December 12, 2021

Zwischen: The Space Between Pregnancy & Motherhood.

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.

I’m standing at the doorway to a new life, but the door to get to the other side is still locked.

I knock impatiently but no one answers. I finally notice a small handwritten note on the door that reads, “door will open soon.” Oh, right, okay. Got it. Soon. I hate the word “soon.” When is soon? Could I at least get a date? There is no waiting room here, so I just stand there and stare at the door, imagining what might be on the other side. Soon this door will open, either on its own or with a bit of help from a technician, and once it does, I’ll be warmly ushered in.

I had anticipated a lot on things during pregnancy but the final week of waiting for the baby to arrive was certainly not one of them. Everyone told me the final trimester would fly by, and before I knew it, my sweet baby would be in my arms. I was looking at this final week of pregnancy like a finish line to a nine-month-long endurance event. A time that would surely be relaxing, wonderful, and certainly quick.

Time has literally never felt slower.

There is no real label for this small (but incredibly agonising) window of time between the end of pregnancy and before giving birth. At least not in the English language. It turns out that the Germans have a word, “zwischen,” which means between. As I scoured the internet for other women also waiting for their baby, I learned that there is indeed a term for this weird limbo land: The Time of Zwischen.”

Having a label helps me place my feelings that are flinging around me like a tornado. I’m extra vulnerable, raw, and sensitive. Every well-meaning message from eager friends and family asking, “So, has the baby arrived?!” gives me a jolt of anxiety. My answer is always the same: No. Not yet. I feel like I’m disappointing them somehow.

A part of me wants so badly to enjoy this time and take full advantage of my independence while I still have it. I know once this little baby is here, my life will be flipped upside down, and I’ll be wishing for these long stretches of time where there was nothing to do. But it’s hard to fully relax when I’m also paying attention to every single sensation in my body wondering, “Is this the start of labour?” and my emotions are all over the place. I can’t seem to find a consistency in how I feel, nor can I find a way out of how I feel. It’s like I’m strapped into a roller coaster and I’m trying to find someone who works here to stop the ride and let me off.

I’m in limbo between two worlds—pregnancy is about to end and motherhood is about to begin.

I try my best to stay present to the life I have here and now. Cherishing the end of my pregnancy and not getting dragged by the anxiety and impatience to meet this little human.

The good part of all of this waiting is that my attitude has shifted from being downright terrified to give birth to: “Alright, let’s get go. Bring it!”


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Kimberly Hetherington  |  Contribution: 5,205

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