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In a week and a half, Josh will be one year old.

Last year at this time, I was almost seven months pregnant. I was stressed out about keeping the townhouse clean, and about no one buying it. We had already agreed to buy the house in Maillardville, and NO ONE was even looking twice at the townhouse. I remember hearing the inaugural episode of 'Q' on CBC as I was scrubbing the kitchen, trying to make a showroom out of old, worn out cabinets and lino. "Guilding a turd", I called it. I was exhausted due to trying to bring the townhouse up to some high, exacting standard that it would never meet, as if I was selling it to Martha Stewart. I was trying to keep up with J, who was not pregnant, and I felt guilty whenever I left him working to go to sleep, and then dumb for feeling guilty. I was having trouble finding a good position to sleep, due to The Belly. I was constantly hungry, though not as ferociously hungry as I was in the first trimester. I had no idea what it would be like to be a parent, and no idea that I would become one in less than two weeks.

I had a friend over tonight, and she asked me about Josh's birth. I guess she never got the full story, so I went through it all again and I realized that I hadn't told it in quite a while. Lots of things were just fuzzy, pale images that I only recall because of having told the story so often. The poor woman in the bed next to me in active labour, and her ineffective partner (and absent nurse), were so horrifying and heart-wrenching to me at the time, yet I don't even remember what was so horrible about it. I know that I got up every three hours all night after coming home from the hospital to pump milk for Josh, and I remember springing out of bed each time my alarm rung happy to be doing SOMEthing for the tiny scrap of a boy I'd left behind in the hospital, but I don't know if that's actually was what happened, or if it's just how I remember it now. Maybe I was mostly grumpy, or resigned, and I just remember the happy times because they were the first times.

This has been an interesting year. Some things are just like I expected, and some I would have never thought to expect. No one can tell you what being a parent is like. They can compare it to things, or contrast it to others, but there are no words to convey what it is actually like to have a child. It's amazing. You are reborn.

I don't know what I would say to the person I was a year ago, though I want to give her a hug to help to prepare her for what's coming.
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What a long, strange trip it's been..
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January 2011

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