My figure lately defines me in more ways than one. I’m watching where I walk and what I eat, things I read and which social situations I choose to show up to or not. Strangers have so much to say-pregnancy is such a magnified state of being that people are compelled to offer advise and help everywhere I go, and I appreciate it most of the time.
While all of these things can be and certainly are intense and consuming, I’m really embracing this last pregnancy. Despite the sleeplessness, physical awkwardness and discomfort, I’m focusing on appreciating this time because the truth is I will miss most of these things dearly.
There’s an inexplicable consciousness and self-awareness that happens for me when I’m carrying a child, and I don’t think I’ve really appreciated it or recognized as much in my past pregnancies as I have lately. Over the years of my life, there have been periods of intense loneliness and detachment from my physical self that have been related to body image, and pregnancy has helped to reform those feelings. The body is truly a temple, and during these times especially it’s confirmed and reinforced that I should treat and regard it as such. Knowing that a brand new life is being created from that temple helps my brain shift to auto-pilot, default caretaker mode, but this time it’s for my own self as well. As a mother, I admittedly have struggled with the Airplane Protocol which demands that the adult gets the oxygen mask first, where as I would absolutely in every situation make certain that the kids get the life-saving procedure initially. Their needs before mine, in most situations anyway. It seems to be more of a mental state than it is a physical one. Pregnancy is a mode of self-preservation in it’s realest state and it’s something that I hope to continue learning from long after my fourth baby is born and no longer a literal part of me.
The closer I get to our due date, the more these feelings morph into encompassing the real time changes that will occur within our nuclear family.
Jack will be a big brother three times over. I can visualize holding his little hand through each of my pregnancies, thinking about how this new sibling will affect him. He was born to be the leader of his pack; He is incredibly gentle, empathetic and compassionate with both Zoe and Beau.
A few days ago, he came into our room one morning after waking to talk to me-he’s a fairly reserved child, so I knew what he had to say would be poignant. “I dreamed the new baby is a girl, momma”, he said proudly, beaming. From the beginning, Jack has expressed that he wanted another brother, but after he had this dream he’s never brought it up again. Beau brings enough boy energy to our pack to cover a dozen kids, and I think Jack feels it. The two of them wrestle and fight, but only because Beau instigates… Adding another boy will/would be so much fun.
Zoe is positively beside herself in anticipation of the new baby’s arrival. She has names for a boy and a girl picked out, and squeals at the mere mention of baby diapers, baby bottles, baby clothes. She asks every day how big the baby is now, and each day I show her my BabyCenter update… The baby is as big as an eggplant! As big as a cantaloupe! As long as the zucchini that daddy just harvested out of our new garden! I really worried about how it would affect her when Beau was born, suddenly not being the baby any more. She was the only girl though, and her place has been apparent regardless of birth order. Her vibrance and joy, passion and, well, girliness, has firmly established her as the sunshine in our family.
Beau seems to have little concept about what will happen come September and a new baby joins our family. We talk about it often and explain to him what’s going on with me physically. Beau isn’t a gentle spirit, generally speaking, so that’s something we’re trying to encourage in his behavior. He is incredibly sensitive, however, and very, very astute when it comes to communicating and understanding emotions. I get a lump in my throat when I think about Beau suddenly not being the baby anymore, and how my divided attention will affect him. I’m worried about how he will adjust, of course, but these are concerns I’ve had twice before, and twice I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
There is such magic in watching them become siblings. Those moments between each other where they listen and learn and laugh together are what my soul feeds on: My life and my joy, encompassed.
They’ll understand what a gift they are to each other one day, even though right now a great deal of their time is spent teasing and competing with each other, with moments like the ones above sprinkled in throughout every day.
It feels like I’m waiting with baited breath to see what happens next, even though I kind of already know that truly, I’m just sitting in a time capsule. This is all very intense and important and visceral and wonderful… I kind of want to gather it up and put it in my pocket for our, and my, future reference.
Beautifully captured, in word and picture, @mommasgonecity. Your babes are all thriving….
This has me in tears. I’m expecting baby #3 in early September, a girl after two little boys, and I so wonder how they will be as big brothers (twice over now for my oldest) and how they will do with my divided attention. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised with all it, and I am so very excited to watch our family transform again!
You are a beautiful pregnant woman and I just love watching your family!
What a beautiful chronicle! xo
I admire you, fourth baby!! Just wow 🙂
I’m now in 35th week of pregnancy and I’m quite tired, it’s my second pregnancy and I don’t know why but I’m much scared than first time 🙂
Hugs for your cute family
This post reminded me how grateful I am to have grown up with 3 siblings. I hope to be able to have a family like that soon!
This is lovely. I have a five month old daughter after two boys and she is our last baby. It was such a different experience knowing, absolutely, that this was my last pregnancy. I appreciated every moment of it. My younger boy is like your Beau, and my older like your Jack and they are both amazing big brothers in their own way. My Tobin (the younger), although not gentle with his brother, is very gentle with the baby. I’m guessing Beau will be the same.
So lovely. I didn’t realize you were already so far along! So exciting…
Such a beautiful post. I didn’t realize you didn’t know the gender yet. Your children are so loving. Beau is young and will embrace his new sibling well, I’m sure. He has Theo to guide him. 🙂
What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your experiences and family with us.
Sorry for my english, (I’m from Hungary). I have three sons and a little daughter, they are 11, 8, 4, and soon 1 year(s) old. Your words are my feelings one year ago. Most of that wavy emotions come from our body, you know, but it’s so hard to go through this way to make place for the new one in our heart. We have bad feelings, becouse we getting far of our big babies, and the little one begins to take his/her part of our heart. But the wonder of the life is, after the baby’s delivered, everything is so simple and natural, and we don’t understand what we worried about, as the same would it be always ever, as he/she would be always the part of the family, and just now realised. Happyness, as no other. Love, Györgyi
What a beautiful growing family you have!
Such a gentle, poignant tribute to mothering. What a beautiful, healthy family you have. Cherish all the moments. And, btw, you still look just stunning:)
That picture of Beau asleep around your belly… gah… I guess he balances out all that energy with the most peaceful sleeping moments imaginable.
My Phoebe turns two on Monday! I cannot believe it.
ps – 20 Signs You Live With a Toddler
Thank you for sharing your life. I remember when I was expecting my daughter how I worried over my son’s life changing. How I cried because I didn’t know if not being the only baby would affect him. Needless to say, he took it in stride & I cried for nothing! You have a lovely and loving family and another baby will bring only joy.
Happy 30 Weeks! Beau is growing into quite the little man. I definitely think that there is a certain kind of peace and awareness that comes with pregnancy. Things seem so much clearer.
CONGRATULATIONS on your fourth pregnancy! You are absolutely glowing! I love reading your blog today as much as I did the first time I discovered it! Are you still following a vegan lifestyle? If so, I’d love to read more about that on your blog! Xoxo…
Love your posts, but today your sandals win the prize. They are so cute. Would you be willing to share where you got them?
Lovely lovely post! You’re an incredible writer and this entry really shows off your skills as a writer, as well as your love and compassion as a mother. Your family is incredibly lucky to have you!
Beautiful post. We are contemplating a second baby and reading this post made me look forward to another pregnancy (in spite of all its challenges) and seeing our son as a big brother. Also: pregnancy as a “magnified state of being” is the perfect description.
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful adventure that you are on. You have made me feel like I am part of your family and I love seeing how your beautiful children are growning and the glimpses into your lives.
Absolutely beautifully written. As the 2nd of 4 kids, I can attest to the fact that my siblings helped shape the person I became. I have actually thanked my parents on a number of occasions for there being 4 of us, as we wouldn’t be who we are without each other. Love that you are treasuring each moment and taking pictures and blogging about how these moments make you feel. It will be a true treasure to reflect back when they’re older. <3
I am one week behind you with my first pregnancy. This post totally opened my eyes. I have spent the past 28 weeks scared, paranoid and generally full of fear for my health my child’s health and fearing gods plan. This has reminded to have a grateful heart. To enjoy the moments and to somehow be present. Thank you. Good luck. God bless.
Your voice is so refreshing! Thank you for sharing. Wishing you the best.