When I got pregnant for the first time at 27, pregnancy seemed like something that I had no control over.
It felt like an inconvenience at best and a really bad joke at worst, where the least eligible person in your circle of friends to become a functional parent gets to be the guinea pig of the experiment.
As I'm sure all of my friends thought at the time - and perhaps still think now - I seemed highly ineligible.
Of course, pregnancy doesn't just happen - it requires action, sometimes lots of it - but because of my life circumstances at the time, I didn't feel quite ready for it and, even worse, had no one to emulate or coach me.
Couple that with a 25-year-old, similarly overwhelmed fiancé, and the pregnancy became something scary.
Looking at it through other people's eyes, I saw what it might take away (youth, looks, career prospects, any semblance of a social life, all imagined travel plans) rather than the myriad pleasures it would bring.
Since I didn't feel or look particularly good, and since the pregnancy put a strain on my new engagement and relationship with my fiancé, the nine months went by in a haze of vomiting and nausea, acne and sweatpants, lots of hormonal screaming and crying fits, and me sitting on the couch grumpily, feeling defeated.
It wasn't until my baby - MY baby! - popped out that I felt normal again (which was crazy in itself because actually having the child is supposed to be the scary part!), and euphoric with bliss. I had finally found myself.
Well, five years and another baby later, and I'm pregnant again.
And I have a completely new-found respect for pregnancy and all that it entails: the discussions, the planning, the questioning (Are we ready to look after another child? Can we afford to? Are we sane enough?) and all of the tribulations and heartbreak involved when things don't work out quite as expected when you hoped they would.
This pregnancy has been different to my last two. I am still vomiting and still have my acne breakouts, but I'm not defeated.
While pregnant with my number two, Liv, I remember taking out the few cotton maternity dresses I owned at 12 weeks and wearing them on rotation for the next six months-plus, just because I felt tired and lazy and instinctively took myself back to the blah place I had been in for my first pregnancy.
I didn't realise that by doing that, I had resigned myself to another pregnancy where I would feel insignificant and unlike myself for another chunk of time, and where I wouldn't want to socialise or exercise or do much of anything because I couldn't muster up the strength or the energy, which I channeled into Diana (happily my two-year-old didn't pass judgement on my appearance or misanthropy with the general population).
So I've decided this pregnancy is going to be different - and it has been. Even though I'm being watched more carefully for potentially having an enormous baby (the joys of giving birth to a 10lb, 5oz-er - thanks Liv!) and am throwing up as ever, I'm still me.
I'm working hard, enjoying every minute with D and Liv, and still feeling energised enough to meet a friend or go out for a dinner. I'm also wearing my normal clothes - since my daily uniform is maternity-friendly and mainly consists of spandex leggings, it seems ridiculous to change that - and even the occasional chunky heels.
I'm Googling 'Blake Lively pregnant' pics to channel the vision of glowing pregnancy bliss I am trying to aspire to, without the effort, unlimited resources or full-time staff. But the Googling counts as some effort towards self-improvement, I think...
I know for some, this happens the other way around - pregnancy number three is the write-off - but I guess when it comes to baby stuff, I'm not doing anything in the right order.
And I'm perfectly OK with that now.
More on Parentdish: Pregnancy fatigue - when you get up and go has gone!
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