Attention, please.

I’m 7 months into this pregnancy, and I have to be honest – I haven’t, and really can’t, give it the same attention I gave the first. How can I? On top of all the other things that go on in daily life, I have a toddler at home. A toddler who is used to a lot of attention. A toddler who is not so interested in relinquishing that attention. A toddler who combs his hair with cous cous. A toddler who randomly calls, Mama! Mama! Mama! and when I turn around, stares at me blankly.

I think part of developing the love and attention for the second child is including the first in it. It’s a family affair. A while ago we introduced Koala to ‘beebees’ and got him his own replicas. Pointed to Mama’s belly and said there was a beebee inside. Wakes up, takes his beebee and feeds her mai (mayim).

A wise friend told me that what will shock me the most is that I will immediately find that I indeed have the room in my heart to love two children infinitely. It’s not a matter of making room in a limited space; it’s not about loving one more or less. Your capacity grows.

I’m guessing that isn’t true for attention. And so go the stereotypes for second children…

Signs of second life.

Differences between first and second pregnancy:

  • You’re fatter, earlier.
  • You know too much.
  • There’s already a kid in the picture, sucking up your time and energy (and probably your vitamin-intake, too).
  • A lot of second-time jokes (Double the fun! Back for more? Double trouble!)
  • For some reason I can’t pinpoint, it’s harder announcing it this time.

Ta da!

Before we go any further, I need to get this out so I can move on:

I don’t love the physical attention. I’m a private person and I don’t like my business growing on the outside where everyone can see. I like having secrets. I hate being observed belly-first when I walk in a room. I object to awkwardness of all types, and I must decline the requests to pat anything on my body.

There. Some reasons I can pinpoint why it’s harder this time.

Tonight I felt bebe #2 kick for the first time, so I thought it was high time to come on out about it. Little bebe #2, making yourself known. I’ve been waiting for you. I think you’ll make a good roommate these next months.

My unsuspecting Koala is going to be a big brother to this unsuspecting new-child.

Actually, Koala is definitely suspecting. Suspecting, and hitting my belly as often as he can.

Round 2 – ding ding ding!

So, your wife is pregnant…

A few weeks ago I noticed an advertisement at a Jerusalem cafe and I had to share:

The ad is for a campaign by Clalit health insurance: ReadyDaddy.co.il – ‘because men aren’t born ready.’

Note: And women are?!

It’s a cute if not cliche idea; as we can all see, it’s based on the stereotype that men are freaked by pregnancy and the idea of having babies around. As seen on TV I guess. On another level I think it’s actually condescending; I know a lot of guys who were as ready and willing as their wives and for whom fatherhood has come as naturally as it can. In fact, I’m married to one.

But back to the ad: It’s a very well-done viral attempt to get young couples into Clalit service. Babies make the insurance companies money from the government. It’s the main reason why my very own Maccabi health insurance company has pushed so hard to get into Beitar Illit.

Money, money, money. Humor is always welcome, though. Good for Clalit for getting edgy for the young folks. Good for guys for being good sports about the cliches. And good for women like me who notice the ads above toilets in unisex bathrooms.

For a close up of what the ad says, click it to view larger:

Ten things that every guy has to do before you enter pregnancy…

…including:

  • Breathe.
  • Prepare a list of ten things you love about your wife – you will soon need it as a reminder…
  • Ask your wife to prepare a list of ten things she loves about you – she will soon need it as a reminder…
  • No matter what, remember the answer to every question is, “What do you mean, you are totally glowing!”
  • Buy a moped, comfortable, waterproof, running shoes. In the coming months, you will be a messenger.
  • End off nicely with all your friends. Don’t worry, they’ll come to the brit.
  • Sleep, sleep, sleep.

End of days.

Since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been watching and waiting as pregnant peers around me finish up their terms, give birth and move on to parenthood. It’s been a sort of countdown of names, not numbers – first so-and-so, then so-and-so, next so-and-so. Happens to be there have been quite a few, especially within a six week radius of my own due date. 

Well, I’m definitely getting there because there aren’t many other preggos to watch and wait for anymore. 

Meanwhile, things have been pretty hectic recently. We’ve learned a lot about the difference between public health care and going private. We fall into the former category… And I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it again, but it can get you really riled up if you fall between the cracks. Thankfully we’ve been under the guidance of a midwife whose analysis and scrutiny has been a lot more than ‘just’ a supplement to the doctor’s… My advice to anyone else is to stay on top of yourself and keep plowing for second opinions if you need ’em. 

In the last week, as I’ve calmed into a sort of hibernation, my mind has frequently reflected back on what the last 9 or so months have been. I can say that pregnancy has been good to me – definitely better than I went in expecting. A collection of thoughts has pooled up in the back of my mind, which I know I’ll forget by the next time around unless I jot them down. So, in no particular order: 

  • Hormones are amazing creatures and should be respected for all their power… Especially the way they are just right on the ball. Unfortunately, it seems most folks don’t respect them as much as they deserve. 
  • It’s true what ‘they’ say: everyone and their mother (literally) has stories and advice for you. There is a very, very thin line between what is welcome and what is annoying. That line gets thinner every day. 
  • Pregnancy is about acknowledging the accomplishments, from the big to the small to the mundane… I’ve reminded myself of this constantly. You have to take credit for as much as you can to keep your spirits up. Feeling not as nauseous today? Got through a whole night’s sleep without waking up? Remembered to take your vitamins for two consecutive days? Managed to get to the bathroom once in three days? Managed to not go pee more than once in an hour? Pat yourself on the back (if you can reach it). 
  • Giving up things was not as painful as I thought it would be. I miss my jeans. I miss my nightly glass of wine. I miss sleeping on my back. I miss my body. I miss beer. I miss not having to take vitamins every day. I miss being able to spontaneously go wherever I want for the weekend (ha, did we ever really do that?). But… in the larger scheme of things, it’s not so bad. And I guess I can say that with slightly more ease since I wasn’t a smoker before anyway. 
  • Doctors here will not explain things unless you ask… At least, I’ve found that most of them won’t. The internet is a big help but will go overboard inevitably. Reading is interesting, but too much can destroy you. Nurses at the kupah check ups can be a great source of info, but won’t always have the whole picture and can’t commit to anything. Birth class instructors are wonderful but often not medical professionals. I’ve just had to carefully blend all kinds of resources and let the picture paint itself. 
  • It’s amazing how many people don’t have all the info while pregnant… It boils down to personality and life style I guess… But I’ve been shocked at how other girls can be shocked when they learn things about their bodies I thought was obvious. Sex and pregnancy education should just be mandatory for everyone.
  • Speaking of sex… I can’t help but find it funny that my religious doctor loves to remind us about having plenty of it… Actually, he loves to mention it to my husband while I’m behind the curtain. Men, eh?
  • Both sides of the birthing coin will make you feel inept, insecure and insane: the Western institutionalized side and the natural ‘alternative’ side.  I’ve settled for taking what I can handle and finding my balance. 
  • There are some folks who just can’t handle pregnancy… They are awkward about it, around it, when faced with it. Those folks are mostly men but I’ve encountered it in women too. 
  • There is a big difference between raspberry tea and reaspberry leaf tea… And the latter, which is excellent to drink for working on uterine muscles, does not taste as refreshing as its cousin, whether hot, iced or frozen. But on that note, exploring homeopathic options has been really interesting. We’ll see if they pay off. 

Where we are.

So here we are, me and my belly tenant, at the ‘full term’ milestone.

This probably means different things for the two of us, but the more I think about it, perhaps the more it is actually the same. It’s probably so comfy in there, with the warmth and the soothing background noise. And not that the baby knows what it’s in for, but why should s/he ever want to leave? I wonder if somewhere, deep in the slowly folding crevices of its devolping brain, it’s thinking, Well, yeah, I should probably get packing, but I still have a few more weeks, right? Why ruin a good thing?

And send down more chocolate. 

Then there I am. According to the questions people ask me – or rather, the tone in which they ask them – I’m supposed to be tired of being pregnant, frustrated that I’m still ‘like this,’ impatient to give birth already. Yet, I’m not. I’m content. I really do feel the calm before the storm. Maybe people exaggerate about pregnancy or maybe for other women it’s just more frustrating, but I have had a pretty good time with it. Maybe it’s the support I get from my partner (who, I can say, is quite ready to move on). Maybe it’s because I’m small – or percieve myself as small. I’ve really worked on remaining active, or as active as I’ve ever been when not pregnant.  Maybe it’s all the prenatal vitamins I take.

Although, chances are, it’s because I take one day at a time. 

So here I am, thinking, Yeah, take it easy in there. Enjoy what may be the best days of your life. I’d rather you weren’t too late, though. I made the mistake of telling people my due date and I don’t want to suffer people’s questioning every day after week 40… But I’ve always been one for having deadlines to get the work done. No deadlines, I’d never do it, right? So let’s look at week 40 as a mutual acceptance of the fact that you’re coming out and somehow my body is going to make that happen. In the meantime, sit back (but not too far back), keep eating (we don’t want to disappoint your Jewish grandmothers), and continue moving around so I don’t panic every hour (you don’t want to scare your Jewish mother, either).

And, yes, child. Chocolate is wonderful and here is some more. 


Everybody loves a pregnant lady.

Something I’ve discovered – maybe now that I’m so obviously pregnant or that I’ve actually realized I’m so obviously pregnant (it took a while) – is that in Israel, or maybe just Jerusalem, everybody loves a pregnant lady. 

The old guy scooping me ice cream? Big smiles and bigger scoops. “Have some more, it’s good for the baby and it’s good for you!”

The Mizrahi woman behind the deli counter? Fussing over how I will do Pesach this year and recalling her third trimester Pesachs. 

The Arab truck driver in the parking lot? Giving me a big grin as he slows down to let me walk ahead. 

The young snazzy secular dude on line at Mega? I’m carrying one item and so is he, but he lets me cut ahead of him. 

I think if I were still riding the bus as often as I used to, or going food shopping as often as I used to, or really just living in Jerusalem and being out and about like the old days, I’d be getting this more on a daily basis. But it’s kind of heartwarming to not need my guard up all the time.

Who is going to mess with a pregnant lady, after all?

Weddings and pregnancy: cans and can'ts.

I learned something new last night at the wedding of two friends. I’ve been to three weddings while pregnant. The last time I had been at a wedding was when I was about a month or so  pregnant and before that I was just post-pregnancy test. Last night I was eight months or so pregnant. These experiences have been completely different. 

First of all, it’s nice to actually enjoy the food. That is a plus at being this much pregnant at a wedding. Then again, at the early point of a week pregnant I could enjoy a guilt-free glass of white wine more easily than I would now. Either way, not being able to get alcohol-giddy at a wedding is something I miss.

Another pro to being late-stage pregnant is that people know you’re pregnant… In that first wedding, when I didn’t have the designated driver excuse, I had drinks shoved at me here and there. Fortunately my adrenaline kept me moving and covered up my sober state.  

Then there is this sad fact: heavily pregnant women can’t dance. Some do try and look terribley awkward for it (myself included). I just didn’t realize this to be the case until yesterday. I discovered that, despite carrying all in the front in a ‘compact belly’ as a midwife once called it, the baby package manages to get in the way (tip: dance on your partner’s feet).

I’m  not tired of being pregnant but I do miss dancing and drinking… I do miss enjoying a wedding to its fullest.

Usually not big on excuses, but…

I felt pretty bad about canceling my physio appointment this morning after waiting over two months since I first booked it with my kuppah. I felt worse for the people who are still waiting for their appointments  more than I felt bad for myself. I thought I’d get chewed out by the receptionist when I called to cancel (yes, I have that decency to call and cancel even an hour before the appointment; maybe there is a waiting list…).

No need to worry though. She grumpily said that she doesn’t know when she can make me a new appointment and then asked why I needed it in the first place. I planned to say, “I’m pregnant and don’t feel well today and I live outside Jerusalem and I’m sorry and I know this isn’t nice of me…” but as soon as I said “I’m pregnant” she went all Israeli high-pitched and said, “Ooooh! Well, feel good then! Ok… B’sha’a tova. Be well.”

Gotta take more advantage of that with less than two months left.