For me, 9 weeks means 6, because after 6 weeks, I have to be ready for anything to happen at any moment.
Even if I go late, I know at this point that I can't be lulled into a false sense of security, like we often do with other projects and deadlines. Nine weeks feels like plenty of time, but this isn't like preparing for a paper that I can write in 24 hours, or cramming for a final exam. Every step I take towards preparing for Alexis' arrival reveals at least 3 more things that need to get done. This leads me to believe that no amount of work accomplished will actually help me feel like I've completed anything, because also unlike preparing for a project, everything we do is a means to a beginning, not an end.
And then there's the physical aspect of the whole thing. She's in there, right now, bouncing around on my bladder and kicking my ribs. From time to time she'll stretch, making my belly bulge and contort. Pretty soon, she'll be wiggling and kicking and stretching but she'll be in my arms, for me to see; a real human being. No longer tucked away as a passenger, she'll be vulnerable and exposed. We're going to be the only things between her and the rest of the world, responsible for introducing her to it, but protecting her from it at the same time.
I know we'll be ready. There isn't much choice in that matter anymore, is there? But I do still feel some conflicting emotions, mostly centered around the dichotomy between the rolls I've possessed and the roll I will soon fulfill. I know, in reality, that being a mom does not mean I will stop being anything else - especially not when it comes to my marriage or my running - but for a little while, at least, doing the best I can at this new roll will be my one and only focus. I don't exactly feel like a mom just yet, but I figure that will come soon enough....