Monday, November 14, 2011


Every year, by the time September arrives, I am so ready for fall. Summer seems to have gone on forever, and I am desperate to feel the cooler air, see the colors in the trees, and hear the leaves crunching under my feet when I walk. I become impatient; the calendar tells me it’s time for fall, but it’s still so hot out that I eventually begin to wonder if fall will ever arrive at all. Every now and then, there’s a step forward, a sign that fall really is approaching– a few cooler days, perhaps– then we are back to summer-like weather. But gradually, so gradually that the distinction is hardly noticeable, the temperature begins to drop. Leaves here and there begin changing colors. Suddenly I need a sweater in the cool of the morning. And eventually, I find myself fully surrounded by autumn. After weeks of signs and gradual changes, summer is truly over.

That is how the final weeks of pregnancy feel to me, too. I am nearing the end; the calendar reminds me that the due date is approaching. Yet I am so very pregnant that it’s hard to believe birth will ever happen. I’ll see signs here and there, reminders that my body is preparing for labor, but, like the random cooler days that turn back to summer-like weather, none of it is labor yet.

But gradually, the signs will increase. Contractions will grow more frequent, closer together, stronger. The baby will settle into a perfect position for birth. Some of the changes may happen so gradually that I do not notice them at the time; others will be unmistakable. But eventually, I will find myself in labor, fully surrounded by the experiences and sensations of bringing a new person into the world. After weeks of signs and gradual changes, pregnancy will truly come to a close, and my baby will be in my arms.

As summer winds down, you never really know for sure how long it will take to truly settle into fall. And the same is true of the end of pregnancy. I know it is coming to an end, but from where I am now, I cannot know how much longer it will be. All I can do is relax, be aware of the little signs and changes, and rest in the knowledge that, just as surely as summer gives way to fall, pregnancy will give way to birth.

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