By Kate Kole
“Are you ready?”
With my due date now only 2 and a half weeks away, that’s the question I unsurprisingly receive the most.
My answer, almost always, is some version of “as ready as you can be.”
Because, I suppose, we’ve planned and prepared in almost all the ways possible. The nursery is complete, the car seats are installed and inspected, the hospital bag is packed, the breastfeeding and caring-for-a-newborn classes have been attended. I’ve flipped through What To Expect When You’re Expecting weekly for the last 9 months and I now know as much as you can know (or at least as much as I’d like to know) without completely freaking myself out.
My Pinterest feed automatically populates an even combination of chocolate dessert recipes and labor and delivery articles. So, in that sense, I feel that I’ve adequately done my job as an expectant mom to learn all the things before bringing a new life into this world.
And yet, still, I can’t help but wonder those 3 little words throughout the day (and night as I get up to pee approximately 15 times and contemplate breaking into my adult diapers early): Am I ready?
Am I ready physically? Mentally? Emotionally? To do this thing I’ve never done with this person I’ve never met? To tackle a new, uncharted chapter of life?
That’s a loaded question. One that, in my most positive mindset, leaves me exclaiming, “Yes! I’m so excited.” In my most fearful mindset, leaves me muttering, “Oh my God. Not yet.” And in my most common, honest mindset, leaves me pondering, “I think so?” (a la, “I’m Ron Burgundy?”)
The truth is, I’ve struggled with my apprehension. In ways, I’ve felt like a “bad mom” already for not feeling more equipped and confident in my parenting abilities. For questioning my maternal instincts. For feeling unqualified in the ways that matter most.
I’ve felt guilty that I haven’t been able to respond with an enthusiastic “100%” when asked if I’m prepared to do what I’m essentially waiting in line to do.
Yet, beyond the roaring fear and shame is a quiet, knowing voice inside me, reminding me of all the other times that I didn’t know. That I wasn’t sure. That I was scared and uncertain. That I didn’t have the answers and I couldn’t see the future. And that I stepped up anyway, encouraging my faith to be greater than my fear.
I write this for myself. For the 2 a.m. sleepy eyed and restless struggle that’s bound to come. For the times I feel like I’m failing. For reassurance in the midst of doubt.
I write it for you. For whatever challenges you’re facing and whatever unknowns you’re experiencing. For courage in the midst of uncertainty.
But mostly, I write it for him. For the baby still inside of me, who will someday feel the same familiar mix of excitement and nervousness, eagerness and reluctance, and trust and trepidation that we all encounter from time to time. I write it to remind him that it’s okay to be scared, that it’s human to feel all the feels, and that readiness doesn’t always come in the bold and self-assured way that we hope it will. Sometimes it comes as a leap of faith and a figuring it out as you go. And that’s okay too.
featured image via pexels