Thoughts on Having a Second Child

Photo by Rachel Walker. From http://www.unsplash.com

Recently my husband and I had the talk about if we should start trying to conceive a second child.  People have started to get nosy and ask if we are trying or say comments like, “Abby needs a little brother,” or “You should start soon!”  We’ve waited the obligatory eighteen months that my obstetrician advised us to wait after my emergency C-section.  We haven’t officially started to try to get pregnant, but we haven’t tried not to either, figuring it will happen when it happens. 

The subject hasn’t been far from my mind.  Here’s a list of what I have been thinking about.

  • I feel kind of sorry that #2 won’t get all the one-on-one attention that Abby has had for the as year and a half.  I also feel kind of sorry for Abby that she will have to adjust to sharing Mommy and Daddy with someone else.  I know it will happen eventually, but I feel bad rocking her little world.
  • I recently started a medication that made me feel constantly nauseous for a week.  I am not ready for the morning sickness period of pregnancy.  I had it for months.
  • I was hoping to be in better shape the second time around.  I wanted to work on gaining strength in my core, arms, and legs. Standing and rocking Abby for hours on end was brutal.  She never liked rocking in the glider and always wanted me to stand and rock her.
  • Abby is just now starting to sleep through the night or only wake up once.  Yes!  The thought of pregnancy insomnia and sleep deprivation from taking care of a newborn is a hard pill to swallow.
  • Can we afford a second kid?  Doctor visits, diapers, daycare… kids are so expensive!
  • Will Abby be jealous of #2?  I remember being excited when my mom was pregnant.  I wanted a sister to play with… then she arrived and was small, stinky, noisy, and took all my mom’s attention.  I wanted to send her back but Mom said we couldn’t.   I cut all the hair off of my Fraggle doll, Wembley, and got in trouble.
  • I dread telling my boss and coworkers when it is time to announce that I am pregnant, mostly because of the timing.  We are working on an intense year long project that I would (depending on timing) miss the last quarter or end of.  I feel bad because of the possibility of throwing more of my work onto my coworkers.
  • Because of this work project I will be required to put in a lot of extra work and overtime hours.  That is totally going to suck when I am pregnant, exhausted, and chasing a toddler around at home.
  • Will we be able to keep our current daycare provider?  Abby loves her and has never gone anywhere else.  I don’t want to switch to someone I don’t know if she doesn’t have an opening when it is time for me to go back to work after maternity leave.
  • I can’t wait to be pregnant again.  Aside from the morning sickness I loved just about every moment of being pregnant the first time.
  • I can’t wait for little baby snuggles… the new baby smell… new baby sounds… ahh….

Teething Fits Suck

Photo by Pedro Last race. From http://www.unsplash.com

Poor Abby has been getting new teeth for the best past couple weeks and I am totally over it.  

Last night at supper she was sitting in her highchair, selectively picking through her spaghetti (which was devoured by the fistful the night before) and whining. My husband walked through the dining room saying that he was going downstairs to change out of work clothes and then return to eat.  When Abby saw him head down the stairs she started to cry.  She continued to cry for Daddy for the entire time he was downstairs.  Now this is something new, usually this happens only when Mommy goes out of her sight, never Daddy. By the time he returned she was in full blown meltdown mode.  She began to slowly calm down and started to ask for a banana.  

“Eat more of your spaghetti and I will get you a banana,” I told her. She turned up her nose at the barely touched spaghetti and cried for a banana.  At this point I was done with trying to reason with her or ply her into eating more or drinking more milk.  I figured eating a banana was better than eating nothing so I cut up a banana and put it on her tray.  She ate maybe two bites.  

“Are you done?” 

“Uh huh.”

“OK, I will go get a paper towel and wipe you off.”  More crying.

I remove the tray and begin to try to wipe  off her hands and face.  Crying. Spaghetti and banana are deposited all over Mommy’s shirt and arms.  More crying because face wiping is torture.

“Hold still and we’ll be done faster, sweetie.”  Code Red, meltdown imminent.  “OK, let me get you unbuckled and we’ll be done.”  Banshee-like shrieking commences.  I pull her out of the highchair and try to put her down. But she melts into a puddle of screaming toddler.   Definitely time for some ibuprofen, pajamas, and bedtime.  Who replaced my sweet child with this wild animal?

The fit continues until Daddy mentions the magic C word and flashes a cookie.  My “no dessert unless a good meal has been eaten with good behavior” rule is being blatantly ignored but fuck it.  Mommin’ is hard and I’m to tired to argue any more.

Weighing my Self and Myself

Photo by Calum Macaulay. From http://www.unsplash.com

Today is the nine year anniversary of the first date that my husband and I went on.  

In the time that we have been together my weight has fluctuated both up and down.  I have weighed fourty pounds more than my current weight at my heaviest during pregnancy and weighed twenty-five pounds less.  

My self-esteem and sense of self-worth seem to be tied to the little red number appearing on the scale each morning.  After I stepped on the scale and saw 176 this morning I instantly felt disgusted and sad and angry with myself.   Why is this?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it is that I have been bombarded by images of what our society considers to be “normal” (read: thin) women on TV or in movies my whole life.  Perhaps it is because almost any women’s magazine you pick up has photoshopped pictures of actresses, models, and athletes, endless articles about “how to fight holiday fat,” “lose your love handles,” or “lose five pounds fast.”  Maybe it’s because I hit puberty before most of my classmates as a kid and was always the chubby girl.  In middle school and high school I felt like I always stood out from the rest and had a woman’s body while most of my friends were still tiny.  

I have never felt comfortable in my own skin.  From an early age I had stretch marks from body changes in puberty, which have just compounded over time with the loss and gaining of weight and pregnancy.  Even at my thinnest weight of 140 pounds and size 6 jeans I never had a flat stomach or a body resembling anyone on the cover of a magazine.  I haven’t worn a bikini since I was a young child.  I have never really felt attractive.  

Sometimes it is mind blowing to me that in the nine years of dating and marriage that my husband is attracted to me.  When I step on the scale and see that number that somehow translates to feeling good or feeling good bad in my brain, I amazed that somehow he doesn’t feel all those bumps or cellulite ripples.   He doesn’t see those stretch marks or boobs that are still enlarged from breastfeeding.   He still snuggles up to me in bed and touches me with desire.  Even when I weighed fourty pounds more and felt like a pregnant whale, he wrapped his arms around me and told me I was beautiful. 

Why do I let it affect me so?  Why does it have to power to?  How many times have I avoided being in photographs or tried to hide in the back row of a group picture?  How many times have I felt like not going to a party or event because I felt uncomfortable with the way I look or because I didn’t feel like I didn’t have any clothes that I looked good in (compared to someone else that I knew would be there)?  How many times have I not had fun at the swimming pool or the beach because I was too preoccupied with how fat I felt in my swimming suit?  How many times have I been in bed with my husband and totally been taken out of the moment because I was worrying about how dimply my butt must look or how much my tummy jiggled?  How many times have I refused sex because I felt fat and so unattractive that I just didn’t want to be touched?

It’s not like I hate my body, I guess.  I mean it made another human- that’s pretty awesome if you think about it.  My body has made milk and provided sustenance for my baby for seventeen months.  I am pretty proud of that.

 After my pregnancy I lost fifty pounds and felt pretty good.  I had been trying to lose about twenty more to get to my “goal” weight,  you know, that magical number we all have in the back of our minds.  I don’t know if it has been my anxiety and the eating I so often use as a coping mechanism, the medication I started two weeks ago to manage it, poor food choices, not enough exercise,  laziness, or a combination of all of the above, but my weight loss efforts have backfired and I have actually put on about fifteen pounds.  As a result I have felt so negative and bad about myself lately. 

This morning as I was getting ready for work in the bathroom I was looking in the mirror- sucking in my stomach, turning side to side assessing my body when I happened to look to my right and saw my daughter in my bedroom. She was standing in her Pack and Play watching me.  How often have I mindlessly done this in front of her?  I was horrified thinking of the negatively example I am showing her.  Instead of judging myself and my self-worth based on what I see in the mirror and by the number on the scale, I should be teaching her that those things are irrelevant.  I should be providing a body-positive, self-loving, living breathing example for her.  I don’t want her to ever feel shame and negativity about herself and her body.

So where do I go from here?  How do I change this mindset, this pattern of thinking that has followed me my entire life?  I’m not sure, but I will definitely keep working on it.  Someone is watching me and I can’t let her down.

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Someone did not enjoy her visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Photo by Kiel Emerson Photography.

It is December and there’s only a couple weeks left until Christmas.  The unseasonably warm weather we have been enjoying had finally turned cold and the first snow as fallen.  
I have decorated the house minimally, compared to normal, mostly because I haven’t had the time or energy to do it.  Everyone in our home has taken turns fighting colds since Thanksgiving. My husband and I finally decorated our tree two nights ago. We put the tree up in the basement this year, since Abby is mobile, curious, and ornery.  I figured that if it was in our living room like normal she would not leave it alone. 

I am not sure why but it has been hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year. Usually I excitedly decorate the tree on the day after Thanksgiving.  I have fun driving my husband nuts with singing carols all season.  We have a yearly tradition of making hot cocoa and driving around town to look at all the Christmas lights but this year we haven’t done that because it is impossible for Abby to see the lights from her rear-facing car seat in the back of the car. Normally I try to make a lot of gifts for my family but have just not had motivation or been ambitious enough to do it.  My shopping is usually done and gifts are wrapped under the tree by now, but nary a gift has been wrapped and only some items have been crossed off of my shopping list.  Trying to figure out the logistics of our holiday travel and how to attend three different Christmas celebrations has been stressful and I hate it.  I feel like no matter how I try to arrange things and make time spent together even between families, some people are willing to be flexible while others do not budge or consider trying to do anything different than the way it’s been done for the last twenty years; someone always ends up unhappy and disappointed.

Man, I really sound Ike the Grinch, don’t I?

This week I am making a greater effort to spread Christmas cheer.  Abby and I have watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.  We went to visit Santa, but Abby was terrified and wanted nothing to do with him, while last year she sat calmly on his lap and tried to pull a fist full of his beard.  I played Christmas music for Abby this morning instead of listening to our regular Sesame Street radio station. Tonight I am going to watch my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas, and wrap presents.  I am going to bake and freeze cookies- we have to have cookies to leave out for Santa, after all, don’t we?  

No Rest for the Weary

I have a cold and it stinks!  Abby was sick for over a week and I was exposed to my snotty, hacking sister-in-law and niece at Thanksgiving, so I knew that it was only a matter of time before it was my turn to get sick.

I stayed home from work with Abby on Friday and she only took two half hour naps, not nearly long enough for me.  I eventually put her in the Pack and Play with some toys and turned on Sesame Street while I lay next to her and slept for about fourty five minutes.  When she went to bed at 8:00 p.m. I went to bed too.

Yesterday she took two thirty minute naps but I was able to get her to snuggle with me on the couch and fall back asleep for about fourty minutes until my husband’s on-call phone rang.  

It is so hard to chase after an incredibly energetic one-year-old when your head is full of congestion and you have zero energy.  I feel like a zombie.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I were able to take some cold medicine, but since I am still nursing I am limited on what I can take.  Right now I am pretty much functioning on coffee and Tylenol.  I am incredibly grateful to my husband for picking up lunch and supper the last couple days

There are so many things I feel like I should be doing right now: decorating for Christmas, shopping for groceries and Christmas gifts, washing the mountain range of laundry that has formed in my hallway, unloading the dishwasher, and more, but I am going to turn on some Elmo’s World and veg on the couch for a while.