All day long, I feel as though I have just eaten a large meal. Actually eating a meal only intensifies this feeling. My skin is pulled tight across my stomach, and no matter how I sit, this fullness will not subside.

So I try to moisturize. I use lotion and oil in all the right places. I try to sit and stand up straight, but my back doesn’t seem to be able to straighten up the arch. On all fours, my back resembles a playground swing.

I can tell that my joints are starting to soften. My limbs are beginning to loosen. Time is really starting to run out now. Where did it go?

Because I’m still not complaining. Not really. The tightness is strange and often awkward, but I still feel really good. I don’t feel eight months pregnant at all. Eight months pregnant totally snuck up on me. I suspect that nine will do the same.

I am still able to reach all the necessary areas in the shower, pull on my pants and shoes with minimal huffing and puffing, and walk several blocks without having to rest or pee. Yes, my stamina for many activities has dwindled, and I often find myself wishing for a nap before I get to the office in the morning, but overall, I still don’t feel anywhere near the “let’s get this over with” point.

People have been so nice to me. They tell me how good I look, that I’m glowing. They seem interested in the life I’m carrying, and by extension my own life. People smile and tell me about their kids, whether theirs were born yesteday or multiple decades ago. People don’t connect this way with a young lady who shows no visible signs of having shared some common journey into parenthood. At least not automatically. I like being a conversation starter without having to start the conversation with my own awkward small talk.

But yes, this phase will be ending soon. I’m sure my hips, stomach and lungs will welcome that. And I am certainly looking forward to the surprises that the next phase has in store. I do find, though, that if I think too hard about the timing (which is, of course, the first question from strangers and acquaintances), I get a little flustered. A little nervous. Overwhelmed. Panicked, even. But just a little. Just enough to stop me in my tracks like a deer in headlights knowing that any movement will save me but unable to take that first step in any direction.

So I have things on a list. And we’re trying to work our way through it a bit at a time. Because babies don’t need everything at once. Whatever we can provide will already go above and beyond the basic needs of food/clothing/warmth. We’ve got a lot of other amenities to offer this new little member of our family, the most abundant of which is love. That’s coming in overflowing, not just from our cozy homestead, but pouring in from all across this nation and others.


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