My Trouble(s) and Treasure(s): The Countdown to Baby No. 2.

By: Jen Shoop

Almost to the finish line with this pregnancy; I’ll be 35 weeks this Friday. A couple Sundays ago, I found myself reading through some of the archaic poetry in Christina Rosetti’s Singsong collection, and while much of it feels dated and cutesy, this poem stopped me in my tracks:

“You are my one, and I have not another;
  Sleep soft, my darling, my trouble and treasure;
Sleep warm and soft in the arms of your mother,
Dreaming of pretty things, dreaming of pleasure.”

My trouble and treasure. What a perfect, honest way to capture the blend of possessiveness, exhaustion, and exhilaration of parenthood. I remember a dear friend describing motherhood as “a double bind” in the sense that she felt both constrained and hopelessly, tenderly attached as a new mom, especially as she navigated breastfeeding. Her comments represented one of the first times someone had articulated a truth of motherhood that was not purely sunshine and daisies: there was a hard edge to her words that caught me off guard, and for which I was grateful, as I felt better-prepared later on.

I am anxious to have my second trouble and treasure in my arms. Even with the distraction of mini, time seems to have gone slack. How is it possible that I can get any larger? That I still face over a month of waiting? It feels as though I am fully stretched as is; micro’s movements are strenuous and often painful. And as my mom put it: “You’ve reached the full-on waddle phase.” (Also: haven’t I been pregnant for well north of a year at this point…?) And yet we continue…

I have been heeding the advice of loved ones, who have been urging me to soak up my last few weeks as a family of three and indulge in as much self-care as I can manage. I have kept my schedule busy, though not over-packed in an effort to spend a lot of QT with mini. (One thing a day.) I am in bed by 8:30 or 9 most nights, reading and nestled into my oversized pregnancy pillow. I have had hair appointments, nail appointments, massages, many trips to the local bakeries, teas/coffees with girlfriends, long (s-l-o-w) walks with Tilly through Central Park. I’ve had our nanny come a fourth day a week a few times this month so that I have more time to breathe and make it all the way through my to dos for the blog, for micro, for our home, for some philanthropic work I’m trying desperately to expedite prior to micro’s due date — especially when the number of doctor appointments seems to have multiplied, and I feel as though I lose a full day each week just to getting through these final pre-birth preparations.

I am a weather vane of emotion. Some days, I feel ebullient, radiant. Other days, I am a weepy puddle. And still other days — my favorite kind of days — I feel a kind of quiet serenity as I move through my day. I find myself more patient with mini, as I have had to afford myself a wider berth, accepting my own limitations: when you already have to think hard about whether you are going to retrieve the cookie you dropped on the carpet (it’s gotten hard to bend over), you begin to ease up on some of the frustrations of parenting a toddler. “Oh, you helped yourself to a second fistful of M&Ms? Oh. OK.” “What’s that? You just flung every crayon I picked up back over the floor? Well. Guess they’re staying there til Dad comes home.” The tone is somewhere between deflation and forbearance, but I will admit: the low-energy tenor of these days leaves me feeling far more zen than I would have expected.

I had intended to share a list of my maternity must-haves this pregnancy, but when I revisited my post on the topic from mini’s pregnancy, I realized that not much has changed. I made a couple of minor updates to the post so that all of the links work (and to showcase some of my new favorite shoes), but the only additions I would make are as follows:

+Sound machine. I have had trouble sleeping for most of this pregnancy between bathroom breaks and my ceaselessly-turning mind. I have found that keeping a sound machine on has been incredibly helpful in lulling me back to sleep.

+A new bra in a size that actually fits. I absolutely adore this Natori bra and wear one essentially every day. I sized up for pregnancy purposes and am so glad I did.

+Kindle. I don’t know how I lived through my first pregnancy without it. I am in bed early, reading, and it’s so comfortable to read on your side with a Kindle! No pages to turn or get tangled in sheets — and it’s so light! Plus, when I can’t sleep, I lay in bed with the illuminated screen reading for hours.

+Rhodia notebooks for lists and notes. Lists of to dos, lists of aspirations, lists of names, lists of everything that courses through my mind on any given day.

+Stylish hair accessories have been all the rage this season and the last, and I’m so grateful for it, as you’re never to big for a new hair clip, and they update even the most boring of maternity looks. My favorite finds have been pearl hair clips, floral scrunchies, and Lele Sadoughi headbands (I’ve purchased several).

+This enormous LL Bean tote in the XL size, which I had monogrammed with micro’s initials and has become the unceremonious but highly useful holding place for all gifts and purchases for him as I continue to figure out where to stow his belongings. It’s nice to have a designated “holding pen” for his stuff that fits comfortably into one of our closets. I toss his belongings in there until I have found suitable longer-term homes for them.

+My Emu Mayberry slippers. I retired these for a couple months after I split my head open wearing them — I was convinced that they were in part to blame for the accident, as I think the bed of the shoe got stuck under the lip of the rug. But I have found myself wanting to pad around the apartment in them, and I move so darn slow these days, I reason nothing bad can happen. (Anything that affords an ounce of extra comfort…)

+My hospital bag, laying partway open on the floor of our bedroom, welcoming nearly daily additions and removals as I mentally prepare for micro’s birth.

+Old Navy maternity dress. This $20 steal has been CLUTCH. It is as soft as a nightgown and weirdly flattering. I like to dress it up with fun statement flats or a loud pair of earrings.

Post Scripts.

+I still feel this tangle of emotions when I think about micro’s birth and its timing in May. May just feels like the perfect month for him.

+A well-priced shirt for an expecting mom (or nursing mom) — $35, not maternity but generously-cut, and hella chic.

+One of my favorite posts of all time, written while waiting — heart in my throat — for mini.

+OMG these jammies (on sale)! And these, too!

+Just added one of these gingham towels with micro’s name on it to my cart.

+Also thinking of buying him a couple of monogrammed burp cloths

+After last week’s shoe splurge, mini is all but set in the spring shoe category…but she still needed these.

+Swooning over this cloud-print dress.

+Found some great basics on sale at Petit Bateau for baby boys: basic onesies, a knit cardigan in cheery red, and a three-pack of nautical onesies (somehow marked down so that it’s essentially $5 per onesie?!)

+In love with this bubble for a baby boy.

+The heavily discounted romper I bought from elegant childrenswear line La Stupenderia is still available. Mine just arrived last week and the quality is insane. Perfect for Sunday Mass.

+Ordering these with both (!) my childrens’ names on it!

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4 thoughts on “My Trouble(s) and Treasure(s): The Countdown to Baby No. 2.

  1. The staffordshire spaniel jammies: OMG. We are lifelong cavalier owners so I just ordered the pink nightgown version. Thank you!

  2. Wishing you all the best as you anticipate and prepare for the birth of your son! Such an exciting time for you 🙂

    That cloud-print dress from La Coqueta is ADORABLE and now I want it for my niece! Sooo precious.


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