Motherhood Again {and how to meal plan while pregnant}

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9 weeks to go.

Seemingly daily my anxiety flares up. How will this one turn out? How will I  turn out? Last time around I had post-partum depression and didn’t recognize or admit it to myself until my husband went away to a conference, and I found myself yelling at a four-month-old. It was extremely frightening, an I remember feeling lucky that I could go into the office the next day and forget about what happened. (The only moment that has been scarier was directly after he was born and I thought I was going to die, something that is apparently normal after giving birth. Thanks, adrenaline!)

Now that I work from home, I don’t know what will happen. I’m one of those selfish bloggers who sends their spawn to daycare (side note: some people don’t like it when you say spawn. Or call your fetus a parasite. Oh well.) so I can work at home, but Reese starts kinder just about the same time I would “normally” return to work, so I’m trying it differently. Me and the baby and the attempt to work. I keep telling people I’ll jump back into my freelance responsibilities after a month of “leave”, because I’m terrified at the idea of just me and the baby and daytime TV for weeks on end.

This is the point at which some will say, “Well geez, why did you even have one child, let alone get pregnant again?”

Valid. But I don’t think my anxiety at being a stay-at-home mom lessons the love and joy I experience with my children, any more than an outwardly happy life means one can’t be stymied by depression.

The fact is I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. It took so long for this guy to be on his way – only three months later was to be the “end” date I had mentally set. One of the truths in life is that once you get married and intend to have kids, everyone starts asking when the baby will be coming. Once you have the first, everyone asks when the next will be. Unless you’re keen on sharing your sex life or being brutally honest with everyone, while you’re trying to have a baby every question about your nonexistent fetus is an arrow headed for both your heart and your head, brutally reminding you of what a failure your body has been for years.

I’m quite aware that Reese will be almost six when his brother is born. Month after month of nothing but tears for lost possibility has a way of making time trickle to a crawl. “Oh sure,” you say, “You already had one though.” Yes, and I am lucky and he is amazing, but that doesn’t exempt me from the mental effects of infertility, no matter how much I wish it had. Secondary infertility has its own set of mental issues, because at one point your body did work quite well thankyouverymuch, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that something you did broke it in the interim.

All this is to say, mothering is really hard, both the getting there and the actual practice. Not hard in the #zombiemom trend sense or changing baby’s clothes for the 10th time that day. Those things are inconveniences, and yet seem to be the only things we talk about when it comes to being a parent. The actual feelings get buried under a sea of “Well, I chose this life, so I need to keep my mouth shut about anything other than literal shits and giggles.”

And that’s a shame. Sure, we love reveling in the beauty of one another’s lives, but we’re at our most human when we look the hard stuff in the eye and embrace it together. For all the hugs we give each other, let’s make them mean more.

9 weeks to go.

How to Meal Plan While Pregnant

  1. Open Google Calendar or have a paper calendar in front of you, because you’re going to forget what day of the week comes next.
  2. Try to remember what you have in the fridge and pantry.
  3. Go see what you have in the fridge and pantry. Discover cookies, and eat half the package.
  4. Bathroom break.
  5. Do something else for an hour until you walk past your calendar and remember what you were originally doing.
  6. Think about what vegetables are in season and the healthy meals you could make with them.
  7. Bathroom break.
  8. Grab a cookbook to look up a new way to prepare kale, and accidentally open it up to the dessert section.
  9. Bake a cake, frost it, and eat three slices.
  10. Bathroom break.
  11. Realize it’s now 5 p.m. and time to start cooking. Give up on the calendar and frantically search through your wares to find something to cook before the rest of the family starts clamoring for dinner.
  12. Reject every option because your tastebuds are out of whack and you don’t want to admit you’re kind of full (and a bit sick) from eating cake.
  13. Order a pizza.
  14. Try again tomorrow.

About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

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  1. “The actual feelings get buried under a sea of ‘Well, I chose this life, so I need to keep my mouth shut about anything other than literal shits and giggles.’”

    I love this line! I wish more people WOULD be honest about how hard being a parent can be. We choose almost everything about our lives, but that doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to ever complain or express that things were different from how we expected. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel.

  2. Thanks for putting yourself out there. I’m reminded on a daily basis how challenging parenting and juggling a business can be and I appreciate you sharing your journey.

  3. This post rings true for me. I am also struggling with secondary infertility. I know what it’s like when your family looks nothing as you would expect it would. And I feel as though I’m supposed to be super grateful for my daughter, which of course I am, but in an almost unrealistic way. I’m supposed to savor every single second, whereas people who haven’t experienced infertility and in many ways have it easier, are allowed to complain.

    1. @Sarah Thanks for your comment. I wasn’t sure about including the bit about secondary infertility, exactly because it is a hard topic. I don’t claim to know what the experience is of those who have struggled with infertility all along (I have multiple friends who have done IVF) but I think many don’t realize that secondary infertility IS a thing, filled with quite a lot of emotion. Good luck to you and your family.

  4. Megan, this is a lovely, honest, and perfect post. I’m glad you brought up secondary infertility. I hate that infertility is this great big unknown, or on the flip side that people feel they have the right to know every tiny detail about your individual fertility process. It’s important to talk about, because it is NOT something to be ashamed of, but of course, we internally feel that way, because yes, something is not working right.

    I don’t think it’s selfish to put the kids somewhere safe while you work. This isn’t an issue our husbands would ever even doubt themselves over. Why do we?

    1. @Amber It’s definitely part of the “work at home” thing! Even though I spend half my time doing online client work, because the other half is recipe testing and writing, that is not considered a job by many. I think, even before blogging, that anyone who works in a creative field (painting, writing novels, etc) is often just considered a hobbyist and therefore “should” be able to take care of the kid(s) all day long. All part of the mommy wars, I think. I know that R thrives in daycare and I don’t think I am a worse mom for it – I’m more doubting if I can stay sane with a newborn all day 😉
      And yes, people looooooove to talk about babies and pregnancy, until there is something “abnormal” about it. Not talking about it makes it seem shameful, which it is NOT. Big hugs to you.

  5. What a beautiful post, Megan! Thanks so much for your honesty.

    I love when you said “I chose this life so I need to shut up…” I can relate to this so much.

    You’re on my mind 🙂

  6. Megan, You’re not alone. Talking about your own experiences and fears may be difficult, but you’re seeing the outpouring of support and hope that helps. I love your meal planning list. Although I’m way past my baby-on-the-way phase, I can assure you that the list works for lots of other stage of life. Enjoy your wonderful child, your pregnancy (if you can), and all the great stuff to come!

  7. Wow! This really hits close to home. Yesterday was my first day home alone with my second child. My first is almost 12! After 2 miscarriages I figured my body wasn’t working anymore, and I was okay with it. After getting pregnant this time I was so afraid it would end just like the previous 2. I am so thankful it didn’t and that I now have a beautiful baby boy in my arms.

    I too want to start doing some work from home after a month. I am also nervous about the weeks until then: sitting at home watching tv, checking email, trying to fit in housework and projects I’ve put off. My strategy is to just take it day by day. Looking too far ahead for me is daunting, especially with the hormonal aftermath of giving birth.

    Thanks for sharing. It helps knowing I’m not the only one.

  8. Hahahahaha… Yeah, that sounds about right. Especially the cake part.

    Thank you for sharing. It really means a lot when people are honest about this stuff. I completely understand the impulse, as a fellow blogger, to keep the private stuff private, especially when it’s a little ugly, but it does so much good for people who are going through similar things to have it out there.

    I also had PPD with my daughter, and though looking back, I should’ve known sooner, I didn’t get diagnosed until she was around 3 months old. I was on antidepressants for almost 2 years before weaning off of them to work on a second baby… and it was rough even then. I know that once this one is born, I’ll be getting back on them ASAP and probably not planning to come off until both kiddos are in college. 😉

  9. We’re awaiting baby #2 as well (7 weeks to go). Everything you said ahead of the meal planning resonated. But I came to you bwo of a link for thinking that I’d be gettign meal planning 🙂 Our first baby came 5 weeks early. I had houseguests (parents) who did not help around the house or pitch in to prepare meals and I was a wreck. I’m trying to take some steps this time to plan a little better. I checked out a couple cookbooks for bulk cooking and with a couple hours each weekend, am slowly stocking our freezer. Just in case you’re interested, I liked Fix, Freeze, Fast and Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. Best of luck to you in the coming weeks!

    1. @AnneBG When I sat down the write the post, it really was intended to be a serious meal planning post. Oops! But I’m writing a post for Simple Bites later this month that will be all about stocking the freezer/pantry for post-delivery.
      Good luck with your new baby!