This week I stretched a tight white tank top over my 6-month baby belly before bed. I casually walked into the bathroom where my husband, Evan, stood brushing his teeth. He glimpsed over at me and practically choked on his toothpaste. “OH MY GOD!” he exclaimed.
“What?” I asked, looking around frantically, what’s wrong!?” He stammered, wiping the toothpaste off his chin… “It’s just… you’re so…you’re really… you’re PREGNANT!’ He said it as if he was discovering this for the first time. If our twins weren’t sleeping in the next room, I would have shouted, “YEAH DUDE. I’M PREGNANT. I’VE BEEN PREGNANT FOR 6 MONTHS, THAT’S 24-WEEKS OF GROWING A HUMAN INSIDE OF MY BODY. 24-WEEKS FILLED WITH NAUSEA AND EXHAUSTION AND DISCOMFORT AND STRETCHMARKS AND BOOBS THAT ACHE AND PANTS THAT DON’T FIT AND PAIN AND FEAR AND ANXIETY AND… you didn’t even REALIZE THAT?”
Of course, he realized that I was pregnant. He is a great dad and a loving husband and we made the decision to have another baby together, but this is our SECOND pregnancy, and if that moment in the bathroom has taught me anything, it’s that NO ONE REALLY CARES ABOUT A SECOND PREGNANCY. Not even the people who are expecting the baby.
When I was pregnant with our twins, for 8-months, I WAS A GODDESS. I got foot rubs and home-cooked meals and god forbid I try to open a door or lift something by myself. Evan would swoop in, there to help – anything to protect his first babies and the extraordinary woman carrying them. Our entire lives were consumed by the pregnancy – we constantly wondered what our boys would look like, what they would be interested in, we talked endlessly about their names, we decorated their nursery and framed their ultrasounds and provided daily text updates to our family and friends. We had nothing else to live for but these little people growing inside of me.
Now, those little people are growing outside of me – and playing and fighting and crying and refusing to eat vegetables and destroying the house and causing general chaos at all times. Which means I have very little time to worry about the OTHER little person growing inside of me because, by comparison, that person is VERY low maintenance.
Even when I asked my doctor if I should try to avoid carrying my 3-year-olds or picking up their toys or straining to reach them in the bathtub, she said “oh no- you’re a mom, you can’t stop being a mom just because you’re pregnant!” Shame. I almost wish I could. But here I am, carrying a squirming 35 lb toddler at 6 months pregnant while drinking two cups of coffee a day and not doing anything close to prenatal yoga.
You see, it’s not just Evan who doesn’t really care about this second pregnancy, it’s me too – I am less rigid with the foods I eat and the caffeine I drink- I’ll have an occasional sip of wine and a smattering of soft cheeses. I haven’t shopped for baby clothes or thought about planning a shower or decorated a nursery or sung lullabies to my belly. I don’t even know what sized fruit this baby is – is it a mango or a pear today? I HAVE NO IDEA, I DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO PAY THE $3.99 FOR THE PREGNANCY APP. The other day, while cleaning out my purse- I pulled out baby wipes and granola bar wrappers and goldfish crackers only to discover my first ultrasound print-outs from this pregnancy, crumpled up and covered in crumbs at the bottom of my bag.
If that is not a metaphor for a second pregnancy, I don’t know what is. But as I slowly uncrumpled the photo and dusted off the crumbs and looked at the perfect little black and white profile of this perfect little baby inside of me, I somehow didn’t feel guilty. I felt reassured.
Just because I haven’t framed the ultrasound, or decorated the nursery, or done my pre-natal stretching, it doesn’t mean I love that baby any less. It means I know what that baby needs even more. It means I know my body and what it’s capable of and how I need to care for it this time. It means I feel prepared for what the baby will actually need when it arrives. It means I understand that this kid will be fine if it doesn’t have adorable pictures of baby animals framed above its crib on the day we bring it home.
Of course, I wish Evan would give me a few more foot-rubs, I wish my friends would check up on me more often, I wish I would make more time to think about names and clothes and decor… I wish I had the time or energy to care a little bit more about this second pregnancy.
But I’m too busy trying to be a good mom to the kids I have already, so I can bring this baby into a home filled with joy and humor and love and stability, and that, in and of itself, means I kind of do, really, TRULY care about this second pregnancy. More than anything on earth.
Thank you for being here and sharing in this journey with me- I’ll be keeping you updated, right here at newmomwhodis.com, and in my newsletter (sign up HERE) on ALL THE THINGS, ALL ALONG THE WAY. I am so grateful for the love and support of this New Mom, Who Dis? Community and I can’t wait to do this whole New Mom thing all over again, with you by my side. xo jessi