Friday, June 6, 2014

(Not) Putting Life On Hold While Pregnant


Until about a month ago, I was stuck. I didn't even realize I was stuck. I've been pregnant for more months than not over the past couple years and had only started to feel like I was getting back to being (the new) me before getting pregnant again.

It's easy to be consumed by pregnancy. Even with our somewhat minimalist approach to all the "baby stuff", there are books to read, the experience of the pregnancy and birth themselves, and the general overwhelm of knowing something momentous is coming and that no matter how well you prepare, you're not really prepared.

The newborn fog was quickly followed by figuring out how to be a mum, followed soon after by all the baby development stages. Now I'm pregnant and have a toddler with whom I constantly have to figure out how to keep up.

Switching back to maternity clothes was like finding that old broken-in pair of jeans at the back of the closet. 

But then someone asked me if I was doing any painting.

Nope. Not a brush stroke. During my first pregnancy I completed a large three panel painting a week before our daughter was born. I've not done any painting since.

We pretty much already have everything we need for the new baby. I also have a hunch that going from mum of one girl to mum of two isn't nearly as big a transition as becoming a mum in the first place.

So what happened? 

I realized that, for many very valid reasons, I had put my life on hold. Being a wife and a mother and for goodness-sakes-getting-some-sleep, took precedence over me. Seems like it's a pretty common thing for new moms to fall into.  

So now I find myself itching to start something new, something big, something creative. And then I spend the afternoon cleaning vomit off of EVERYTHING in a 16 cubic foot area of our bedroom. I find ten minutes to do something and I'm so grateful to just sit down. I see a really cute shirt I could actually wear - in six months. I get excited with my husband about his doing a challenge race and then waddle to the mailbox.

So I may not be able to actually do much now but I find my mindset to be in a very different place than at this point in my first pregnancy. My dreams and goals for post-pregnancy are largely to do with taking better care of myself and setting the best example I can. Our second daughter will have an older sister and a (slightly) experienced mum.

During my first pregnancy, I was a sponge for maternal advice, searching for kindred spirits' advice on how to be a good mom etc. Now I find myself aching to be my best self, to lead by example, and to be someone worth imitating.

 In spite of my growing mid-section, I find myself sloughing off layers of lies I've told myself (such as "I don't run") and preparing to brake out into the world of the post-pregnancy me I'll be for the rest of my life. Some of this is just that I'm comfortably in my 30s, but some of it is having already experienced the miracle of pregnancy, I'm about ready to have both my girls outside of my body (but baby girl, you'd best still wait a couple months...) 

I long for self-directed challenge, the thrill of making progress towards goals I'd one day have thought impossible (for me), and the delight in shining out as my best self.

But for now, you'll have to excuse me, my feet are starting to ache and I'd like to sit down for a few minutes before the girl wakes up.


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