I found out I was pregnant with our second child in early July, just a week after I wrote Lean In: Year End. We had tried for just over half a year for Jackson, and while in hindsight it is clear that is not long at all, I will never forget the aching pain my heart felt all those months. In striking comparison, this time Glenn and I were looking at that second beautiful pink line just three weeks after we began trying. Three weeks when I had been preparing myself mentally for at least a year’s worth of disappointment. Needless to say, we were both absolutely and thoroughly delighted (if not thoroughly shocked. Did I mention we were shocked? We were shocked.)
Despite my joy the sudden pregnancy really threw me through a loop for months and only recently have I finally felt like I’ve caught my standing. Part of it, I think, is that I now feel my little boy kicking inside me. He has a name, Jacob, and he is mine. However, I would be remiss to not acknowledge that I’m still transitioning mentally with who I am as an individual. In the beginning months this was much harder- I felt sick and bloated and I didn’t have tangible proof of his existence. Instead, planning to take off work during a busy time, knowing I wouldn’t be able to attend two semesters of classes since my due date was right in between them and could go either way, and eating only what I could stomach (often unhealthy) and less exercise (and the resulting weight gain) made me feel like I was sliding back on everything I had worked towards this past year and all the achievements I’ve made. At the end of the day I was struggling to just make dinner and do dishes before putting Jackson (and myself) to bed. I had just found a balance where I could take time to do things for myself, like read a book or do a yoga class, but now I didn’t have the will nor energy. I felt like I had just barely grasped a sense of personal freedom and then lost it as soon as my fingers closed around it.
This is in no way whatsoever blaming my child. However, I felt almost instantly transported back to how I felt in the early days with Jackson, at least mentally. My body, heavy with hormones and other people’s expectations, once again was strongly affecting what I could or could not do.
And at the very beginning of this whirlwind is where I began my search for this year’s theme. The theme that helps me gain focus every year and gives me drive to do more and better. I’m going to be honest, I just barely feel like I’m on stable ground right now. It’s like I’ve been spinning in circles, have just stopped, and am expected to run straight forward. I now can feel the whomps and kicks inside of me, have an obvious baby bump so that I and those around me know the weight gain has been put to good use, and am more prepared for this next year- but to be honest, I still feel like I’m looking forward to at least a year of just making it. I don’t know if it’s because of my experience with Jackson or that I don’t know what to expect from a life with two, but it’s definitely daunting.
I know all the wonderful things I will experience- the life changing, heart gripping love for my child, the soft little fuzzy head, watching my son become a brother and his relationship flourish- and this is what keeps me grounded when I get nervous or scared about anything else.
All this to say that this year, I’m going to dedicate myself to just three intensely personal goals. I also strive (and do not always hit my goal) of being a dedicated mother, wife, and worker- but these are for me as an individual.
- Eat Healthy: I’m going to be honest here that I texted my husband at 9pm last night to bring me a burger and fries. Not my smartest moment (albeit wonderfully satisfying), but since I entered the second trimester I have been making healthier choices on a daily basis. There are still numerous pastries and junk food being eaten, but I at least know that I’m nourishing my body for the most part. Looking forward I hope to keep up this habit, and if possible become even better at it (aka- no late night burgers).
- Do What Must Be Done: This one is pretty broad and applies to pretty much anything. Dishes, looming projects at work, life insurance, etc. Over the past year there are various things that I’ve been really good at keeping on top of, and then there’s the living trust that has sat unfinished for three months now. I need to stay true and just finish these things so they don’t get that power of hanging over my head.
- Accept My Body As It Is Right Now: This is, by far, the most difficult for me at this moment. I know, this sounds horrible. I’m creating life- it’s beautiful! Except I don’t feel that way when I’m looking in the mirror. The feeling of the little boy kicking inside my stomach is mind blowingly wonderful, but the reflection of my enlarging and yet still flabby belly is hard to look at sometimes. I know, that’s pretty much heresy in today’s world. Having worked so hard and so long at losing weight last year, it was so difficult to watch the numbers creep up on my scale every week. At least now it’s obvious that I’m pregnant and people don’t just think that I’m eating too many cookies (which I am too, admittedly.) It is also likely that I’m feeling partially this way because I stopped doing much of the exercise I was before the pregnancy, so I will make it a point to start reintroducing these slowly. But if I can’t fully, I still need to accept my body at the moment, and that’s certainly a goal I will have to work toward.
Five months later and I still haven’t been able to find a word that sums up what I want to strive for myself this year. Dedication? Determination? Acceptance? Nothing applies to everything I want to accomplish, and moreover the things I want to accomplish are pretty vague compared to the last year.
Perhaps Peace. Work hard to accomplish what I want, but finding peace when I’m unable to. Peace with where my life is right now and the fact that it’s about to get a little crazy. Peace that my body is changing but for the very best reason. Peace that sleep will soon be very limited and personal time even more so- but knowing that this is the briefest period of time and one that I will want to return to for the rest of my life. Peace with where I am.