Five years ago on this day, I was smack in the middle of a crazy “Time of Zwischen”–a phrase using the German word for “between,” coined by a fabulous midwife, describing the wild end-of-pregnancy ride that so many women find themselves on. (Read the full article here:
I was entering my 42nd week of my third pregnancy. I already had two kids, ages 4 and 2. It was hot. I was tired. My own birthday had come and gone–a day on which I was certain I would no longer be pregnant. My too-short Minnesota summer was dwindling before my eyes as my belly grew to an enormous mass. The henna art, done at my mother blessing as a dedication to the work that I was about to do to birth my baby, faded and was redone. Twice. I was crabby and unpleasant–on an emotional roller coaster like no other. There were days when I declared to my ever-supporting husband, (who wisely listened without trying to convince me otherwise) “I don’t even want this baby anyway! I’m not even excited because I’m NEVER going to go into labor!” I. Was. Done.
Then something remarkable happened. After 42 FULL weeks of pregnancy, my little one decided it was time to come. My labor was fabulous, easy, and one of the greatest days of my life. Lucia beautifully entered the world, via water, into the welcoming hands of her father. In a blink, those long weeks of zwischen ended. I had crossed over, and all those crazy feelings of instability evaporated, leaving the bliss of new motherhood instead. Not only did I want her, I adored her. I was beyond excited–I was ecstatic!
When we are on the verge of major changes, about to embark on a new journey, or begin a new chapter in life, those moments, days, and weeks leading up to it can be laden with feelings of joy, sadness, frustration, uncertainty, anticipation, and fear. We long to be on the other side. Though often, we are looking so far forward that we neglect to enjoy our current state of being. While sometimes the grass IS greener on the other side, it is important to appreciate the grass you’re grazing in right now, at least from time to time.
Interspersed in the intense emotions of my tumultuous last month of pregnancy, I did find the occasional moment of peace. I opted not to spend all of my time wallowing in my frustration, but found activities to distract, encourage labor, and/or dedicate to what was happening in that moment. I played with my kids, took walks with my family,went to yoga, had acupuncture, and did puzzles with my husband, savoring the time as a family of four, before we became a family of five.
Now, being far on the other side, I am so grateful for having had that experience. I now recognize how vital both the lows and the highs of the end of my pregnancy were. Not only was it a wonderful lesson in patience for me, but it also gave me perspective on how to cope with all sorts of big transitions in life–wisdom I am able to share with families who frequently find themselves in that same place. Whether it be a move to a new home, business venture, career shift, or welcoming a new baby into the family, it’s perfectly normal to find yourself riding an emotional roller coaster. You long to be settled in your new existence, but are still tied to your old one. Try to find the joy and peace, even in small amounts, in both. Embrace it, rather than fighting it, and honor that time between the two worlds–the “Time of Zwischen.”
In Gratitude, Liz Abbene