I’m ashamed to say I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself since our night of false labor last week. I was just so convinced that I was having a baby that I hurtled myself past the mounting anxiety and insecurity (are we ready for this?) and decided I am ready, excited, and prepared to meet my baby boy. Then: nothing. So in the wake of this little let-down, I’ve lost my sense of humor, my appreciation of the present, my joyful sense of anticipation, and my ability to stop thinking that the grand moment has passed. Boo hoo, Ashley. Boo hoo.
So as a kick in my pants, I’m going to make a list of things I felt like I had learned from my first pregnancy and translate them into my present situation. Ye-es this is an obvious step, but I had somehow exempted myself from benefiting from my own wisdom because (I thought) it’s so different with your second child. So I’ve just puttered along acting like I am doing something to which I’m entirely new. And that’s not entirely true. So, here goes.
1. Enjoy your leisure time, Ashley! And, yes, you do have leisure time; you just need to make the most of it. Fast. Because it’s going on vacation for a while. Read books! Watch movies! Talk to friends on GChat for prolonged periods about nothing in particular! Start as many ‘projects’ as you like. Take the time to cook something complicated for dinner. Listen to podcasts of This American Life or Radiolab. Just recognize the gift of alone time as it has been given to you. No, it’s not as easy to choose your leisure time as it was before Margie was born, but that doesn’t mean it’s disappeared. You have naptime, post-bedtime evenings, and any time Joel offers to help (an offer always to be accepted and NEVER to be squandered feeling guilty).
2. Enjoy having time to focus on one person at a time. Remember how after Margie was born you felt that you never got to have a conversation with Joel or to just enjoy his company anymore? Well, that too is about to go on vacation for a bit (at least the one-on-one time after Margie’s bedtime). And you’re going to be too exhausted to have meaningful give and take for a while. With anyone. This time around, you’re also going to have to take a short break from laid-back time with Margie, because your attention will have to be shared until the little man decides he can take a good nap, give you some nighttime rest, and/or play contentedly by himself. None of which–you’ll remember–will probably happen very quickly.
3. Remember to relish the present. Don’t live too much in your preparations. Ignore, as best you can, your physical awkwardness and discomfort and just tune-in to what’s happening. Don’t forget to take time to be silly, to satisfy Margie’s whims (or, some of them, anyway), to notice how the weather is changing oh so slightly, to appreciate Joel, etc. Your life is not suspended in time until Abel is born! This moment is all you have. Yes, I know you’re rolling your eyes at the Hallmark-ish-ness of this one, but it’s IMPORTANT. So at least listen while you roll your eyes. Please.
4. Keep your anticipation joyful, not begrudging. Or, in other words, stop being so spoiled. You have so much wonderful awesome to look forward to; don’t resent having to wait on it for a couple of weeks for goodness sakes! You’re NOT going to look at your newborn and say, “Geez, kid! Finally you decide to make an appearance! What took you so long?!” So stop acting like it. Quit it with the bad attitude. And another thing…give the people of the world a break. It’s really okay for them to say things like “Are you sure it’s not twins!?” or “You’re about to pop!” or “Woah, look out!” or to just stand there and laugh like that one guy at the grocery store yesterday. They are not trying to be mean. And, no, you are not unusually gigantiudinous, even if you feel like it and they say so. You are doing just fine. So take their comments as cheers of encouragement and congratulations. Because the people who are insulting you aren’t doing it out loud and to your face. Get over yourself.
5. Relinquish control; trust God. Nope. You are NOT in control of much. You are especially not in control of when your labor begins, what your blood pressure does, what your doctor advises, whether Abel will be laid-back or not, OR whether Margie will decide that because she has a baby brother she suddenly wants her crib back AND her diapers, for that matter. So be still and take it as it comes. Trust yourself to solve problems effectively as they arise instead of obsessing about them in advance. You have what you need to handle what the future holds, BUT that’s true only if you keep faith at the center. So do, please.
Whew! I could go on like this all day. But I won’t. I feel better, and I hope that doesn’t mean I’ve just off-loaded a bunch of yuck on you. Thanks for listening. More soon.