I’ve been trying to even label my feelings about this pregnancy which are complicated. I am not always good at pinning down exactly my emotions, and add to this the roller coaster of pregnancy hormones and sometimes I find myself sobbing on the floor, not entirely sure why I am crying. I am actually not upset about having a baby. There is a part of me that still wanted one more and I always thought that once we survive the baby/toddler phase three kids will be fun.
But I did not want to go through pregnancy again. I had made a choice (so I thought) not to do this again because it is really hard. It was hard when it was the first time and I didn’t have to take care of anyone but myself. It was extra hard last time with a toddler. And now with both four and a two-year-olds, it is debilitating. I have no energy, I have no patience, I have terrible aversions to smells and certain foods and occasional attacks of extreme nausea, which is made worse by thinking about it so I will leave that discussion alone. I feel terrible that I, normally the more patient parent in our household who can normally ride the waves of tiny people’s drama and remain calm, now find myself losing my temper repeatedly. I don’t want to go to the park, drive on field trips or do involved craft projects. I just want to lie down. So my kids eat too much processed stuff and watch way too much TV, and my house gets messier and messier and I both feel terrible and like a terrible mom.
I think what is hardest about it is I did not have time to mentally or physically prepare myself, like I did the last two times when pregnancy was planned and plotted and desired. Instead my body has been taken over, quite against my will, and it feels shocking and invasive not to have had a say in a matter that is entirely all-consuming and life changing—weirdly almost like someone getting a disease, except instead of illness I’m growing a person that I’m excited to meet.
My children also fight over me a lot and adding to the mix a needy newborn is going to be rough on all involved. Mars in particular is and always has been very territorial with me. He doesn’t like anyone else getting my attention and if Max is upset about something and being comforted by me, Mars will start (fake) crying as well and insist that he too needs a hug.
And my sweet Mars, whom I still call “Baby” though at just days away from being 2.5 is certainly not a baby anymore, he is still my baby. I’m sad for him that he will get pushed to the dreaded “middle child” position—I already see how he gets overlooked at family gatherings, where Max by being the oldest, and his cousin A, who is both the youngest and the only girl get all the attention. Max has a special bond with his dad and Mars is much more mine. When another little person comes along I do not want him to feel left out and my heart breaks thinking about it.
Lest you think it is all bad, I am very grateful for the timing: I had IUDs before, between and after each of the kids. If I had had a “failure” during graduate school, or when Mars was a tiny baby it would have been a disaster. The baby and his middle brother will be 3 years apart, and Max will be nearly 5. Surely that will be easier than when Mars was born and Max was not even quite two, really still a baby himself. Mars is also starting preschool soon, two mornings a week, so at least I will have both kids occupied for a few hours a week, unlike when I had them both at home all day all the time.
It’s an adjustment and I will get there. Eventually.