If I had conceived last month, WZW and baby #2 would be two years apart. In fact, based on the timing of my menstrual cycle, my due date would have been only one day off from WZW’s. Although there are worse things that can happen, having two children with birthdays very close, or perhaps even on the same day, would have been annoying for everyone involved. So we figured we can hold off for a month.
But we are definitely thinking about #2. Before having WZW, I thought I’d want to have my kids less than two years apart. But the reality of life after baby is that it’s really tough. It’s hard having such a demanding job, and also handling life with a toddler, who is naturally demanding in a different way. So it’s taken me a while to get to the point where I’m ready to start trying for #2.
For a long time, I was hoping to get to a point where I could focus on eating better and exercising a little more. But after a while, I realized that it’s not realistic given my current circumstances. Even if I didn’t have a child, my job would take a significant amount of my energy. When I’m there, I can’t half-ass it. I need to give my 100%. Not to mention the time- I would love to have a 40-hour work week, rather than my typical 50-something hour work week. With the combination of needing my brain to be critically thinking most of the time, staying positive and friendly for my patients, and the long hours of doing so, my usual work day is very draining.
Between work and wanting to spend time with WZW, I just don’t have the energy to prioritize Paleo eating. While I’m not going crazy with pizza and pasta, ultimately convenience wins out. Not to mention after a stressful day, I gravitate towards comfort food.
One day my brother-in-law was helping watch WZW when the nanny was sick, and he was gracious enough to make dinner. It was a fish and greens dish from Sun Basket (like Blue Apron, but faster to make and with Paleo options). I ate it, and it was good, but I just didn’t feel satisfied. I needed more- something with more carbs, and/or something heartier. It’s too bad that even when a healthy meal was made for me and ready to eat, it still wasn’t enough. It just goes to show how much my mental state can affect my eating habits.
Even if I finish work at a time that would potentially allow for fitting in a little exercise before heading home, that means less time that I’m spending with my son. Of course, exercise is beneficial for my health and I need to prioritize that. But still, when I don’t see WZW that much during the work week as it is, it’s hard to choose. It’s easy to talk myself out of exercising by rationalizing that it’s because I want to see my son, when really part of it is that I’m feeling unmotivated.
I’m trying not to completely give up- if I can choose healthier options, or if I can fit in a little exercise, I’m going to try. But committing to being fully or nearly Paleo, or exercising a certain amount, not to mention New Year’s resolutions- I feel like I’d be setting myself up for failure. As a result, I find myself avoiding making specific goals. I don’t want to have yet another thing to feel bad about, because I didn’t meet those goals.
I’m sure it’s common to feel a little nervous about the prospect of having the new challenge of a toddler plus a newborn. I also worry about the challenges of pregnancy the second time around. This time, I’d be entering pregnancy heavier and less fit than I was before WZW showed up. I already have low back pain from lifting him and such. So I’m expecting a second pregnancy to be harder on me physically. A lot of my patients seem to have more pain the second time around.
My first pregnancy wasn’t bad, but the nausea in the first trimester was tough to deal with. The thought of going through that again, plus probable additional physical discomforts the second time around isn’t something I’m looking forward to.
I can’t help but wonder- what kind of effect will it have on baby #2 if I’m not as healthy at baseline starting the pregnancy? And I know based on my current habits that I won’t be able to eat as healthy or exercise as regularly during pregnancy compared to last time. We know statistically that there are risks of obesity in pregnancy, which is why we recommend starting a pregnancy at a healthy weight when possible, and once pregnant, gaining the appropriate amount of weight based on one’s starting weight.
It does depress me a bit that I’m no longer in the normal weight category, but well into the overweight category. So there are probably some subtle effects of being overweight, but if I keep waiting to get back to a normal weight, then it’s never going to happen.
It almost makes one wonder if it’s all worth it. Ultimately, it would be nice for WZW not to be an only child. There is nothing wrong with deciding on one child, and my husband and I are very grateful to have one healthy child. But having grown up with siblings, we’ve always envisioned having a second. I thankfully have a good relationship with my brother, probably more so now that he has twins and we can relate about parenting stuff. I would love for that to be the case with my children. I also wonder if I would inadvertently put more expectations/pressure on WZW if he’s an only child.
Beyond two, I don’t know how we would handle it. I mean, we’ve talked about wanting a dog, but even that I’m not sure I can handle. Given how challenging I find one child to be, I truly find it a bit difficult to understand how some people want like 4 kids. I just can’t imagine staying sane, especially if they’re all close in age.
It’s funny, because despite all of the above fears, I’m also scared of the other possibility- what if it’s not so easy to get pregnant with #2? Since I’m not keeping up with the Paleo lifestyle these days, and I’m a little older, what if I have trouble this time? One of my friends was maybe 37 when she was trying for baby #2 and ended up needing to do IVF due to age-related infertility.
In any case, I can’t keep worrying about all the what ifs. We’ll deal with what happens as it comes, right?