One of the interesting things about having another baby is comparing three, district pregnancy experiences. With Nora, my ankles were swollen and my ice cream cravings were fearsome events. Memories of being pregnant with Gabriel have sort of fallen through the cracks, but I do know that I continued attending rigorous exercise classes throughout and couldn't stop thinking about drinking delicious craft beers.
This baby, perhaps in preparation for what its actual life will be like, isn't getting much special consideration pre-birth, and, truthfully, that's made the pregnancy a positive experience in a lot of ways. I've been enjoying food, not worrying as much about what I should or should not be eating. I've been wearing the maternity clothes I like best, and that are the most comfortable.
I haven't really been thinking about the pregnancy as much in general, at least I didn't in the first seven or eight months (now it's pretty hard to ignore my sheer size and associated fatigue), and certainly haven't worried as much as I did when pregnant with the first two.
I wouldn't say I "forgot" about being pregnant altogether - I mean, come on - but there were plenty of days it fell to the back of my mind, and I didn't dwell on the physical feelings I was having the way I did in the past, especially when I was pregnant with Nora and could devote full afternoons to rhapsodizing on the threat and reality of constipation.
There just hasn't been time. In the same vein, I've gained much less weight with this baby. That's certainly due, in part, to dealing with my already existing children.
I've always hated this reasoning when celebrities use it in magazine interviews: "I'm keeping in shape running after my kids!" Oh, PLEASE. But finally, the third time around, it's true. Despite my penchant for baked goods to start the day, and still obsessed with ice cream, I don't have the energy to indulge quite as much; when confronted with the choice between sweets and lying down, I often choose the latter. Ok, like 50 percent of the time I choose the latter. Which I guess made a difference.
So, I've been staying active, not always by choice. I did, however, start this third pregnancy off strong in the exercise department, still attending classes and even doing a few exercise videos at home. I lifted weights. I kept running, until I got a few weeks into the second trimester and felt - no less than three steps into each run - that I had to pee IMMEDIATELY, no matter that I'd gone less than one minute prior, and also, that my uterus might crash through my pelvic floor. Unpleasant feelings, so I ditched the running in favor of more lying down.
And eventually, I ditched the rest. My days were too busy and I simply didn't feel like it. I had minimal guilt about this. See? Third pregnancies can be nice.
What I kept up with was long walks, away from our house towards the beach at Lighthouse Point, sometimes looping through the park and along the sand by the Long Island Sound, then home again. Two to two-and-half miles at a brisk pace while listening to loud music through my headphones.
I walked when I was pregnant with Nora, too, I remember, but it was always a more leisurely affair. My free hours were far more plentiful then, while expecting my first child. Leaving your house and responsibilities behind in a burst of gleeful energy is something you get very good at once the children actually arrive.
When I wrote "exercise regularly" as a summer goal, I'd been thinking about this departure from more intense endeavors and wondering if I could get back there, but in the weeks since my attitude has been more along the lines of, "Why bother?"
I kept up with the walks, though. I wish I was heading out every other day or so, but the reality is that I've probably averaged one good walk a week in the past few months.
Accepting "the reality," is what this pregnancy has been about, is the thing. Coming to grips with the fact that I am very tired around 4 p.m. and a short nap on the couch, while the children play and (hopefully) don't kill themselves is a much better idea than tackling whatever duty I'd meant to complete that afternoon.
Releasing myself from any guilt established eating quite a lot of M&Ms, after which I feel the need to ask J if that act could have possibly given the baby diabetes in the womb (and he responsibly replies, "Oh my God. No.")
Looking forward to quiet hours with a new baby once he or she finally arrives. Letting family and babysitters help. Not working, or thinking about work, considering opportunities or worrying about the lack thereof, until I'm ready.
The summer goal of exercising regularly? In my more aggressive past, no, I'm not sure I'd consider my actions to date a success.
But this summer is different. This summer, it's a yes.