One thing that's vastly different in this pregnancy is my sense of time.
When I was pregnant the first time, I couldn't imagine actually having a baby, being a mother. I was so into the experience of pregnancy, it consumed me completely; of course I knew a baby was the end result, but I couldn't visualize it. My body couldn't imagine it. All it knew was being with child, and that was a different experience every day as my body and the baby grew. I was living in the shifting, changing moment, with no idea about what was to come.
Of course we never truly know what is to come, but by the time my daughter was born three years later, I could remember what it was like to hold a newborn, to breastfeed, to watch a baby learn to sit up, crawl, walk, talk (each new stage such a revelation.) But I couldn't see beyond three years old; I had no idea what it would be like to have an older kid.
Now I've been through the whole journey, seen my first baby grow all the way up to a gorgeous mustachioed college man, seen my daughter blossom into a gorgeous young woman. And while each child is different and I know this baby will take me down unexpected paths that I can't begin to fathom now, I know now what it's like to see the journey through to adulthood. I know the baby stage goes by in a blink. I know all of it goes by in a blink. It's kind of terrifying, really, how quickly it all goes. I hope that keeping this long-view in mind will help me appreciate each fleeting moment all the more (and will get me through times that seem interminable while they're happening, like teething and potty training.)
My dad is going to be 90 this year, and was telling me recently how he just can't believe he's as old as he is. His mind just can't seem to process his age. I feel the same way--how is it possible I'm almost 41 when I feel like a 10 year old inside? How is it possible I have such grown up kids? Time is utterly confounding; we are totally at its mercy--it shakes us off so easily, like old clothes--but I find I don't want to fight it. No Botox or plastic surgery, or any of those measures people my age use to stave off its relentless jaws (at least that's how I feel right now; time has taught me that minds sometimes change in surprising ways). Right now, I just want to slow myself down enough to enjoy time's passage. I imagine a baby will help me do that and turn time into even more of a blur all at once.