Under Pressure

This is supposed to be a happy time. We are plus/minus 7 weeks away from welcoming the much-wanted, unexpected gift of another baby into our lives. I know exactly how lucky we are to be in this position– I’ve lived the reverse and it was truly the saddest, most challenging few years of my life. I know how fortunate we are to have had this baby come the “easy” way.

But lately, I’ve been sad. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Floundering.

I know I had good reasons for everything I planned for this semester– celebrations to give us happy memories (that I must plan from start to finish basically on my own), weekly meal plans to save us money (that I must coordinate and keep track of), teaching on top of my non-teaching fellowship position in order to prepare for future job prospects and bring in some extra money (and that also sucks up all the time I thought I could devote to my dissertation).

I don’t have weekends, thanks to my Sunday a.m. class. I lose an entire week monthly thanks to unexpected fellowship obligations on campus. I’m writing this post at 4:30 in the morning because I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about everything still to do: the assignment I need to write for the next batch of essays I need to grade; the student e-mails I haven’t answered yet; the clothes that need to be resorted in order to bring the bassinet in that I still haven’t even picked up from the friend who’s lending it to us; the car seats that need to be installed; the calls to insurance I need to make; the dental appointment I need to drag Smudgie into Manhattan for during rush hour; the giant dresser that needs to somehow make it down two flights of stairs to the person who’s buying it from us (and the husband who is basically sh*ting a brick over this); the thank-you notes to write from Smudgie’s birthday party; the meeting with my dissertation committee next week; the OB appointments; the freelance article I owe; the funding applications for next year; the freezer meals to make.

The freaking dissertation that’s not getting written.

Other women manage more than this, but I somehow can’t. I looked at them and I thought I could. But now as I survey the weeks of teaching and work left (the last teaching day I’ve left myself is 5 days before my due date; the last day at my fellowship is 3 days prior– and I gave birth to Smudgie three days before his due date) the fact that I don’t get a break, not at all, not one week to nest and prepare and think about this baby and the change coming weighs on me.

People ask when I’m due and when I tell them, well, first they look pointedly surprised because I’m freaking huge this time (subject for another post, sigh) and then they say, “Oh, you must be so ready for it to be over.”

No! I’m not ready! No! I don’t want the baby to come early! Stop suggesting it might because of how “big” I am!

I want to be able to just breathe and live and be happy and snuggle my little boy and prepare for this new baby. I know the person who is calm and joyful about all this is inside me, but I can’t get to her. My therapist thinks I should stop teaching sooner, but I just don’t see how that’s possible. I’m already going to miss the last two weeks of the semester once the baby arrives.

It’ll be okay. This has just been a rough week and maybe writing it all down will help me see how petty and stupid it is to be bogged down in all this minutiae. I got so used to thinking of myself as a competent, kick-ass sort of person the last two years, the kind of person who could take care of a baby, write dissertation chapters, train for a half-marathon, and bake crumbles with farm-fresh produce all in the same weekend. And now I don’t think I’m the kind of person who can brush my teeth and comb my hair at the same time. But maybe I’ll feel that way about myself again. Maybe.

Eh, enough time spent whining. I should probably get some work done since it’s 5:30 a.m. now and I wouldn’t want to waste any of this valuable alone time I’ve got.

And don’t worry Nu-nu– I know how much I love you. I know that when I get to hold you in my arms it will all be worth it. It’s just going to be a tough few weeks until we get to that point together.