Un-Potty Training is Apparently A Thing

These photos are from two months ago, when my child was excitedly using the potty regularly and celebrating herself every time she did so. Today, she is back in diapers and her response when I mention using the potty is much worse than the last picture above. I was very frustrated and confused for about a week before I decided to calm down, hear her out, and read up on it. Apparently this is extremely common in toddlers expecting siblings/going through big changes.
 

Still, it threw this mama for quite a loop. One day she was begging me to wear panties and to be a big girl, and the next she was acting like I was trying to hurt her every time I talked about the potty. She even started telling me, "No, I want to be a baby," and begging me to put a diaper on her so she could relieve herself--she was holding it until I did. So I gave in and am trying to focus on the deeper need here. And honestly, I am suddenly feeling my own crazy mixed emotions on the upcoming change, so I get it. I am feeling more of a need to connect with Edie and remind her of my love every five seconds, so I can understand how the anticipation might feel unbearably overwhelming to a young child. 

However, I am not looking forward to potty training AGAIN. Like, I really don't know if I have it in me. I'm trying to tell myself otherwise but my motivation is totally elsewhere at this point (NESTING NESTING NESTING--oh my goodness--the whole house needs to be perfect NOW). Would love your input, veteran mamas. Gentle potty training tips after what seemed like real trauma/shame from the regression? Mothering a toddler is no joke, you guys.

Preparing to Birth My Second Daughter

(image from a birth I photographed last year)

---

I will go into the wild
to bring my baby home.
I will dive beneath the waves
to retrieve her from deep, dark waters.
In the face of the loudest lion, I will roar.
He will tuck his tail and cower from me.
I will tire but I will go on,
for I do not labor in vain.
My work is holy,
though it may feel like Hell.
I know together we will find the clearing;
the sun will smile down on my daughter
as she rebuilds her home at my breast.

 

Hey, Halfway!

We have passed the halfway point of this pregnancy (more or less--baby will come when she's ready), and I really cannot believe it. When I was carrying Edie, every day felt like an eternity and I felt well past ready to meet her by this point. My experience this time around is the complete opposite. I am amazed and terrified by how quickly the days can come and go with children, especially when some of them feel long and hard while I'm living them. Watching Edie grow and change on the outside of my womb, and so, so rapidly, makes what is happening inside of my body feel surprising and sudden. Not that I'm less excited to meet this child, not at all--I just almost feel like I don't have the time to prepare for her the way she deserves, whereas with Edie I had too much time on my hands to shop and research and read and, most of all, exercise WAY too much to prepare my body for a short labor (which may have actually done the opposite and resulted in a number of side effects postpartum I wouldn't wish on anyone).

I had my 20 week prenatal visit yesterday, and I left in tears after discovering I had a more significant weight gain than I had ever had between any two appointments in my first pregnancy, even though my eating habits and activity level hadn't changed (I was actually moving more again compared to the exhausting first trimester), although still within the range of normal. I told the midwife I felt like it was proof I wasn't taking care of this baby as well as I had taken care of Edie during pregnancy, and she tried to convince me it was actually the opposite and I hadn't gained enough weight during my first pregnancy and since I didn't gain any in this first trimester again, my body was making up for it. I also started this pregnancy weighing a full 20 plus pounds less than I started the first pregnancy, so she said I have more to gain, but I still immediately googled appropriate pregnancy weight gain after I got home. Fortunately I didn't have to dig deep because the google screen came up with a blurb specifically saying it is completely normal to jump up in weight five to ten pounds between weeks 15 and 20, and it was from an article by a very respected doctor I follow for breastfeeding and other motherhood advice. Apparently that is the most common time frame for women to suddenly retain a bunch of water, plus blood volume increases 50%. 

I immediately felt a little embarrassed by my meltdown and internally ashamed by the thoughts I'd had throughout the rest of the appointment (planning how I could eat as little as possible like I did the first pregnancy, trying to come up with ways to work out all day instead of doing anything else), because I honestly thought that I had moved past this whole weight/self esteem issue after Edie was born. I love my body because it grew the most beautiful little person (and is now working on another!) and went on to nourish and comfort her for two plus years and counting, not because of what it looks like or what it weighs. I have honestly focused on it less in the past two years combined than I did on any given day as a teenager or college student, and it has been incredibly refreshing. So when all of those feelings bubbled up and came out as full blown sobs as my midwife took my blood pressure, I was surprised. The hormones, you guys. Combine them with mom guilt and a past full of self hatred and, well, it's not pretty.

So I called Daniel and asked him to come home from work before the sun went down to take these photos, to celebrate this halfway mark and my body changing to house and soon birth this new babe. Most of them will be tucked away just for us, but I thought I'd share at least one because I really am amazed by what the female body can do and incredibly thankful I get to experience it a second time. 

And although she blocked my belly when she went in to hug it, I thought this one was worth posting, too :)

Have you struggled with your body changing during pregnancy? I would love to hear your experience.

Second First Trimester Feelings

I dropped down to my knees on the concrete patio outside our back door, wrapped my arms around Edie's narrow shoulders and said, "You are going to be a big sister." I choked on the last two words, and then started to cry. I wanted to follow them up with an apology, because in that moment it just felt like I was suddenly ripping myself from my child after spending two years offering every bit of my body, my energy, and my love to her. Someone else would suddenly be demanding it of me, and I would no longer belong to Edie alone. How could I explain that? How was that okay? What had I done? I wasn't ready. I wouldn't love this new baby the way I loved Edie. My heart was already at max capacity.

I had just peed on a small piece of plastic behind a bush in our backyard because I didn't want to interrupt Edie's play by making her come inside for me to go to the restroom. That's how important her feelings are to me. And with the appearance of two pink lines, I was suddenly supposed to double that love. Or to split it in half. I wasn't quite sure yet, but neither seemed possible.

I spent most of the first trimester feeling this way. With every sudden break I had to take in the middle of reading a book to my toddler (to go vomit), I felt guilty. It seemed I already belonged to this new baby and she wasn't even here yet. I didn't get a chance to warn Edie--how traumatic this must be for her.

But on a morning at the end of the third month, I woke up and realized the nausea was gone. And so was the guilt, mostly. I felt better physically and suddenly became instantly attached to the new baby inside my womb. I could feel her, already her own little person apart from her big sister but such an important addition to her life and my life, and our family as a whole. I began talking about her more frequently and Edie's excitement grew with each mention of the tiny girl she would get to help me take care of. She became more real and less scary. She became a privilege and a gift and an entire encyclopedia of life lessons and companionship for Edie I never could have taught her otherwise. 

I wasn't sure if telling Edie about the baby so early was the right thing to do, but it just kind of happened and I am really glad it did because I think her requests to, "See baby in da belly?" several times a day have really helped ease my worries.

Some days I am still kind of scared out of my mind to have two tiny people relying on me to keep them alive, but for the most part I am really excited. Sisters! What a special relationship I'll get to watch unfold up close. And there a few things making the idea of mothering a toddler and a newborn a little less terrifying, like babywearing, which i'm planning a more extensive post on soon. For now I'm trying to give myself a little grace in not having in all figured out because I know I really have no idea what life will look like in a few months, just like I had no idea what new motherhood would look like the first time around. 

I can say I was definitely more afraid upon finding out I was pregnant with number two than when I found out about Edie. Going from one to two feels huge! What about you, mamas of multiple--how did you feel?