*I’d like to preface this post with letting all you new
blogworms know that all photos below are a flashback from about a year ago when I was pregnant with my now almost 9 month old daughter. I am currently not pregnant*
I’ve been thinking about having a second baby.
Both Grandmas…sit back down, recompose yourself, don’t panic and let me explain further.
I’m not thinking about having a second baby right now. We’re nowhere near ready for that. Yikes. I’d like to start trying when Mia hits 2 years old which is in another year and 3 months. I like that age range between siblings, between 2 and 3 years apart. My brother and I are 2 years apart and we had a close relationship growing up. But from a mother’s perspective, I think having your first child a bit older when the second one comes along would make a world of difference…for ME. I’d like Mia to be old enough to understand that we don’t poke at Baby’s eyes, or pull at Baby’s hair, etc. I imagine that when she’s 3 years old, she’ll be much more helpful and less needy and demanding. I could be terribly wrong, but I’m sticking with this theory.
I guess what’s been on my mind, more, is being pregnant with our second child. I’m really looking forward to it. I know that may sound nuts, but it’s true. My first pregnancy wasn’t what I expected it to be. I wonder if it meets any first mom’s expectations. But looking back, I feel like I missed out on a lot of really sweet moments and I didn’t embrace the changes taking place inside me and what was happening to my body. I could have enjoyed it more. I could have savored it more. At the time, I didn’t really feel like a walking miracle in the making but I was. Now I see that I really was. The point of me sharing this with you is to not only get some stuff off my chest and on the record, but also to offer any helpful words, advice or truths about my pregnant experience for any pregnant women out there who may be feeling a little less fulfilled or miraculous than expected. My hope is that you come away from this with a little more understanding, patience, and a better perspective of the complete process. We’re extremely lucky and blessed to be able to bring another life into the world, and for some of us, it’s our only shot. I want your experience to be everything that it can and should be; amazing, exciting, confusing, work, care, fulfilling, nurturing, special, uncomfortable and gross at times but much more great than gritty. Unless you’re put on bed rest (which if you are, I’m so sorry…I was for 2 days in the hospital (on Christmas night) and a few more at home and that short amount of time was enough to scare and bore the crap out of me!), this isn’t the hardest part. This is only a prelude of what’s to come.
I remember feeling really anxious during my first trimester. Overall, I was cool, calm and collected about being pregnant but I was so anxious to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. I just couldn’t wait for that doctor’s appointment where we’d FINALLY know. Everyday I would remind myself of how many days were left until we’d know, pretty much to the hour. I wanted so badly to start buying things for the baby’s room and baby clothes but couldn’t because I didn’t want to buy neutral colored things. It was all I could focus on. If I could have pressed a button to fast forward the days to the appointment, I would have. And then we found out it was a girl and I couldn’t wait to tell everybody! However, I did wait…until I came up with a little gender reveal for my co-workers and family. Now, I look back wishing I would have taken a chill pill and relaxed on the whole gender thing. There’s only a small window of time when you don’t know what’s in store, where you don’t have to be planning and buying and organizing and announcing. With the next child, I want to use that time to just..be pregnant. I will never get that time back and I want to just savor the moments where part of my baby’s identity is still unknown and we are merely mother and child. Who knows, maybe we’ll choose to NOT find out the gender with the next one. Surprises are so few and far between these days, why not give the little baby the honor of surprising his or her parents with the amazing news.
I’d say my pregnancy was fairly easy. That part I wouldn’t change. I never threw up from “morning sickness” or nausea. But, I did experience nausea a handful of times due to severe heartburn and indigestion (thanks to Italian salad dressing and salads). Discovering which foods agree with your stomach and which foods definitely disagree isn’t a pleasant process of trial and error, but there really isn’t an easier way..unless you want to deprive yourself of everything delicious and strictly stick to bland and flavorless food for the entire 9 months. There are plenty of food lists circulating out there with helpful tips on which foods typically cause discomfort. They’re helpful. Memorize them. Oh wait, did I say 9 months? You’ll be on a strict food watch for a lot longer than that if you plan to breast feed. Nobody wants a screaming baby with an upset tummy because you ate too much spicy foods, dairy, caffeine or acidic foods. Moms just can’t catch a break.
Average weight gain…
I didn’t gain a ton of weight. During my first trimester I barely had an appetite. Nearly everything sounded disgusting, even food and restaurant commercials were enough to make my stomach turn. Once my appetite made it’s way back to me, the baby was big enough to start pushing on my stomach. I don’t know where the phrase “eating for two” came from because I could hardly eat enough for one. I would become full minutes after beginning my meals. It wasn’t until the very end of pregnancy, when the baby “dropped”, that my stomach finally regained its space and could fit more grub. My grand total of weight gained was 28 pounds. Average, I think. I carried it well and I had fun dressing up my belly bump and getting creative with my wardrobe. You kind of have to when everything in your closet begins to shrink (that’s what I would tell myself, at least). Lucky for me, I had co-workers and friends who handed down to me their maternity clothes by the garbage bag full! I didn’t have to break the bank over new clothes…which is what maternity clothes have the potential to do, btw. They are EXPENSIVE and just god-awful to look at..most of them. If you can borrow clothes, do it. This body is only temporary.
Loss of control…
Everybody knows that there are some obvious things you can’t or shouldn’t do while pregnant, like ride roller coasters, drink alcohol, do drugs or smoke. Those are just a few “don’ts” from a pretty gigantic list. Some items on the list you may not care for or miss much. But, the stuff you do enjoy that you have to give up…well 9 months is a long time to suddenly go without. This was difficult for me to deal with. When I’d drive by the Rose Bowl and see all the in-shape runners making laps around the track, I would get so envious of their freedom and ability to do so. I was a runner. I wanted to run, too. It was a passion of mine that I was forced to put aside. I love sushi. I craved it most of all, probably because I wasn’t allowed to eat it. 9 months felt like an eternity without it. Some of you may not think that eating it is a big deal and maybe it’s not, but I wasn’t willing to take any chances so I passed on it. I passed on sushi and wine, another favorite. I no longer was in control of my decisions. I didn’t like that the baby inside me had so much control over me and that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted at any given time. The last time I was being told what I could and couldn’t do was when I was in high school and still under my parents house rules. Pregnancy made me feel like a prisoner, at times. Like I was being held hostage and that there was NO escape until the baby’s birth. I spent a little too much time stressing over this new reality, unfortunately.
Failure to connect…
I was fairly comfortable throughout my entire pregnancy and I count my lucky stars for that. But, there was a feeling (or should I say lack of feeling) that I had that made me extremely uncomfortable. I had wished for more of a stronger connection with my growing baby. I was so busy trying to read through handbooks and online references to make sure I was eating the right foods, avoiding the wrong foods, getting enough sleep, getting the right amount of vitamins, resting when I needed to, trying to remain stress-free and overall doing the right things for the life that was growing inside of me. I felt a lot of pressure as a first time Mom to do everything I could to nourish and care for my baby. I was feeling stress from my lack of control like I mentioned above. My body was changing inside and out, which was affecting my day-to-day activities, thoughts, wants, needs and my sanity. I was so busy just trying to keep up with all the responsibility and maintenance that’s involved with growing a human for the first time, that I just didn’t get around to bonding with the baby. I hardly talked to her, I never cried over her, I would hardly tear up at the thought of even meeting her. I just wanted her out of me, quite honestly. I wanted my freedom back (funny, little did I know how free I really was BEFORE the baby arrived). The worst thought that crossed my mind during my pregnancy was…now this is going to sound horrific and not even I understand why or how I could think this, but…I actually thought that if I had happened to miscarry (never did I want or wish for one, but if it happened to me), I didn’t think I’d be that upset over it. Can you believe that? Like I said, no connection. Dominic, on the other hand, would cry just at the sight of me and my belly bump, or from feeling her kick, or from just talking about her. Not me, not at all. I felt like a horrible Mom. I wondered if something was wrong with me and if I’d love her as much as everyone said I would. I was so worried about meeting her, from the fear that maybe I wouldn’t love her or be in awe of her. And you know what? When she was born, I still didn’t really feel the powerful love that everyone talked about. I wasn’t in love, I was in shock that I just pushed a person out of me. I was relieved that pregnancy and labor and birth were over and that child and mother were healthy and alive. I didn’t cry a single tear over her. I totally thought I would since I’ve balled my eyes out over photos of other people’s first moments with their babies and over their birth stories. I didn’t shed a tear until 2 days after we were home (4 days after she was born). That’s when I made my connection. It came to me when we were in her room together and I found the very first onesie we bought for her that says “I Love Daddy” and was hung up in Dominic’s bedroom that we’d see every day throughout my pregnancy, always wondering what little body would be wearing this and what little face would be looking back at us from inside it. When I put it on her, it clicked. I held her so close, hugged her, caressed her, breathed her in, kissed her and didn’t want to let her go. My heart actually ached at the thought of NOT being with her and I finally felt a tear run down my cheek. Since then, each day has blessed me with more love than the last. It just doesn’t stop and I can’t get enough of it. She’s the absolute love and light of my life.
A second chance?…
Does it make sense, now, as to why I’m very much looking forward to my second baby? I want a second chance at pregnancy. Now that I’ve felt the immensity of love for Mia and now that I know what amazing gift is waiting for me at the end of the 9 month tunnel, I think my entire experience will be different. Don’t we all have moments where we wish we could go back in time with the knowledge we have now to somehow do things over again? Well this is sorta like that, and even though I can’t change my experience with being pregnant with Mia, I get to try it all over again with my next baby. I learned so much about myself while being pregnant and even more over the last 9 months since she was born. There’s much I’d do differently the next time around, like slow down mentally. I don’t want to rush the process. I want to embrace it, cherish it, honor it, photograph it (I hardly took any pictures of my preggo self, can you believe it?? Self conscious and stupid), journal it, accept it and LOVE it. I’m very much considering NOT finding out the gender. Having gone through pregnancy, I don’t think I’ll be as stressed about all the maintenance. Been there, done that…ya know? My focus should only be on my bond with the little bug, and that’s exactly what I intend on doing. Pregnancy is truly a gift and all you have in the end are memories of it, true little treasured memories that you’ll carry with you all of your life. Realizing that I had the power to make those memories grand came a little too late for me. My head got in the way and I had yet to be enlightened by the wonder and marvel of it. And, when it approaches its end and the baby is ready to join the world and meet us, that will be the due date…NOT the date that the doctor gave us. Unless absolutely necessary, I won’t let myself become induced or take any drugs to help speed up the process (again). I want nature to take it’s course and I’ll be down with whatever plan it has for us. And finally, I want to give breastfeeding a real, honest shot. I want it to work this time. I want it to be successful. Most of all, I want and hope and wish and yearn for a positive pregnancy experience and a bond with my next baby from start to finish. I want to build a relationship with him/her before we even meet. With Mia, I felt like we began our relationship when she was born and it was tough. I felt bad for her that she had such a clueless and confused mom. She deserved more than what I had to offer her in the first few days of her life and I know I can give that unconditional, abundant, intense love, patience and understanding to the next baby. That’s always the downside of being the first child, I guess. I’m the oldest in my family and my brother had it so much easier than me since my parents had already pulled teeth and learned how to handle things with me. I was like the guinea pig, the trial-and-error. I hope I can avoid using Mia in that same manner, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.
Until the next baby, I’m loving my little Mia bug and this wild ride that is Motherhood. I’ve never been so proud, fulfilled and so much in love. Since we do hope for a second baby, I try each day to really enjoy this baby, now. I remind myself to appreciate being a mom of one because one day (hopefully), I’ll have 2 kids and I’ll never again get this time to ourselves. I’ll have to divide my attention between 2 so for now, Mia gets ALL of my love and ALL of me. That’s the upside to being the first child. There’s gotta be something positive about it, right?
Readers, I’d LOVE to hear of your experiences, similar or not to mine, from when you were pregnant. Any insights, comments, advice to pregnant women even, are greatly appreciated and strongly encouraged. I’m sure other women out there would be thankful to hear from you. Let’s get a conversation going. Thanks.
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