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Since I’m in my third trimester now, I thought I would write an update on how the pregnancy is going. Overall everything has been fine, though I have to say that the second time around has been a lot tougher. I definitely didn’t realize how good I had it the first time I was pregnant! Unlimited weekend naps, eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted…that’s all long gone. But getting to play with a fun and energetic toddler has been rewarding in an entirely different way.
Baby timing: This was a topic I had a lot of questions about, which I completely understand – timing of children was one of the major stressors for me as well. Do we space them further apart, and have more recovery time in between? Or get all the pregnancy woes, diaper changing, etc, over with and done as quickly possible? We went back and forth for a long time, with my husband supportive of whatever I felt most comfortable with. And in the end, I made the decision that I wanted to have kids close together, largely for career reasons…so that I could batch my time off. I think if I had gone back to work after baby #1, I might have done things differently, and spaced them further. But then the question would have come up about age…which brings me to…
Age: I’m definitely feeling my age lately with this baby…more than I ever have before (what a ringing endorsement, right?). And I’ve often been frustrated. It’s hard to have physical limitations. I had some health problems earlier this pregnancy which my doctors were originally thinking were more serious than they thankfully turned out to be…but for a while they were talking about surgery after the baby, etc. And I was scared! I asked what the cause was, and they said they couldn’t point to a definitive reason, but brought up the fact that my two children will be less than two years apart. “We typically advise to wait at least two years between pregnancies,” they said. “It’s hard on your body.”
Then, minutes later in the conversation: “You are getting older…as you age, these things just happen.”
“So wait,” I said. “Basically, you’re telling me that I’m having my children too close together, but also that I’m old?”
And there was some hemming and hawing but yup, that was it. There’s no escaping Mother Nature, right? That being said, I know women a variety of ages, both older and younger, that had way easier second pregnancies..but I think the point still stands, that time marches on…
Advice: My biggest piece of advice I can share from this pregnancy, related to the age point above, is that I’ve learned how important it is to take care of yourself. Seriously! If something (or someone) is stressing you out, and it’s not like, brushing your teeth or basic human decency, I’d cut it out. Take a break, and put yourself first. Life is short, and for me after a few of the health scares we’ve had in in this pregnancy, I’ve realized that excessive physical and/or mental stress can really take a toll…sometimes even permanently. Our bodies are so important, and I want to be around to see my children grow up. I want to be in good physical condition, so that I can carry my toddler, and play with him on the grass. So take care of yourself, first.
Second piece of advice… for a lot of these things, there really is no one “right” decision. Sorry!
Finally, I’d say to be kind, to yourself and other women. I’m aware and thankful that I’m fortunate in many ways, from being born in this country to not having to work, etc. People are generally pretty polite when I complain about my first world problems, like slow wifi. But for some reason, when it comes to pregnancy, even perfect strangers can be vicious! I’ll mention a throwaway comment about how I’m in pain or just tired, and inevitably someone will then pipe up about how their sister/cousin/best friend/roommate birthed 6 kids and one of them was triplets and she still had to work two jobs and her husband was a total ogre who didn’t lift a finger, and she never ever complained. So basically, they’re telling me to STFU. And yeah, I know that it could be worse…a lot worse…but isn’t that most of life? It doesn’t mean that what I’m going through isn’t still something, right?
I have a friend, who is right now in her first pregnancy. She’s super hot, incredibly smart and accomplished, and oh, just happens to have just moved to the Bay Area, to one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. I really feel like she has it all. Yet she’s having a hard time in her pregnancy, she’s tired and sick and whenever she comes over she plops her gorgeous self and exotic handbag I lust for on my couch and moans and groans. And for a while, I was like…shut up! You have everything! You want to see exhausted? I can’t wait til you do this again…with an energetic toddler who loves to be carried and feels like a sack of bricks. Zip it…and go back to Saks!
But then I realized that she is exhausted, she is going through something scary and new, and my attitude is just as bad as anyone’s who has dismissed me and my own fears and discomfort. Growing a baby is a big deal. Pregnancy is a big task. Recovering sometimes is even harder. And I do feel that it’s our jobs as women to support each other during these times, to be kind and understanding. I’m not saying we should all rush to cater to that person who goes strutting down the street, yelling “I’m pregnant! Everyone come worship!” because people like that should be jailed. But I don’t think we should pretend that childbirth isn’t a major ordeal, because it is. It deserves to be treated seriously, by our governments, our partners and at the very least ourselves.
There it is…my pregnancy update in a nutshell! I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, feedback, and anything else. Thank you all for being so kind and thoughtful. I’ve learned so much for all of your comments and experiences.