Initially, it was easier to just not write as I was in the closet about baby #2, sticking to the traditional first trimester rule. Harder to do the second time around as I was showing earlier and I was constantly hanging out with local mamas rather than hidden behind a desk at work, also directly being asked when I want another baby or in a couple cases, if I were knocked up as we speak! Even when I went to go buy the pregnancy test at our local CVS on Day 29 of my cycle (yes, I am VERY regular), I braced myself for running into a familiar face or two as I asked the employee to grab me a test from behind the locked glass display. Buying a pair of much needed maternity pants (as first pregnancy’s wardrobe consisted mostly of slacks for the office) was also a challenge as the huge bag screamed “DESTINATION MATERNITY” while I still tried to remain incognito on the subway and walk home lest I run into someone I knew. The fake mustache wasn’t fooling nobody! They may think about having a blank bag for those of us who wish to remain in the closet for the time being, although I guess they lose out on some free advertising. (A nanny I see regularly at Gymboree actually called out my pregnancy to a couple of my friends who had no idea at the time. “M’s mama? She is pregnant. I am sure.” She sensed/observed this at JUST SIX WEEKS. She should get a side hustle going, charge less than pregnancy tests. I asked her if I will be having a boy or girl.)
Carrying my blessed belly baby while wrangling a toddler has been hard, just as I imagined, but like all things imagined, it ain’t actually hard ’til it becomes your reality. M has been going through some separation anxiety – something he didn’t have until maybe around 14 or 15 months old. I’ve tried to plug myself back into a Women’s Group/Bible study on a weekday morning, something I used to do before he was a year-old, but had to stop as the timing was running into his naptime. When we returned after many months, he refused to stay with the other toddlers down in the basement with a babysitter for about 90 minutes. I think I’ve tried about four times now but he is committed to crying and screaming for me. I still don’t mind this too much as I know it is a phase and there will come a time when he does not want to be around me 24-7. BUT it would be nice if I could have that 90 minutes each week to sit with adults, hear about their lives and share my own.
Yesterday at church, he and I went to nursery as daddy looked for parking. I told the nursery volunteer that I will attempt to leave but that he is going through some anxiety and that he will surely cry for me. She assured me that it’s a normal phase and that toddlers will cry off and on but that it will be fine. I smiled because I knew M would be committed to the crying. I left around 10:21 am to try to listen to the sermon. Around 10:26 am, we received a phone call reporting that M was still crying. K laughed as he rushed down the stairs to join him in the nursery. We think the nursery is still a foreign place for him, not a comfort zone so K will sit in there with him for a few weeks so he can really feel comfy, familiarizing himself with the rotating volunteers and fellow toddlers.
I feel bad for Belly Baby because I am so devoted to the needs of my Outside the Belly Toddler that I often forget that I am expecting. As I follow M up steep slides at the playground or plead with him to not choose the same book I’ve read to him about 13 times in the morning alone or beg him to not whine in the pack n play so I can eat a meal, I temporarily forget about this other being developing inside me now. I do remember though when I am completely wiped out – “Oh yeah, I’m not just chubbier and lazier. I am actually pregnant.” I try to reflect and talk to the baby at night but by then I am looking up something on the computer, talking to K, or drooling on the couch even before dinnertime. I totally understand why my friend told me that going to work at a stressful big law firm was like going to vacation when she was expecting Baby #2.
I even take M to my o.b. visits because I have to. One time, I had the luxury of going on my own as my MiL watched him. After my visit, I WAS ABLE TO SIT IN A COSI AND EAT A CHICKEN PESTO SANDWICH! It felt like I was at the spa! It was more vacationy than my 33rd birthday on the seas of Oia, Greece! I was able to eat my food uninterrupted without my little human either coming up to me with arms raised and cute voice exclaiming, “UP!” (to be carried) then curiously sticking his fingers into my food.
I have more to say but no time. Here is my dude, making it all worthwhile:
Hey girl, rest assured that everything you feel is completely normal. And although is not the same when is someone else telling you as living it yourself, you are not alone. And if you ever need anything please feel free to reach out! We are all here for each other. I hate the word hate but there is no other way to describe the feeling of “neglecting your belly baby”, but I think we just go with the motions and do what needs to be done, and that is take care of our active toddlers. Feel comfort in the fact that your belly baby is fully protected and that when he/she arrives you will give them so much love, that your pregnancy won’t matter. And take it from someone who just went through something similar not too long ago, the feeling of seeing your children together embracing is completely amazing and beautiful and when Mr. MLK reaches to give the baby a kiss you will realize everything was worth it and there is nothing else worth a while like that moment! And also remember everything will pass! Nothing is forever except the love those kids will give you!