Friday, August 26, 2011

My Modern Day "Period of Confinement"

I still can't figure out if this is the correct term, but I seem to recall reading (probably in Regency romances, to be honest) about how women of high society used to have a period of confinement in their pregnancies. They would be shut up in a bedroom for weeks with no fresh air, very little light, and no men allowed.

For me, it's not quite that drastic, but it has arrived. The other week, we met Keith's parents at a state campground in the middle of Ohio, about two hours away, and spent the weekend camping. And that, my friends, was our last planned trip for the foreseeable future. We're not going to my cousin's wedding in Boston or his cousin's wedding in New York. We aren't spending a night out at a Bed and Breakfast for our anniversary, and we're not visiting his family in Kentucky. We're home, and we're staying put!

Keeping in mind that, from mid-May to mid-August, we only had one free, unplanned weekend (and that's the weekend we ended up driving to Ikea in Pittsburgh to buy Eleanor's new bedroom furniture), this is a big statement for us that the end is near. The baby's arrival is not that far off! Of course, part of the decline in activity is due to the end of the summer. Not all of our summer plans involved traveling; now that it's Fall, there's not as many local festivals, barbeques, etc. And, of course, we still have some plans for birthday parties, Keith's long runs/races, a night out for our anniversary.

So it's not like our calendar went from completely full to completely empty just because I'm 34 weeks pregnant. But to swear off all trips, that is still a big deal for us. I'm pretty excited about it. By the end of summer, I'm always tired by the constant activity. And being in the car for long stretches of time is getting harder on my very pregnant self. So I'm glad to take a break from all the going, but I'm also glad to be staying. There's so many things we'd like to do before the baby arrives. Not all of them are necessary (Does the baby really care if I clean out the filing cabinet drawers? I doubt it.), but I have this image in my mind.

I imagine a day in early October when Eleanor's at preschool. I do a little bit of cleaning around the house and then flop onto the couch and look around with satisfaction. I realize that it's all done. Done! Everything we wanted to do before the baby arrives is done. Just for one small, brief moment, everything is in its place. All is right with the world. I sit with this thought for a few minutes, savoring the sense that there's nothing else I have to do and nowhere else I have to be, and then the contractions start.

Is this going to happen? Absolutely not. My To Do Lists are many things, but reasonable is not one of them. There's no way we'll finish EVERYTHING before the baby arrives. But at least, if we're home, we can work on most of them. And we're not making more work for ourselves with packing and unpacking and laundry and all of the chores that come with travel. There's already plenty of work to be done around here ... and we won't even talk about after the confinement is over, and the baby arrives!

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