A Letter to My Future Self

Future Self,

Hi, self. I hope you are enjoying life with two children. I’m guessing you are feeling slightly overwhelmed, but totally in love with Cordy and the new baby.

At this point, you may be looking at the new baby, possibly now turning into a toddler and leaving his/her babyness behind. You may miss that sweet new baby scent, melt at seeing the two children play together, and slowly begin the process of getting rid of that baby stuff. Your mind may be drifting to the thought of baby #3.

And if you do think of having a third child, I hope you will read this and put that thought right out of your delusional head.

Oh sure, you may think, pregnancy wasn’t really that bad. Newborns really aren’t that difficult to deal with. That’s nature playing her trick on you. You’re suffering from the amnesia that comes from giving birth to a child and surviving those first hard months.

So should you have forgotten what pregnancy is like, I’d like to refresh your memory of what it is like for you.

24/7 nausea – Your first trimester is not kind to you. The label “morning sickness” is probably the most misleading name for a symptom ever. For 6-10 weeks, you are in a constant state of being just sick enough that any food looks and smells like toxic waste, yet not sick enough to vomit, even though you wish you could. However, you must eat to feel even slightly better, even though the process of eating is so hard. It’s like a 6 week long flu.

Fatigue – You may not have been this tired when pregnant for the first time, but with a toddler who constantly seeks out doom, you barely have enough energy to do the necessary tasks this time around. Think about what a third pregnancy would be like with two children to chase after. The kids would win the battle, with you asleep on the floor while they dance around you, decorate you with markers, and give you a beauty shop hair-cut that only a child could achieve.

The belly – Again, the second pregnancy is so much different from the first. While you had no noticeable belly with your first pregnancy until the fourth month, your belly popped right around 7 weeks this time. Seven friggin’ weeks. That fetus is the size of a kidney bean, yet is already making room. If you try for a third child, will it pop a full month before you’re actually pregnant?

Lack of sympathy – Ah, your first time is always the special time. When you were pregnant the first time, everyone cared about how you felt? First time mom feeling some nausea? Here, have some ginger ale and crackers. It’s like a first time mom has a crown of roses on her head, and everyone falls over themselves to be extra nice to the new first-time mom. Pregnant with a toddler? Heh, reality sets in. Feeling sick? Get over it and change your kid’s diaper. Looking for some sympathy? You’re not going to get it. You’ve been through it before, and you should know what you’re getting yourself into.

Sex – Remember when you actually wanted to have sex? When you looked forward to advances from your husband? When a good night together ended in cuddles in bed and satisfied sighs? The ravages of the first trimester strip all that away. At this point in pregnancy, even though I love my husband dearly, I carefully monitor every action and word so that he doesn’t think I’m even remotely suggesting I want sex. Because with the pain in my boobs and the constant nausea, sex is the last thing on my mind. So, uh, future Aaron, you might want to read this too if we ever consider a third child. That might change your mind and solidify the decision for the big snip.

Spreading – This is something that will be even more important as this pregnancy progresses, but sadly the spread is beginning early this time. And while I can live with the appearance issues, the pain is starting to bother me. My lower back, right where the pelvis joins the tailbone, feels as if my pelvis is being pulled apart, with shooting pains down my legs. It is probably sciatic nerve pain, but whatever it is, it hurts and sometimes makes walking difficult.

And this is just the first trimester. Sure, it’ll get better in a few weeks, when I enter the “golden trimester” of pregnancy, but for now, it’s difficult and I’m really tired of staring at the inside of my toilet.

For other readers, this post may come off as whiny and dull. But it is important that I remind myself of why I don’t want to go through this again. Yes, I chose to do this again, and I am glad that I’m having another child, but I know I forgot a lot of this the first time. And we are both pretty sure we only want two children. But after you get past the most labor intensive part of babyhood, it seems way too easy to fall back into thinking, “what if we had just one more…”

So, future self, if your second child has been a dream child (oh, how I hope this turns out to be true) and you think a third might not be a big deal, please read this and reconsider. Resist the baby siren’s call. Spend time with other people’s babies to get your fix, and leave it at that. Leave yourself some sanity and free time, and remember, the more kids you have, the harder it will be getting relatives to babysit.

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  1. Can I copy and paste this into a word document and tape it to every friggin’ surface in my house? Because, yeah. Just got done with the whole pregnant with a toddler thing. If I even get a hint of an idea of doing this again, I want reminders EVERYWHERE as to why that would be A Very Bad Idea.

  2. Hey I’m here to give you the sympathy. I had a hard enough time being pregnant, and I didn’t have a toddler to deal with at that time. I’m at the point where the idea of another one is sounding appealing, but I know without a doubt that I am not ready to take that on. Not anytime soon.

    I admire you.

    And I also want you to kick me in the ass if I so much as mention having another one within the next two years.

  3. #2 is definitely different and harder. You can’t just nap or take a break. and basically your energy is sucked from you by the toddler running around.

    And no showers, no fun stuff… and you have labor and delivery to look forward to – although, I know you want a VBAC so maybe you actually are :)

  4. See, I know I’m nuts — okay, I’m really just suffering from insomnia — but I read this and started to cry. It’s my own fault. I’ve had babies on the brain for a few weeks.

    It started in church when a group of infants were baptized during Mass and I told Doug I wanted another child.

    He laughed and said, someday.

    Then I read this and even though I hated all the pregnancy woes because I worried too much, I miss the baby, baby, baby-ness…

    But then again, I love my Dawson so very much I wonder if I’ll have enough love for another.

    Maybe I really am nuts??

    Christina, thank you for always putting thoughts out there…you have such a talent of tapping inside my own head, it seems and your writing always touches me.

    -hugs galore to you-

  5. Good luck! After number 2 arrived that feeling of “ready to have another!” never did come true for me.

  6. “If you try for a third child, will it pop a full month before you’re actually pregnant?”

    I remember when I used to wonder that. And then I realized – after the second child, the belly never really pops back in.

  7. So funny! That is so true. You seem to miraculously forget about how miserable pregnancy and the newborn stage is once it’s all done. We are definitely done having kids and I make sure to remember all the misery to keep it at only 2 kids.

  8. whiny and dull? no way – funny as hell and a good wake-up call, more like. I wish you a glorious 2nd trimester – you deserve it; and i’m filing this away somewhere safe – i’m not even on number 2 yet, but i have a feeling i’ll be referring back.

  9. What a great idea! I think I’ll write my own and pull it out if I ever start thinking about Baby #3.

    I was lucky both times in that I didn’t experience too many discomforts until my third trimester – with my first I was 60 pounds heavier and it was a hot, humid July! The second pregnancy was actually much easier because I kept my weight down.

    For me, a third baby is scary because I’m terrified of my husband and I being outnumbered! We have our hands full already!

    Hang in there!

  10. This post would be the reason I’m ADOPTING.

    Six years later, and I still haven’t forgotten the horrors of the third pregnancy. Nature can’t fool me this time… hee hee…

  11. Gah … my first was so easy I want to do it again and again, real soon. But again, you’re probably right, it’s nature playing triks on me so I’m going to come back here if I need reminding…

  12. All I can say is when this baby is born, hubby is going in for the snip asap!! no # 3 for me thank you very much…

  13. Not whiney or dull. Clever and …. should be required reading for EVERY mother thinking of adding. If after reading all that you still want another one then that is the true test that someone is ready :)

  14. yep- we are done. D-o-n-e. Having twins first really cooks the old sex drive.

    There is no sex in the world worth the mind numbing scream of twins at 3:17 a.m. when your c-section incision hurts so bad you can’t move, and the bed is soaked because your milk just came in.

    That is my letter to myself when I think about #3.

  15. LOL. This made me laugh. And it helps to ward off the VERY VERY SOFT siren call for baby #2. We just got a new baby so I’m all set! Thanks for the reminders though!

  16. Damselfly says:

    So funny and so true! And yet, why do we want another child?!

  17. All right. I needed that…maybe I’m not ready for the second over here. Dunno.

  18. YES to the lack of sympathy!! What the fuck is up with that? If I’m not getting fresh pastries hand delivered to my home each morning by friends, the least I could get is a, “hey, how are you feeling?”

  19. Mommy off the Record says:

    Ever since we started trying to get pregnant with #2, I’ve been thinking about all these things. Maybe that’s why I heavy a little itty bitty sigh of relief when I get my period every month.

    Hang in there. It’s all worth it in the end!

    p.s. I know that’s an extremely annoying thing to say to someone in the throws of morning sickness. Feel better.

  20. Nod. Nod. Nod. Double Nod.

    It’s good that we have a blog to remind us of what was.

  21. Snort. Yeah. The third child is even less sympathy. And less sleep etc. And MORE pain (for me, anyway). I still anticipate that baby siren in about 2-3 years, as I’m packing away all of the stuff for good… but I truly feel “done.” FINALLY!

    Another good reminder to yourself would be “real life” pictures. You know, of the dirty dishes, of you looking like you’re diseased with some contagious stomach virus, of the kids in wet diapers and crying while their cereal gets soggy and the floor is crunchy with spilled Rice Krispies and the laundry is piled up on the couches and you can’t remember which pile is dirty and which is clean and you realize that you really don’t CARE anymore!

    :) Hope you feel better soon! :)

  22. See, I was the total opposite with my second pregnancy..because I was busy with my toddler son and my little part time job, I hardly noticed the fatigue and I actually gained LESS weight and wore regular clothes almost until the time I was ready to pop!

    It is because of this that I keep getting suckered into thinking about no. 3.

    I even handled the lack of sleep better.

    Weird eh?

  23. Oh my goodness. This was so incredibly funny, and true! Thanks for the good laugh.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I just found out im pregnant with my third, about 5 weeks along, im already tired, already feel fat and oh my gosh for two toddlers are killing me because they will not allow me to take a nap, this article makes me laugh so hard, I love it.

  25. Funny, with my first I was petrified. With my second, I wasn’t nervous at all. Now I’m 5 weeks pregnant with my third and scared to death! I know the horrors of pregnancy but also know the delights of having your children play with each other and the endless amount of love for each that just keeps growing. I’m really, really hoping that all the stresses of multiple babies will be outweighed by the joys of more love!

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