Several months ago my husband and I were watching our daughter play on the floor with our golden retriever and talk to her as if she was talking to her best friend. She would offer the dog a toy to play with to which our dog would paw at, and would send our daughter into a fit of giggles because she responded to her. You see at this point we had been in quarantine / minimal interaction with anyone outside of our own home for many months now. Our daughter went from having kids her own age to play with all day to just mommy and daddy focused on work all day and the dog. (Thank God for the dog)
We did our best to give Zoe attention whenever she absolutely needed it or asked for it. But since we were both trying to get our 8 hours of work accomplished it was difficult to give our daughter the attention she deserved or desperately needed. That has sucked. Working from home meant we got to see her all day and not wonder how she was doing for our sitter. It also meant that she was not given a lot of human interaction outside of immediate needs.
My husband and I often reflected on how fortunate we were. We remained employed throughout the trials that COVID-19 had brought on our world. We were never scrambling to pay our mortgage, to keep our lights on, or to keep food on the table. We were able to buy a home during the summer of 2020. We were given facetime with our daughter we both desperately wanted more of, and an added bonus of seeing each other a lot more throughout our week. So why did we still feel like we were failing each other, our daughter and felt like we were being crushed with anxiety and stress?
Ohh. Maybe because our country is at an unnerving level of chaos with a pandemic that has no end in sight and you have never lived through anything comparable to this so your brain literally cannot figure out to run or fight, nor do they actually know what running or fighting would even look like if it could decide. Gotcha.
No matter how lucky or unlucky the 2020 year fell on you and your family it was hard. Something that I have learned through counseling this past year is to stop negating my challenges by saying “well she has it worse so I should stop complaining”. That is invalidating my feelings, and perspective and is only creating a mentality that I should be stronger than this, and then become depressed when I am not handling things well. Instead I was advised to address my thoughts and feelings as valid and work through them. Okay cool. Does that mean that all of a sudden I will be able to run through any challenge without anxiety or fear? Oh goodness no. But I now have better tools to work through them.
Flash forward a few months to when we made the decision that our original plans for adoption needed to be put on hold for right now. Then we seriously started considering having another child biologically. (For the record this is something I have sworn would never again be an option for me. My pregnancies don’t tend to go blissfully. They are long and tortuous. Filled with never ending sickness. No thank you. Pass.)
After watching our daughter play with the dog because literally that is her only friend we really started talking about giving her a sibling. Both my husband and I grew up with many siblings all around us and though we have no plans of a family as large as the ones we grew up in, we do want her to have siblings. That being said we started “negotiations” for how and when we wanted to grow our family. Yes they were negotiations. Civil ones of course. But we really talked through the logistics of how this would work while we are trying to navigate a pandemic. While we are working from home, not having childcare as an option for now, with a high risk toddler, right after we moved to a different city, knowing I would be sick because that is how pregnancy goes for me, and oh my gosh there will be two of them.
After we thought we were mentally prepared for the chaos of a sick mommy during another pregnancy and growing our family, we went for it. Here we are now, into the second trimester with a wiggly little one on the way. I am medicated. I am sick. But I think the best way I can describe pregnancy for me is this. . . Blissfully miserable.
I am jealous of women who can have beautiful, no nausea, glowing pregnancies. I am jealous that some women don’t need to be heavily medicated in order to keep food and water down to prevent an ER / IV trip. But in the same breath I am overwhelmed with the fact we were able to get pregnant again naturally. I am healthy enough to carry another little human. I do not take this HUGE blessing lightly. Though losing our first almost 4 years ago has forever robbed me of a “normal” happy / exciting pregnancy, I am so incredibly thankful that we have been given this opportunity to do it again. We get the chance to give Zoe a sibling.