Imagining the future

My 35th week of pregnancy, which means if all goes according to the books, I’ll give birth in about 5 weeks. A little over a month. Barely any time at all. My stomach feels like a drum, my skin stretched tightly, and it’s easy to feel the baby shifting about and stretching inside now, his feet and back pressing out occasionally in hard little lumps. When I rub his feet he wriggles, and I wonder if it feels ticklish. At ukulele club he shifted and kicked the entire time, and I patted my stomach soothingly. I imagine the body of the ukulele pressed against my stomach makes some interesting resonant noises to him when strummed, but I couldn’t decide if his energetic response was one of enthusiasm or disapproval.

Thankfully we are gradually getting through our pre-baby to do lists, although as the husband pointed out, our lives aren’t going to stop once the baby arrives and there’s probably no need to treat it as an apocalyptic event. Most of the time I agree with this, but I find the inevitable changes that parenthood will make to our lives almost impossible to imagine, and this makes me look towards the future with a certain amount of wariness.

At the moment I have been thinking about the point at which I will return to work, when the baby is about six months old. We’re intending to juggle both working part-time (or at least not five days a week) in order to share parenting duties, with a bit of grandparently assistance. For a variety of reasons, it has to be a see-how-we-go arrangement, which I find rather frustrating in terms of planning and imagining the future. The vast majority of our friends and acquaintances seem to manage this stage by having one partner (well, always the woman) stay at home with the child or children for a significant amount of time. Either that, or they’re single parents who use daycare. Given that I’m the higher wage earner, this isn’t really an option for us, and we hope to be able to share in parenting in as much as that is financially and logistically possible. I presume – I hope – that we’ll be able to make this work. It would reassure me more if any of our friends had similar working arrangements.

I feel almost ready for this baby to arrive. Recently we’ve been spending our weekends doing things like reorganising the linen cupboard. This may not seem very related to baby arrival, but given that things like the mess in the linen cupboard have been my major source of teary pregnancy related meltdowns, the newly clean and organised shelves are making us both much happier. At the moment I am being paralysed by prams – the number of brands and styles and internet reviews, which go into mind numbing detail about the subtle differences in airflow between this model of hood and that. I’m going to go for something three-wheeled and rugged so I can go tromping around our area – I have decided in my limited experience that little children seem to be much more relaxed and happy when they have some time out of doors, either being carried around or playing out on the grass. So that’s my vague grand plan for baby happiness and my post-birth recovery – getting out for daily walks, remembering that the linen cupboard is clean and organised, and generally making the most of the time I’ll have away from work, doing the full time parenting thing.

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