Sometimes it takes caring for another person to make a mother slow down and take care of herself.
Being pregnant for the 4th time now is quite an experience. This baby is due around March 25th - right after Robbie's 6th birthday and just before Maddie's 3rd. Ellie will be 4 when the babe arrives. All 3 kids are aware of the pregnancy, and can somewhat project what my growing belly means. They're excited about a new sibling, helping us think up names and dividing up responsibilities already (Robbie's got playtime covered, while Ellie says she'll help feed the baby and Maddie will rock it to sleep).
For as tiring as it was to bring Maddie home when Robbie and Ellie still felt like babies themselves over 2 years ago, it's even more exhausting to be pregnant and running around with a 5, 4 and 2 year old now!
I am finding it more important than ever to listen to my body - when it needs something and I don't respond, I'm not only shortchanging myself physically... but the kids pay for it when I get snippy or tired, and this growing baby depends on me as well to protect and nourish its growth. It feels a lot less selfish to rest when I'm tired, eat when I'm hungry, and slow our pace down so that we aren't rushing around from thing to thing. But it's just as important now as it was when I wasn't pregnant - it was just harder to make the choice back then.
So I will head to bed unusually early without apology. I will take a nap on days that I really need one without feeling guilty for being unproductive. I will spend quiet afternoons in our home, just the 4 of us, teaching my kids how to love and forgive and play and share. I will nourish my body with food and not fixate on when I can rid myself of the baby weight. I will enjoy this process and fully enter into it. I will remind myself that this is a short phase of life, one that is to be cherished and savored.
And I will try to show myself these same kindnesses, long after the baby is in our arms.
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