34w, 3d. The holidays normally turn me into a slightly crazed version of myself. You can guess what’s happening this time around.
When we first found out I was pregnant and due right around New Year’s (a time when I specifically never wanted to have a baby because it always seemed like those birthdays get overlooked), a wise woman told me that such a due date would make the pregnancy fly by. And she was right—here I am, with less than six weeks until my due date and it almost feels like the pregnancy is an afterthought as I try to guide our family through the holiday season. Here’s how it’s been a bit different this year:
- A small, family-only Thanksgiving. My husband made me promise to try to cut back on my cooking (for some reason, I cannot help myself and always make a ridiculous number of dishes—and allow for virtually no help in the kitchen). Ultimately, I made: cornbread, two kinds of stuffing, two kinds of cranberry dishes, glazed carrots, broccoli, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, caramelized onion relish, and gravy (my husband did the turkey on the grill). Perhaps 11 dishes wasn’t exactly what he had in mind. Of course, what would have been smarter than spending two days on my feet in the kitchen would have been to accept an invite elsewhere, but alas… (I’m hoping that my dad and his partner will offer to host Christmas dinner this year, as I can’t imagine doing this all over again in a few weeks—but I also can’t let go of traditions and just order in food or make a lasagna or something.)
- Instead of just an apron, I also donned a pregnancy support belt and compression socks. Sexy.
- Toasting with sparkling apple cider (sigh)
- Planning, planning, planning. In our family, we’ve long had a tradition of sharing Christmas lists not just with Santa but with each other. The idea is that it gives the givers a better sense of what each recipient wants or needs—but there should be enough items on the list that what’s received is still a surprise. I know, I know: this strategy isn’t for everyone, but it works for us. And so I sent my dad and my brother an email in mid-November asking them for their lists so that I could get my shopping done by December 1st. (I’m never this way—I usually start thinking about Christmas some time in December and am definitely not a Black Friday shopper.) I also reached out to our regular Christmas tree merchant (a local gardening store owner) last week about getting a tree for us and even ordered our Christmas cards in a timely manner too!
- Decorating, decorating, decorating. It’s been a family tradition for years to decorate the Christmas tree in the evening, with Christmas music playing (my mom had a crazy big collection of it) and a nice dinner on hand (usually Indian food that my mom prepared, for what it’s worth). In addition to our immediate family participating, one of my little brother’s friends was always invited, and so it’s meant coordinating a handful of schedules, which sometimes meant not decorating the tree until very close to Christmas. This year, I staked a claim on the first weekend in December months ago, saying that no one wanted to see me up on a ladder at 38+ weeks along (although I can’t imagine anyone will allow me on a ladder at 35+ weeks this next weekend either). I think I'll allow us to order in this time around...
- Shopping, shopping, shopping. On a recent trip to Massachusetts to visit a friend, with the kids in tow we hit a toy store called A2Z Science and Learning Store. After the kids had wandered around for a good half-hour in awe of most everything, I lamented to my husband that I wished I’d had some time without them so that I could do a bit of shopping without their eyes on me. He made that happen—and I bought most of their Christmas gifts in one fell swoop. They’re now hidden in the basement—and I need to make myself go wrap and re-hide them, as I don’t see hunching over boxes and gift wrap getting any easier with each passing week of pregnancy.
- A heightened sense of gratitude—for the family I have, the family we’re growing into, the health of our family, the health of this baby, the excellent care and support provided by my midwives, the fact that although this pregnancy has been more complicated than my last two I’m still in the running for a homebirth, and much, much more
- I’m nearly ready—ready for Christmas (although I still need to figure out when to take the kids to see Santa—specifically somewhere, at some time that won’t make me lose my mind or bladder to wait in line forever), ready for this baby, ready to start our life as a family of five (gulp!) in just a few weeks. This is not the regular me—although I’m a planner, I’m also an expert procrastinator—but something (hormones?) has kicked in to remind me that this baby is coming whether I’m ready or not.
Have you been pregnant through the holidays? Did it change your usual way of doing things? Share in the comments below (and tell me I’m not alone)!