32 weeks pregnant. I’m nearly finished brewing baby number 3 and yet I feel that I haven’t even fully grasped the concept that I have another life growing in me, a life soon to be living out in this world; In our home; In our family; In our lives, forever changed. The past 7 months feel like a blur of toddler taming
, sibling refereeing, and kindergarten preparing
. Who has time to think about swaddling a newborn amidst all that? I keep thinking I need to pull out my baby sleep manuals to refresh my baby mommy skills, but there it sits on the shelf covered in dust. I’m sure I’ll crack it open here soon. Maybe. Pregnancy the third time around is different, very different, and here’s why…
I can clearly recall my first pregnancy. Full of blissful nausea, emotional upheaval, registry checklists, couch napping, kick counting, room decorating, and lazy afternoons waiting on my very first baby boy to arrive. It was lovely. It was quiet. It was probably boring even. Waiting, waiting, dreamy waiting. Then, he arrived.
That was wonderful. So wonderful. I never felt so connected, so full of purpose, and so focused on fulfilling the mission of caring for this tiny human being. It was as if I instinctively knew just what to do (with the help of the manuals, of course). Life was so great with number 1, it was clear to us we were ready, not long after, for number 2.
One year later, we embarked on our pregnancy journey once again. This time with a girl! I was ecstatic. I literally screamed when the sono tech revealed the gender. I got to plan for another baby all over again, no repetition in bedding or decor expected. Flowers, birds, coral, frills, bows, just the best thing this girly mommy could ask for. Of course I was mildly distracted by caring for number 1 as we were in the throws of toddlerhood. And for a first time toddler mom, I was not amused. I had decorating to do! No time for early childhood drama. Work with me here, kid. No wonder first borns grow up with all the drama – we expect way too much of these kids. They are our practice kids, helping us to hopefully get it right for the next ones. Ah well, that’s s topic for another day.
On we went. We made it through to the birth of number 2 at which point I became fully acquainted with the words “mommy guilt”. Yes, the guilt it hit me hard. How could I adequately give all my love and attention to number 1 when number 2 clearly needed that attention, too? And the reality guilty part – I actually wanted more of my attention to go to number 2 at that moment. I wanted to absorb myself, my emotions, my love, my gaze, my arms to this newborn beauty. But, my sweet boy also needed me, probably now more than ever. So what could I do? Cry. Just cry and cry and cry. So I did that. I cried. Then I accepted this truth of being a divided mommy and I moved forward. And guess what, we all survived.
My kids love each other, they feel loved (or so they seem), and so we decided why not have just 1 more… why the hell not? I need to get one more round of baby before it’s all said and done. And so here I sit…
Sure, I’ve prepped the baby room. Even decided not to reuse number 1’s bedding and decor, despite keeping it fresh for this very purpose. No, this baby deserves his own image. The clothes? Well yes, those hand-me-downs will stick around for another bout of spit-up and blow-outs. Gotta put ’em to good use, right? Bottles? He’ll use the pink ones from number 2. Who gives a shit really?
So this baby’s got something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue – but I still feel like there is something missing… what is it, though?
I can’t help but feel like the missing piece here is having the freaking time and space to sit and savor the experience of it all. Part of me wants to go back to the memory of pregnancy with number 1 to try and recall it to the present. The memories don’t seem to fit for what’s happening now, though. No, it’s all different. My focus is largely on my first two. Planning their schedules for when the baby comes, helping prepare them emotionally for the impending changes, telling my 2 year old how awesome being a big sister is, even though deep down she knows I’m trying to pull one over on her. She’s buying it for now though, so just play along. I haven’t even really had time to fully engage with the normal pregnancy anxiety of “what if my baby only has one arm, or worse!” kind of thinking. Actually I’ve found myself here recently trying to catch up on this waste of space worrying just because I think I am supposed to. But, then I’m quickly diverted back to making pb&j for the 12th time that week. Suffice it to say, baby number 3 is already getting much less attention from me that number 1 and number 2.
I suppose there is something similar between all 3 pregnancies, however. I really, truly, do not know what to expect. I can be comforted in knowing I am adept at swaddling; I understand baby sleep scheduling; and know how to install a car seat with my eyes closed (actually, I don’t – I make my husband do this so I’m sure I don’t screw it up), but all in all I’ve got some baby skills firmly engrained in my mommy tool belt. What I don’t know however, is how I’ll feel once my sweet number 3 is here. I can confidently assume I’ll feel just as in love with him as my other two, but still I know it will be different.
I know I will be changed. We will all be changed. I will have 3 small beings with big needs to care for with only 1 me to go around.
I’ll do it, though. To the best of my ability, with cracks, bumps, and bruises along the way. Through the holes carved by imperfect parenting
I can trust that this will allow more room and light for forgiveness, humility, and gratitude for the endless supply of love that emanates from my children every day. My heart has most certainly found ways to give love and receive love that I never knew existed before having children. I’m eager to experience this growth after number 3 makes his entrance in just a few short weeks. I can trust that I will rise to the occasion of expanding my heart strength to give more of myself than I knew I had. I know I will because I’ve seen it done before. No, it won’t be quiet, it won’t be clean, it won’t be organized, perfect, or followed according to plan, but it will be beautiful.
I suppose the uncertain anticipation I’ve been experiencing is just right where I should be. Looking forward to the unknown, open with awareness of something new, and accepting of the reality that I cannot truly plan for something so life changing, heart opening as bringing another new life into this world. It simply cannot be explained or understood until it is known. Life, as I know it will soon never be the same again. I kind of can’t wait.