I’m always looking for the silver lining, and I’ve definitely found it when it comes to being pregnant and unemployed: I have more time and energy to prepare for becoming a first-time-mom. As someone who worked and took graduate school courses during a hellish one and a half trimesters filled with hyperemesis gravidarum, hospitalization for dehydration, and a fatigue I could never seem to shake, I understand the other side of the coin. I know what it means to work while pregnant, especially during a difficult pregnancy, and you ladies that do it are my heroes. While I would prefer to be part of the workforce, it really is a blessing in disguise to not have to be super mom right now.
As a first-time-mom, there are so many things that I’ve discovered need my attention while pregnant. What foods should I avoid? Did I drink enough water today? When is my next doctor’s appointment? What will we name him? Do I know how to change a diaper? What is a muslin blanket? Are mesh crib bumpers going increase SIDS risk or protect my baby’s limbs or both or neither? What theme should we use for his nursery? What is happening to my body? How do I stay out of the Mommy Wars? What is it going to feel like to hug and kiss him? Are we there yet? How are we going to afford this? For the love of all things good and holy, why can’t a glass of whiskey be just as healthy for baby as eating a bowl of fruit just this once?
And let’s not forget the demands of creating a baby registry. Maybe I took it far too seriously, but I spent at least six hours reading Denise Fields’ Baby Bargains book, trying to find the best quality items that fit into my family’s budget. It took me two hours to choose a crib mattress. I purchased and returned two different baby carriers before deciding on the one that is currently sitting in my nursery, hoping it gets to see it’s day to shine. I’m not even going to admit how many hours I spent comparing the prices of the exact same items at Buy Buy Baby and Target, so that my shower guests could have the best-priced options to choose from on each registry and so our completion coupons would give us the most bang for our buck.
I’ve had fun chatting with women in Facebook groups who are due in the same month as me – I’ve learned a lot and laughed a lot with them. I’ve taken up some crafts, and have yet to master the art of crochet (I can’t get past a simple chain), but I’m trying. I’ve watched my son grow at ultrasound appointments and felt his kicks and punches get stronger. I’ve bonded with my mother-in-law over shopping trips and lunches I never would have had time for before. I’ve napped, taken bubble baths, kicked my feet up, and let my hair down. I’ve watched documentaries that have made labor and delivery slightly less terrifying. I’ve sat in the nursery and read my favorite childhood books to my belly.
The long and short of it is this: I’ve been given a gift and even though there are plenty of times that I curse the day I got laid off, I know when this storm blows over I’m going to thank God for the extra time. I’m going to have my faith restored that everything really does happen for a reason.