Last August I started a post entitled “Enjoyment and Productivity, or, The Adventures of Supermom.” I was celebrating the fact that I was writing quite a bit, and loving it. But not only was a writing a lot, I was doing better about keeping up with all of the other things I was supposed to be doing as well. My house was cleaner than ever, I cooked more dinners, I was more pleasant with my kids and I played with them more. Life was great. I posited that perhaps I was so productive overall because I was doing something I loved and was enjoying myself, and that made me happier and better able to deal with all of the other things as well.
The reason I never finished that post is that a few days after I started it I found out I was pregnant. For me, when I find out I’m pregnant (at about 4 weeks) is about when I start feeling the effects of pregnancy as well. And so I stopped writing, stopped cooking and cleaning, stopped being nearly as good with my kids, and just generally stopped being happy and enjoying life. (Not that any of this was a conscious decision — these were all just side-effects of getting pregnant.) And so the post fell by the wayside.
While my hypothesis had merit, I’m realizing that a lot of the reason I was so happy and productive is simply the fact that I was “not pregnant”. Not only that, I was not breastfeeding any longer, either. (Breastfeeding my second son went on a long time and was very draining on my body, in some of the same ways pregnancy is, due to his allergies and GI issues.) I was happier and more productive because I felt better physically than I had in years (even though there were other medical issues that hadn’t gone away).
So now, a month after the birth of my third son, I am greatly enjoying being “not pregnant” once again. I am breastfeeding him, but he already goes longer between feedings (or at least some of them) than #2 did at 6 months. He also seems to tolerate the hypoallergenic formula at least sort of, so I can supplement a little bit when I need to (thus I’m not nearly so physically drained). So even though I have a 3yo with autism, an almost 2yo who’s definitely starting to act like one and a month old baby, I’m feeling great. We went on a 3 mile hike with the kids last Saturday. My house remains pretty clean, and I’m even getting to the last few boxes that were never unpacked after our move last June. And I’m writing again. I wrote 150 words 2 days ago and 300 words yesterday. I think by next week (or possibly the week after) I can get back up to the 500 word a day minimum I was doing last August. And it feels great. And I feel great. I love being “not pregnant”.
*Some things are most clearly defined by what they are not, and deserve their own special terms (at least IMHO). The first of these terms I coined was “not summer”, referring to the months of January and February when we lived in Texas. These months are not hot enough to be summer, but they don’t belong to any of the other seasons, either (fall requires colored leaves, spring requires new growth, and winter requires snow). Thus they became “not summer”. “Not pregnant” is a (glorious) state of being that deserves it’s own terminology as well, and, well, the most defining characteristic of it is, of course, not being pregnant, so thus the term.