In preparation for the arrival of our third baby in a matter of weeks, I have just been through the task of sorting the baby clothes to see what we need to pack for the hospital.
I say "been through" because it was an emotional journey.
I remember doing this in the final month or so with our first two children, and was surprised the feelings were the same the third time around as they were the first two times - I was overwhelmed with emotion and panic.
It freaked me out the first time in a surreal way I couldn't get my head around. And the second time because I didn't know how I would cope with two tiny people demanding things from me.
This time, it is freaking me out because I can get my head around it.
The mental chatter went like this: These hats are so small. If I pack a tiny hat, will it have an enormous head? It doesn't really matter this time anyway because I have to have a c-section.
Oh wow - teeny onesies. I don't know if I can look after something this small, I'm not responsible enough. How many onesies do I need? Will they fit? Our girl was tiny (6 pound, 11, or 3kg) and all the newborn clothes were huge on her. Our boy was a fair bit bigger (8 pound 4, or 3.7kg) and the newborn stuff was tight.
I can't do this.
I took several breaks before getting stuck in, my head was all over the place. I thought we had more stuff than this. What do newborns even wear?
Oh, our girl's first shoes. A tiny little pink pair of mary-janes. From a time before she was answering back and giving us attitude.
Memories flooded in as three outfits I had kept "just in case" came out and reminded me how far we had come since she was a baby, almost six years ago.
A couple of our boy's onesies, that he outgrew almost weekly as he packed on 500gm a week for more than six months, robbing us of our newborn so much faster than seemed fair.
Stop being weird. They're meant to grow up!
It isn't normal for me to have these feelings. I have always embraced them growing, becoming more independent, being less reliant on me, achieving things on their own.
And here I am getting sad over small shoes and hats.
That panic of "how can something that fits this be bundled up inside me"? It's so tiny and big at the same time.
The same day, I had found a bobby pin hairclip shoved into a plug socket. How can I look after a baby when I'm barely able to keep up with the older two? Should we have done this?
I am on edge, irritable, anxious, vulnerable.
I forgot how small they are. I don't know if I can do this.
I messaged my husband airing my thoughts of fear and inadequacy.
His reply was typical: "We coped for the other two."