I take out my well-thumbed calendar for the fifth time this hour to confirm that it's true. It's really happened. I've finally entered my ninth and last month of pregnancy.

Since the beginning — about thirty-six weeks ago, more than 250 days ago and close to 6,000 hours ago — I've counted down the time remaining to this stage. I've urged myself forward: "You're almost there! You can do it! Another few months/weeks/days and you'll be in your last month and from that point on, it will be any day!"

Back then, I had wished I could be this far ahead, so close to the finale. If I were so close to the summit, I assured myself, I'd be able to cope.

So I sit here (standing for lengthy periods has become impossible) wondering why I'm finding it so difficult. These are the last remaining days; birth can come at any moment now — a precious new life and a new world! Yet, somehow, each new day has become increasingly and agonizingly more difficult than its predecessor.

I mentally brush off the cobwebs from the back recesses of my memory in an effort to recall the days which were suffused with activity. Back then, every available moment of time was used to learn, develop, challenge and create. Nowadays, my bed beckons through every spare minute and my pillow has become my best companion. I've discovered aching muscles I never knew existed. The day's most strenuous activity is a rotation from the living room to the family room couch.

Every once in a while, I longingly scan my clothes in the back of my closet and marvel how I was ever able to fit into them. I can't envision ever again wearing anything with a fitted waist or without a massive expandable top.

With each passing day I speculate with greater intensity: Has there in fact been a time when I felt energetic? Will walking without pain searing down my legs ever become feasible? Will water ever again taste refreshing rather than leave a foul aftertaste?

Looking forward, I rationalize that I'm closer to my goal than I've ever been.

But gazing backwards, my brain fogs and the distant memories seem like another lifetime, incomprehensible and unattainable. Each day, rather than becoming more optimistic, becomes drearier, more arduous, more painful.

I've lost any faith or confidence in myself, my abilities or my life ever changing and improving. Engulfed in aches, submerged in inertia, I've forgotten who I was. I see myself as a huge lump on a couch.

Incapable of much else, I begin to think.

I begin to think about the sojourn of our people — how far we've journeyed in our exile, away from our spiritual source of energy. Our rich past seems so surreal. The spiritual "garments" we then wore — our ancient House of Prayer, the services conducted there, a life suffused with G‑dliness — have become ancient artifacts, relics from the past, vestments from another lifetime that won't fit the thickened bodies we've become after all these spiritually sluggish centuries. We've all but lost our identity, our faith and confidence in who we are, who we once were and who we can be.

But this is the view looking back — looking at how long it's been, how distant our hopes, dreams and aspirations have become.

But then I discover a different view.

A view that looks forward. A view that sees how we've survived a grueling gestation and have reached closer than ever to a new, better and more enriched future. A view that bespeaks peace and prosperity, greater growth and joy than ever imaginable.

True, the wait is excruciating. Each day brings news of more pain and devastation endured by our people. These last symptoms of exile feel almost more tormenting than the long wait until now.

But as I force myself to focus forward, I realize how close we really are. We can give birth to this new world.

Any day now. Any hour. Any moment.