Maternity leave is nearing its end

I can’t believe that I’m already in my 19th week of maternity leave. That means that I’m almost 19 weeks postpartum, which also means my baby is almost 19 weeks old. Time has gone by so quickly that I almost want to just freeze time so that I can really enjoy all these little moments with my baby close to me. I was packing up some of her newborn and 0-3 month old clothing and getting a little emotional about it. It reminded me of the conversation I had recently with my friend, who told me she was really sad to organize and bag up all of her 18-month old daughters’ clothes to hand down to me.

“This is the first and only girl I’ll have,” she said. She’s scheduling an embryo transfer for boy embryos moving forward so that they can have one girl and one boy. “It just made me so sad to think she’s my one and only girl.” She said her husband didn’t get why she was being so emotional about it.

I get it, though. Even though my baby was slow to gain weight in the beginning, once we got her on track, she’s been growing very nicely and along the curve. She’s getting longer and longer every day; in the next month or so, we’ll likely need to transition her out of her bassinet into her crib. Every time she squawks or shrieks or lets out what sounds like a little laugh, I just want to bottle it all up so that I can hear it over and over and remember these moments. Even when I was sleep deprived, even when I wanted to throw my breast pump out the window and give up on pumping, even when she’s had her fussy moments with her spitting up and pre-teething pain, I always remembered in the back of my head just how lucky I was to even be dealing with her fussiness; I have a baby who needs me. She’s healthy and growing. She’s my baby. It makes me sad to think that she could be my first and only child, that this could be my one and only time ever experiencing raising a newborn, doing tummy time with a baby, breastfeeding a baby. It all seems to be coming and going too quickly. Even in the frustrating moments noted previously or when having the inevitable argument with Chris about something baby related, I’ve still felt so thankful to have her. I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my life than having her as my baby, than being able to call myself a mother. It’s not like anything I’ve done is unique or novel given that obviously, women have been giving birth since the beginning of time, but I really do mean it: I have never felt so amazed at what my body has been capable of doing, in growing this tiny human, and giving me the greatest gift of my life.

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