Pregnancy Update // Week 36

We're in the home stretch! If I felt huge ten weeks ago (which I did), now I feel whale-like. It's the reality of the final month. And boy, has this third trimester lived up to all the achy, uncomfortable expectations. 

Week 32

Week 32

That said, I feel moderately good most days and am still loving the baby kicks and rolls. Sweet Ada clearly has more room to move than sister did because she takes full advantage of the accommodations in there (especially when mama is trying to nap). 

Week 36 Pregnancy Update

Total weight gain: I think around 15-20 lbs, but I'm not lying when I say that I haven't weighed myself. And when my midwife weighs me I'm usually still trying to keep an eye on an escape artist—I mean a toddler—so I only have a vague idea of what I currently weigh. 

Maternity clothes: Well, it's official. I've graduated from maternity clothes to my husband's gym shorts and oversized t-shirts. When I have to look presentable, my loose fall dresses are my go-to. 

Stretch marks: No new ones so far. 

Sleep: Mmmm sleep... I miss sleep. When I sleep well, I sleep long and hard. Many nights, though, I'm in some kind of pain and lose out on a good night's rest. 

Best moment of this week: Special time snuggling and playing with Charlie, remembering these moments of having only one are almost over.

Miss anything: Moving easily, beer, wine, and not feeling so heavy. 

Movement: Ada kicks and rolls all day and night long and I love it! She feels so strong. 

Food cravings: Spicy foods, all the carbs. And beer. :) 

Anything making you queasy or sick: A little bit of the pregnancy nausea has revisited me this week, but I'm hoping it will pass again soon. 

Labor signs: If I'm on my feet too much these days, I end up with some painful Braxton Hicks that I have to let calm down with water and rest. Since I'm hoping to keep this little gal in utero up to her due date (more time to get this new home ready!) I take any signs of labor seriously and try to rest. 

Belly button in or out: It's a sad little flat pancake now!

Wedding rings on or off: Off

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy when I get to fold tiny baby onesies, moody when my nesting instincts are foiled by the slow march of construction. 

Looking forward to: Moving into our house within the next two weeks! 

Fall clothes making a debut at 35 weeks!

Fall clothes making a debut at 35 weeks!

In Which I Compare My Life to a Construction Site

I have an overflowing diaper bag hanging unnaturally from one arm, a 30-pound toddler perched on my 34-week pregnant belly, and a lunch bag on my opposite shoulder. I'm sweating just performing the simplest task: all I need is to find my wallet, swipe my credit card, and complete my purchase. But the toddler is squirming for the "yummies" in the check-out aisle and successfully brings down a display of those expensive granola bars made without any refined sugar, and now the woman behind the counter is looking away politely while I drop my bags, lose my credit card, and try to regain my grip on the toddler. 

I know how I look. I look frazzled, tired, overwrought, out of control. I let the humiliation wash over me and add it to my list of things to ignore or cry about later.

If I've ever been good at something, it's appearing to be in control. Even if I know inwardly that my sense of control is a facade, it's still a comforting facade. But this summer, even my facade has crumbled and I'm forced to be a little too vulnerable with my fellow shoppers in the Albertson's checkout line. 

At the beginning of this summer, my husband got laid off—right as we signed the papers and broke ground on a home addition. We were too far into the project to stop, so we pressed forward, praying for a job, thankful for a severance package. Now we're here: a month from having our second child, unable to live in our home yet, both unemployed as I go on maternity leave, cutting finances and time down to an ominously close due date.

Sometimes, I look at the pieces of our home and our lives and I feel brave and strong. We can do this together; we can pull this off. Other times, I feel like the house itself: a little beaten up and torn down to the studs or whatever it is that's beneath the flesh and muscles and layers I wear to look put together. 

We all work endlessly to hide these parts of ourselves; the crumbly, dirty, outdated underbelly of who we are. We paint over, put in some plush carpet, update the outsides every now and then to keep up with whatever trends they say we should spend our money on. 

But when it's time for real change—when things get shaken up and we're forced past the paint jobs and the new curtains—suddenly everyone gets to see a little more of our insides.

///

"Humble yourselves," Peter told the exiles, "...so that in the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you." 

I've been casting anxieties by the fistful like so many dusty pebbles from the angry hand of a child. I'm good at that. I can cast anxieties all day long. But I'm jarred by the opening line: humble myself? I'm already humiliated; I'm already woefully out of control. Do I really need to be laid a little lower? 

But then, humility isn't humiliation. Humiliation is struggling with the expectations you've set for yourself and your life—it's chaffing against the rough edges of how reality divorces itself from your ideal. Humiliation says, "I'm supposed to be there, and instead I'm here."

Humility is the acceptance, even the welcoming of powerlessness. Humility says, "I'm here, and I'm not okay, but that's okay." 

///

I like to write about things in retrospect. That 20/20 hindsight, that "I can see clearly now" moment is refreshing, invigorating—and well within my control. But as I keep waiting for the moral of this story that started months ago, I'm starting to see that living in the now is an embrace of humility. I'd rather clench my jaw, muscle forward, and wait for the storm to pass—because pass it will, one way or the other. But I can't. 

There's another side to construction that's just beginning. The house is starting to look a little less weary, a little less torn down. We're starting to build up. It's still bare bones; there aren't any breezy curtains or plush carpets yet, and frankly, there may not be any for some time. But the bare bones of what we're building are good; they're strong and sturdy and ready to leave a legacy. We've had to endure plenty of demolition to get to this point, but soon we'll build up and put together and settle in. We couldn't have done any building up without first tearing down.

It's time to build. And the results—though humble—will be worth it. 

Her View From Home: 3 Ways to Love Your Husband Again (and again)

When Jason and I were first dating, he took me to a local creek that winds its way through a narrow canyon. It’s idyllic there, perfect for conversation and a picnic lunch. We found a pebbled beach and spread out a quilt. After cold sandwiches and fruit, we inched close, gazing at each others’ faces. This is what you do when one of you grows up evangelical and the other Lutheran; you get close enough to touch, and then you stare.

Jason flashed a half-smile and breathed, “Wow.” I braced for one of those compliments that gave me goosebumps. “I never noticed,” he began, “how much hair people have on their faces.”

Yeah.

See, this man who became my husband is a sweet guy with no lack of guileless charm, but every once in a while, he says something like that. He was close enough to see my cheeks’ peach fuzz; I was now close enough to see his foot-in-mouth syndrome.

Head over to Her View From Home to read the rest of my post there!

Motherhood Made Me a Bad Citizen

Motherhood tends to get a gauzy filter in our art and folklore. Mothers use their instincts and sensible haircuts to become superhumanly patient, staid, wise, and—above all—model citizens. Who better to run the local charities, school fundraisers, and safety rallies than a mother? 

Well, I’m calling it on my own transformation into the suburban example of good citizenship. Before having kids, I was polite, on time, put together, and generally even-keeled. Now I feel lucky if I’ve had enough sleep to remember the socially acceptable responses to “how are you today?” Here are the ways motherhood has made me a worse citizen. 

emilyfisk.com

1. Sometimes I litter

I saw a Snapchat rant the other day about how someone found a dirty diaper on the floor in the changing station stall of a public bathroom. My initial thought was immediate sympathy for the mom who likely dragged one or more screaming children out of a public bathroom after performing an operation roughly equivalent to wrestling a ball gown off of and then back onto a chimpanzee—while keeping said chimpanzee from touching any surfaces. If a diaper rolls and gets left behind in the process, there's a decent chance I might also leave it in the name of my mental health. (Also, I get it. I would have been all over that rant pre-kids. Because ewwww diapers.) 

2. I don't always return my cart

I used to be a model citizen when it came to returning my shopping cart—only lazy people don't make that walk back to the cart return, right? These days, it doesn't take much to convince me to leave it. No parking spot near the cart return? Given the choice, I’ll put that cart discreetly to the side before hauling my 30-pound, late-for-her-nap toddler across the length of the Costco parking lot while dodging angry fellow shoppers. This has become especially true as I enter my third trimester of pregnancy with baby number two. It just isn’t going to happen. 

3. I now speak fluent “no”

There was a time that I had a fairly high discomfort level with declining requests and invitations. Whether it was volunteering for an event, putting in a few extra hours at work, or attending a fundraiser, I was generally your gal for an obligatory "yes" and a begrudging extra mile or two. These days, I reserve that yes for myself and my family first—and everything else comes in a distant second or third. 

4. I’m chronically late

It's a well-documented phenomenon that science has yet to explain, but young children and babies have an uncanny ability to sense when you're in a hurry and time their most impressive bowel movements, tantrums, and existential crises accordingly. For the first year of my daughter's life, I felt genuinely stressed and ashamed of my unfashionably-late arrival times, but now I warn people beforehand to expect my tardiness—especially to morning functions. 

5. I'm more outspoken

You can decide whether this makes me a worse or a better citizen in the long run, but I've found I have a tougher time keeping quiet about injustice, unfairness, and cruelty in the world now that I'm a parent. I used to stay silent when acquaintances and strangers and even friends put down other individuals, groups, or ethnicities, but now I feel an obligation to leave this world better for my kids (I hope). My sense of justice got a major shot in the arm the day I became a mother. 

I know someday I'll be out of the topsy-turvy years of babies and toddlers and drool and spit-up and diapers. I'll probably get a little bit of that old politeness back when I have more brain power, more sleep, and fewer spaghetti-o stained shirts. In the meantime, I'll count my duty to society admirably fulfilled by doing my damndest to raise kind, respectful, hard-working kids to be a part of the next generation.

Present Parenting When Real Life Hurts

Some days parenthood is downright Instagram-worthy. 

On those days, my toddler's world is an attractive one, and I'm a willing participant in the play-doh creations and the ABC repetitions. I love the days that start with cuddles and coffee and end with bedtime stories and slow-breathing slumber. There are plenty of these days, and being home with my daughter has given me an appreciation for the slow, steady, magical pace of childhood. 

But then there are the days when real life comes knocking. The bills, the what-ifs, the lay-offs, the uncertainties, the decisions, the news. The washing machine malfunctions; the check engine light glows. I've been solidly stuck in those kinds of days recently. These days, I struggle to bridge the divide between my adult world of harsh realities and her world of childhood play. 

When I'm worried and stressed, anxious and upset, grieving and frustrated, it feels impossible to find any satisfaction in yet another walk to the park. Real life co-opts the joy of motherhood too often. It's then that my patience dries up and I just wish she'd join my world; that she'd get it and wallow in the self-pity with me. 

But then, the last thing I want is for her to understand my world. Not yet, not so soon. She doesn't understand—that's why she's plaintively requesting "pool" and "ball" and another sixteen pushes on the swings. She'll someday know the weight of the weary adult world, but for now, joining her world is the best therapy I could ask for. 

Even if all I can muster on some of these real-life days is reading books on the couch, snuggled too close in the sticky heat, her reality is a blessed soother if I welcome it. And if I'm honest with myself—if I lay aside my assumptions and expectations—I know that the real-life days are more frequent than the magical days and that living in this messy in-between with her is a sacred thing.