We have spent the last eight years building our family. It’s been a lot of pregnancies, nursing, sleepless nights, and joyful chaos. This pregnancy is likely to be our last, and as I reflect during the last five weeks of it I can’t help but see some big differences between the first and last!
My attitude has shifted
With my first baby, I was over the moon in love with the idea of being a mom. Even when I was put on partial bed rest the last two weeks for hypertension, I loved every minute. By the fifth pregnancy, though, age, weight, reality, and exhaustion have replaced the euphoria of my first. I had planned to enjoy every minute of this pregnancy as if it were my first. That was a short-lived plan.
I could sleep away the first-trimester fatigue the first time around, but having four littles now won’t allow for it. Any nesting attempts have been quickly foiled by messy tiny toddler hands. After four baby bellies and two C-sections, aches and pains are daily reminders that I’m not the young 32-year-old I was with my first. I am still excited to be pregnant this time, but I’m even more excited to be done.
I’m less social
I wanted everyone to share in my joy with my first few pregnancies. I kept up social engagements, I had several showers, and I participated in birthing, newborn, and parenting classes. After my first son was born, I immediately joined a new moms group and continued to participate for several years. This pregnancy, though, I went into hibernation around 27 weeks. I’m all set with being social. I’m quite content in my sweats all day long sitting on the couch watching my four kiddos tear the place apart!
I’ve become a rule breaker
As a first-time expectant mom, I read everything and followed all the pregnancy rules — even the ones that are a bit over the top. Now, I still take care of myself and my unborn child, but from a place of practicality and reality. To know which rules I break, you’ll have to chat me up personally. I do follow the ones that are based on common sense and fact. I don’t fret over getting it all right, and I follow my instincts. It seems to be working just fine.
I’m still getting ready
As I write this at 35 weeks, I’m still getting ready. I have done quite a bit, but I still have laundry, set up, organizing, and car seats to handle. If the baby came tomorrow, we’d figure it out. If I can, I’ll get it all done in time. But I might not. I guess the race against the clock has begun. I’m walking, though, not running!
Our baby will have no nursery
Our first nursery was beautiful, color-coordinated, and ready for baby’s arrival well in advance! This time, however, we haven’t completely decided how our family’s bedroom makeup is going to look. So she won’t have a nursery or a crib for her first six months. Instead, I have a bassinet, dresser, rocker, and changing station set up on my side of our bedroom. She’s rooming with me to start, so no need to prepare a nursery she may never use!
I have less anxiety
Over the course of the first four pregnancies, I had a wide range of experiences. I was living in the clouds with my first, then experienced some anxiety with my second and third (most likely due to a miscarriage before my second). My third pregnancy resulted in an emergency C-section, which amped up my anxiety over the fourth. My fourth delivery was scheduled, and there was nothing remarkable about the experience except for the lack of labor. I have experienced enough to know it’s all gonna be fine this time and will happen the way it’s supposed to. My anxiety has reached an all-time low, and for that, I’m very thankful.
Overall, it’s been quite a journey building our family. I have loved every minute of these hard eight years and will remember them fondly — but I am very much looking forward to being on the flip-side of it all and making memories with our complete family!