For this pregnancy, I’ve previously written reflections on the 1st and 2nd trimesters. We welcomed our third child into the world last week! This pregnancy was, in short, a doozy. But as is the case when you are an over-analyzer, I’ve learned so many things that I believe will stick with me for the long haul. When we are pregnant we can tend – or at least I can – to attempt to carry on as though nothing much has changed. Pregnancy, more than any other time of my life so far, has really shown me that there are seasons in which I need to step back, evaluate and change my behaviors and habits. For the good of myself and the good of my family.
Here is what I learned my third trimester.
(1) Hormones are not overrated. I’ve been told that while hormones don’t lie, they do exaggerate. Someone prone to worry may start to worry excessively, but someone who rarely worries probably won’t develop full blown anxiety. But these things we call hormones cannot be discounted and have a huge impact on the quality of life. I know something is hormonal when from one minute to the next you can go up and down. One day you are rushing through the house multitasking like nobody’s business and the next day you see four dirty plates and a crusty sippy cup and you lay on the bed and cry. Not that that happened. We can’t get rid of hormones and they have their place, so during pregnancy I’ve found that I have to embrace them to a certain extent. They are controlling my emotional well-being and my emotional well-being controls my ability to function. They can’t be ignored. We still have to cope around them, but those suckers are serious business.
(2) It’s okay – IT IS OKAY – if some normal house rules get put aside. This past month or two some of the normal rules of engagement in our home have changed. We used to get up, do breakfast, have independent play then structured activities. Now, we get up, do breakfast, I put them to watch TV for 45 minutes and I lay down. For the first week or two I felt so horribly guilty letting them watch TV so early in the morning (read my thoughts on Kids and TV watching here, note: I don’t think it’s from the devil in itself) that I didn’t even appreciate the rest. Finally, I decided I just needed to shut up and silence my inner voice. I was pregnant and, dadgummit, 45 minutes of Little Bear isn’t going to ruin their future. And it might, it just might, have helped me make it through the day without having my own meltdown which goes contagious.
(3) It is a special time to shower your children with attention. Quite a few times I’ve been overcome with emotion that when my third came my attention would be split 3 ways instead of 2. No less love for anyone, but perhaps it’ll take more purposeful moments from me to be sure that each of my kiddos have undivided attention. I’d hold my oldest girl and feel so happy that she was my first. She is so special and helpful and I want to be sure I don’t turn her into a helper extraordinaire at the expense of being able to still be a baby. My youngest, 16 months, still looks like a baby. Do boys seem to age slower to anyone else? He’s currently teething and wakes in the night to sing and laugh in his crib and though I know I should just leave him, I keep going in there and hugging him. Last night I picked him up and he nuzzled his head on my shoulder and I thought that it might be one of the last times I held him as my youngest. It has been so nice to love them this way and has helped the long wearying days have more purpose.
Although I’ve suffered from anxiety this pregnancy and had a mini meltdown/identity crisis I am so happy and blessed to be having another baby. People kept asking me what I will do after I have the baby and have three young ones (under 2.5) to take care of. I answer, “Well, for starters, I will sleep on my stomach, throw away my nasty acid reflux medicine, and enjoy my normal sized ankles.” As for the rest, well, I’ll figure it out.
Read related posts What I learned in my first trimester,
What I learned in my second trimester, Kids and Television, Postpartum Anxiety,
the Contagious Meltdown and What I Learned as a SAHM with an identity crisis
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