Last year, also on Mother’s Day, I wrote a post that was just an utter jumble of thoughts and emotions. I was absolutely beside myself with overwhelming feelings and I knew that I just needed to put them from words to sentences, to get them out of my head, and maybe – just maybe – I would feel better.
My, how a year changes things. It changed everything.
As this day approaches that post has been on my mind. I’ve easily read it over again about a dozen times in the last few weeks trying to accurately remember the emotions that caused me to write it. They’re not as clear as I thought they would be. So in true me style I wanted to look back on that post and see what has changed, what hasn’t, and how good I was at predicting things.
Last year I was lamenting the fact that I was relapsing in my eating disorder. It hasn’t gotten better but it hasn’t gotten worse. There are have been bad days, sure, but I haven’t fallen further into my relapse. That’s because every month there seem to be something that required more focus – in June we moved into a bigger space, in July/August I was going through some questionable health concerns, which ended up with finding out I was pregnant in September. Then it became this weird survival mode, both for myself and the fetus, a fight between impulses, and each day trying to do the best I can in my new and changing circumstances.
Last year I said there was no chance I was going to be a mother by mother’s day – I was half right? I’m 9 months pregnant (today is 37+6, if we’re going by the original due date), so I could officially be a mother any day now. I don’t think it’s likely today, and I have a feeling I’ll get closer to my due date than not … but I’m right there, right on the bubble. Last year was an “if”, this year is a “when”. Last year I had also worried that having an eating disorder for almost 20 years was going to prevent me from carrying a baby to term. Thankfully this has been proven false. Have I fretted every day since the moment I found out I was pregnant? Yes. Every day was full of anxiety; every sickness a cause for worry; every appointment attended with breath held waiting for something to go wrong. And when something wasn’t right? Panic. Tears. Concern. Even more anxiety for future appointments. Feeling alone in my fear. Feeling like I had no one I could talk to, no one who would understand where I was coming from. For an experience shared by billions of women before me, I felt completely alone in my circumstances and my personality … worried that I had spent a lifetime holding people at arms length and now suddenly having no idea how to connect with anyone. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I had spent so much time as a village of one that I wasn’t sure I would ever connect with anyone enough to ask for help. Truthfully, I’m still worried … old habits die hard.
Some points from last year are still true – my world is still food-centric, which I think got more intense as the pregnancy has gone on. I’m doing better at enjoying food and just accepting it’s what I want in the moment. As my body has changed during the last 10 months I’ve actually fallen in love with myself all that much more … how can a body that does what it’s doing right now be so bad? It can’t, and it isn’t. As wonderful as it is that pregnancy has taught me to love myself … it shouldn’t have taken that to get there. I was hoping I would find that love on my own. I’m grateful to have it all the same. I still have my all-or-nothing food cravings that are hard to navigate. It helps that I have a wonderful partner who jumps up at the chance to cook something for me so I eat, or supports me when I want to order out (especially in those first few months when I wanted All. The. Fries.) And as scary as being this pregnant during a global pandemic has been it’s given me a chance to just slow down in the last couple of months and really connect with my baby and body in a way I didn’t before. I’m not sure I am entirely there in being head-over-heels in love with my baby yet, but I am much closer now than I was a few months ago. I’ve had time to accept that I will not be going back to work before we have the baby and I’ve made my peace with I did the best I could with what I had. I can’t worry about the might-have-beens and need to focus on the now and what’s right in front of me.
There may still be a lot of unknowns or uncertainties for the foreseen future, but I am (for the first time) focused only on the next few weeks instead of months (or years) down the road. I’m looking at the goal line that’s directly in front of me: birth, motherhood, supporting my child in their first few months of life. I’ll worry about the rest when it comes up.