So we’re finally completely moved into the new house, and in spite of a bug problem, it’s pretty great. I’ll post some photos of it sometime today or over the weekend, because I’m finally getting the pictures on the walls and a few curtains up, which small things are always so necessary for me to feel at home somewhere.

Moving was Item #1 on my list of things to do before I have this baby. The list also has things on it like, “make Christmas presents” and “get house completely organized” and “make postpartum care box for self,” a few of which I’ve almost gotten done. As in most of this pregnancy, I’ve been a little overwhelmed with things that have to be done, and haven’t really been able to let myself be still and consider the future. Maybe I’m freaked out by all the terrible things I hear about labor and delivery, and having a newborn, and what having a kid does to one’s marriage and/or sex life. Maybe I, as usual, just can’t relax until I feel like I’m ready to face whatever large thing is looming.

So now, when the list of things to get in order is shrinking, it’s probably time to devote some large parts of my day(s) to reflection, and imagination. Positive imaginings.

This probably sounds so incredibly boring to anyone not in my position — I’m re-reading it as if I were myself two years ago, and it sounds so small, so tiny. Like all my big goals and dreams and passions are stuffed in a closet while I hang out inside my house all day, doing tiny things and taking naps. Reminding myself to think & feel. Maybe this is also some kind of precursor or foreshadowing of new motherhood—the first 6 months or more—when those last two sentences will pretty much be my life.

On second thought, and without erasing that last sentence, I think I’ve decided that isn’t true. Hunkering down in order to do small work is sometimes such a necessary (and, in hindsight, rather grand) part of life. Hunkering down after Marshall’s Meniere’s diagnosis, taking almost a year to learn how to cook again, how to hang out with friends without going to bars and restaurants and potlucks all the time, how to be ok not hanging out with friends as much, but staying in a lot, accepting changes and uncertainties—what small dreary work that felt like, at the time. But it’s built something for us & between us that’s stabilizing. We have new lives, now, and they’re good lives.

It’s salvific to remember that long times of small work don’t last forever. Sometimes when I think about being a mother, I imagine that I’ll be stuck at home for years and years with a crying baby and camel crickets and no friends. Other times, I see warm, intimate photos of other young mothers breastfeeding, or read blog posts or books wherein young mothers are clearly growing into their new lives, not shrinking into them. This (last) is what I have to be turning into my mental soil, these next four weeks. This is what I need to cultivate.

Ergo, I’m gonna be super busy till I get ALL THIS STUFF DONE. Sounds logical, right? Yeah. Shouldn’t take me more than another few good days of serious work. These Christmas presents are going to be done over the weekend I think, and other things aren’t far behind. Last baby shower is next Wednesday, and that’ll feel like a closing of some kind of “frenzied prep-time” I hope.

This baby is curled up in one of my internal organs with her hard & small back on my right side, and jabby limbs on my left side. For some insane reason I’ve been suddenly—and unexpectedly—doubting that “Mary” is the best name for this baby, but I immediately change my mind when Marshall puts his beardy face down close to her head and says “Mary!”