Weird Mental Head Space

Yesterday a person in our church posted a prayer request, because a woman he knew had just had a miscarriage at 6 months.  Which is  where I’m at in my pregnancy right now. 25 weeks.  Approximately halfway through my 6th month.

(Thank you for this handy chart…)

Sometimes, as excited as I am as we prep the nursery and decide on a baby name and accept various gifts and hand-me-downs, I can’t help but feel this is like a little kid dressing up in her mom’s high heels – that this is all some very elaborate make-believe.  Maybe it’s just that we’ve spent so long hoping and trying, it’s hard to imagine this all finally happening. Maybe it’s because a “due date” is a flexible thing, 2 weeks before or after are fair game. But mostly, I think it’s that I’m just so aware of how fragile a thing pregnancy can be.  Being involved in the ALI, and even PAIL, communities I’m surrounded by stories of loss and grief.  That is my norm.  That is my expectation in pregnancy.

So, as Hubster has moments of “Wow, we’re going to have a baby! This is a huge responsibility! Am I going to be a good dad?” I am stuck in this place of “The baby hasn’t kicked in a few hours, or most of the day, is she ok? Is her heart still beating? Are we really going to make it to a live birth?” It’s hard to look ahead, unless it’s in this abstract, detached way.  Such as “Oh, when/if there is a baby in the house, we have to start remembering to disinfect the counter-tops after Hubster spills uncooked steaks on them, instead of just a normal cleaning.”  All my thoughts on parenting are, in some ways, detached.  As if considering a concept that I may or may not actually get to attempt.  I hope to do something things, want to avoid others… but there is a sense of tangibility that seems remote.

In a lot of ways, it’s like when Hubster and I sit and dream of our someday-future-vacation to Scotland where we want to do a tour of the various Scotch distilleries.  Will this happen?  Probably.  But not for a long time.  That’s one expensive vacation, crossing the Atlantic, about $1,000 per plane ticket, then there is accommodations, food, trains…  It’s certainly more realistic than, say, dreaming of going to Narnia.  So I recognize the possibility of the reality of us having a child… it just still feels so distant, uncertain, even with the third trimester just ahead of us.

If I do ever worry about my parenting ability, it’s in this “I’m so stuck in the presence, I haven’t really been hit or overwhelming by the idea of being a parent yet, does that mean I will be unprepared if/when it does happen?”

I also seem to be struck by how my friendships are changing.  Do you remember, when you were really little, your parents were the coolest people?  If you got hurt, you went to them crying knowing they would kiss and make it better.  If you accomplished something exciting you couldn’t want to tell them or show them.

Then you start to get a little older, and suddenly your parents are kind of lame, they don’t get you, but you have these friends that seem more like family.  “The family you choose” we always said in High School.  You are sad or hurting so you would call them up, and go to the mall, or cry over ice cream.  You accomplish something and you can’t wait to share if with them.  These peers that understand all the crazy hormones, they like the same music, they relate to how annoying parents can be – it’s all very intense.  And you think, “we will always be friends”. And not just friends, but we will always be intensely friends, like we are right now.  Even after I got married, I still had friends that I would call up and we would go the bar and stay out late and had each other’s backs.

But it seems I’m entering into a new phase where my friends (as much as I love them and need them in my life) just aren’t so intensely important as they used to be.  My flesh and blood family is becoming the priority again.  Time with Hubster or my parents is just as, if not more than, important as spending time with my friends.  I find myself frustrated when my friends are not flexible, to accommodate my changing work schedule or my desire to also spend time with my family.  I listen to songs that (only a few years ago!) used to really speak to me about friends-as-priority, and now they just feel nostalgic… not my reality.

I know this is all normal, but it feels weird to be in the midst of so much mental change.  I may only be 27 but it makes me feel old; I always pictured that when my life came back around to family-as-priority I’d be older than 27… and even with a husband and children I would still have intense friends.  (They made it happen on the TV show “Friends!”, you mean that’s not real life?!)  But it just doesn’t work like that.  We only have so much time and energy to devote to relationships, and those intense friendships take up a LOT of time and energy.  And being pregnant and trying to prepare for a baby takes up a LOT of time and energy.  And starting a new job take a LOT of time and energy!  It just can’t all be done.

Then on the other side of the coin, it seems that for all the horror, grief and loss that I see around me (both IRL and online) I also seem to have several friends (IRL and online) that are pregnant with their second child, and struggling with fears of how the new child will take them away from their first child.  And I must say – while it seems to be a fairly normal emotion – I just don’t get it.  I don’t understand worrying about how the second child is unfair to the first child.  If anything, the firstborn gets an unfair advantage.  Because no subsequent child will ever get the kind of undivided, focused attention.  And perhaps it really isn’t good for them to have that – there is a lot of psychology these days about how children are raised thinking they are the center of the universe, and then can’t adapt to the real world of school or work where they are not the most important thing.  So I would think that having a second child as soon as possible would in some ways be better for the firstborn child.  Of course, I do understand a couple saying “We are not ready financial/emotionally/physically/spiritually to have another child (yet).” but I just don’t understand this concern for the first born child.  It’s not like anyone says “Oh, this secondborn child will be ripped off for having the firstborn child here, splitting my focus.”  Or maybe it’s just nobody I know has said that?  Please know, I’m not making a judgement here, it’s just been percolating in the back of my head, these musings that don’t make sense to me.

It feels good to get this all down, things that have been on my mind for a while!  I’m sure I could have done these topics much better justice if I had separated them into 3 different posts, but I have so little time to actually sit with the laptop and have the mental energy to write, I wanted to get it all down before I forgot.  Now to get in a shower before heading off to work!


6 responses to this post.

  1. “like a little kid dressing up in her mom’s high heels” <<<<THIS. Yep.

    I wish I had some more substantial to say other then YEP. But I really just found myself nodding along to all of this, having felt all of it before. I hope that helps in some small way. 🙂


  2. I understand exactly what you are talking about. I don’t think I’ll be able to get completely excited about Snowflake until he/she is in my arms. I know too much….


  3. Totally get it. Even when I was checking into the hospital for delivery, it was with a sense of total un-reality… like I was watching a movie. I couldn’t really be going home with a baby!!! It didn’t really hit, or feel real until they placed that baby in my arms. I used to stare at the empty crib and try to force myself to believe/imagine a baby in it. LOL.

    Also, the taking away from baby thing… I didn’t experience that so much… I guess people always say that it would take away from the first because they don’t have/love/know the second child yet. The first one is here and real, so they refer to that one. And I think that mainly the comment is about **or at least for me was about*** feeling like I was actually up to it, capable of giving everything I had to both of them. One baby was so daunting for me, and I couldn’t imagine being able to give that kind of care to two of them at the same time. Once I had two, I realized that it’s never the *same* or *equal*… but it is just right. You do all that you can, the best that you can, and your kids know you love them. And they have each other. That was so important to me, to be able to have at least 2 kids, so they’d have each other. And still, I don’t feel like a good enough mother for either of them. LOL. I need to be better every day. But somedays, I just want to take a nap… 🙂


  4. Sounds like you’ve had a lot on your mind. I’m so glad you have this space to get it all out, process it, get feedback, etc. Hope the reality starts to sink in soon, but it may not feel really real until you hold that baby girl in your arms.


  5. Ahhhh…the whole second kid debate. I was just having this debate with a friend a few days ago. I think there is too much emotion wrapped up in deciding when/if to have a second child. I have a younger brother…I love him (despite his flaws) and would hate to be without him. My bff comes from a family of 10 (she’s the 2nd oldest) and she adores her siblings! Anyway…end rant.

    I hope you get some quiet time soon and the wonderful reality of your pregnancy hits you! I’m so happy for you and Hubster!


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