Time is flying by – I always seem to say this, but when every week is being counted down and attributed to a new pregnancy related milestone – it seems that time moves even faster somehow. I am 29.5 weeks pregnant, and in the third trimester – which is crazy! Suddenly, I am freaking out with J and telling him about all the stuff we still have to do – and not a lot of time to do it in! We are not unique in this situation – it is so much more stressful preparing for a baby when you already have another child to worry about.
My belly pretty much announces itself wherever it goes now, and well-meaning people often say congratulations and then ask if it is my first. I say, no it’s my second, and then they ask how old our first child is. My standard response is “She will be 5 when the baby is born”. Right after this they often say “Oh that will be great! She will be able to help out and be a great big sister!”. Despite my last post, I will often just smile and nod and talk about something else. After all, going into all of the details for a short conversation sometimes seems like overkill. Then – I wonder what will happen – how Monkey will react when the baby arrives and she realizes that it’s a permanent situation. Monkey is very drawn to babies – every time she sees one she says “awww…..it’s a baby!” and is always curious to look and say “baby mommy!”. We have had a baby boom in our extended family recently and there have been no hints of jealousy from her with J or I holding another baby – just curiosity. I do wonder what will happen with the day-to-day however when we bring this new baby home and suddenly both of her mom’s and dad’s time will become stretched. I know this is a worry even for a neurotypical family – how I wish I could tell Monkey that I will always be there for her and that I will do my best – but it might not be enough. J and I have started with trying to explain to her that the baby will cry, and need feeding and diaper changes – but I don’t know much she understands.
I am thankful that she will still have her routine of school and therapy so that her world won’t be completely thrown upside down – but I am trying to manage everyone’s expectations. I am trying to prepare Monkey with the changes about to happen with our family. I am trying to manage my own expectations about her reaction to her new sibling. I am trying to manage expectations of myself when this new baby arrives. I am trying to figure out how the relationship between J and I will change and how to give ourselves to two children when there are some days we feel stretched in dealing with just one of them.
I don’t think that these fears and thoughts are unique to us – but they are worries just the same. I know like anything there will be good days and bad days and sleep deprivation and exhaustion. I am also trying to manage my expectations of the unknown – will this child be on the spectrum, or not? J and I found out this baby will be a boy (uncharted territory for us), and given that Autism is diagnosed more often in boys – a moment that should have been exciting and momentous had worry attached to it. We have made peace with that now, but I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge out initial thoughts.
We are excited about this new little one and about completing our family. Our journey with Monkey teaches me every day that expectations of what things should/will be like are not a great way to spend your time. There are days along this journey that we stumble, and others that are filled with so much joy and happiness that we think will burst. We just need to enjoy the ride and look ahead – even if that means hairpin turns and steep drops come out of nowhere. After all, even when you know they are coming doesn’t make you any more prepared for them. Just breathe and take it one day at a time…