10 Interesting (I Hope!) things about my Husband and Me

Hallie at Betty Beguiles posted 10 facts about her and her better half and encouraged her readers to do the same.  So…here goes!
I was out with one of my closest friends for a “girls night” when I met Craig.  She had mentioned that her cousin performed at Comedy Sportz where we were going for entertainment.  The Referee came out to begin the show and I looked at my friend and said, “He’s your cousin, right?  He looks just like your dad!”
Craig flirted with me the entire night at the “after party” we conjured up after the show that night, but I was kind of putting him off…………until he said he was Catholic and one of 5 kids.  Then he had a little more of my attention.  🙂
Craig proposed to me on his 27th birthday.  Right after I gave him his present, he pulled the box with the ring out of his sock.  Oh yeah and my sister was there and she felt kind of out of place, hee-hee.
We moved our wedding date up three months because we found out we could have the wedding at Craig’s home parish (where he grew up) and wouldn’t have to pay for it.  
During marriage preparation classes, when our discussions were directed to turn toward having and raising children, we prefaced almost every thing with, “Well, we know we don’t really want kids, BUT, if we end up with one anyway…”  (I’m sure God is laughing at us sometimes.)
We went on our honeymoon in Branson, MO.  July is a really bad time to vacation in Branson…too crowded.
We were married for one year and one month the first time I mentioned to Craig that I thought maybe we should think about having a baby.  He was shocked and stammered out, “B-b-b-ut….I thought we weren’t going to do that?”
We had no way of knowing how God would change our lives through the baptism of our daughter, Sarah.  Saying we would raise our daughter in the Catholic faith gave us the fire we needed to learn our Catholic faith (we were both poorly catechized).  I praise God and thank Jesus often for the Sacraments.
We used to have goals about having a certain amount of money in the bank and vacations we wanted to take.  Now our goals are about paying for Catholic high school, paying for braces, helping our children to turn to God to discern His will for their lives and which kid to point in the direction of med school so we can hit her up for an in-law apartment at her house in our old age.

We will be married 12 years in July.  Our oldest will turn 10 in July.  Our 5th child will be born in July. 


What’s Going On Wednesday

What IS going on on Wednesday?  I have no idea…but it sounded good for a title.  🙂
And okay…so I’m hitting “publish” on Tuesday night…but you get the idea.  
First – This weekend, Sarah and Dani got their ears pierced.  It was a good time to do it because we’re far enough out from volleyball and basketball season (when they’d have to take the earrings out for games) that they can keep the earrings in for the needed time to establish the piercings.  They were so good!  Dani didn’t even cry (although on the way out when I told her how impressed I was, she said, “Well, Mom, I did ALMOST cry.”)  And Sarah didn’t get upset either, although she acknowledged it was a bit more than a pinch.  
Second – Dominic’s leg is healed!  Funny story:  Dominic had walked around on his leg with no noticeable limp the entire weekend before his follow-up.  Even his babysitter commented on how well he was doing.  We arrived at Children’s Mercy for the follow up at the orthopedic clinic and he immediately began limping and saying, “leh—huww, Mama.”  (Leg Hurt, Mama)  It was hilarious.  He put on his act all the way through the x-ray and the consult with the doctor.  Too funny.  My little drama-man.
Third – Helen has started reading little bits!  It’s so much fun to hear her sound out the words.  I cannot begin to describe the thrill I get from my children learning to read.
Fourth – My husband is awesome.  Last week, he kept the laundry up all through the week and I didn’t have to do any this weekend.  I couldn’t believe it and I am so grateful.  I know I need to pitch in and do the laundry some, too, but it was so nice not to have 6 piles of laundry on Sunday.
Finally – I am 26 weeks!  Omgosh!  And I gotta tell ya…I am HUGE!  Okay, maybe not HUGE.  Maybe HUGE.  Maybe.  Anyway, I had my glucose tolerance test on Monday and I hope to find out the results on Thursday (my doc isn’t in the office on Wednesdays).  I am trying to get up to swim on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and Saturday mornings and Sundays if I can make it.  But it’s kind of hard.  Pretty soon, Track meets will take up my Saturday mornings for a few weeks, so that swim won’t happen.  And I am more exhausted every day.  I think the third trimester exhaustion sets in a little earlier as I get older.
I hope you’re having a fabulous week.  I hope I haven’t been too much of a downer this week with my topics.  This will probably be my last post before I go live with my new look.  I’m really excited and be sure to stop by because I will be doing a giveaway!

On Being a Jayhawk Fan

This past weekend, my beloved Jayhawks bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the Elite Eight.

You know, for any other program (except maybe UNC, Duke, Kentucky) that would not be cause for major mourning, but rejoicing in a great season.

Yes…other programs would rejoice in their team NOT winning the conference, NOT winning their conference Tourney and NOT getting to the Final Four BUT getting to an Elite Eight.  The fact that KU’s cross-state rival, K-State, made it to an Elite Eight last year (and fell short of the Final Four) was the cause of much rejoicing and partying.  The fact that our Border-Rival Missouri made it to the Elite Eight in 2009 (and not the Final Four) made their coach much-beloved. 

Even the fact that other teams (like Pitt, for example) lost to lower seeds and didn’t even make the Sweet Sixteen doesn’t remove this stigma that KU for some reason didn’t live up to expectations. 

In 2011, not one top-seeded team made it to the Final Four.  Further…no second-seeded team made it to the Final Four.  And Kansas lost to VCU, a team…by the way…that is mature, focused and playing some great ball (and it helps that they shoot lights-out from behind the 3-point arc).

No, I’m gonna say, there’s no shame in KU’s loss.  I don’t think there is EVER any shame in being one of the top 8 teams in the tournament. 

Add to the Elite Eight appearance the fact that KU – for the 7th consecutive year – won the Big XII title.  7 years in a row, KU is tops in their conference.  KU also reclaimed the Big 12 Championship title in the post-season tournament.  Oh yeah and their record is 35-3.  KU wins a heckuva lot more than they lose. 

Being a Jayhawk Basketball fan is bittersweet. 

You get to root your team on to a win most of the time.  You get to wear your gear and have lots of people in lots of different places say, “Rock Chalk!”  There’s a tradition of winning basketball that’s difficult for most other programs to go up against.  KU’s first coach was the inventor of the game himself.  We’ve had many “greats” play for KU – Wilt Chamberlain being the main one.  We have a coaching tree that spans to other great programs – Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp – both known for establishing and nurturing amazing programs at UNC and Kentucky respectively – hail from KU (played together, coached by Phog Allen). 

But because your team is in the NCAA tournament every year and usually seeded fairly high, many years, if/when they don’t make it to the Championship game, you have to put up with jubilant “other” fans telling you how your team choked.  And you have to listen to pundits talk about how KU didn’t fit the bill…yet again.  Even though your team was the only local team to make it that far.

I suppose I will take putting up with the sour “other” fans if it means that every year my team is winning the conference, winning the post-season Championship tournament and getting into the tournament…even highly seeded.  By the time you get to the Elite Eight – any team you meet is good.  Whether it is because they are on a roll, playing with a major chip on their shoulder or whatever. 

It’s true…KU didn’t win the NCAA Championship for 2011 (really?  losing in the Elite Eight is a choke?).  Fine.  It doesn’t mean their season is a major disappointment (I swear MU fans must write all these articles). 

Sure, as a KU fan, I’m disappointed they didn’t go all the way.  But I think it’s wise to remember that more years than not, KU is not going to go all the way to the Championship.  I’m so glad someone reminded me about 8 years ago…ONLY ONE TEAM WINS THE FINAL GAME

Why would some of my fellow Jayhawk “fans” want to berate this team and what they did not accomplish?

I’m pretty darn proud of our Jayhawks and what they DID accomplish. 

Further, I wish VCU well in the Final Four (I have family hailing from Richmond, VA – I’m a fan!)  I think we have a VERY good chance of seeing the tournament champion with an 8 or an 11 by their name (indicating their seed).

Nature Vs. Nurture

I am naturally on the heavy side when it comes to stature and body type.  I grew up believing I was fat.  Looking back on it, I probably wasn’t.  I was probably built a lot like my daughter, Helen, nice and solid through the legs and hips with strong, slightly broad shoulders.  But, I never believed as a child that I was cute or strong or pretty.

I remember being told I had been “sneaking food” and I remember having a large appetite, even as young as four or five, and having my mother scorn me for eating too much.  My mother often told me that the “doctor” put me on a diet when I was two years old because I was so fat.  And I remember that my mother loved to tell me how cute and “petite” my sister was…(well, she was a tiny little thing as a child) but I think the nature in which she expressed this to me, often felt like a “why can’t you stop eating so much so you can be more like your sister?”
It got worse when my parents divorced.  In the third grade in the spring, my mom told me she was putting me on the swim team because I was “getting too chunky.” Maybe a year later, my cousin (who is two-and-a-half years older than I) sent me some clothes she’d grown out of.  I remember when the box arrived…my mom quickly began pulling things out to try on me…and she gave me a pair of pants…I put them on and buttoned them and tried to zip them only to hear my mother say (in her disappointed/exasperated voice), “Oh..you look like a sausage!  You are so fat!  Take those off.”  And as I tried to remove them, the zipper wouldn’t unzip, the snap or button broke and the pants were somehow ruined and this was cause for a major punishment for me.  
My mom restricted the food I ate and I know part of it was due to finances, but she often referred to my unacceptable state of fat-ness.  She lumped me and my older brother together…we had our “father’s metabolism,” or “we really had to watch it” and we “would be really fat if it weren’t for her.”  She was saving us from ourselves.  All that jazz.
The summer after my fifth grade year, my mom got home from the grocery store one night and we were on our way out to help bring things in.  She got to my brother first and basically punched him square in the gut without saying a word to him.  I only saw him double over in front of me and didn’t know what was coming.  She came to me next and she punched me, but left her hand in my stomach and pinched it so hard, I bruised.  Apparently, she was upset.  She had checked ice cream and milk before she’d gone to the store and she was convinced my brother and I had eaten all of the ice cream and drank all of the milk and caused her to have to purchase more when she wasn’t expecting to.  As soon as we were inside we were lambasted with her yelling about what filthy pigs we were and don’t we know we are so fat and it’s all because we sneak all the food? 
By the end of the summer after my 6th grade (with benefit of 2-a-day swim practices and major growth spurt), I was tall and skinny.  My mom couldn’t be happier.  Or could she?  She constantly reminded me that I needed to swim or do something active to keep the weight off.  I quit swimming year-round in 7th grade, and naturally, began to fill out like most 13 and 14-year-olds do.  My mother was constantly harping on me about my weight and she filled the refrigerator and cupboards with “low-fat” this and “diet” that.  It was a constant focus around our house.
High school was more of the same.  My mom continued to comment about my weight.  Rarely was she showering me with compliments, either.  She would make unkind comments about other girls and how they looked and then compare us to them (of course we were worse…although every once in awhile we’d get, “well, at least you’re not as bad as ________”). 

My mother grew up in a dysfunctional family environment.  She was the oldest of the four children and she often described for us how embarrassed she was of her sister, who was severely obese.  My mother spoke of days when people would say to her, “You’re the only normal sized one in your family…what happened after you?”  So, her resentment of heavy people was deeply rooted and difficult to expel.  And she was acutely aware and nervous that any of her children might end up like any of her other siblings.

As an adult, I’ve recognized the impact of my upbringing.  It’s a fact:  I’m someone who constantly struggles with weight.  When I gain weight when pregnant, it really wears me down.  If I don’t lose it quickly after I have the baby, it really wears me down.  My weight fluctuates in such a way that’s probably not the most healthy.  I’ve never settled into a regular healthy-eating pattern where my weight stayed within a 5-7 pound range.  I’m not sure how much of it is my nature and how much is because of the way I was raised.  I’ll never know that.
As a mom, it’s been difficult to feel comfortable as I attempt to manage my children.  I am hell-bent on NOT repeating the behavior and treatment my mother gave to me, but then, I wonder if I am doing a disservice to my children who might not be making the best choices.  I try to present food and dietary considerations as “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” choices and the balance that’s required.  But so often I wonder if I am failing somewhere else where this is concerned.  I want my children to be active, but I want them to WANT to do what they do.  
I’m thankful at this juncture that I haven’t witnessed unkind comments about appearance between my children, and I pray I never will.  I have heard stories of problems in schools at the ages my children are reaching, though, and I begin to panic.  What if someone undoes all my hard work with one unkind comment or gesture directed toward one of my kids?  No matter how hard I have worked to build my children up to see that they are beautiful and wonderfully made in the Lord’s eyes…one mean comment from a classmate, or an acquaintance can undo it all.

My biggest focus has become to help us all view each other and ourselves as images of God.  God, our Heavenly Father, created us.  We need to maintain and care for our bodies.  We need to keep them healthy and strong.  We must yearn to see what God sees within and without. 

I Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know

I became pregnant for the first time in October 2000.  I never got a positive home pregnancy test, though.  (I don’t think I knew how to pee on a stick very well.)  I learned that the doctor’s pregnancy test was positive via my step-mother when I arrived at my father’s house for a visit (Craig had called and simply told her to tell me, “the answer is Yes”).  
At that point, I really hadn’t put much thought into pregnancy, labor, delivery or being a mom.  The idea was like some far off fuzzy possibility that I never really believed would come true.  I mean on the outset, I believed I would get pregnant – and probably rather quickly – but the idea of another soul, another human being, in my care was kind of a foreign concept.  I can sort of liken it to the way a teenager feels about his or her mortality.  They know it’s a possibility that they might die if they behave recklessly…but still maintain the it-won’t-happen-to-me mentality.
Since I hadn’t put much thought into the real possibility of becoming a mother, I didn’t start doing it then.  I heard people talk about birth plans…but I didn’t make one.  People asked me if I would breastfeed the baby…I assumed it was a no-brainer…who DOESN’T breastfeed in the 21st century?  Was I going back to work?  You bet.  But Craig was going to be a SAHD – so no daycare issue for me.  
It’s silly and foolish, I know, but I didn’t even shop around OB/GYN practices.  I looked one up close to the hospital where I lived and went in for my first appointment.  I got all kinds of information and I read through it.  I started reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  I was turned off by a lot of it because it didn’t feel like it was applicable for me.  It seemed to have all kinds of things in it that could make me worry if I wanted to focus on them…so I didn’t like the book much.
The OB/GYN clinic I went to was rather large and they informed me that I should see a different doctor at each appointment so that when it came time to give birth, I should have met them all.  Yeah…that didn’t happen.  
The OB/GYN clinic I went to also pushed birth control on me from the sixth month of my pregnancy on.  I was asked over and over, “What birth control do you anticipate using after you have your baby.”  When I got brave and told the nurse at my eight-month checkup that I really wanted to look into Natural Family Planning, I got a lecture about how it wasn’t really reliable and I’d be back in their office within three months pregnant again.  I left my 6-week post-partum visit with a prescription for birth control pills.
We attended the hospital’s “birth classes” which focused on hospital policies and procedures and taught us what to expect.  I began the classes thinking they were going to help us learn how to labor naturally.  And they discussed relaxation techniques, breathing, etc.  But I ended the classes fully expecting I would be getting an epidural for pain.  Because I wasn’t going to want to handle the pain, you see.  Oh yeah, and all I would really care about in the end was having a healthy baby, don’t ya know? <sarcasm>
Labor with Sarah was induced at 41 weeks*.  I received a gel on my cervix overnight that was supposed to soften and ripen and prepare my cervix for labor.  At 6:00 a.m. the next morning, they began pitocin.  Contractions began a little slowly.  They broke my water sometime around 10:30 a.m.  I labored through some major contractions (my sister was watching the monitor and apparently I had some hell-A-cious “triple-peak-ers”!) after that and finally, I asked for an epidural around 1:00 p.m.  I played cards with my husband and my sister for awhile, then I nodded off to sleep for a nap.  Around 5:00, they came rushing in put me on all fours and attached a fetal monitor to Sarah’s head.  Apparently her heart rate had dropped quickly and they needed to make sure they were monitoring it and not reacting to the monitor simply slipping off my belly.  
The doctor on call was not a doctor I had met before. She immediately began talking c-section when she checked me out.  “This is a big baby…might have to do a section…”  Inside I kind of rolled my eyes.  I was bound and determined NOT to be cut open.  I hit 10 cm dilation at 5:30 p.m. and (finally!) I was ready to push.  No birth class prepares you for what you do when you push.  The nurses always remind you it’s kind of like a bowel movement…but just a little different focal point for the pressure.  
My first few pushes didn’t do much.  Okay….so the first 45 minutes of pushing didn’t seem to do much.  The nurse was assuring me that I was making progress…but the doctor (AGAIN!) mentioned doing a c-section if I couldn’t push the baby out.  Of course, I was determined to push that baby out, so I started putting more force into my pushes and Craig was counting to 10 for me to hold my pressure.    My sister was on one side of me, Craig on the other.  Craig was using a wet washcloth to cool my head in between pushes.
Finally, after an hour and forty-five minutes of pushing, my baby was laying on my tummy.  I was so stunned.  Sarah was laying on my tummy, eyes wide open quietly looking at me.  I said to Craig, “Look!  Her eyes are BROWN!”  I remember being so surprised at that because everyone says that a baby’s eyes are blue at birth.  And she was so quiet.  No crying.  I had to ask…”Is she breathing?”  Sure, she was and she was turning pink, but she was just so calm.  I touched her cheek before they took her to clean her up.  
One of my first mistakes was not trying to nurse her right away.  But I didn’t know that.  They brought her back to me once she was cleaned up and all that and we tried to nurse.  She wasn’t all that interested.  The memory is fuzzy right now, but she did latch on for a little while.  
I found out after the fact that the c-section-crazy doctor gave me a barbaric episiotomy.  I have suffered major pelvic floor problems since then, though I have been able to manage some of it through some physical therapy.  We also found out that Sarah’s collarbone broke as she entered the world because the doctor didn’t help me to wait once her head was out and turn her body…just had me push her right on out head and shoulders.  I was horrified to learn about the break, though it healed very quickly.
I didn’t end up breastfeeding Sarah.  That’s another post all in itself.  But after four weeks, she was exclusively formula-fed.
The thing is, at the time, I couldn’t have told you that this birth experience was horrible or wonderful or not exactly what I wanted because I didn’t know what I wanted.  And I didn’t know there was any other way.  And I didn’t even know I could question it.  And even if I know I could and had questioned it, I can’t say I would have asked the right questions!
I can tell you that my three subsequent labors/deliveries blow that one out of the water (even though I still use epidurals to manage pain).  My NFP-friendly/only doctor is one of a kind who treats my whole person (including the baby in my womb, when there is one) – as a strong Catholic, he is even able to give a spiritual bent on decisions I need to make and how to move forward with my (and the baby’s) care.  I’ve not been cut “down there” one more time and actually, through the births of Dani, Helen and Dominic, haven’t torn all that much.  I think I had one stitch with Helen, no stitches with Dani and maybe more stitches with Dominic due to his ginormous head. 
Were I to get a chance to have my first baby over again, some of my choices might not be different knowing what I know now.  I would probably elect for an epidural again.  But I for sure would shop around for an OB/GYN practice and ask questions like, “What is your c-section rate?” (let’s at least be below the national average, eh?) and “How many episiotomies have you performed?” (a doctor who would get my business would answer that they are so rare that he could count them on one hand).  And, I would take a REAL birth preparation class.  And I would enlist some REAL help for breastfeeding and not listen to all this nonsense of how it’s so “natural” to breastfeed (which makes you feel like a complete failure when your child is starving and you’re unable to get her to latch) that you and baby will adjust just fine.  I probably would have chosen a different hospital, too…because I didn’t research that either.
I’m not sure why I approached new-motherhood the way I did.  It’s obviously worked out fine in the way I have done it so far.  I don’t have a lot of regrets because I’ve been able to find ways that work for my family.  I guess in a way, that simply shows that sometimes, the Grace of God finds you whether you invite It or not.

*I have since questioned when I was due with Sarah.  Because I didn’t chart, I have no idea of conception date and I had irregular cycles from coming off the pill (we weren’t real well-Catechized and hadn’t come into full understanding regarding the Church’s teaching on sex in marriage).  Because she was 9 pounds, 9 ounces chances are she wasn’t “early” but since all of my babies since have been about that size, I might have just been 40 weeks.

Monday Mumbles – 2

It’s a Monday and I have some jumbled thoughts to share, so thought I’d go the Mumble route.  Have a great Monday!  TOOJE usually has some Mumbles up on Mondays.  Whether she does today or not…go check her out.  She has adorable children!

1.  First of all…ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!  My team is in the Final Four Sweet Sixteen (wow…got ahead of myself!!  fixed on Tuesday morning).  Granted, their bracket is all sorts of messed up with upsets just about everywhere but by them, but they’re still playing!

2.  Woke up to this article over at National Catholic Register on the disconnect in the message from “over-population” people to stop having babies…or to control the number and the fact that they are silent regarding whether people should continue to engage in sex.  It’s a refreshingly different take on the argument.

3.  I have swum four times since my last OB visit.  It seems I finally got the motivation I needed to get to the pool…in the form of keeping my weight in check over the four weeks proceeding that check-up. 

4.  Swimming wears me out like nothing else.  When bedtime comes around…I am literally out within a minute.  And I feel worn out all day long (when I get it in first thing).  The schedule is Wed-Thur and then Sat-Sun.  That’s the only way I can get it in with Craig’s work schedule.  Longer swims on the weekends.  The second day in a row…I REALLY feel the fatigue from the previous day’s swim.  But I’m glad to be back in the pool.

5.  I take Dominic to his orthopedic checkup today.  I noticed last night he was walking more smoothly…like the limp had finally gone.  I haven’t seen him really run, yet, though.  So, we’ll see.  But I’ll be glad to see how it’s doing.

6.  My kids go back to school today after spring break. They NEED to go back.  This weekend was full of bickering and fussing at each other.  I think they are tired of each other. 

7.  Lent is going fairly well so far.  I finally got a book to read to feed my soul…The Virtue Driven Life.  It seems to have the premise that we have lost our way when it comes to the virtues these days.  I am a little ashamed to admit that at a given moment, I probably couldn’t name the seven virtues.  But maybe this will help me!

8. I volunteered to be track coach for grades 4-6 at our parish school.  It’s been interesting since I am pregnant and haven’t been running so I can’t really just start running with the kids.  I am able to do some of the plyometric exercises though and I love saying (as I keep my plank-hold for the entire minute):  “If a 37-year-old 5-months-pregnant woman can do this and keep her belly off the ground, you 10-year-old girls can do it!”

9.  I think I’m going to start a “Whine List” and write down all the “Whiny” complaints I get from the kids girls during workout.  “It’s too hard.”  “I’m tired.”  “I caaaaaannnnn’t do it!”  I bet if I focused I could remember the really funny ones.

10.  It’s a new week.  Boss is back from vacation.  I realized I really am just four months away from this little one joining the world and spring is upon us!  Life is good.

Have a great day!!

Pregnancy Pondering

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how very different I am as a pregnant woman versus my non-pregnant self.  Being pregnant is such a huge blessing, but it’s probably one of those blessings that I overlook due to the fact that there are so many things I don’t like about myself while I’m growing a baby in my womb.

I find that I feel guilty whenever I complain or even think about complaining about my pregnancy.  For one thing, how blessed am I to be able to conceive at all?  For another, each child is a gift from God, how dare I find one thing wrong with it?

There are so many things that I complain about when pregnant.  I gain weight.  Quickly.  I lack energy for exercise.  The last thing I want to put in my mouth is a vegetable or a fruit.  Clothes never fit right.  I’m short-tempered and easily frustrated with my children.  I’m more withdrawn at work.  Every time I am out with all of my children, I get this weird sensation that everyone is looking at my belly and wondering what is wrong with me having all these kids.  I could go on…but you get the picture.

How much of this comes from within and how much is a product of the society with which I interact?

It seems like I remember while pregnant with Sarah that no one thought it “weird” that I was having a baby.  I got lots of fun, nice comments about naming and whether I knew if baby was a boy or a girl.  Everyone was excited for the new arrival.  When I was pregnant with Dani – again, not a big deal.  Everyone seemed to think it was just grand that Sarah would have a sister.  What a blessing!  I had two girls born in the same time of year – lots of hand-me-downs!

When I was pregnant with Helen, it seemed…again…to be okay (but not AS okay as with Dani) with everyone that I was having another baby.  Get it out of the way!  Have the babies while you’re young (though I was 32 at this point)!  With a third girl on the way, I heard, “Poor Craig” an awful lot and “Craig will never see the bathroom again.”  While not overtly negative…we did not get nearly the amount of support that we had gotten in the past.

With Dominic this seemed to be worse.  I got a lot more of the comments like, “Don’t you know when to quit?”  and “Don’t you know what causes that?”  I actually felt keen disapproval from some family members about our decision to grow our family and there’s a section of my family that seems to look down on us for having more than two or three kids.

With  both Dominic and Helen, I felt the cloud of depression during the last trimester.  With Dominic, it turned into a pretty long stay of Post-Partum Depression…I kind of came out of it when he turned one.  I wonder how much of that was caused by the lack of support I perceived from those within my family as well as complete strangers.

What’s really interesting is that this time around, none of that has surfaced.  For some reason, I have not experienced one negative reaction to the fact that we are having another baby.  Everyone is excited.  It’s almost as though I am having my first baby again.  I feared informing people of the pregnancy – but those fears have turned out to be completely unnecessary.

And – I’m having a pregnancy where I feel really good about where I am with everything regarding our family.  I’m content that I’m 24 weeks along and not wishing I were 40 weeks so I could get this over with.  I find myself expecting to go a week overdue and I am okay with that.  I am finding the energy to make it to the gym and get in the pool for a swim workout again.  While my frustration rears its head every once in awhile with the kids, I have noticed so far that it’s not as bad as it was the last time around.  I’m still a little bit more sensitive to criticism, but don’t let things bother me as much.  At least I don’t think I do.

Obviously, I haven’t done an extensive, scientific study about whether my experience with family and society at large and their opinions on my childbearing decisions directly correlates to how I feel.  It does seem like this time around, I’ve struck a good balance of feeling content about where  we are with our family and my experiences with those on the outside of our immediate family unit. 

Maybe people are treating me differently. 

Maybe I’ve just grown up.