Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pregnancy Obsession?

Lately I've been beginning to wonder if I'm a little obsessed with pregnancy. It's been two whole years since I've been pregnant, but I probably think about it nearly every day. To be fair, I probably put myself in situations to be reminded of it. I read a pregnancy blog frequently (the bloggers keep changing and you kinda get hooked on the new blogger before the next one is done), and many of the parenting blogs I read refer to it a lot. There was a pregnant woman in my office since last fall, though she had her baby a month or so ago so that reminder has been removed. But in general so many things bring it to mind. And sure, pregnancy was the single most life-changing thing I've ever experienced. It was the thing that ultimately produced Jacob, and with that daily reminder, it's a little hard to forget that I went through the experience (though looking back on it, it is pretty surreal). This blog probably doesn't help, either, since I have an easy-to-reference spot that recorded all of those random little details and looks back at them frequently. But even still, I find it so hard to believe that pregnancy has impacted my daily life so immensely.

I think another issue is that we're ticking down on the time when we would "ideally" start working on #2. We want them three years apart and Jacob just turned two, so you can do the math. And while physically I'm probably as ready as I've ever been, I'm not sure about the rest of me. For a long time I couldn't imagine being pregnant again, since I still felt like my body was recovering to some degree. Now that's less of an issue, though I'm not in as good of shape as I was before my first pregnancy, so I have some concerns about how much worse I might end up the second time around. I do worry about having enough energy to care for Jacob while pregnant because I know how exhausted I was some days, particularly early on. And carrying a baby belly and a big boy around? Holy cow...and that's not even getting into morning sickness. But mentally and emotionally....I'm just not sure what to think. On one hand Jacob is old enough that I miss some of the early baby stuff, like the big toothless grin and those adorable baby noises. But we're also out of some of the really annoying baby stuff, like major diaper blowouts and 'round the clock feedings and frequent night time wakeups. And suddenly, I'm finding myself really reluctant to go back to that. Up until recently it didn't scare me, but I think I've realized how low-maintenance Jacob is with those things now (higher maintenance in other ways, of course), and I'm finding it a little scary to go back.

I think my biggest fear resides in the fact that Jacob and other things keep me very busy. Between Jacob and work and the house and all the other little errands and tasks I need to do, I'm pretty tired right now. There are days that I feel like I don't have time for anything least, not if I want some downtime to just relax. So, if I remember back to how crazy things were with an infant, I can't quite wrap my brain around how the H-E-double hockey sticks I'm supposed to take care of a baby on TOP of all the other stuff that's currently pulling me in all directions. There are times I go out on errands and think, "Would it be possible to do this with Jacob AND a baby?" And much of the time I think the answer is no. However, by then Jacob would be a year older (which I suppose means nothing because there's always issues to work around) and I think I'd tend to use the Bjorn carrier a lot more so I could have the baby hands-free (meaning, not in the car seat) and still have my hands to hold Jacob's hand or leave the shopping cart seat for Jacob to sit in, etc. So maybe it would be doable. But maybe it's just too hard. I hardly went anywhere when Jacob was little, and while I'm more experienced now, I know how hard it is to schedule around one baby's meals, naps and bowel movements (sorry, I'm public blowout-phobic), let alone adding another kid's needs into the mix. We don't have a lot of readily available help here, so it's not as simple as dropping off one or the other with someone when I need to run out. We do have some options, but right now they all take planning and aren't particularly convenient.

And there's always the issue of how we'd pay for another round of daycare. Even with two kids I still make more than we'd spend on it, but obviously the difference would get considerably smaller. But it pretty much spells an end to saving money for a while. Is it worth it for a couple years until Jacob's in school and we're paying for only afterschool fees for him? Do we do it and keep hoping our situation changes for the better and I find some miraculous way to work part time? At least we'd be spending less on daycare and getting more quality time out of it. And in a perfect world I'd have more flexibility so I'd be less stressed overall. Like, if I HAD to go to the mall during the day I could, rather than waiting until after bedtime and rushing to get it all done in a half hour before the mall closes. I could schedule doctor's appointments for off-days and not worry about making up the time later (like I will be doing tomorrow for Jacob's two-year well visit). But right now, that's just a pipe dream and we have to live in reality.

But overall it's just the concern of bringing a poor, defenseless baby into a stressful environment. I am tired and stressed a lot. If I'm more tired and stressed now than I was with just Jacob alone, will that baby not get the same love and care Jacob did? Will I just be too tired? Craig's crazy schedule will still be crazy, and come the following fall with a new baby I'd be right back where I am every fall and winter, with Craig-less weekends...which means more time where everything falls on me. And if he's not around to help or is tired himself when he is home, will I resent him for being unable to help? It seems that would be unfair to him since I went into it knowing that this is how things would be. It's so hard. On one hand I think, "The hard part is the first year or so, and then it gets easier." But then I worry that that one year will do irreparable damage to our marriage or to Jacob to our mental health and get nervous all over again. What if it's really that bad? But then again, people have two kids all the time...even people that both work full time. And sometimes they have more...and somehow they make it work. I guess I just keep holding on to that. The house might not get cleaned as often and my dinners may not be as perfectly fancy as I'd like them to be, but if both kids are loved, we're doing something right. But it's still a tough call.

For the longest time I felt like our family was incomplete with only Jacob. I grew up in a family of four, and so did Craig. I guess it's only natural. And as much as I will love #2 if it's a boy (with everything I have, no doubt), I will probably always feel a twinge of regret if I never have a daughter to be able to experience a mother-daughter relationship like I had with my mom. Even still, lately our family has seemed more complete to me, maybe because of this fear, and maybe because Jacob is developing into such a little person now that things just seem a little more complete. We're settling into our house, we have space, and despite his boundless energy, caring for Jacob is manageable. Why change it? And perhaps we could wait another year, until Jacob's four and practically school age, but will we be even MORE comfortable by then and really not want to do it again? And not that I can even fathom this, but on the off-chance that #2 is a boy AND we'd want to try for a girl again, that extra year makes us even older.

So, yeah, it's a lot to think about, and I do think about it often. Which is probably why pregnancy is still such an important topic on my mind these days. While I think the desire to give Jacob a sibling and experience the baby stuff one more time (so hopefully we can enjoy it more now that we know what we're doing--sort of) will win out, it is still a major decision that I don't want to take lightly. It's going to be a heck of a lot harder to toss out the birth control this time than it was before, that's for sure. More musings to come on this, I'm guessing, but that's enough heavy stuff for one day...

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