I think at 31 weeks it has just about sunk in that we are definitely having another baby. Physically, there's no denying it - I am weary, heavy and getting beaten up inside from this squirmy little life. Emotionally & mentally, I'm not quite there yet. It has taken me a long time to decide how much to share about this pregnancy on the blog for lots of reasons. I don't think I was as acutely aware when I was pregnant with Levi of how painful a topic this can be for others to read or hear about. I don't think I was as acutely aware of how much grief and heartache there is at this time in life that centres around pregnancy loss and infertility. I have wanted to be both sensitive to the knowledge I now have of this but also be able to find space to carefully journal and mark this journey for myself. It's a tricky one and I don't want to add to anyones struggle by being moany or by being smug.
Our path to adding to our family this time around wasn't as straightforward as it was the first. There was fear and waiting and disappointment on the way here. True, nothing devastating or tragic, and here I am - pregnant, but it's OK to honour your own path, the things you've found hard and to not compare.
For us it has been a bit long. Long because we chose it to be and long because we didn't. Soon after having Levi, we birthed what I jokingly refer to as my second baby - Freedom Acts. Becoming a mother gave me a new gust of motivation and a focus that I didn't know I had capacity for and along with my friend Laura and a whole bunch of supportive people, we set up a project in our locality to try and tackle the issue of human trafficking and exploitation. My heart, my mind, my energy and my creativity have been invested in both this work and in family life and for four amazing years my plate has felt suitably full and fulfilled. We watched so many of our friends have lots more babies, we bit our tongue when people questioned our holding off, commenting on us needing to get a move on etc. but still we knew we weren't ready to try to add. I think we all know our limits and thresholds in different seasons (it's that balance beam thing again). I knew that having a second child while the first child was still tiny would tip me right over the edge. I'm now certain that there is no perfect age gap between kids and will not agonise over this any more. You do what's right for you and hope that it works out.
When Levi started to go to school it felt like a bit of a shift and so here we are (well, it wasn't quite as simple as that...there's the ovulation stuff and the getting jiggy stuff and the not-babymaking stuff and the fortune spent on tests stuff then finally the actual babymaking stuff but I can't talk about all of that publicly cause my dad reads my blog and GROSS).
Anyway, pregnancy this time has been pretty kind. I don't know if it's that last time round we lived in London and I had to commute into work with delightful all-day sickness and was away from family, but I've been relatively at ease this time, save for a little standard back pain and heartburn. (HEY! If 5 years ago you caught sight of a girl barfing on the street as she crossed the road outside Great Portland Street tube station whilst carrying a ginormous projector and a laptop case, HI! THAT WAS ME!).
We're stepping back into territory that should feel familiar but doesn't. It feels like an eternity ago, so naturally there are some feelings of both anxiety and excitement. Aren't those emotions just so very close to one another?!
Things that I'm nervous about:
+ Another long and arduous birth. I'm determined this time to feel more in control and to practice some hypnobirthing techniques, regardless of how it goes. My doula friend is hooking me up with some one-to-one time so I can really put my mind at ease and learn to trust my body more.
+ Messing with our dynamic. We are a tight three. We have a groove and a rhythm and every time I think about another kiddo being added to our three and the slight possibility of Levi feeling put out by it my eyes sting up with tears. I know it will be fine, but the feelings are there and they are real.
+ Letting go of my work-baby. I'm SO looking forward to being off for a good while and changing up my headspace but there is naturally a part of me (that activator part again!) that will miss the energy that goes into deeply caring about an issue and getting to strategise and plan how you can impact it.
+ Choosing a name. We don't have a name. We genuinely cannot get it together to decide.
+ Body stuff. You know what I mean. The repercussions of birth and the endless stuff your body goes through was an eye-opener the last time - I wonder if this time it will feel as shocking?
Things I'm excited about:
+ Watching Levi become a big brother and Dave dote on another child. WEEP.
+ Breastfeeding and the excuse it gives to lie in bed all day eating biscuits and watching boxsets.
+ Having family around - my parents are moving home from Canada in the Summer and it will be so special to have them near.
+ Teeny tiny baby things. All the tiny things.
Until then, feel free to withhold any comments about impending sleep deprivation and nappies. We get it. We know the drill - misery loves company and all that. All supportive banter, however, is most welcome and you are especially welcome to basically lie to my face and tell me how 'neat' my bump is and how I'm barely showing. I'll never know if I can actually trust you but I will definitely love you forever and that's what friends are for.