Round belly, sore hips, big power.

Oh hello, dear reader! ‘Tis I – That Woman From The Internet whose name you maybe sort of possibly but no actually don’t recognize, whose writing maybe depresses you, and who forgets as often as you do that she has a blog it wouldn’t kill her to update every once in a while.

If you follow me on social media, you’re well aware just how confounded I’ve felt over the course of the last handful of months. Having been diagnosed with secondary infertility so many years ago, finding out that I’m mysteriously pregnant with my third baby has been confusing, to say the least. I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to have been; I inadvertently pushed it to the back burner while sleeping, staring off into space and indulging in lunch-dessert AND dinner-dessert has taken center-stage instead.

I’m here now, though – present and accounted for, and reporting for active duty – because it was high time that I dust this blog off. Even if it meant clearing away the cobwebs, pushing aside a tower of boxes filled with photo albums spanning 1992-2004, and screaming twice upon thinking there was a daddy long legs in my hair.

But I willed myself to get to it. “Go do some writing!” I urged; “Get out of the house, buy a tea and get to doing the thing you do best!” So I did—I drove myself to my favorite coffee shop, I sat down in my favorite spot and I got to doing the thing I excel at. (Hint: upon opening up my laptop, I remembered that my specialty isn’t so much writing as it is procrastinating.) So far I’ve corresponded with my Washington Post editor, I’ve booked myself a prenatal appointment, and I’ve checked my Instagram notifications a number of times that is neither RELEVANT nor ANY OF YOUR CONCERN. I’ve also made an intricately detailed to-do list, and mark my words: it’s going to feel really good checking off “Eat lunch” in an hour or so.

I digress.

In just a couple of days, I’ll see the second trimester of this pregnancy come to a close, as I usher in the beginning of the third. This child of mine will be 43 years old someday and I’ll still be marveling over their existence; but even though the overarching mind fuck of it will undoubtedly stay with me in perpetuity, the initial shock of it has thankfully worn off. That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t routinely forget that I’m even pregnant at all, mistaking this growing baby for unrivaled bloat – but I’m aware, I’ve accepted it and I feel in control at long last. I don’t know with any level of certainty how this baby came into being or how they are mine when I’d been sure all doors and windows were boarded shut, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Lightning does strike twice.

I’m grateful and I’m in awe, but I’m uncomfortable as hell. My back aches, my lungs don’t operate at full capacity any longer, and my right hip is starting to feel like it could use a replacement before too much longer. I’m starting to look like a little winter squirrel, storing up food for the winter, and the ghost of my jawline is starting to make appearances just in time for Halloween. In the vast expanse of time between my last full-term pregnancy and this one, I’d forgotten just how much being host and vessel feels akin to walking around in someone else’s body. Excess weight and an altered center of gravity makes me feel like a stranger in my own body—but the stranger in my body has managed to keep me constantly grounded as I get to know her motions, her gentle hiccups and her waking and sleeping habits.

We are, for the next few months, sharing a bodily home, and I am grateful that I’ve been able to give up my autonomy so that she might have life, continued safety and a place in which to grow in strength. I daydream about getting my lungs back, of course, about being able to sleep on my tummy again and about getting back to drinking all those IPAs I’ve been missing so dearly, but I’d be a fool not to let these last 13 weeks of my last pregnancy remind me just how incredible it is to create a life singlehandedly (no offense, dear husband, but you know I’m not wrong), and remind me of exactly how powerful we women are.

And now, my tea cup is empty, my bum is going numb and obviously my lunch isn’t going to eat itself. I’ve got boxes on my to-do list just begging to be checked off, after all. So cheers, fellow women. To each of you who’ve been here before me, to those of you who’re right here with me, and to those of you who yearn to be where I am. This isn’t easy, but it sure is mind-blowing, isn’t it?