One thing I enjoy about being pregnant is getting to share this special time with other friends and family who are also pregnant or those that have been before. This pregnancy is seeing lots of cross-over as apparently this is the baby season in our lives. Thus far, Emily and Lynn have already had their babies (Molly and Harrison) while crossing my pregnancy by a few weeks or months each. Anissa, Summer and Trina are due before my little one arrives. While Gina, Holly, Bethany and one or two that may still be secret are due in the months shortly thereafter. I know of at least six other friends and family that hope to be pregnant in the coming months as well. It is so nice to have a community to share the joys, sorrows, struggles and unexpected delights of pregnancy and to know they will be there to share the same in parenthood thereafter. Right now, slightly more than half of the above are on child two or more which will be a nice overlap as well.
On a related note, women in my family, particularly the Dotters, tend to end up with these "missions" of sorts. For instance, my Grandma Dotter was particularly good with the elderly. She visited them, made them feel special and it was her particular human outreach project (Ok, there were others too like literacy, but I remember this particular knack as it is one I lack). To my great surprise, I've found that pregnant women are becoming my special mission and no one is more surprised than I am.
I think it is in part because so many have done so much to help me through mine. Through our first pregnancies the shared experiences brought Lynn, Emily and I closer together. In part, it was because we were the first in our circle there, but also often because they were close by and I was able to drop in and help or have them near even when family was distant for us. The Hoppers sent books and clothes for the first round and more recently Chrissie arrived at my house complete with an entire summer maternity wardrobe of clothes that are both my style and size (save for some pants that are amazingly long). I feel so blessed.
I've also had struggles with a miscarriage, a two vessel cord, worries about genetic conditions and placental tears along the way. It was so touching and sweet the support I got from complete strangers as well as people I'd known a long time without realizing they had been down this troubled path as well. I sometimes say the group of us that have had miscarriages is the most amazing club that no one wants to belong to. I was amazed how many in this club "knew" I was having one without evening knowing I was pregnant. They have all been a great support to me and I hope to pass that on to others should they find themselves joining our number, not that we ever hope for new members.
As I move through pregnancy and life beyond I feel compelled to reach out to others in its midst. I have things I send along to those I find out are expecting that helped me along the first time. I love sharing advice, thoughts or just hugs with weeping buddies struggling along. Yes, pregnancy is amazing and miraculous, astonishing and special. It can also be difficult, tiring, long, complicated, uncertain and scarry.
Sometimes, what we need most is just that other person who gets it, who has been there and who maybe has an idea or two to help us along that path. I've been blessed with many of these friends and hope I can be that friend to others whether it is those close to me or those I'm only just getting to know. It is new to me, but I see a need and think it is one I can help fill. I feel better and feel that I've given back some of the support that keeps me going when the nights are long and uncomfortable or the path ahead is uncertain. Thanks to all of you and know I'm always here if you want to talk, cry, ponder, discuss or just marvel at the gift we are (or have been) living.
Love you ladies!