Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pregnancy Memories

I've been thinking a lot lately about the late stages of my pregnancy. The memories of that time are more vivid than much of the rest of my pregnancy because there were more points of reference. I had showers, childbirth classes, nursery prep, and warm weather clothes shopping, all of which took place at this time last year. Between reading back in the blog archives and the periodic bursts of warm weather recently, a lot of the memories and the associated emotions have come creeping back. It was definitely an interesting time. I can hardly believe we've gone through an entire year of seasons changing. So much has happened since then and it boggles my mind. I can't believe Jacob is 10-1/2 months old already. But then again, who I was pre-Jacob seems like a lifetime ago.

Knowing that the showers and childbirth classes were a year ago means that last year at this time I was already really, really pregnant. I just remember feeling huge...or at least, when it comes to the showers, feeling huge once I saw pictures of myself. And at that point I still had almost two months of rapid growth to go! I remember going out shopping for shorts on a freak 85 degree day in April, having to wear my maternity jeans because it was pretty much all I had. And by that point everything I tried on was a tricky fit...either because my belly was so big, the rest of me was so small, or I still wasn't sure how gigantic I'd get.

It was a time of anticipation and change. I just remember being very busy. Between hitting up childbirth classes once a week (and rushing to get out of work and grab dinner beforehand), trying to pick up my new car (amidst many problems) and doing a ton of baby shopping/registry maintenance/nursery prep (ok, we didn't do a lot of nursery prep...but just organizing shower gifts was a challenge!), there was a lot going on. It was all very exciting, but there was a definite nervous excitement going on. I was scared out of my mind about a lot of stuff, and even the thought of going into Jacob's room and sorting through gifts gave me a bit of anxiety...like it was confirming that this was really happening...and well, duh, it was. We knew our lives were about to change, and we were okay with that even if we were inevitably unprepared. I definitely spent those last couple months savoring every moment of our time together, knowing it would never be the same once the demands of parenting took over. And sure enough, even when Jacob's in bed and it's just the two of us again, Jacob still seems to dominate the conversation...or we're catching up on TV shows we didn't get a chance to watch because he was keeping us otherwise occupied! He's never out of our minds.

I definitely think back on how tired I could get from all of the preparations. I could only do so much (particularly when the summer heat started) before I had to sit and take a break. I wasn't used to having such a low threshold for exhaustion, so that was tough. Sometimes I just had to press on, or else I'd never get anything done. I don't miss those days, although sometimes it would be nice to be forced to take a break. Between our morning routine, work, dinner, dishes, bottles, and prep for the next day (along with anything else on my to do list), sometimes it's tough to just sit down and relax. And when I do, I usually fall asleep rather quickly. That is frustrating, because I'd rather go to bed and get real sleep instead of a pre-bed catnap on the couch. But quite often the thought of putting on pjs and brushing teeth is just too much and I just zonk out.

I think about how crazy it was to have this little human inside of me, moving around and giving me this massive belly. I can hardly believe it was there...almost like it was some weird dream. The belly is smaller these days, of course, though it never did snap back to its previous state. The rest of me is skinnier than ever...I think my instructor at the gym was right--breastfeeding does burn the fat in the butt, hips and thighs. So even though I weigh a lot less than pre-pregnancy, my body is not what it once was. When I finally do get out clothes shopping, I have a hard time figuring out how to dress my new body...and I wonder how long it will stay in its current state once I stop nursing.

The room full of baby stuff was such a strange thing to me. Having had very little experience with babies, it was all new and confusing. I spent a lot of time just trying to sort through it all and figure out what needed to go where, and what else we needed. It helped prepare me mentally, but it was overwhelming at times. Just thinking about those piles makes me a little crazy to this day. Amazingly, it all found a place in his room (or somewhere else in the house), and it's like it's always been there now!

As for the pre-Jacob me...that does seem like a lifetime ago. Everything in my world revolves around him now, like it or not. Maybe he's not in my thoughts all the time when I'm at work--I have a ton of stuff to keep me occupied--but if I thought about him all day, I don't think I'd be able to spend all day at work because I'd miss him too much. But I think about him a lot anyway, and always look forward to his smiling face. And even when he's asleep, my world is a better place because he's at peace. Sometimes I find it hard to focus on "me" stuff when I'm out in the world without him. I don't have much patience to shop because I'm always thinking about him, wondering if things are ok at home. Half the time my attention gets turned to the baby section instead of clothes my own size. I'm not sure what I would do without him these days. I definitely identify myself as a mom these days, more than anything else. I really need to work on paying more attention to my role as a wife these days. The balance still isn't quite there, and it's not fair to Craig...though I think he understands. The old me was pretty self-centered...not in a bad way, I suppose, but I just didn't have much else going on so of course my needs were in the forefront. Not anymore, though I still have my moments when I get a little too run down and need a break.

It's a totally different life, that's for sure. I can't really describe it as better or worse...just different. There are old things I miss and new things I wouldn't give up for the world. My life certainly has more meaning now, though I think I've lost a little of my own identity because Jacob's needs have taken over almost every facet of my existence. Despite all of the problems and concerns of pregnancy, I do miss the excitement, anticipation, and promise that it held. Reality these days is a lot more difficult, but also more rewarding. It's a world away from where I was a year ago, but as the warm spring breezes blow, inevitably my mind will travel back to a simpler time of intense anticipation...what a time it was.

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