Joy in Comparison

12916097_10100849873349183_6625354155679802775_oOne of my biggest fears in having a second child, is that I would constantly be comparing the two boys. It’s partially why I wanted to have a girl, so that in case the kids were different (which of course they surely would be), I wouldn’t be all like “why can’t you be like your brother?” I was afraid that I would make one child feel less than by these comparisons. I was afraid that I would favor one child over another.

We didn’t have a second kid in order for Potamus to have a sibling, that was an added side benefit. Instead, we had a second kid in order to experience the joy of watching another person grow up to be themself. And boy is this amazing so far. Comparison happens on the daily, but rather than this being a negative thing, it’s like a joyful surprise, the topic of many conversations, and is fully feeding into my desire to watch another small person grow up.

When Potamus was born, it was like falling in love at summer camp: heady, overwhelming, all encompassing. With Lil G, the love was like visiting the ocean on a warm day, vast, and calm, waves lapping at my ankles. I love my boys equally, but the feeling in my body is different. There’s no competition because they are completely different experiences.

The other night Lil G slept for 6 hours at night, which means that I got about 5. I didn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep with Potamus until he was almost 2. Lil G loves a pacifier, and can fall asleep in the swing, and Potamus needed to be bounced on the yoga ball and still sleeps in our bed. It’s not judgment on either kid. It just is what it is, and I’m loving it. I was so afraid of the comparison trap, but instead I’m enjoying it so much. I can’t wait to see who they grow up and experience the ways that they are the same and different.

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21 Week Side by Side

21 side by side

So much about this pregnancy has been completely different than the last go-round. Perhaps it’s age, or perhaps it’s because I’m carrying a distinctly unique human being in my belly region. How silly of me to think that I would get the two children mixed up. How silly of me to think I needed a girl to draw the distinction. How silly of me to think that I would never compare the two.

I’ve felt the movements from week 16, which is much earlier than with Potamus. I hear that second babies are like that. He flips, and twirls, especially at night when I’m trying to get some shuteye. And now I can feel him during the day. When I’m standing in front of my class I feel the little swimmer bouncing off the walls, and I smile. This little fish is my constant companion, and a little light in an otherwise hard season of life.

Cheers to halfway through. Cheers to my last pregnancy. Gonna try and soak every minute up. Even the achy hips and constant peeing. Because I know this is it. The final lap.

A Yogi Named Mellow

I went to my first evening back-to-work yoga class. I was feeling vulnerable. Tired after a long day of work. Guilty that I had whisked Potamus from daycare and got to only spend 1.5 hours with him in the evening before I left again for my class. But there I was, ten minute early, alternating between savasana and easy sitting pose, when Mellow came in.

There she was, sitting front row. And in the ten minutes before class she was engaging in all sorts of yogi acrobatics. Full splits with head to knee. Full ekapadarajkapotasana (king pigeon) pose. All with a half-smile on her face, and her long hair in one sweet french braid, wearing cheetah panties. Yeah, panties.

I mean, bikram yoga is pretty notorious for the minimal clothing, but I can mostly tell the difference between yoga bottoms, which look like bikini bottoms, and underwear. And she was wearing underwear. Her seductively intimidating warmup, with her six pack abs, and slightly glowing skin, made me feel like a giant slob. And while there are plenty of super-awesomely-in-fit practitioners that I see in every class, it was this attitude oozing from her that was both better-than-and-humbler-than, which made me want to gag.

And so I spent the entire session down on myself. My balance was off in the standing poses. I couldn’t cool myself down during the floor poses. And generally altered between feeling like crying and wanting to punch someone. Maybe it was a test, on pushing through when it’s distracting. Or a giant metaphor about how balancing work-life is the theme of the week when the balancing poses are so hard for me. Because, with hindsight, it wasn’t about her, it was about me. I got distracted. And jealous. And down on myself. I focused on things I couldn’t change, and forgot to breathe and be proud that I was there after a long day of work. She’s probably a very lovely person, but I was jealous and annoyed, rather than filled with awe, respect, and a silent congrats that she had gotten to such a limber state.

How do you deal with comparison/jealousy in your physical fitness endeavors?

Body Image

With my smart phone glued to my fingers, especially during nighttime nursing, I have noticed myself compulsively reading new mom forums. Some of the posts or questions I find humorous or insightful, but others I find downright annoying. I am especially annoyed by young twigs who whine about their post-partum body.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t really want to be 250 during my pregnancy, for even at 6’1 that felt quite heavy and WELL over what my normal heaviest was. And despite the fact that I only lost a quick 25 and am would love to weigh less because it feels so much better, overall I am not condemning my body for the metamorphosis it went through to make me a mother.

Overall, I have always seen my body as rather functional and not something to hate, so when I read breastfeeding mama’s refer to their “gumball pink” or “floppy skinny” nipples disparagingly, I get annoyed…and then actually feel sad that is their perspective. When they complain about stretch marks I wonder why, as I had a growth spurt in HS and have always loved to touch my fading stretch marks on my love handles because it is a reminder that I grew from a child into a woman. Perhaps I am a unique woman in this way, that very rarely have I had any body image issues, least of all now postpartum. Of course I am not perfect and think it would be nice to have skinner jeans or perkier breasts, but overall I feel good inside my skin. My legs are strong to carry me. My hips wide enough to birth a child. My breasts full of life-sustaining milk for Potamus. It’s all beautiful, really…