If you asked me to write this post yesterday, I would have been in tears over a couple very hard weeks with my kids. I’ve felt like a bad version of myself lately – short fuse plus insomnia plus heat plus cranky kids has made for a difficult few days. We also aren’t back on schedule yet from our four day trip to Chicago for my grandmother’s funeral last week. Between the crazy storms, the 4thof July, and Chicago, I’m not surprised we’re all out of sorts around here. Luckily, we’ve had a much better day today so I am in a much better frame of mind.
Yesterday, I had my 18 week appointment with my midwife. It went well, kind of hectic with impending house guests for playgroup and my son peeing on the floor (potty training), but all in all it was a good visit. We heard the baby’s heart beat, nice and strong despite dodging the Doppler, and we talked about how I’ve been feeling both physically and emotionally. Have I mentioned how much I love my midwife? She knows what kinds of questions to ask me and how to support me and I am so glad she’s on my birth team.
She asked me if I’ve been doing what I know I need to do for a healthy pregnancy: eat well, exercise, and get a lot of sleep. Honestly, I’ve been taking my prenatal vitamin and that’s the extent of the attention I’ve given this pregnancy so far. With how hard the past couple weeks have been with the boys, my husband helped me with a huge realization last night: I think I am subconsciously disconnecting myself from the pregnancy because I am not confident in my ability to be a good mother to three kids when I feel as though I’ve been failing miserably with two.
I’m going to have to meditate on that thought for a while. Being excited about being pregnant is one thing, but realizing that at some point that baby is going to come out and we then have to parent it is a completely different beast.
To start dealing with this thought, I am going to return to my prenatal yoga class that I did with the boys, as well as work with a trainer to help me be in some semblance of shape. I hope that doing these things will help me start bonding more with this baby and pregnancy. I am also reading some more parenting books to help me get a grip on some issues I have to work through with the boys.
A big part of bonding with this baby is the big decision of whether or not to find out the gender. Up until now I have been absolute in my desire for the gender to remain a mystery but now, I’m wavering. Our big 20-week ultrasound is rapidly approaching us and I am wondering if I find out the gender, will it help me bond more with the baby? If it’s a girl, it will also give me more time to digest having a girl in this house and how different our experience may be with her. If it’s a boy, I can meditate on that, too. I also wonder if being able to tell the boys what we are having that we can daydream together about how our new addition will be in our family. We can toss names around. We can plan.
This is a big change of heart from a few short weeks ago when I made my argument to my husband that I did not want to know the gender for a few reasons:
1- What is the number 2 question most pregnant woman are asked behind, “how are you feeling?” It’s “do you know what you are having?” and I didn’t want this whole pregnancy to be about the gender. As I’m finding, though, in not having an answer to this question gender seems to be the number one topic people want to discuss with me. Having found out what we were having with the boys, we did not discuss gender nearly as much as I have this time around.
2- We aren’t definitely sure if we are done with three babies. If it’s a boy, the presumption would be that we would want a girl, right? But what if we are done with three? If it’s not a boy, the presumption would be that we are done having babies, right? But what if we decide to have a fourth, what then? If we stop after a girl, I would never want the boys to feel as if they aren’t enough because now, “our family is complete with a girl.” In talking to people, I’ve noticed that people either “get” our decision to have three kids, or people don’t. Nothing is wrong with that, it’s just an observation.
3- I want to delay the puking of pink that is inevitable if it is a girl. I just know that if we find out it is a girl that between my mother and my mother in law, little girl clothing and accessories are going first to creep and then explode in our house. The longer we wait to find out, the longer we can delay the unavoidable.
Now, I’m not so sure anymore. I have a lot of friends who both found out or did not learn the gender of their babies and I hear both points of view. With J we found out because he was our first and my husband and I are compulsive planners so we couldn’t wait. With D, we found out because J was so young (12 months) when we got pregnant and we thought that the more we could prepare him with a new sibling the better. To be honest, I don’t know if it mattered since he was still so young when D was born. I think he would have been equally thrown off by and embraced his sibling regardless of gender. Now that the boys are older, I wonder if knowing would help them with the transition more since they know what’s going on. Unfortunately we can’t tell them to keep it a secret if we tried since kids have no clue how to do that.
That’s where I am today. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether or not to find out the gender and how and if it helped you bonded with the baby. Will report back…..here’s to a better couple weeks ahead!