Really really really big news!!
THE SECRET IS OUT! If you saw on Instagram you already know…
We will be a family of three starting in late June!
We are SO excited! With a lot of, “are we seriously going to be PARENTS?” mixed in there for good measure.
The subject of even WRITING this blog post is daunting to me! What does one write in a blog post about such a huge life milestone!? It’s a little overwhelming. So in true Jess fashion, I figured I would approach the topic of our rapidly impending parenthood in a word-vomity blog post. ????
First of all, I want to acknowledge those out there who might have some sensitivity around this topic.
For those struggling with infertility, who have dealt with the immense pain of loss–the list goes on. If you need to sit this post out, please do. I want you to know I love you so much, I see you, and please do whatever you need to do to prioritize taking care of yourself. (Including unfollowing or muting people who are posting content that is hard for you to see.)
Like I’ve done so many times before, I will drop my reminder here to please never ask anyone about their plans to have children–you never know what someone is going through behind the scenes.
On that note, I’m also so proud of this entire community because I am now 21 weeks along and not ONE PERSON has asked me if I’m pregnant. NOT ONE! You guys. That is progress. Two years ago it used to be the #1 question I received in my Q + A’s. It’s been my mission to educate the world on why we can’t be asking women about their reproductive plans (because it’s maddening at best, and incredibly painful at worst) and I am just SO PROUD I could cry. Thank you, thank you.
Okay, let’s move onto more details, yes?!
When is baby due?
Baby’s due date is June 28th! I am 21 weeks this week, and baby is the size of a banana and/or a bok choy. (Never did I ever think I’d be the kind of person to share my baby’s fruit and vegetable equivalent on the internet but it seems to be a VERY popular question?!)
We found out TWO DAYS before the election. ????What a week, right? I mean, on one hand, what incredible symbolism, on the other, it was really hard to navigate that week without wine and with the pure exhaustion I did not know one could ever feel, but that is the reality of the first trimester.
Do we know what we’re having?
We do!! I will be sharing that soon. I think it will probably be REALLY soon because I’ve accidentally typed it 100 times in this post and I feel like I will blow it in two seconds. Now that our secret is out I feel like now I want to just tell you EVERYTHING.
…But I also feel like hey it’s a pandemic, might as well stretch all the excitement out as much as possible right? ????It was a really cute (VERY Neal and Jess) way to find out, and we filmed it, so stay tuned!
Do we have a name?
We do! We’ve known our name pretty early on. It’s a name I have always loved and luckily one that Neal came around to as well. ????????We won’t be sharing until baby is born, BUT, we do have a funny nickname that I will share with you:
You know how I’m a walking tornado that makes messes everywhere I go? Well, Neal has called me “rat” for that reason for many years now. I think it specifically started because I always mess up the sheets at night, turning them into a “rats nest.”
Well, night #1, Neal started calling baby “LR” for “Little Rat” so that is still what we refer to baby as now. ????Even our apps say, “LR is this size X this week!” and makes me crack up every time.
Am I showing!?
YES–but I really wasn’t for the LONGEST time! (And then it was weirdly only at night, so I just did try ons in the morning because all my pants still fit then, haha!) I swear the belly came out of nowhere just last week! I’m excited I can finally post photos and not hide it anymore. ????
Why did we wait so long to announce?
Honestly, I’m a little worried about being a pregnant person and mom on the internet. I have found that I am so much more sensitive in pregnancy (usually I have thick skin but things just BOTHER me and get under my skin like they never used to right now!) and I just was a little overwhelmed at the thought of opening myself up to the kind of scrutiny that only a pregnant woman has to deal with. (Is that coffee she’s drinking? Does it have caffeine? Is she eating lunch meat? Doesn’t she know X, Y, Z!!!!?!?) Pregnant people and mothers get a lot of unsolicited advice at best, and also mom-shaming, at worst. And unsolicited advice, while well-intentioned, also REALLY overwhelms me. So that’s one reason. These are boundaries I’m just going to have to figure out as I go that come with the territory of my job.
Another reason is that so many bad things can happen during a pregnancy. I have watched friends go through unimaginable things–there is always a part of me that is constantly worried something bad is going to happen. And I am NOT a worrier by nature, so this has been a really strange emotion for me to process and navigate.
I know that of course posting something on the internet in no way affects what happens to your baby. And I’m not exactly superstitious–but I don’t know how to explain it. I just kept saying, “after the next doctor’s appointment we can announce” and I said it like 3 different times. I still worry! But it was getting to the point where it was silly and I’m showing and also, I don’t want to hide it from you guys! I want you to share in our joy!
On being ready:
I will say, baby was not exactly planned, but wasn’t NOT planned. A welcome surprise, if you will.
As I have discussed on IG stories before, I always knew I wanted kids, but I never felt “ready” and I never felt that magnetic pull to have a baby that many women get around my age. Don’t get me wrong, I love babies AND kids–I always have, I’ve always been good with them–but unlike seemingly every other 30 something woman I know, I did not ever get the “bug.” I honestly still feel like I’m 22. My mom has been telling me for the past couple of years, “you will never be ready. It’s like a cliff–you just have to jump, and you’ll be glad you did.” But I could never quite get myself close enough to the edge to make that leap.
I also feel like the whole “mommy blogger” movement has scarred me by being too graphic about the realities of motherhood when I don’t have the wonderful payoff of actually having a child and therefore all I see are the bad things?! Or people who are parents constantly responding to me saying something like, “I’m tired” with “just wait until you have kids. You don’t know what tired is.” Like oh wow, thank you, that’s really helping.
(By the way, if you identify with this, I can’t recommend Kate’s podcast episode “Childless Millennial” where she goes into this in detail more. I have never felt more seen in my life.)
Anyway, I debated on how much detail I wanted to share with this, for fear of it being interpreted wrong and that I would seem like I am not incredibly grateful, or that it would come off insensitive as there are so many struggling to have children.
However, ultimately, I thought it was really important to talk about because I think there are a lot of 30 something women out there who are secretly harboring the same fears as I was. But nobody talks about it! (Again, please just listen to the podcast episode, it’s so great. There are actually two parts, I haven’t listened to the second.) I don’t want you to live in fear, I want to be that reassuring voice for you. So, thus, here are the nitty gritty details.
I decided to get my IUD removed in June just because I didn’t think I would ever feel any MORE ready until that was out. (But I did feel very confident in the fact that I WANTED kids, which is an important distinction. Kids aren’t for everyone and nobody should ever feel pressured to have them because other people expect them to!)
Neal, on the other hand, has always wanted kids, and has only wanted to be a father since he was like, 10. (But he was so incredibly patient with me.)
After I got my IUD out, I then got myself an Ava bracelet, as my best friend recommended it–which is designed to help people get pregnant because it’s an incredibly accurate ovulation tracker (more accurate than peeing on those sticks) but I decided I would use it for birth control until I decided I wanted to get pregnant, and then I would use it for that purpose. (I.E. if you know exactly when you’re ovulating, you can just as easily use it as birth control as you would to try and conceive, however, this is NOT an option I would use if I hadn’t eventually known we wanted to get pregnant! I am not advocating for this as a birth control method–I am not a doctor!)
Spoiler alert. IT WORKS REALLY REALLY REALLY WELL…IF YOU USE IT CORRECTLY. ????There was ONE little, “we shouldn’t do this today because it’s a peak fertility day, so we should use a backup method. And if that doesn’t work, oh well–it was meant to be” moment.
And well…clearly it was meant to be! Because here we are!
Because we weren’t “trying” and because sometimes my period can be wonky, I didn’t really think anything of it when my boobs started hurting or I started gagging profusely when brushing my teeth. (I once actually threw up while brushing my teeth.) Or when I started to become disinterested in wine! (How did none of these give me pause? I don’t know.)
How we found out
I took a test when I was a week late (mistakenly bought the test with the lines, NOT the one that says “pregnant” or “not pregnant” which I do NOT recommend doing!) and that first test was negative. Or I just didn’t see the second line. We’ll never know. ???? I did, strangely, feel a little pang of disappointment that it was negative, which is a phenomenon I have never experienced before when taking a pregnancy test.
When I told Neal later, “by the way, I took a test, it was negative” and he said, “well, that isn’t really how I had envisioned this going anyway–so unplanned!” and I said, “really? Because this is exactly how I would’ve wanted it to happen!! ????” (It’s like being pushed off of a cliff you were too scared to jump off of yourself and someone did the scariest part for you!)
Anyway, at Neal’s instance (thankfully–who knows how long I would’ve waited again), a week later, I took a second test. We were driving back from a fall weekend at The Fields, so I took it right when I got home (because I needed to pee anyway after a few hours in the car) and behold–there were two lines. I was floored.
I ran out of the bathroom and screamed “DOES THIS LOOK LIKE TWO LINES TO YOU!?” down the hallway, and Neal was a little flabbergasted because he didn’t even know I was taking a test. I then asked him to run to Walgreens to get the kind that said “Pregnant” and “not pregnant” and he returned a few minutes later–sure enough, they were all positive!
Were we shocked? YES. That might be an understatement. (Sometimes I’m still shocked). But so excited. The election results that week were just the icing on the cake. Watching a Biden Harris victory happen knowing we would be bringing a child into a better world than the one he/she had been conceived in was just overwhelmingly emotional.
It’s also astonishing how quickly you can go from, “I’m not sure I’ll ever feel “ready” to have kids” to being so nervous over the wellbeing of this future child of yours, and how something terrible could happen and could be taken from you at any second and you are just counting down the minutes until they are safe in your arms. (I have been told the worrying starts early and never stops, now I know what that means.)
So–I’m speaking specifically to those who know you want children eventually but are worried that you aren’t ready, that you will feel trapped, this is for you. Don’t worry. You won’t. Not once have I had the “what on earth am I doing?” panic that I thought I might.
How am I feeling?
The first trimester fatigue was real. I have never felt anything like it, it was particularly hard going through my busiest and most stressful time of the year without wine and not one ounce of motivation, but I got through it! I kind of just did the best I could and decided I would be more than satisfied with that. The second trimester I am feeling MUCH more like myself, which is great!
Pregnancy brain is definitely a thing. I forget EVERYTHING and can focus on NOTHING. My inbox is suffering and it is hard to even remember to respond to an email.
Motivation has also been a struggle, but I honestly don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones or the horrific midwest winter weather or the weight of a YEAR long pandemic or all of the above? (I mean, when you put it that way ????).
But honestly now being in Florida I feel like I can finally breathe again and I’m so much happier. So maybe the pregnancy hormones aren’t so much to blame after all. ????
My favorite part so far:
Once I knew what we were having I definitely felt more “connected” and it got me way more excited because I was able to start envisioning more of what the future would hold. I also started being able to feel baby a couple weeks ago, which has been so cool (less like an alien was invading my body than I thought it would feel like?)–that is absolutely my favorite part!
How did we tell our families?
We decided to wait and tell our families at Christmas! (It was hard to wait, but we have always wanted to be able to time it up like that, and it was so worth it!) We were with Neal’s parents, sister and brother for Christmas so we told them in person and then we told my mom, dad and sister over Facetime. We recorded those and will post them soon! Their reactions were priceless. ????It was truly the best. I think everyone was just as equally shocked as we were, haha!
A shout out to my absolutely incredible husband:
Yes, he deserves his own section. I cannot imagine being married to a more incredible man. He makes sure I remember to take my vitamins every day. And is in charge of setting them out for me every morning. He insists on making me food, smoothies, he makes my coffee every morning. He drives me downtown to every doctors appointment. And waits in the car even though he can’t come in with me. ???? He tells me I’m beautiful when I feel disgusting and he drives 22 hours to Florida to get me out of the horrible weather when I am at my breaking point. He is going to be the best dad in the ENTIRE world. And I am so happy that his dream is finally coming true!
How will my content change?
To be honest, I know that some people are really enthralled with and interested in pregnancy and childbirth and that’s WONDERFUL–but it has never interested me. And that didn’t exactly change when I got pregnant. ????(And that’s OKAY! It doesn’t mean I’m a bad pregnant person or that I won’t be a good mother!)
I don’t plan to do any trimester recaps, talk about birth plans or birth methods, feel compelled to share my birth story or anything like that beyond the kind of content that I would usually post anyway. I don’t really plan to do a ton of content around the subject itself, as that’s just not something that feels very “me.” (There is NOTHING wrong with anyone who does share this content, and that’s so great that they do, because it’s helpful–it’s just not me.)
In terms of motherhood content, I really have no desire to become a “mommy” blogger.
I am pretty adamant about keeping my own identity while being present in raising and enjoying my children without “losing myself.” (It’s kind of a deep-seated fear of mine if we’re being honest.) I am so much more than one thing now, and I will continue to be so much more than just a “mother.” I think my own mom did a good job setting an example of that, and for that I am grateful!
This is all to say, I probably wouldn’t expect to see blog posts on our child’s 3-month-old sleep schedule, feeding tips, or anything like that–again–there are so many bloggers who DO post things like that, and that’s great, but again, that’s just not me. Part of it is lack of interest, part of it is that I think every parent should focus on what THEY think is best for THEIR child and THEIR lifestyle–not focusing on what I’m doing. I don’t ever want to contribute to comparison culture.
But also, who knows? Maybe I WILL in fact think those things are interesting one day? I guess never say never!
I will, of course, share all the helpful stuff–comfy cute clothes that also happen to work for bumps, the nursery design, the minimal essentials that we’re registering for (I say minimal because we have no room in our condo as it is!!) Things that help you do you just with a baby–yes, that is content I am all over! But by no means is my content changing as a whole. So even if you have zero interest in children, don’t worry!
We’re going into this with zero expectations other than that we will do our best, that I hope we can focus on raising our child with the boundaries and values that are important to us (knowing those might also change as time goes on!) and to ensure our child feels incredibly loved and safe, always!
Parting thoughts (for now ????)
Overall, if you would’ve asked me how I would feel at 21 weeks pregnant a year ago–I might’ve wondered if the fear/overwhelm of my life-changing forever would be the dominant emotion, but it’s not.
I’m SO excited to be a mom and equally as excited to watch Neal become a dad (I cannot think of anyone better suited for the job ????), for our parents become new grandparents and siblings become aunts and uncles. (And for you to be our baby’s aunties!! LR is going to be so loved!)
I think it’s going to be such an exciting adventure, and we are so grateful to have you along for the ride. ????
Thank you for all the love and support. We love you!
xoxo Jess, Neal and LR!