[I underestimated the 4th trimester.]
I have a big, dumb confession to make.
I (foolishly) thought I would write a screenplay on my maternity leave.
I (foolishly) assumed not working would free up more time for writing. I figured I would spend my days in a glowy haze writing as Henry slept. I pictured myself perched contently at the computer knocking off scenes during uninterrupted stretches of newborn sleep.
I pictured Henry waking from his afternoon slumber, myself sailing from computer to baby like a modern-day Donna Reed. I pictured myself tending to my motherly duties — nursing, diapering, rocking, singing and cooing to my little lamb — as if these things are as predictably routine as brushing your teeth.
I underestimated the fourth trimester; this period I’m in now: the early weeks and months of motherhood, of baby development.
The first time I heard someone mention the fourth trimester I was newly pregnant and blissfully naive.
“Fourth trimester?” I choked. “There’s a FOURTH trimester?”
I was filled in by a woman in my neighborhood who had just given birth to her first baby, a hairy boy who at the time was nestled in a purple wrap tied elaborately across her chest; a baby barnacle clinging to his mother’s bosom.
“Yeah,” she said wearily. “The baby adjusting to life outside the womb. You adjusting to the baby.”
Oh yes. The fourth trimester. Cute.