Okay, I guess that's not the title you'd expect for an announcement of this nature, but that's kind of how I'm feeling at the moment.
We're expecting another child.
I'm excited by the prospect of another baby to nurse and cuddle, another precious one to love and nurture. It's just that I'm feeling so icky and fatigued right now from the symptoms of early pregnancy that it's difficult to maintain a consistently positive outlook. In fact, a few nights ago I told my husband that after this pregnancy was over, that would be it. I didn't ever want to be pregnant again.
Tonight, however, the finality of that statement makes me cringe, even though I anticipate being completely satisfied with four children.
I'm only ten weeks along in this pregnancy, but I'm already showing so much that if I wanted to keep it a secret, I'd have to be borrowing my husband's shirts and sweaters in order to hide the bulge, which protrudes several inches past my bust line! (The photo above is proof.) I've already had to resort to wearing maternity clothes, because while I can still squeeze myself into some of my oversized pants, it just isn't comfortable.
I remember when I was pregnant with our eldest, there wasn't a hint of a baby bump until I was nineteen weeks along, and even then, it was hardly noticeable. I was eager to email a picture to my family to show them my progress, but although my husband and I played with different camera angles and poses, the resulting portrait was disappointing. Except for the fact that I have my hand placed protectively below my "belly," nothing about the picture would give you the impression that I'm carrying a baby. See that tree beside me? I'm actually holding onto it and leaning backwards to give the illusion that I have something to show off. Even so, I had already started wearing maternity clothes. (Notice those telltale wrinkles under my shirt from the awkward elastic on my maternity jeans?) I was so eager to look and act the part of the pregnant mama!
Around that time I had a conversation with my sister-in-law, who was pregnant with her fourth at the same time that we were expecting our first. She supported my premature use of maternity clothes, remembering that she had felt the same way when she was expecting her first child. But she said that with successive pregnancies, she tried to put off getting out her maternity clothes as long as possible . . . but she ended up needing them earlier and earlier. She shook her head in exasperation. "With this fourth one, I felt like I started to show immediately!"
I can attest to that trend! This time around, it was at least a full week before I decided to take a pregnancy test that I noticed with dismay that I seemed to have gained a bit of weight around the middle. At the time, it didn't occur to me that the little muffin top I was developing could be the result of pregnancy. Now it's obvious that it was, as my belly has continued to expand rapidly in response to the baby inside me.
The female body is amazing. When I'm growing a baby, I'm always in awe of how far the skin of my stomach can stretch without bursting and how wildly displaced my internal organs can get while still functioning (sort of–indigestion, anyone?). And though my husband may hear me gripe and grumble from time to time over the inconveniences of my changing shape and crowded innards, the fact is that I feel tremendously lucky to be a woman and have the privilege of growing life in my womb and bringing it into the world.
So here I go again! For the next thirty weeks I'll be doing my best to enjoy being part of the greatest natural miracle I've ever known.
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