A friend of mine recently relayed a story about how, at 27 weeks gestation with her second child, she'd attended her first prenatal yoga class and nearly cried at the thought of how this time around she hadn't been taking care of herself.
How is it possible, she wondered, that it had taken so long to check in with herself and connect with the newbie? Just one hour a week, that's all she needed.
That's what it's been like for me this whole winter. The weeks just seem to fly by, bringing with them one niggling sickness after another. From one head cold to a stomach ailment and right back to nasty head cold, I've been coping since November with this cyclical suffering.
If it weren't for monthly obstetrics appointments I'm sure I'd forget I was pregnant at all. I can't help but feel sad that I haven't been as present with Thing 2 as I was with Ittybit. I haven't enjoyed it as well.
If I say that aloud I instantly feel the cold gazes of women and the incredulous looks from their menfolk. To many of them enjoying pregnancy is a contradiction in terms.
But I readily admit that I am one of those oddballs who LOVES being pregnant.
For the most part, I feel fine if not better than I normally do during my regular, single-serve existence.
Even the not-so-nice parts -- the heartburn, nosebleeds and itchy skin -- are merely momentary inconveniences easily explained and easily set aside. I know it's the pregnancy that causes it, and as such I can let it go. No worries.
With Ittybit I attended my regular, weekly yoga class religiously; I went to the gym after work three days a week and walked my legs tired on the treadmill; I took time most every morning to follow Shiva Rea's lead on a prenatal exercise tape I vowed would become a staple in my life, even after the pregnancy was over, because I enjoyed its flow.
But my life is markedly different this time around. I come straight home from work, feeling the weight of guilt for having spent so much time away. Every weekend is set aside for "Mommy" time.
"Me" time is what I steal late at night and early in the morning, and cheat my husband out of whenever I get the chance. Me time is for writing about HER, and processing photographs of HER life, and checking in with other moms to reassure myself that I'm at least getting a quarter of it right.
That's the ME I've become. A mother. And not even an efficient one at that. Every morning I pat myself on the back for being able to get out of the house with a kid who's only partially dressed and fed a mere 20 minutes past the time I'd really wanted to leave.
What pains me, though, isn't the "ME" time I'm missing. It's the "HE" time.
I've been making due by keeping score during the morning and evening kickfest game that the inside of my belly has become. I lift my shirt and look down in amusement as one quadrant of my blue-veined abdomen jumps and squirms.
I may not feel as if I'm in this game, but at least I'm cheering it on.
... That's what I tell myself, anyway.