Q: I have a 5-month-old son, and my husband and I just found out we’re expecting again. While we had planned to have children close together, we didn’t expect getting pregnant again would happen so quickly. And we didn’t want babies quite so close together — when the second one is born, they will be 13 months apart.
I’m fine with this, except I don’t feel nearly as excited about this second baby, and that worries me. I’ve avoided telling my family, whereas before I couldn’t wait to tell them. I think I’m embarrassed that this pregnancy was a surprise and so soon after the first one. I’m imagining the looks and the questions.
Also, I just got back into the office a few months ago after maternity leave, and I dread telling my boss I will need three months off again so soon.
My husband and I are fine financially and emotionally, so having two kids so close together is not going to be a burden. I guess what I’m asking is, how do I get over this embarrassment?
A: By not giving a dog’s butt what other people think.
Come on — you wanted kids who’d be close in age and, assuming your good fortune holds, you’re going to get them. Nickel-and-diming your joy for any reason is not the path to fulfillment, but when you reflect someday on this particular reason for holding yourself back? That you spaced your kids 13 months apart instead of, what, 18? You’re going to wonder why the heck you were so hard on yourself.
Assuming there’s nothing deeper to your excitement deficit, here’s my advice: Slide two feet to the left to get out of your own way. You’re in for more cuddles, burbles, smiles, total chaos and, big whoop, the occasional raised eyebrows of bystanders: Open your arms to it all. And use simple declarative sentences when it’s time to talk to your boss.
Washington Post Writers Group