As some of you may know, my husband, son, and I are expecting another family member in June (a baby girl!). While my estimated due date is less than three months away, I don't feel crunched for time. Well, I do...I don't feel like I have enough time to get everything done, that's for sure. BUT I don't feel attached to doing everything by the book. I'm giving myself a break this time, letting go of the things I can't control and really prioritizing what truly needs to happen before we become a family of four.
Now, this relaxed attitude isn't all rainbows and butterflies, and it's easier said than done. I don't exercise nearly as much as I should. Sometimes I eat a donut at 10pm. And those plans to meditate and be mindful for 10 minutes everyday so that I can connect with baby in utero...pffff. Yeah, that's not happened a whole lot. If I get a free minute (what's that?) I may try to do a quick yoga session or focus on my breathing, but in reality, that free minute looks something like this:
I've lowered my expectations. That may sound like a bit of a downer, but it's been quite freeing! I'm not saying I've changed who I am as a person (I'm pretty Type A), but I'm not going to hold myself to it if I can't get to everything on my to-do list. Having a less rigid perspective on things has helped me cope with stress, pregnancy, and chasing after my toddler. My husband works out of town Monday-Friday so a lot of of our day-to-day routine is my kid and myself enjoying each other (or, let's be honest... just dealing with each other. It depends on the day) and making it to bedtime. I don't have time to dwell on the things I didn't get done, and I sure don't want to waste my energy with negative self-talk. That can be so draining and toxic to my general well-being. A wise friend once asked me, "If you wouldn't say something like that to me, why are you talking to yourself like that?!" Good point.
I've been thinking quite a bit about my first pregnancy and how it compares to where I am now. This time around, my stomach has grown at a quicker pace. I started 'showing' faster, and my belly feels lower, too. Some of those pregnancy aches and pains crept in sooner. I developed perioral dermatitis and dealt with a nasty rash on my face for the first three months of pregnancy (thanks hormones). I was terribly sick until Thanksgiving or so, and it wasn't just in the morning either. Oh yeah, and I'm parenting a toddler (usually solo at that, since my partner works away from home). I'm starting to understand fully that every pregnancy is different.
I'm eager to see how labor and birth pan out, because every experience is unique. And with my husband working three hours from home, I'm strongly relying on my doula for support and my family for sibling support. Will my labor go faster this time? Will I get a decent amount of sleep before the whole thing begins? The plan is to labor at home for as long as possible, but I'm also entertaining the idea of an epidural. I had an unplanned epidural with my first, and while it made the experience better there is still some guilt about not staying home and going the unmedicated route.
But...but...I liked my epidural! It was pretty damn awesome. I've wondered if, as a birth professional, this is appropriate for me to say. But when it comes down to it, it was a comfort measure that came in handy when I needed it, and it brought me back to state of relief and happiness. After hours of feeling unsure, a little nervous and impatient, I felt like my body and mind could rest a bit. And I truly think that this was the missing piece of the puzzle to meeting my baby. So, will I get an epidural this time around? I'm not sure, but I definitely won't be feeling bad if I choose to get it.
I love how pregnancy and labor have caused me to look inward, to focus on my wishes and desires but to also learn more about myself. As an individual, a wife, a mother, a friend. Our babies change us. I would like to think my little ones make me a better person but sometimes it's in less obvious ways than I imagined. I'm morphing into a newer version of myself everyday- in the way I talk, act, and handle my relationships. I'm trying to think less of that checklist of things that need tending to. In the end, those things don't really matter all that much.
Here's to happiness, health, and keeping myself sane among the "coulda, woulda, shouldas." I hope you can do the same!