This post began as me sitting down to write Chloe’s birth story. What came out was an explanation for the “secrecy” around this baby. And how pregnancy was this time in general. So, don’t worry, birth story to come. But this wanted to come first.
When we announced Chloe’s birth, a lot of people were shocked! We never announced this pregnancy. If you go back and read about my pregnancy with Willow, you’ll see/remember that it was a really difficult time for me. A lot of that came down to the way other people treated me when I’m pregnant. Even well meaning people. Sometimes especially well meaning people. I was in so much shock and was so confused about what I was feeling when I was pregnant with Willow that I really went through the motions of pregnancy that everyone else seemed to be doing. We announced it. Early. I did the baby shower thing. I blogged about it. I talked about it all a lot. Erik was overjoyed and excited and he likes to share those feelings with the world when he has them and I let him because… well, that’s what you do! I was glad he was so happy, and I WAS happy myself to be having a baby. There was just a sadness surrounding it all, too. Like I said, it was all very confusing for me.
This time, I didn’t want all that. I wanted to protect myself. From the unintentional scrutiny of others and from the general attention that goes with it all. When you’re pregnant, people treat you completely differently, like you are suddenly a helpless piñata who cannot read or make their own choices. They ask “how are you feeling?” not “how are you?” They judge every single thing you do, no matter how harmless. I was walking through a park one day and someone shouted at me that I was too pregnant to walk up and down the hills. They were just joking, but a joke like that everywhere I go and with everything I do gets old fast. I feel like there’s a spotlight on me everywhere I go and people wanting to tell me what to do constantly. When we order sushi and the waitress brings soy sauce cups and chopsticks for everyone at the table except me, two weeks in a row, it feels very demeaning. Especially when I know I’ve researched the pros and cons to every choice I make.
If I feel like others are trying to control me, I shut down. I resist everything. In fact, peer pressure has always had the opposite effect on me. I remember going to parties in college when others tried to force me to drink when I wasn’t comfortable with it. Instead of drinking the one or two glasses of whatever that I would have been okay with, I reacted by drinking only water. Completely content in my choice to be lame and boring! I don’t know what I was trying to prove or where that instinct comes from, but there’s something defiant in me that comes out when someone tries to take away my agency. It makes me not want to give even an inch. My choices are mine, no one else’s.
All of pregnancy feels that way for me. “Don’t eat this. Don’t lift that. Can’t wear this. Can’t look like that.” People comment on your appearance relentlessly. Even people saying how good I look would get to me. It was just hard and made me extremely self-conscious when I normally take pride in striking my own path and not caring what other people think. For some reason, I care when I’m pregnant. Maybe because there’s some implication that if you do something wrong it hurts the baby somehow. Maybe there are a surge of hormones making me feel things in a much stronger way. I don’t know. I can’t explain it and, really, I don’t have to. It’s just how it was.
LUCKILY, I will never have to deal with any of that again! Two babies is all I’ve ever wanted and one of the things that made pregnancy with Chloe so much easier was knowing that it was the last time.
So how was it this time? Much. Much. Better. Not just because of the secrecy, because obviously, you can only hide it for so long when you’re in the real world! I think, first off, people I’m closest with remembered how hard it was for me the first time and were really careful with what they said to me this time. I appreciate all the effort people made to not stress me out. I think knowing what to expect put my own mind at ease. When you’re pregnant or giving birth or post partum the first time, you don’t really know how this is going to affect you longterm. There’s so much unknown. How will the birth go? Will my body ever look the same as it did before? Am I going to feel this way FOREVER?
Knowing how well I recovered from Willow made this time much easier. And Willow’s birth was VERY difficult. But having that under my belt gave me confidence this time. Surely this time wouldn’t be 33 hours! Surely I wouldn’t tear that badly AGAIN! And even if I did, I knew I could recover and feel normal again in time.
Physically, I felt a lot better this time too. I had a different chiropractor this time and he really helped me a lot. I saw him on Mondays, every two weeks at first and every week by the end… and in the Saturdays and Sundays before I saw him I could feel the difference he was making. I knew it was time to go. Consequently, all the back pain and sciatica I experienced the first time wasn’t an issue with Chloe. I felt much stronger. Which is really good when you’re simultaneously chasing after a toddler!
The only thing that was harder was that I experienced morning sickness this time, which I never had with Willow! It was bad, too. I had to drop to the floor to keep from fainting many times. I felt horrible every morning until I ate a ton of food, which is really hard to do when you’re nauseous. I finally caved on my strict TV rules for Willow because for a couple months there, I had no energy to do anything but try to eat in the mornings. Now we have a morning TV habit, but I definitely needed it so I try not to feel too guilty about it.
The other thing that made this pregnancy easier was having my midwife, Corina, from the start. I had so much fear last time as I read horrific birth stories and researched birth stats and interventions. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to have the kind of birth I wanted. I was halfway through pregnancy with Willow when I found her last time. The birth center didn’t exist yet. So even when I had found the right provider I was hanging in limbo just hoping the birth center would be ready in time. It was only finished a week before Willow arrived! This time, I knew exactly who would be helping me on this journey and exactly where we’d be.
So! That pretty much sums up pregnancy with Chloe. Next up, the birth story. Spoiler alert, there were no headstands this time. It might not even be worth reading now that you know that, but you never know.