I just hit 33 weeks, and many have asked me how I'm doing at this stage of pregnancy with a toddler. Usually when they ask, I am in the middle of chasing Micah around or toting him on my hip, and it seems like the answer they are expecting is already obvious in the midst of this particular chaotic moment. But I thought I'd take a "mom time-out" to tell you a little about how it's really going. Pregnancy has actually been a lot easier on me this second time around.
Aside from the fact that I think I've contracted nearly every possible cold or stomach bug that's gone around this season, I am feeling pretty great! It could be that my body was so recently pregnant, that it jumped back into the swing of things like an old friend was visiting. But none of the "growing pains" that I experienced with Micah have been as much of an issue this time around. I have told people this a few times already, but I think having a toddler to chase around is actually a great distraction. Sure, my belly is huge and in the way while trying to change a diaper or give Micah a bath, but it has oddly become a nice little cushion while carrying him. And I must say, I think it's by God's grace that my little guy only weighs 22lbs. It's still an arm workout, but I couldn't imagine adding another 5lb plate.
I think the biggest difference this time around is understanding that the real change is coming after the pregnancy.
First-time pregnancy was such a transforming thing to my body physically. I gained 50 pounds, those dreaded stretch marks and my fingers swelled so bad I couldn't wear my wedding rings after the 7th month. But you would never hear me say that then. I did my best to not take a moment for granted and certainly not complain. We had prayed so long to have a baby, how could I?
But now that I have something to compare it to, I am actually very proud of my first-pregnancy self. The physical changes this time have been a lot easier. So far I've gained half the weight, no new stretch marks, and I don't look like an unwed mother walking around town anymore. Maybe it's a gender thing, or maybe (and more likely from what I've heard) it's the case of the second pregnancy.
Second pregnancies have less "pomp and circumstance" than the first. Baby showers and maternity photos are considered luxuries rather than necessities. And if you get them, there's almost the guilt that you are "going overboard" a little bit. At least, I feel that way about my upcoming "baby sprinkle" and I still haven't decided on the maternity photos.
But so far, I have completely enjoyed this pregnancy and... dare I say it, more than the first in many ways. I just feel more relaxed, excited and prepared for what's ahead. I know that labor will be different. I know that it will still be hard. But that's the exciting part! Knowing, and not knowing at the same time. Being prepared for the greatest feeling in the world, yet knowing it will probably feel completely different than the first.
I don't see why this pregnancy or any subsequent pregnancies, shouldn't be celebrated as much as the first. In fact, I think the celebration should just grow with every one! Because in my heart, it has.
So to answer the question of how I'm doing at 33 weeks pregnant with an almost-17-month old toddler, the answer is great. I have double the reason to celebrate this time. When I leave the hospital, I won't have just one baby to love and cuddle and snuggle with. But, two. And no pregnancy pain or ache could take away from the love and blessing that I know I am about to experience.