This week I've been thinking a lot... about childbirth, about pregnancy, about miscarriages, about raising a toddler, about post-partum depression, about welcoming a daughter into our lives. When I got pregnant with Gigi, I had experienced none of these things. But as I near the end of this pregnancy, I realize that I've experienced them all. Every single one of these experiences has been life-changing in one way or another. I feel like I'm such a different person than I was when I took that pregnancy test three years ago.
Some of the experiences I've shared here, others I haven't. At the time, I didn't share that I had a miscarriage because it was quite early on in the pregnancy, at six weeks, and I didn't really know how I felt about it. I know that many people are devastated by miscarriages, no matter how early in their pregnancy... but in a strange way, I felt grateful. I felt grateful that my body recognized that something wasn't right and knew what to do. Then, the very next month I began my journey with this pregnancy. It all felt like it happened really fast and then my focus was on this pregnancy. In fact, this pregnancy feels like it's gone so fast.
With my first pregnancy I was reading books, getting weekly emails, making a birth plan, watching documentaries... all my focus was on the pregnancy. This experience has been so different. I haven't read a single book, my birth plan 10 times shorter (and I just made it yesterday). Raising a toddler is all encompassing, I've hardly had time to focus on being pregnant, and now here we are, just a handful of weeks from welcoming this baby into our lives. I'm treasuring these last weeks of it being just me and G, and at the same time, I'm looking forward having our family grow. It's a little bittersweet.
Then there's childbirth. On the one hand I feel more prepared having experienced it before. But, on the other hand I feel nervous about experiencing it all again. It's so intense and overwhelming, physically and emotionally. I had a totally ideal, natural birth with Gigi. No medical intervention at all, in fact we practically had a home-birth. I know that this birth is going to be it's own experience. After being in labor/having intense contractions for 8 hours a couple weekends ago, I feel nervous about the pain. I hadn't completely forgotten it, but I suppose I had forgotten exactly what it felt like. It's strange to feel at once empowered, and completely humbled, by an experience.
One thing I felt nervous about before getting pregnant this time, and still feel nervous about is post-partum depression and anxiety. I only wrote about it once here, because it was a very difficult experience. As I get closer to having a newborn again, I'm finding my mind revisiting some of what that experience was like... and hoping that this time is different. The saving grace is that this time I know what it felt like, and I won't be ashamed or afraid to ask for help if I need it. With Gigi, I didn't know, and it was a while before I was able to ask for help, which I desperately needed. In fact, it wasn't until G was almost one year old that I really recognized what I had experienced.
Apart from all of these nerves, I feel intensely excited. I've been preparing the little nursery space, washing swaddles, sewing burp rags, packing the hospital bag... it is all starting to feel real. We are going to have another baby, another daughter, here in our home, in our arms, so soon. Gigi will be a big sister. I will be a mother of two. My husband will be surrounded by girls. We will be a family of four. I'm so excited to meet this little girl, I wonder what she'll look like, what her personality will be. I will be breastfeeding again. I will be deliriously tired and happy.