I'm writing this piece six days late for my period — a frustrating place to be when you're trying to conceive (TTC). I use the term "late" loosely, because after having my first child (who is 2-and-a-half), my cycle has been super irregular. I've had anywhere from 25-35 day cycles, and they just feel different these days. Before I got pregnant with her, though, my period was perfectly reliable with textbook symptoms and a monthly rhythm I could count on. Now, TTC a second child, I feel super late to the party.
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, it only took one day of being late to have that feeling of just knowing I was pregnant, because of how regular my cycle had been. I took that pregnancy test only two days after my missed period with no hesitation, no doubt at all that I'd have a negative result. Seeing the plus sign wasn't a new piece of information to me — it was a confirmation. This time, I have no way of "knowing."
I could very likely start tomorrow, and that hope of being pregnant again will vanish once more. Perhaps it's ridiculous to postpone a pregnancy test until I'm so far past missing my period that a positive result is inevitable, but I prefer not to see a minus sign; I'd rather my body (by way of the onset of my cycle) tell me that my wait will continue. That's why expecting carries a different weight this time around. I'm trying to not have that expectation. But I'll admit it: these "am-I/aren't-I" intervals each month as I'm trying to conceive are killing me.
I'm thrilled for my friends who are expecting or have already had a second (or third) child, but the pull on my heart to get to that point as well becomes stronger each time I see a new pregnancy announcement on social media.
Holding my emotions together as a first-time mother has been equal parts horrible, challenging, and life-changing in a good way. Now that I'm trying to have another baby, I'm finding holding my emotions together while I wait is harder than I thought it would be. It took us four months to conceive the first time; we're going on seven months this time. Of course, I sometimes feel inappropriate "complaining" about it when I know people who have had to wait far longer periods of time to find out their having a baby — and some who never do. But I also realize that my emotions are valid and try to shame myself for what I feel.
The inclination to compare my family-building journey to my peers — however ineffective and potentially damaging I understand it to be — is in full force over here. Of course I'm thrilled for my friends who are expecting or have already had a second (or third) child, but the pull on my heart to get to that point as well becomes stronger each time I see a new pregnancy announcement on social media. One by one, the people I know who had a baby the same year I had my daughter are welcoming a little sibling for their toddler. I can only hope for and believe that the time will come for my own family, but the utter inability to control that process is abso-freakin'-lutely frustrating.
Admittedly, no one else is really putting pressure on me to have another kid but myself. I mean, there's been the odd comment here and there about "making room for another" or "what a great sister she'll be" (said with a wink) speaking about my daughter. But it's pretty much my own desire to have a second child (like…now) that fuels my own anxiety about the timing of baby number two. My daughter will already be 3-and-a-bit if and when she gets a sibling. My brother and I are four and a half years apart, and I always felt like that was just slightly too much of an age difference growing up.
I remind myself — and have been encouraged by those closest to me — that when it does happen, it will be perfect for us. Trusting the journey, remaining grateful for what I have, and continuing to celebrate the new babies around me is a conscious choice I have to make almost daily, but I know that choice is both beneficial and necessary to get through this part of the journey. Whether the process is a matter of days (fingers crossed!) or still months to come, my wait deserves to be one of hope. Despite the difficulty, that's my honest aim.