Hanging with my niece, enjoying life....Like many of you I've been reading the buzz surrounding Expecting Better, economist Emily Oster's new book in which she attempts to debunk some of the age-old pregnancy rules. And while I'm not going to start guzzling wine and gorging on spicy tuna rolls, I am intrigued by her premise. I agree that we put ourselves in a sort of prison for nine months when we're pregnant. In the book, Oster refers to pregnancy as "One long list of rules. In fact, it's a lot like being a child again. There is always someone telling you what to do." Yes! And I know first hand that all that obsessing about said rules can cause undue stress--at a time when we should be avoiding stress at all costs. When I was pregnant with my first, I was hyper-aware of all the dos and don'ts. I scrutinized everything I ate (OMG, what if some unheated ham touched my cheese?) and everything I did. And more than that, I was constantly worried that something would go wrong and wondering how I measured up, reading books, articles and blogs focusing on every week and every symptom and what should/shouldn't be happening. There is an information overload and contradicting facts and it can make you a bit crazy. I just went through my sister's first pregnancy with her and as she (understandably) obsessed about stuff, I couldn't help but feel relieved knowing I didn't have to.
I'm pregnant with my third and it's like night and day from my first time. I am as laid back as they come about this pregnancy and it's been fantastic as a result (my second was pretty chill as well). Sure, there are plenty of reasons being pregnant with the third kid is not as great as being pregnant with a first. Off the cuff: You're older and more tired (I was 28 with my first; I'm 35 now), there's none of that first-time wonder/excitement going on, you don't get to register for really fun gear, you can't be a lay about because you have two other kids to care for, people think you're nuts for having a third, your husband barely asks you how you feel let alone rubbing your back. And there is nothing quite like your first experience with having a baby. It's truly amazing and I'm not trying to diminish that at all (and I did enjoy it, I wasn't a total nutcase). But, as someone who is nearly eight months pregnant with my third--and lucky enough to feel very good--I have found many been-there, done-that perks. And as I head into the final two months of my final pregnancy, I want to celebrate the positives. Here's my list (most of these apply to second pregnancies as well):
1. You don't have the emotional/mental space to obsess about what everything means and what could go wrong. Googling symptoms and milestones on the Internet only leads to worry and when you have two other children up in your grill all the time (and their dinners and bedtimes and schedules to manage) you just don't have time to go there. Plus, you've been through it before so you know how futile those "what-if" searches are.
2. I have two kids who I can use as a guise to get my ice cream craving on. "Who's up for an ice cream cone?" comes out of my mouth often. I haven't been turned down yet.
3. Because I'm not denying myself too many things, I'm a much more mellow, agreeable person. With my first I was pretty strict about all the food rules. Now I will guiltlessly enjoy caffeine (I keep it to under a cup a day), eat a tunafish sandwich every once in a while, have a sip of wine here or there and take down a coldcut sandwich--without heating it up.
4. I know what to expect with labor and delivery so the fear of the unknown just isn't there (the fear of the known is, but that's another story).
5. 10 months is a long time but it flies when you've got other things (i.e. two little people) going on. I cannot believe I'm almost done with this pregnancy, it has gone so fast. I don't even think I've checked Babycenter's weekly updates since I was 12 weeks. I honestly don't know how many weeks I am--with my first I could tell you down to the day. OK, I just looked it up. 29. Dayum.
6. Because I already live with little people, there is always mac and cheese in my house. This means I don't have to send my husband out to the deli around the corner at 8 p.m. like I did with my first. A lot.
7. I know it's my last pregnancy--and I know how fast it goes--so I'm enjoying the good stuff more and not sweating the sucky stuff as much.
8. No one gushes over you. I may be in the minority here but I don't love all the attention you get when you're pregnant. So I like that this pregnancy is an afterthought for most people in my life (my dad recently said he forgot I was pregnant and for a second thought I'd just gained a bunch of weight). With my first, it was all we talked about, all we thought about, all we read about. Now it's just like any other period of time in my life except I'm not drinking, I have more doctor appointments and my belly is getting bigger by the day.
9. I've lost the baby weight twice before so I'm not as focused on the scale slowly climbing toward that scary number. I am enjoying the hell out of bagels, egg sandwiches, chips and anything else I crave (see number 2 and number 6).
10. I know I never have to do this again. Wahoo! I ran into an old friend at my OB's office the other day. She's also pregnant with her third and she said she's getting sad thinking about how this will be her last time and I just smiled. I couldn't relate at all. This should go without saying but I'll say it anyway: I know I am damn lucky that I'm having an easy pregnancy and that I didn't have trouble conceiving and that, as a cancer survivor, I am able to have children at all, let alone a third. It's really a miracle and I never forget that. But despite the list above--and the fact that I generally don't mind being pregnant--it is completely a means to an end for me and I am very much looking forward to never doing it again.
Even though I may seem a tad jaded at this point and not all that interested in the "magical" part of pregnancy, my kids are mesmerized by my growing belly and seeing it through their eyes makes me stop and appreciate what's going on more. So there's another upside to being pregnant with a third. Anyone else with multiple kids feel this way about pregnancy? Any other perks I'm forgetting? I wish I could go back in time and tell my first-time pregnant self to chill out more!