My second pregnancy is whizzing by. I'm almost eight months pregnant. This huge belly has appeared out of nowhere and I haven't bought a single thing yet. Not one thing for the new baby.
I know you may be thinking, you have time - and you would be right. But it's not just the fact that I have purchased absolutely nothing in preparation for the new little one about to come into my life. It's the fact that this pregnancy has been so distinctly different than the first.
What can I say? With the first pregnancy I was sort of a woman obsessed. We had been trying to get pregnant for so long that when it finally happened I was consumed with all things baby. I spent hours on the BabyCenter message boards, meticulously comparing my development with other pregnant women out there. I charted my baby's development week-by-week. At any moment I could tell you what fruit my child most closely resembled and what his new in-utero milestones were. He has eyelashes now! And he's sucking his thumb!
This time around - not so much. I realized this the other day when my visiting sister asked me, about how big is she now? I thought for a minute and honestly couldn't believe I didn't know. Um, I think she's about as big as a honeydew. My sister looked at me, confused.
This question sent me into an introspective tailspin. How big is she? Why don't I know this? I should check BabyCenter. Oh, she's a butternut squash. Totally not a honeydew. I walked into the guest room of my other sister's house, where my family is staying until we get settled in our new home state of Florida. Hanging from a tiny hanger on the closet was the most adorable little lime-green girly dress. It hit me that I hadn't purchased even one of these cute little things since I became pregnant. Why am I ignoring my fetus?
I have to admit I was hit with a little pang of guilt. Was I already being a shitty mother - even before she was born? The Doppler that I bought to methodically check the heartbeat of my first born sits in storage somewhere - unused. We're not having another baby shower, so so much for poring over registries for hours on end. Apart from the times when I feel her little kicks - I'm not really spending much time thinking about this little girl that is about to be born. That sounds awful. But seriously, compared to my first pregnancy - I'm damn near being neglectful.
Maybe that is going a little too far. I'm obviously taking care of myself - eating the right things, abstaining from the wrong ones. "Neglect" probably doesn't describe this right. Of course I am excited for this little being that is going to make her appearance in a couple of months. My experience with this pregnancy is just so vastly different than the first. I wonder if this happens to other mothers who become pregnant and already have children?
The fact is, I am running around chasing a toddler all day long. I'm too busy obsessing over the child that's already here and his milestones, development and actions to even think about those of the one tucked safely in my belly. She's good. She's taken care of. She's not going to stick her little finger in a power outlet or grab a kitchen knife off of the counter. Maybe my body instinctively knows all of the work I have ahead of me after she is born and is giving me a break.
Maybe I really am so damaged from multiple pregnancy losses that I'm detaching completely until she is actually in my arms. We all know the mind sometimes takes care of us when need be - maybe I'm running on autopilot. I don't really like that thought, though. It makes me feel like a Stepford Mom.
Maybe I put so much thought and planning into a birth that turned out to be kind of a nightmare and I don't want to put myself through that again. The first pregnancy was all hypnobirthing classes, doulas, and hours of visualization exercises - only to end up with an emergency C-section. The disappointment of that sent me into a deep depression after my first child was born. Maybe I don't want to set myself up for that again.
Maybe I never really imagined being a mother to multiple children? Woah. I'm working from home with a toddler and another on the way. I'm a mommy. After years of being an independent, free-spirited artist - I'm going to be in charge of keeping not one, but two human beings alive and happy. Holy crap.
Ugh - the "mom guilt" thing is already happening and the second baby isn't even here yet. That is annoying. I guess the answer to all of this is - I need to chill out. This baby is coming whether I spend half the day on the computer researching and obsessing over her or not. This time will be better spent after she's already here I guess. And she'll be here soon.
Holy shit. I need to buy some stuff.
(photo: vonzolomon / Shutterstock)