Zwischen: The space between pregnancy and motherhood

Waiting for labour | Zwischen: The space between pregnancy and motherhood | Art Therapy with Kimberly

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, ok. 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 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 9 month long endurance event. A time that would surely be relaxing, wonderful and certainly quick.

In reality time has literally never felt slower.

There is no label for this small (but incredibly agonising) window of time between the end of pregnancy and before birth. At least not in the English language. Germans have a word, zwischen, which means between. Midwives have called it, ‘The Time of Zwischen.’ Having a label helps me to place my feelings that are flinging around me like a tornado. I’m extra vulnerable and sensitive at this time. Every well-meaning message from eager friends and family “so, has the baby arrived?” gives me a jolt of anxiety. My answer is always the same: not yet. I feel like I’m disappointing them somehow.

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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 life will be flipped upside down and I’ll be wishing for these long stretches of time where there is nothing to do. But it’s hard to fully relax when I’m also paying attention to every single sensation in my body 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 rollercoaster 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. Practicing my hardest 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: ‘let’s get this show on the road. Bring it!

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