I’ve believed for many years that guilt is a crappy emotion, one better off not felt at all if you can help it. I especially can’t stand when people try to make you feel guilty. Children and teens are extra sensitive to that (or at least I was) and that’s just no way to live – constantly reflecting, knowing if you had made a different choice, you would’ve made someone else happy. As an adult – I simply do not allow other people to make me feel guilty. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
That being said, I’m not immune to self-imposed guilt. I certainly don’t ever decide to feel guilty about something, but sometimes it creeps up on me like a vine on an old house, and I can’t shake it.
Where am I going with this…..
I have a bad case of “pregnant mommy guilt”.
I feel as though I’m hanging on to a “normal” pregnancy by a thread. 31 weeks, I’m staying afloat, but barely. Increasing Braxton Hicks have reminded me that I’m not far from bedrest, if this keeps up. Worse, if I do go to the hospital with increased contractions, I’ll be a nervous wreck, which will increase them even more. And then I’ll be in preterm labor, and they’ll have to give me the world’s worst drugs to stop the contractions, the ones that make me feel like I’d rather be knocked out then put through them. And then I’ll be on hospital bed rest, away from my children. Yeah, see, I simply must try to avoid that giant mess. If I can just make it to 34 weeks at home. At least.
Because of these increased Braxton Hicks (since this happened last time, I don’t believe my body likes being pregnant at this gestation and fights me on it), I can’t do what I used to do even a few months ago.
At work, it’s not too bad. My students are good about bringing out chairs for me to sit and put my feet up on at recess. I teach mostly sitting. I breathe through occasional contractions. I eat lunch on the couch, so I can put my feet up. When I drop things, my students are quick to pick them up for me.
At home, it’s a different story. I’ve taken some precautions already (besides drinking between a gallon and a gallon and a half of water a day). But I can’t play with my children outside. I can’t push them on a swing, I can’t pull them in a wagon, I can’t go for a walk, I can’t stand up and throw a ball. In the house, I can’t pick them up and hold them, unless I’m on the couch and they come in for a snuggle. I can’t put them in their cribs. Changing diapers is a challenge, and I try to only do it in the morning when I’m feeling my best. I can’t do all the chores I was doing. I do some, but leave many more to my husband, including trips to the basement, or emptying the tub of bath toys. Simply put – I’m not being the mom and wife I was. I’m not being the mom and wife I want to be. I’m not being the mom and wife that my kids and husband need.
And I have self-imposed pregnant mommy guilt for it.
The truth is, I miss my kids. I miss our sensory activities, our simple trips to the store or playground. I miss getting on their level, picking them up, holding them and dancing. I miss saying “sure” to things they ask for; things that aren’t unreasonable, that they want their mother to help them do. Instead, I am using my repeated line, “I’m sorry, I can’t because I have baby belly.” I miss the effort I was putting into their well-beings before, and not only has that effort drastically dwindled the past few months, but I know it will continue to as we welcome a newborn home. I can’t wait to have a third child, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared that I’m about to change the lovely, perfect relationship I had with the twins. I don’t want them to have to rely on other people for the love and attention they were getting from me. I don’t want my role in their lives to change. That does scare me.
And I miss my husband. Even when I’m not tired, I go to bed early most nights, because I know that when I do, the Braxton Hicks will stop and with a good night’s sleep, I’ll feel much better in the morning. I’m not a fan of asking him for yet one more thing, every five minutes, or attempting to co-parent from the sidelines.
I’m just kind of – over all of this right now.
There’s been fewer and fewer calm, lovey moments between myself and the twins lately. I’m either not involved in what they’re doing, or I’m losing my patience because I’m tired. It sucks. In moments of hormonal weakness, I’ve wondered if the kids are even happy to see me or need me as they did a short while ago.
Which is why it was so nice today to receive perfect, adorable pictures of my babies from my nanny (I’m planning their birthday party as a way to mentally focus on them – and now I may have their invitation picture!), to be greeted with an enthusiastic “Hi, Mommy!” from my boy as he waved from down the sidewalk, and to curl up on the couch tonight with a little girl who rubbed my baby belly and laughed and snuggled with me.
I needed to feel like a mom again today. My old self. I know in the next few months, those moments will be fleeting – so I’m soaking them up when I have them.