My second son is due June 10. By this time in my first pregnancy, I already had meticulously planned my son’s nursery, started a collection of clothes and read numerous baby books. There were few nights that didn’t involve heavy baby registry research. I tackled being pregnant like I do with many things, with a plan.
I look back fondly on the experience of the ultrasounds, feeling my baby kick for the first time and seeing the joy that pregnancy brought to my extended family. I don’t know that I enjoyed being pregnant the first time around.
For example, I gained 55 pounds during my first pregnancy. I cringe even writing that. An off-comment by a male doctor about keeping my weight in-check left a deep impression. Granted, I had a big baby and I did easily loose it all. But the scar of my c-section has faded faster than the emotional toll of my pregnant body image and how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin.
Now pregnant with my second baby, I admit that I am scared to be heavy and uncomfortable at the end. But I am more scared to not enjoy this pregnancy and all that it brings. For if the second time around is my last, I want to make sure it’s marked with joy.
Early on in this pregnancy, I resolved to taking time to enjoy the little moments. I want to savor the sweetness of not only the almond croissant that has become requisite on Saturday mornings, but the entire experience.
I swore to myself that I wouldn’t fall in the trap of flying through this pregnancy because I have a toddler to chase. I told myself that I would take as many photographs and document as many things for the second child as the first. And I told myself that I would give myself grace, about my weight and to be easy on my body because I want to trust that it is doing what it was miraculously made to do.
Well, I was in my doctor’s office a few weeks ago, to discuss some debilitating back pain and confronting, perhaps for the first time, just how pregnant I’ve become. This may come as a shock as I’m well over halfway to meeting this baby and I’m physically very pregnant, but the rush of life has perhaps had me fall into the traps I was hoping to avoid.
“The trouble with active pregnant women, like yourself,” the doctor said, “is that you want to feel like your ‘normal’ self while very pregnant and that’s often not possible.” It took me hearing those words to realize that I hadn’t been giving myself grace at all. My doctor’s words forced me to refocus on my intention to enjoy this pregnancy to the fullest. I need to find a way to be gentle with myself even among the chaos that is life with a toddler.
I may not have a nursery planned (I know this baby will sleep in my room for the first month or so anyway), I haven’t been stock-piling clothes (I know he’ll need just a few things at the beginning) and I have yet to read a baby book to refresh my memory (It’s like riding a bike, right?), but I am focused now more clearly on the preciousness of these pregnant moments.
You hear a lot about the things that the second pregnancy is not, but, here are things that it is:
- The second time around, most of the worry about planning, preparing and researching has been replaced with a soul-filling excitement. To know the joy a baby brings and to wake up each day excited that I’m closer to meeting my son.
- The second time around only more clearly affirms the miracle it is to feel a baby kick inside your belly.
- The second time around, I’ve grown rounder sooner, but I know that I’ll miss it when it’s gone.
- The second time around provides the hindsight to know that although there will be tough moments, they’re all worth it.
- The second time around has gone by more quickly. The moments of relaxation are fewer and far in-between, but when I do kick my feet up or enjoy the sweet remarks of friends and community about being pregnant, I really soak them in.
And because of this, the second time around just may be sweeter.