What is it like to be pregnant in Texas in August, three days past your due date?
I will tell you.
– I feel like a bloated 200-pound beached whale stranded in the middle of the Sahara desert.
– I am always hot. Even in the air-conditioning. Even under a fan.
– My fingers and toes look like fat sausages.
– I am down to one pair shoes that still fit and don’t hurt my feet: a pair of Grandma-worthy purple and grey Crocs sandals. I wear them non-stop, unashamedly, even if they don’t even match my outfits. Because let’s all be serious. It’s a little late in the game to be looking cute anymore. (Just between you and me, I plan to have a private party to burn them after the baby comes.)
– I never take offense at strangers gawking and commenting, “Almost there?” I high-five them back enthusiastically, “You KNOW IT! I was due last Friday!”
– I sheepishly arrive to all the appointments I was supposed to not make with an awkward, “Yep. Heh, heh. Stiiiiiil pregnant.” Like this weird lady that cannot give birth and has a permanent basketball belly.
– I may or may not drive motorized shopping carts when available.
– I drink more water than Lawrence of Arabia’s camel.
– However, I can barely eat anything thanks to my squished stomach. (Gone with the Wind’s Mammy would be proud.)
– I toss and turn all night long trying to get comfortable and wake with numb arms. (What a rip-off to get no sleep just prior to sleepless newborn nights!)
– Most of my maternity shirts are too short to wear anymore. Why hello White Trash Crop Top Preggo!
– When I get irritable and snarky, I hear my darling husband mutter under his breath, “Just have the baby already.”
– You know what’s awesome? When you weigh more than you have ever weighed in your life, and your husband is training for a biathlon. So Dave is morphing into Hercules while I can’t even tie my own tennis shoes. Each week David steps on his garage scale and returns to the kitchen glowing over his new weight loss while I, EACH WEEK, stand on the doctor’s scale while the nurse, as if in some bad dream, keeps tapping that horrific black tab to the right to reveal a number that would make an elephant blush. Carry on, six-pack husband. Carry on.
– I waddle unashamedly in public. (I feel you earn the right to waddle with PRIDE when you go past your due date. Or should we call it full-term SWAG).
– I pick nothing up off the ground anymore. I make my minion children do it. (Esther, hand me my shoes right there. Samson, pick up my purse and give it to me. BWHAHAHHAAHA. All hail the Overdue Pregnant Villain Mom.)
– All my life I’ve always been taught to graciously accept a compliment with a kind, “Thank you!” vs. belittling it, arguing it or dodging it if you feel it’s untrue. HOWEVER, when a stranger gushes, “Wow! You look absolutely beautiful – must be that pregnant glow!!!” I am literally so shocked I cannot even answer. And I am never at a loss for words. But SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE. HOW IN THE WORLD can my swollen face, gigantic belly and waddling form solicit a compliment?!?!? I HAVE NEVER FELT MORE UNATTRACTIVE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. After an awkward silence, the stranger laughs, “Don’t feel that way or something?” No. No, I don’t. I feel like a paralyzed-until-delivery Biggest Loser contestant trapped in a foreign body that is not my own. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLY ATTRACTIVE.
– I have the energy of a 99-year-old, 300-pound woman.
– The shaded pool (because all Texans know an unshaded August pool is bath water) is my only solace. I float on a noodle (er, maybe two – see above accurate whale analogy) listlessly. It’s sheer bliss. No back pain. No weight. I feel like a skinny teenager again. The only bad part: entering and exiting. When I step down the steps to enter, I feel like the entire pool rises three feet higher from the big lady’s sheer body mass displacing water. When I exit, I go from feeling light as a feather to hoisting out my gigantic, doubly heavy dripping giant self for all to see, while the pool water level now goes WAY BACK DOWN to normal.
– And finally, maybe it’s this 106′ heat getting to me psychologically or something, but I’m starting to truly believe I will always be pregnant.
Remember your oldest still needs attention, too!
In the mornings, when we are all getting ready for the day, I often lay out five-year-old Samson’s clothes and tell him to get dressed and brush his teeth by himself. Then I whisk two-year-old Esther away to help her get ready for the day. She cannot do anything by herself, but (hurrah!) Samson can now do a lot of things by himself!
However, my heart melts when Samson often tags in after us after a few minutes, “Mom! I need your help!” His face is covered by his pajama top and he’s “faking” that he can’t get it off his head. At first I was frustrated at him asking for help on something he could do himself when I was already busy helping Esther and had breakfast to fix, lunches to prepare, etc. But then I realized, even though Samson can do a lot of things independently, he still wants to be with us and be included. It’s not fun being sent away by yourself to get ready when you hear Mom and little sister giggling in the next room.
Of course there is a balance in teaching your child to do what they don’t want to do each day. But on this one, I really don’t mind “helping” Samson with his pajama shirt. It takes two seconds and I try to show Samson extra love when I take it off, “There you go, honey! Love you!”
But remember that even though your oldest child may no longer require the constant caretaking of your younger children, they still want to be included and loved. They no longer need diapers, or someone to feed them or carry them to the car. But we can still STOP in our day to show love to them and make them feel included. Here’s some ways I try to show love to Samson:
– we try to play a board game or read a book outload each day when Esther naps. (Maybe find a game or activity you can both enjoy together that’s your default way to build fun memories – that’s the beauty of an older child!)
– I try to proactively give him a hug when he wakes up, when he returns home and at night (think about it – when children grow older, they require less caretaking and, that’s a lot less affection).
– I try to take him on errands just by himself, when I can, so I can concentrate on him and answer his 10,000 questions the entire car ride
– I try to make Samson feel important by giving him jobs that only “big boys” can do, and then I tell his dad all about the kind things he did and tasks he accomplished that day over mealtimes
One of my favorite things I love about having young children is how they are my constant shadows as we go about the day. If I need to go complete something upstairs at my desk, I soon hear the patter of little feet coming up and soon, there we all are in the playroom. If I need to throw some make-up on before we run out the door, there are my two little comrades playing beside me in my bathroom as I put mascara on. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Try to remember to include your oldest in your daily routines so that they still feel loved and valued, even if they are big girls and boys now. They were our first babies, after all, and still need their mamas.
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Stop to enjoy the season of little ones
Yesterday, I corralled both Samson and Esther out the door for my prenatal chiropractic appointment. (Do any other parents of multiple young children ever feel like you are a modern mom cowgirl when getting those little ones all out the door – “YAH! YAH!” behind them on your horse, guiding the little distracted cattle out the hallway to the garage door to the mom-mobile?) In our rush, though, I stopped with a smile to take a good look at my two-year-old Esther.
She was dressed in a simple summer tank and girly seafoam green skirt (so hard for me with this big baby belly to bend over to take shorts on and off – dresses and skirts, I love you right now post potty-training!). A pink bow pulled back her chlorine/sun brightened summer hair. But what was arresting was her dragging her new gigantic Minnie Mouse doll (literally the same size as her) to the car, along with a fake lizard and two more smaller Minnie Mouse dolls. That’s THREE Minnie’s and one medium sized green lizard. And she was so serious in her mission to bring them all – like a Harvard law school girl on her way to class with heavy textbooks. I LOVE MY LIFE. “Esther, want me to hold those while you get in your car seat, baby?” “uh, YES!”
I buckled her in and stuck all the animals around her and gave her the gigantic Minnie to embrace in a full-frontal hug for the entire drive. I couldn’t stop staring at her in my rear-view window. Oh, these are happy, happy days. I love being a parent!!!!
(If you are an overwhelmed parent of young children, try to find moments like these in your busy days to STOP and savor your little ones. They won’t always be carrying three Minnie Mouse dolls to the car. Find ordinary, extraordinary moments in your busy days caretaking so you can truly enjoy, not just endure, the little years!)
I’m 39-weeks pregnant with a baby that could have been legally aborted. And apparently, if aborted at Planned Parenthood, my baby could have been ripped apart and it’s body parts sold for profit.
It breaks my heart to write about my unborn baby like that. But I cannot stay silent when every night laying in bed, my baby kicks with life inside me, while millions of it’s fellow babies in utero are killed and silenced forever legally.
I am not a thumb-sucking pregnant Pollyanna at my computer on this issue. I have brushed shoulders since I was a teenager with the often not-so-pretty aftermath of women that chose life for their babies.
I have held the quivering knees of countless teenage girls as they birthed their babies in hospitals when I worked for one of the largest adoption agencies in the country as a childbirth coach to their brave clients. After the baby was born, some of the girls didn’t want to see or hold their new baby. Others held their new, wet baby, but there was often no one else in the room but me. “Would you like to call anyone to tell them the news?” I asked. Often the reply was a no-eye-contact, sheepish, “No. There’s no one.”
(90% of boyfriends breakup with their teenage girlfriend when they discover she is planning to keep the baby. These girls choose to forgo their school, friends, college scholarships, figure, families, reputation, and their future plans to give their babies life. They could have chosen one simple abortion appointment and no one would know.)
The tear-filled goodbye from the teenage mother to their child is hard to watch. But I wish you all could witness the tears of joy as an adoptive couple holds their adopted baby for the first time, often after years of dashed hopes and waiting. I’ve sat in on birth panels and heard grown adopted children tell their stories, adoptive parents gush with love for their child from a stranger and grown birth mothers talk about adoptive decision aftermath – they are modern day heroes in my book.
As a journalist of a national news magazine, I covered the effects of sonograms in pregnancy help centers. I watched from a corner of a dark room as abortion-minded teenage girls saw their wriggling baby on a screen. I’ll never forget the grin that broke out when one girl heard the THUD, THUD, THUD of her baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
(A baby’s heart starts beating only 18 days after conception. 18 days.)
I volunteered at a pregnancy help center answering phones, folding baby clothes, sorting diapers and yes, sitting in on counseling sessions with pregnant women in limbo. The stories are not all beautiful. There are drugs, homeless living, terrified teenagers that want to end the positive pregnancy test nightmare, angry grandparents-to-be, and irate boyfriends. There’s no quick solution. Unwanted pregnancies are messy.
But messy or not, these babies are alive and deserve the chance to live.
When I went in for the eight-week sonogram of the baby now in my womb, we delighted in our precious squirming baby on the screen with a flickering, steady heartbeat. I couldn’t stop smiling as tears of joy drained off my cheeks. But when I walked through the glass doors to exit, I shuddered and turned to my husband, “Can you believe we could go legally kill this baby right now if we wanted to? I cannot believe abortion is still legal.”
We have two healthy, beautiful blonde children – a boy and a girl – and are expecting this third baby any day. My children love my big baby belly: they talk to the baby, kiss the baby, hug the baby. And yet after I tuck my little darlings in bed at night and retreat to bed with swollen pregnant feed, my Facebook feed is full of the horrors to innocent, voiceless babies, just like mine, that are being killed and sold for profit BY THE MILLIONS.
To the brave ones that had the guts to film and produce the atrocious Planned Parenthood videos, I salute you. To the mothers that choose life for their babies above their own comfort, I salute you. To the pro-life movement that serves all over the country, I salute you. I will never be silent on this issue. We must be the voice for the silent babies.