The Final Days of Being a Family of Three

Today I am 38ish weeks pregnant. If this was my first pregnancy, I would 100% know plus how many days – probably hours – I am, but this time around I feel like that’s way too much life admin so “38ish weeks”, “almost 39 weeks” or “due next Friday” will do.

… Due next Friday? Um. Really? Okaaaaaay … So I’m having a baby soon. Coolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcool.

Life has been pretty busy over the last few weeks. For the sake of squirrelling away as many dollars as possible, I’ve only been on maternity leave for about 10 days. If you think that maternity leave sounds like a mini holiday before your life becomes literally the opposite of a holiday, so far it’s basically been the opposite. I had visions of pregnancy massages and long waddles along the beach, and while a few visits to the beach have occurred (my aching hips have limited me to merely sitting and admiring the serenity instead of actually walking in it), the much-anticipated pregnancy massage has definitely not happened and I’m pretty certain I’ve run out of time/money now.

Besides, maternity leave when you’re self-employed is less ‘leave’ and more a) picking up your phone to check your emails purely out of habit then realising that having received zero emails is equal parts a relief and a disappointment because I’m having a break so leave me alone dammit, but also have my clients moved onto someone else already??? and b) wondering how I can continue working just a smidgeon so we don’t go completely broke (because I’m going to be blessed with an incredible sleeper who gives me heaps of time to work during the day and gives me, like, seven hours’ sleep IN A ROW at night until she turns eight weeks and then she’ll be doing 12-hour stretches, because that’s what all newborns do, right?), but how do you get paid while also receiving paid parental leave without getting in trouble with IRD hmmmmm.

But while these last 10 days should be all about pregnancy massages, my break from work has actually been a great opportunity to invest some good quality time into Spawn #1. Zero deadlines and more noggin space give me more time to focus intentionally on him … because life is going to look pretty different in a few short weeks, bro, so you’d better appreciate it.

And actually, I’d better appreciate it too. For the last three-and-a-bit years it’s just been me, him and Husband. In a few weeks, perhaps days, Spawn #1 will never again have the full attention of the two of us – and I’ll never again have the ability to solely focus on that special bond that Mama and Firstborn have.

That’s not a bad thing, but it will be a very different thing. Spawn #1 will now have to learn to share me with another much smaller human who will literally and emotionally suck me dry. I might not be able to take him to our regular funtime hangtimes (although, in fairness, we haven’t been trampolining together for maybe four months because that was roughly the same time I realised my pelvic floor was absolutely shot), and he might feel like heading off to daycare most mornings equals being banished (when in reality, it’ll be less banishment and more … well, OK, Mummy does need a break sooooo).

And I might not be able to do things that I love to do with him, just him, like evening bedtime stories or building sandcastles or going to the zoo or eating ice creams at the park, because I might be sleep-deprived or suffering from mastitis or dealing with immunisations or breastfeeding 24/7. And I might miss him dreadfully when he heads off to daycare most mornings, then feel guilty that I’m not at home with both of them.

Life is going to be pretty different for me and Husband too. On Monday Husband took a mental health day and we went to a movie at 11am. 11 A-M! IN THE MORNING! WHO DOES THAT! Almost-again-parents who need to hang out with each other before cluster-feeding, tag-team napping and 12 wake-ups a night (me, not him, because fathers can sleep through the apocalypse) consume us, that’s who. Post-movie we picked Spawn #1 up from daycare early and went out for late lunch slash big afternoon tea featuring Spawn #1’s favourite snack, hot chippies, and favourite pastime, climbing ladders and sliding down slides. It was a lovely afternoon had by all, and possibly the last time just the three of us will get to go out and have some fun together – and certainly the last time we’ll be able to afford it for a while.

But as these last few weeks, maybe days, wind up and three Reillys become four, it’s time to take a load off, put our feet up, dream of new adventures and prepare for the fourth trimester. It’s going to be hard and it might not be pretty all the time, but it’ll be one heckava rewarding adventure … even if it takes us three more years to appreciate it.

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