I can remember back to my first pregnancy when I basically had nothing else going on in my life. I mean, I was working but only part-time, teaching a class at UNR, and going to graduate school and I’m sure I thought my life was busy but what did I know? Nothing. That’s what. I remember that my pregnancy consumed basically every waking thought I had. I poured over the “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” book, reading every detail about what symptoms I could be experiencing, what size fruit the baby was this week, what to expect at my doctor’s visits. I’d spend time thinking about things like how to decorate the nursery, what color stroller we should get. As my due date drew closer (and by that I mean, months ahead of time), I washed, folded, sorted, organized, re-washed, re-sorted, re-organized thousands of tiny onesies and receiving blankets. The only thing I never thought about was being pregnant and the baby. Once in awhile I thought about showering but quickly realized that would take away from the time I could spend sorting tiny socks that would never be worn (although I didn’t know that at the time).
Fast forward three pregnancies and I find myself here, on my fourth pregnancy, where, most days, I forget that I’m pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t forget so much that I drink the beer that I so desperately want (and deserve, after a day spent wrangling 3 kids under the age of 6) but it’s nothing like back on my first pregnancy when every thought was somehow related to the baby on the way.
There’s just so much else going on. Take a recent week as an example: Our 5-year-old started kindergarten, our 3-year-old turned 4, and the 16-month old discovered the fun of answering every request with a loud “NO!” as she runs in the opposite direction. Then there’s the four month old puppy who lives with us. And the other dog. And the fact that one of the downstairs toilets is broken. Again. There’s soccer practice, soccer games and dance class. Lunches must be packed. Has anyone seen the baby’s shoes? Has anyone seen the baby? Dinner must be made. Baths must be given. Birthday parties to go to! Thank you notes to write! This person needs this. That person needs that. Someone please go get the baby to get out of the fireplace!
How am I supposed to handle all those things and still have the energy to research what size fruit the baby is this week? I consider it a win when someone asks how far along I am and I can remember the answer without having to think about it. I’m being honest when I tell you that days go by when I don’t entertain one single thought about this pregnancy. Judging from how I handled baby #3’s arrival (when the crib wasn’t put together until almost two months AFTER she was born), you can rest assured that we will have nothing ready for when this baby makes its debut. The crib will not be put together (well, that’s a lie. The crib is already put together. It’s just that there’s someone already occupying it. So that means we either need to buy another crib or to transition the “baby” (not the new baby, the current baby) into a big-girl bed before the baby (the new one, not the current one) arrives. Yeah, that’s so not happening). The newborn clothes will likely still be in the box that’s hidden somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of the attic. Those clothes will certainly not be washed ahead of time, never mind folded and neatly put away, before this little peanut joins us. And long ago I realized the uselessness of receiving blankets.
At some point I’ll probably panic that we have nothing prepared. But then I’ll remember that I’m tired (and probably hungry) so I’ll eat a snack and sit down on the couch instead.
Anna Thornley lives in Southwest Reno, and has four children, ages 5,4,1 and 21 weeks gestation. This post was originally published on Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine.