Agnes and I have been thinking and talking more about what I wrote about in the last post, in terms of figuring out how to support each other as things shift and energy wanes during pregnancy , and how all of this shifting brings up old patterns we’d prefer to let lie. In practical matters, we’ve tried to reduce the number of chores that need doing (nixing cloth diapers, at this point just one per night, but that’s still one less load of laundry every couple weeks, getting take out once a week, paper plates on Shabbat. The envioronment may suffer a bit, but we don’t drive a car, so I appeal to that for guilt reduction) and that seems to be helping both of us get a bit more breathing room and time for rest.
One thing Agnes mentioned is that some of her frustration and impatience with me early on was actually about realizing this pregnancy isn’t about her. I’ve been in her shoes for our first, and I know that it can be really hard to feel sidelined during pregnancy, as the not-pregnant expecting mom. I remember feeling excited, but also left out, and tired from all of the physical work I was doing to keep us afloat during Agnes’s pregnancy (truly, I did EVERYTHING). It is a much much different experience than pregnancy, and not completely in a good way, even though once you get to the parenting piece it is great. I could seriously write a book about the dynamics of being a two-mom family, but I’ll refrain here. All I’m really saying, is that Agnes was having some stuff going on that was about her, and about finding her footing for this pregnancy, and starting to process that it isn’t exactly the same this time, even though once said baby arrives, we’ll share the caretaking and she’ll be a full mom, just like I was with our first.
But what is interesting here is that neither of us saw that until a few weeks later. At the time, we saw me being too needy and Agnes getting impatient with me because I’ve worn her out too much over the years. That’s what we saw, because that’s what we were in the habit of seeing. But that wasn’t the situation. I was needy, because, hell, I’m pregnant and exhausted and feel like crap. Agnes was feeling impatient, not because of what I’ve done wrong in the past, but because she is dealing with her own stuff around this pregnancy, and that was sapping her resources. So completely reasonable. And so not my fault. Realizing this, and taking a real look at what she’s experiencing now, gave us a new perspective, but also gave us pause. Why were both of us so quick to jump in and blame me? Maybe we weren’t blaming the me now, but we were blaming the me of several years ago. We were saying that somehow because I was just too difficult before, Agnes couldn’t be expected to have many resources left now. I think we may have been appealing to a habit of interpretation, rather than seeing actual damage to our relationship from the past. We already know Agnes is less likely to see the forest for the trees when it comes to her own emotional state, or at least that it sometimes takes her longer to put two and two together. Maybe we now have a bit of a clue as to how to tell when something is going on for her. If it seems like I’m pushing her buttons, it may not be that I actually am. It may be that she’s actually has something going on herself that she hasn’t quite pinned down yet.
There’s of course more going on here. There always is. But we felt like this was kind of a breakthrough, and maybe a tool to use as we move on and try to build new patterns when we hit rough patches.