Wow, did anyone realize that I’m now 27 weeks pregnant? That means there are only 13 more weeks until I hold the lives of two (TWO!!!) human beings in my hands – a 22 month old, and a newborn. Holy balls.
I’ll never forget it, trying to get pregnant with Charlie and a few months in thinking, this is never going to happen, I know my body is broken. It wasn’t, and after just a bit of hard work, I found myself staring at two pink lines saying “shit, what the hell did we just do?” The idea of a baby is so wonderful and exciting, until you realize there is one growing in you and you freak the fuck out.
Then, upon deciding we make really awesome kids, hubby and I decided to go for it with #2. What better time than when you’re in the middle of buying a new house, renting out a condo, moving in a snow storm, taking an online master’s course, and having huge changes/pressures at your job? NBD. Obviously the panic set in again, this time prior to getting the positive pregnancy test. We were all, “WTF are we thinking, let’s at least put this off until we turn 30. At least!” Except only it was too late… as we shockingly found out a few weeks later, there was already a little bean a-growin’ in there. Damn you, fertility and Captain Morgan!
Getting pregnant with baby girl not only made me sicker than a dog (a pleasure I didn’t get to have with Charlie), but it also made me realize that if I was pregnant again there were going to be a lot of things I did differently. Not because of what society or the internet or my friends or my family or the lady in Target told me I should do differently… I mean, things strictly for my own sanity and safety.
1. Stress less. Hahaha, right, like that is even possible. I am a giant ball of internalized anxiety, ready to spontaneously combust at any minute. But, the funny thing about second babies is that by the time they come, most likely, you’ve already come to terms with the fact that you have no clue what you’re doing. You’re winging it. And there is no reason to stress yourself about every ache and pain during pregnancy, or what your future is going to be like, or the 9-bazillion stressful things that are inevitably going to come up with a new baby. News flash to all parents: no one knows what the hell they are doing. Because we don’t all have the same kid. Or the same circumstances. So there are no rules… I mean, APA “soft” guidelines, yes…. but what “works” for everyone else probably isn’t going to work for you. And there are a million things that are going to happen that you’ll screw up, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But those things will make you a better parent, and a better person. And your kid will be fine. So I’m trying to chill out – I know I just cannot prepare for what is to come.
2. Spend less money. Most moms these days think that preparing for a new baby means having a registry 7 pages front-to-back and 14 baby showers. OMGz, I must have these Pee Pee Tee Pees! And a lifetime supply of pacifier wipes! And I must wash all of these clothes in Dreft! Listen, you’re going to get pee’d on, no fabric cone can stop that shit. And after about 20 minutes with a screaming infant in the grocery store, you’re just going to pop the paci back in and consider all the stray particles extra protein. And, think about it, you’re really going to do separate loads of laundry with fragrance free soap every time the kid poops? F’real. When you have a baby, you need a place for it to sleep, some clothes to put it in, a carseat to get it home, and a boob (or Formula). Good to go. There is no reason to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on all the latest and newest things. C-man didn’t wear one, single used piece of clothing until literally a few weeks ago. Baby girl is starting out with her closet half full of crap from Goodwill. Whatevs.
3. Breastfeed longer. Breastfeeding is very personal and intimate, and I think it’s different for every mom. Some view it as an amazing bonding experience, others do it because they know it has great health benefits, others think it’s weird and uncomfortable. I straddle across all three categories – it felt really weird and unnatural at first, but I stuck through it because I believe in the health benefits and eventually it became a really emotional bonding experience. My goal with Charlie was to get to 6 months and then re-evaluate. Through the chapped nips, bleeding, and Raynaud’s that made me feel like I had actually birthed a little piranha, we made it. But then I quit one job and started another a few weeks later, my milk was drying up, and Charlie sprouted two new bottom teeth. Team Enfamil it was. Charlie did great on formula, and it made life much easier. But it took quite a while for me to dry up completely, so I had this constant nagging guilt that I threw in the towel too soon. I’d like to make it to 1 year this time, and get help much sooner if I struggle. If I don’t get there, I don’t get there. But it doesn’t hurt to have big goals.
4. Invest significantly in hand sanitizer. If your child has to go to daycare, it’s pretty inevitable that they’re going to get sick. And that you’re then going to get sick. Even more so if they are born during flu season…which is, apparently, when we like to pop out our kiddies. I was prepared that Charlie might get sick. And maybe to catch it. But, I didn’t realize that sick meant SICK. And that we would get more sick than the actual child. Like, be careful because you’re probably going to throw up on your child’s head as you try to nurse with the stomach flu sick. Multiple rounds of RSV, colds, nebulizer treatments, medication, stomach flus, Hand Foot and Mouth, conjunctivitis. All in the first couple of months. I now know not to use all my sick time during maternity leave. And I also know how important it is to sanitize my hands after using the keypad at daycare.
5. Have a warranted fear of labor. Having a baby means another human being will literally COME OUT OF YOU. And the first time around, you’re all nervous about it because you have no idea what the hell that could possibly ever feel like. And people try to tell you things like, “Oh, it’s not that bad. Millions of women do it!” and “Contractions just feel like period cramps!” And like a fool, you believe them because you so want it to be true. I’m here to tell you, they are lying. And I won’t be taken again by things like, “Oh, it’s much easier the second time around!” or “She will definitely come much faster than Charlie.” Trust no one. Labor is war… if war involves exhaustion, delirium, feeling like someone is sticking a hot poker up your ass, and having liquids come out of every orifice in your body. Obviously I can do it – I did it once, just like millions of other women. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. The fear this time is for real.
In 13 short weeks, life is going to change. With two kids, I know shit’s about to get real. But I can do it. I’ve learned a lot with Charlie and we’ve survived this far. So, even though I still have no clue what I’m doing, I’m ready for whatever this lady’s gonna throw at me. Bring it on, sistah.