Marriage and the Third Trimester

Hero-3rd

With just 2 and half weeks to go until due day, and already a week into maternity leave, now seems the perfect time to reflect on this final stage of pregnancy, how it has compared to the past 9 months and what affect this part of the journey is having on our marriage…  So here comes the round up…

Trying to figure ‘me’ out…

As loyal readers of the blog may remember, I had a bit of a tough time straight after our wedding, getting to grips with what being a wife meant for my own personal identity.  Well no sooner had I fully embraced and come to understand my new self, we go and decide to start a family – throwing the whole question of “who am I” up in the air again…

Throughout the past 9 months, I’ve watched my body change.  Watched my belly swell, watched my face fill out, watched as the marks of motherhood appear around my expanding hips.  And as I’ve watched the physical changes on the outside, I’ve looked inward at the emotional changes and the questions that this new impending life pose.

mirror-me

As our new lives are so very close now, the third trimester has had me pondering how we will adjust to family life; what it will mean for the two of us as a couple; will we be able to keep the spark alive; and how will our precious little pudding fit in with our hard established dedication to each other?

I’ve questioned what becoming a mother will mean for me, as a person.  Not only as a wife, but as a professional.  Especially now as I curl up in a pair of leggings surrounded by pillows on the couch in the middle of a Monday afternoon, I wonder at how motherhood will affect the professional ‘me’ I’ve worked so hard for in the past few years…

These are the kinds of questions that keep me awake at night. Or rather, the ones that incite ‘the panic’ that seems to set in (like clockwork) at 9pm every evening.  Just as the TV goes off and the house descends into that calm silence before bed – that’s when the wave of ‘oh my days, am I ready for this?!’ hits.  And then I feel guilty for even worrying about it.  Having a baby and starting a family with Andrew is an absolute dream come true – so why do I spend so much time grappling to keep hold of the ‘old me’ (whoever that is.)  I should just be embracing motherhood no matter how it makes me feel, right?

It’s usually at this point when the hormones take over, I have a good old cry and Andrew comes over, holds me close and reassures me that our new lives, and whatever new ‘me’ comes with it, will be exactly as it should be.  And all is right with the world again.

The truth is – changing and evolving is never going to stop.  Right now, I am an expectant mother.  In a few months time, I will be a (very tired) mother.  A few years from now I will be a proud mum of a toddler, dropping her daughter off at nursery.  More years on I will be a worried mother of (no doubt) a stroppy (read ‘indepdent and passionate’) teenage girl…  and as she evolves into her own person, so too will my role as a mother evolve.  I just need to embrace the ever-change, and go with the flow.

And the same is true with my role as a wife.  As Andrew and I experience more together, raise our daughter together, work through joys and hardships together, our relationship will continue to shape and grow as a result.

Trying to date my husband

I guess part of my concerns when it comes to how having a baby will affect our marriage stem from the fact that even since that morning wayyy back in January, when we woke up to see a +1 staring back at us from the stick I’d just pee’d on – even since then, Andrew and mine’s relationship had started to change.

I’ve spent so long worrying about how our marriage might change when the baby arrives, that I somehow missed that it has been evolving for the past 9 months.  So we don’t go out to cocktail bars; we’ve traded late night movie screenings for mid-afternoon coffees and shortened waddles along the prom.  Our dates are fewer, shorter and (just sometimes) more effort than they’re worth.

But what I have noticed, particularly as our due date gets ever closer, is a growing closeness between us.  I’ve taken to fully appreciating our extra time in the mornings, where we wake up with a cup of coffee and talk about whatever’s on our minds.  Sometimes it’s our hopes and fears for our new lives ahead; other times it’s stories from our past that we’ve yet to fully share.

So we might not be flashing the cash on lavish evening meals and high impact adrenaline pumping date days out, but we’re cherishing the time we do have left, just us two, in simple ways.  (Although we have managed a wedding, dinner out with friends, a quick weekend trip to Hull and a day out to Holker Hall & Gardens… 😛  so we’re not doing too bad on that front really!)

holker

Trying to capture the journey

Andrew and I have always been super keen on documenting every moment.  Walking around our home, you’d find it difficult not to stumble across a selfie or two.  From trips to the seaside, to silly faces on the couch, we’re always conscious of capturing the little moments – and of course, the big ones too.   So it will come as no surprise to know that since the beginning of the second trimester, Andrew and I have been documenting our special journey in a number of ways…

Watching the bump grow…

This has become one of my favourite times of the week, especially in these past few months when the physical signs of pregnancy have altered so drastically in just a few shorts days.  I love that Andrew takes these pictures – every week he seems to capture both the physical change, and our collective mood.

third-trimester

Writing in our baby book…

We want our daughter to know just how we felt waiting for her arrival, and I’ve come to look forward to our sessions when we snuggle up and pour our thoughts out into her bump journal.  Not only are we opening up to her in years to come, but the process brings us closer together, and gives us a space to be open about how the journey is affecting us.

baby-book

Everyday selfies…

And perhaps my favourite of all – the candid, one off point and clicks that we sporadically take throughout the day, of nothing really in particular.  Every few months I’ll transfer my mobile phone pictures to my hard drive for safe keeping until we print them to archive in our suitcase of memories.  It’s these seemingly insignificant moments that, strung together, tell the true story of our incredible journey.  Sure it’s great to look back on hot summer holidays when we were bound to be all smiles and looking our best, but it’s the everyday that I want to look back on and know that we enjoyed to the fullest.  I think these sum up life in the third trimester pretty  well, in all it’s glory!

3rd-trimester-montage

Trying to be patient…

So that’s been the past few months, and probably a similar story for the final few weeks of this whole surreal journey.  Having overcome my fears of childbirth, and coming to terms with the fact that life as we know it is never going to be the same again, I am excited and impatient for the next chapter to begin.

I’m sure as soon as I publish this I will regret the following statement, but I almost feel like I want to feel physically less comfortable.  Currently at 37 and half weeks, I feel like I should be complaining more about the back aches and the extreme fatigue, and the frustrations of just sitting around watching the clock because I have no energy left to do anything else… But all in all I feel as though I’m just my usual self, and it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be much action for a good few weeks to come.

Time will tell…

Until then I will continue to dream, continue to worry, continue to laugh, cry and trump with my husband, and continue to capture every single minute of it (except maybe the trumping bit ;P).  Until then…

What was your experience of the third trimester?  Did your hormones have you questioning everything?  Did you struggle to visualise how your lives would change?  How did you stay connected with your partner through those final few months?  I’d love to hear from you below or on Twitter @LoveinMindBlog

Hannah

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