My first pregnancy with my son Janek was physically a breeze and mentally a struggle. I remember only a few weeks of nausea, followed by the ability to hike and work out regularly, and heartburn that was easily cured by a tums (or ten). Physically, I felt amazing and was able to work full time without complaint, relax when necessary and participate in moderate exercise as I pleased. I craved yogurt parfaits and tangy fruits, not giving into sweets and avoiding excessive weight gain. Six months after my son’s birth, I was back into better shape than before pregnancy. And yes, I was one of those bitches who avoided stretch marks to boot (cocoa butter, cocoa butter, cocoa butter – the kind you buy in a small tub and applies like cholesterol found at Sally’s – 3X daily).
So yeah, I had it pretty good my first time around physically. Mentally, not so much. With my first son I was anxious, nervous, irritable, and annoyingly sober. I was only 22 years old and not prepared for the transition into motherhood (who the hell is?). While I was able to keep on my toes, I mainly did so to occupy my boredom, and those first kicks freaked me out more so than they amazed me.
No, I did not enjoy pregnancy despite my physical abilities the first time through. I also didn’t realize how good I had it, how lucky I was to be so active (I was bowling the night before I went into labor 42 weeks along). But, mentally I was a wreck. I was anxious, not finished with my undergraduate degree and panicking about the future. I sincerely felt like my life was over in a multitude of ways. How would I ever achieve those dreams that felt so dear to me?! The ones of getting out of my hometown and traveling, inspiring people like I wanted, and you know, not being so stupid sober all the time (alright, nine months but it felt like FOREVER). I really felt like the end of my youth was happening and I’d end my night in tears over it regularly thinking about my sad self.
I was naive. Once I had my son I realized how ungrateful I’d been acting. It doesn’t mean I was wrong for feeling all those feels though. They were very real fears and appropriate for a first time mother at 22. But, my son who is now two and a half has actually served as an inspiration larger than my selfish wants. My life isn’t over, it’s ongoing. I went back to school AND finished my degree, 45 credits in a single year with my baby boy on my hip… and another in my belly.
Life with children doesn’t mean you have to succumb to being a soccer mom, make brown bag lunches and drive a mini van. I think of it as a means of motivation, UNDYING MOTIVATION to get what you want so that you can show your kids – “Babes, you are capable of doing anything, too.”
So my second pregnancy hasn’t been the easiest physically. It has kind of wiped me the hell out. Chasing around a two year old with an extra 30lbs (whoops) on my hips, is enough exercise for anyone to tolerate. I get dizzy taking power walks and instead of healthy granola, I crave Nutella smores and peanut butter ice cream (cocoa butter, cocoa butter, cocoa butter).
However, mentally I am at peace. I am not anxious, except in the way that I want to hold my little’s hand and kiss his new, pink, plump cheeks.
There is a serious joy of pregnancy I missed out on my first time around. And all those worries are now gone, replaced with feelings of complacency and bliss. It is beautiful. Those hippies with their water births are onto something real (maybe not the water birth thinking back to HBO Girls season finale) and I really am enjoying myself even if my feet don’t want to do anything other than swell.
“How do you feel?” I feel really good. I feel like I’ve got everything I could ever want in this life, like I’m carrying a gift and not a load (okay, it’s more like a pleasantly heavy load I don’t mind bearing). I feel beautiful, I feel proud, and most importantly, I don’t feel like the world is ending. I feel like life’s ongoing, and another child isn’t going to prevent me from doing remarkable things, they’re only going to help me pursue them further than before.