When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was one of those cute pregnant women who glowed and had a tiny belly. Despite constant fatigue and heartburn, I loved being pregnant. I never wished the baby would get here sooner because I enjoyed the journey. I was the pregnant woman other women envied.
I’ve always wanted children close together, so when I got pregnant less than nine months postpartum, I was ecstatic. But this pregnancy has me saying we’re going to wait longer before trying again because while it’s been relatively easy, “easy” is relative. Instead of feeling cute and glowing I feel like a big, old, tired MOM.
Back-to-back pregnancies have many perks, but there is no denying that they are hard. Just when you begin to feel like your normal self again (if you do), your hormones change, your belly grows, and you have to give up wine… again.
Although I feel like I’ve lost the momentum of pregnancy during my eight-month reprieve, I’m determined not to wish away this pregnancy and have found some keys ways to fall in love with it just as I did with my first. Even if my desire for sangria is off the charts.
Stop comparing pregnancies. Every pregnancy is different and that’s important to keep in mind. While my belly may have been smaller the first time around, I’m actually running more this pregnancy. Before I sat at a desk all day; now I chase a toddler. Life changes constantly so it’s not fair to expect pregnancies to be the same.
Bond with baby. It’s easy to be preoccupied with my daughter and forget that the reason it’s getting harder to chase her around is because there is another little one growing inside of me. But when she sleeps, I take a little time to lay down, feel baby’s movements and talk to him/her. I sing to my belly in the shower. It makes this baby more real and emphasizes the excitement instead of the fatigue.
Accept my body. Extra weight and a sore back is not glamorous, not to mention the frustration that none of my clothes fit and I’ve been living in sweatpants all winter. But when I complain that I feel fat or old, my husband never fails to remind me, “you’re not fat; you’re pregnant!” Thank God for him because he keeps it in perspective. That belly is there for a reason, so are the boobs that seem to never stop growing. I may not look like I did two years ago, but there’s something undeniably sweet about a baby belly that I get to embrace.
Accept my body’s limits. This has been the toughest. I love to run and move, but I know that pregnancy is not the time for pushing my limits. Instead of lamenting what I shouldn’t or can’t do, I use this time to enjoy running without the pressure of hitting a certain pace or mileage. It’s been surprisingly freeing and has brought back the joy of running for running’s sake. I also accept that fatigue is normal and have learned to roll with it by napping, letting my husband carry the big laundry loads to the basement, and encouraging my daughter to be better at independent play.
While I am looking forward to laying on my stomach again, running hard, and having a drink on the back patio this summer, there is so much to be excited and thankful for now. There is so much joy in pregnancy, that to get lost in its challenges is to lose out on something special.