evening, shifting about and taking on different poses that launch my stomach into bizarre undulations.

Thank you Farrah Berrou for baby's first pair of shoes
(and judging by his kicks, he's already a little athlete!)

At the same time, I’ve never been more apprehensive. How many times are we told that nothing compares to parenthood, a phrase laden with so many positive and not-so-positive connotations? Sure, it’s indescribably life-changing, bringing your posterity into this world to mold and educate in the manner you best see fit. But we’re also warned of the sleepless nights that loom over us, the henceforth nonexistence of our personal lives, the total reshuffling of priorities and schedules.

I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to balance motherhood and career. Since my days in graduate school, I’ve always been intrigued by ambitious women who raise solid children all while excelling in the workplace. I attended a number of talks by ladies in the industry who’d seemingly pulled it off effortlessly.

In Lebanon, we lack many of the social facilities our employed counterparts enjoy in first-world nations. There’s no corporate on-site daycare, and you’ll hardly come across a company that lets you work from home a couple of days a week or downshift to a reduced hours’ scheme. Lord knows 10 weeks of maternity leave is hardly sufficient time to adapt to your new role as mama and to wean your infant from breast to bottle. All these thoughts put a damper on my excitement to enter the mystical realm that is motherhood.

Last Friday, I stood for nearly an hour waiting for my husband to emerge from the arrival gate of Terminal B at LAX. It’d been precisely 52 days since we bid au revoir at Beirut International Airport, convincing ourselves that the effort to fly half-way across the globe to deliver our child was well worth it.

So much transpired in those seven-plus weeks. Physically, my stomach has never been more prominent – apparently, I look like I’m cradling a basketball beneath my flowing dresses. Emotionally, I straddle irrepressibly exuberant and positively distraught, often in the space of a few minutes.

On Friday, as soon as my husband appeared among the crowd of passengers filing out of customs, my eyes welled up with tears. Tall and square with confidence, he drew me in with a warm, deep embrace, reminding me that I’m not alone, that we’re in this together, and that we’re going to be indomitable.

Or fine. Either one. Honestly, I’d be happy to settle on the latter.

The most adorable baby welcome kit from Wesley's Wholesale!


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