Guest Post on Good Mother Project: We Left Everything Except My Broken Body

Trigger Warning: Pregnancy loss, miscarriage

One of the most difficult things to talk about as a mother – for very good reason – is the loss of a pregnancy. I had the misfortune, in April to experience one in the 10th week of my pregnancy. In the hope that it helps other women who have gone through the same thing, I wrote about the experience for the Good Mother Project this week.

I was waiting for blood. Every time I went to the bathroom, I was waiting for those spots. But they never came. No sign that the life that had been developing inside me wasn’t any longer. That I was pregnant one minute and then wasn’t the next.

Read the rest of the post at the Good Mother Project: We Left Everything Except my Broken Body.

A Few Recommendations for Interacting with Me While Pregnant

I wrote this a while back, but haven’t been able to post it until now. Fortunately, a couple of these no longer apply – the doctor lifted my restrictions about a month ago, thank goodness.

Maybe it’s my badass attitude. Or maybe it’s the fact that I obviously respond with my lunch order when you ask “Do you know what you’re having?” Either way, I typically haven’t had a lot of strangers interact with me during my first or current pregnancy. Nonetheless, if you run into me, here are some rules for dealing with me while pregnant. While these rules aren’t universal, I’m pretty sure they apply widely beyond my personal situation.

1) No comments on the size of a woman’s feet. During my first pregnancy, I had some serious fluid retention. Towards the end, there was a single pair of stretchy shoes I could wear, which my feet overflowed out of like muffin tops at the end of each leg. If someone’s feet are twice as big as usual, believe me, she already knows it.

2) No saying “Oh, you’ll have your hands full!” Personally, I’ll respond poorly if you comment about how two boys will be so difficult for me to handle. For one, I’m not the primary caregiver – my husband is – so he’ll be the one juggling it the most. Secondly, my kid is the toddler version of Mr. Rogers; he loves button-down sweaters, enjoys quietly looking at books, and actually shares with other kids. Rather than having my bubble burst, I’d prefer to delude myself that our second kid will have a similarly calm demeanor. Similarly, no one else wants to hear about how their life is going to be a living hell – that’s what “You’ll have your hands full!” is the nice version of.

3) No donations of maternity clothes unless requested. I deeply appreciate the generosity of the many women who passed on maternity clothes during my first pregnancy. I appreciated the actual styles of said clothes far less. While they may have been attractive on some pregnant woman somewhere, they certainly weren’t on me.

4) No touching. This is pretty much a gimme, and yet some people just don’t seem to know (or acknowledge) it. Friends and family are an exception, but only if if they ask first. The only person who’s totally exempt from this rule is my toddler son and even I’ve yelled at him a bunch of times not to sit on / hit / squish / climb on his future brother. Good advice for life, really.

5) No horror stories. During my first pregnancy, I was a bit of a Smug Pregnant Lady at times. While I was nervous about becoming a mom, my pregnancy was pretty damn easy, all things considered. But this time around is different. Due to some heavy bleeding that sent me to the ER early on, I’m more wound up than a yo-yo on Adderall. I know a number of women for whom things went Very Badly and am perfectly capable of coming up with plenty more horrifying scenarios myself. And I know I’m not the only one. Neither I or any other pregnant women need your idle comments to feed our nightmares.

6) No saying “But it’s for the best” or “It’s all worth it” when we describe our restrictions. Due to said bleeding, I have some substantial restrictions on activities. Whereas during my first pregnancy, I walked a mile to the train every day, biked into my first trimester and was a yoga die-hard, this time I’m not allowed to walk for more than 10 minutes without sitting down. Taking away my main form of stress relief was awesome. In addition, I’m not allowed to lift my two-year-old (too heavy), which is super exciting when he plays the “I’m going to lie on the floor like a dead fish game” when I’m trying to put him in bed. Of course, following the doctor’s orders is for the best – I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise! But that doesn’t negate the fact that the restrictions still suck. I know plenty of women who have much more severe restrictions. If I or any other pregnant woman is complaining, please just sympathize.

7) Don’t treat us as some special category, but just people who will be having a baby in a couple of months. (Except for giving up your seats on the subway – that you can still do, thanks.)

Anticipating a New Member of the Family

My family of three is soon going to be a family of four. That’s right – I’m pregnant! I’m actually in my third trimester as of this week, but for a number of personal reasons, preferred not to reveal it on the blog before now. I’m due in April, about two months before Sprout’s third birthday.

To answer the first question everyone asks, it’s a boy. We didn’t have a gender reveal party or anything like that – I don’t like putting that heavy of an emphasis on gender – but I also don’t like being absurdly coy. So Sprout will be having a little brother. Chris suggested Sprig for his blog nickname, but I think that’s a bit derivative.

And to answer the second question, no, we haven’t decided on a name yet. We didn’t reveal Sprout’s real name to anyone (yes, that is a nickname) until our baby shower, so it’s about the same timing. Of course, that hasn’t stopped both Chris and my mother from making endless, unrequested suggestions, just like last time.

Besides picking a name, our other major priority is making sure the kiddo has somewhere to sleep. When Sprout was born, we put a bunch of stuff that had been in his room in our “office.” Even when we finished the basement, we didn’t stop cramming random stuff in the “extra room.” But now it’s no longer quite so “extra.” Unfortunately, it currently houses my dresser, Chris’s dresser, a giant desk, and a ton of random crap on the desk and floor. All meaning there is absolutely no room for a baby, much less all of his required equipment. My project for January is to totally clean out that room, so we can then fill it again with the baby’s stuff.

Fortunately, there’s very little we need to buy. Sprout’s crib converts into a toddler bed and he’s keeping his rocker, so we’ll need additional ones for the new baby. But almost everything else will be hand-me-downs from Sprout.

Besides sheer logistics, we’re preparing for the new baby in other ways. Sprout is now quite familiar with the fact that his brother will be arriving in the spring – or because he’s still pretty hazy on the seasons, when it gets warm and the trees start budding. I plan to go on maternity leave for two-and-half-months, so I’m trying to gets as much at work done ahead of time as possible. Unfortunately, communications is an unpredictable beast, so they’ll just have to figure how out to handle random media inquiries and needed talking points while I’m out. I’m quite fortunate that all of my leave is paid, a combination of the federal government’s fairly generous leave policy and the fact that I’ve been there nearly eight years.

As for the blog, I’ve been thinking of some special posts for that time, as writing is very difficult when holding and/or nursing a newborn. I’m looking at running some profiles and welcome any suggestions for guest posts!

Lastly, there’s my psychological preparation. While we’ve done all this before, having two kids is fundamentally different from having just one. Plus, this child’s personality is likely to be quite different from Sprout’s. Unfortunately, this isn’t an area I can turn to my parents for help on – I’m an only child.

Over the next few months, I expect to dive into all of these issues a bit here. While this isn’t going to become Pregnancy Central, I will have a number of posts on some of the challenges I’ve faced already and issues in the future. I invite you along for the journey as our family moves into its next stage!