One year ago today, I was sitting at home rounding out my maternity leave with Baby Bot FINALLY taking Seth’s advice and biting the bullet, publishing my VERY first blog post. Ever. Appropriately, my very first blog post was a short piece on Donald Trump, the orange bully. It feels like a lifetime of things have changed since I started my A+J journey and I can’t think of anything more fitting for a blog’s first birthday than a birth story.
Long ago and forever away….
There wouldn’t be an Abbott and June if there wasn’t an Abbott and Matty but had I not gone pregnant so quickly with my second, I don’t know that I would have ever actually followed through with what many would probably coin as a ‘mommy blog’. Some days, even now, I find it hard to believe I’m a mom – let alone of a one- and a two-year old (sweet jesus) – so as you can imagine, it’s hard to believe that I have a ‘mommy blog’.
But I guess I do.
When I turned 31, my first birthday after having Matty, Seth bought me tickets to Chicago so I could go have a girls weekend with most of my favorite ladies on Earth. My trip was scheduled for early May and the countdown was real. Matty was barely eight months old at the time and I was so in love with him that I’d often (naïvely) joke that I wanted 30 more. (makes sense considering the cursed 7 month bliss.) Things had slowed down and we were basically in heaven. To top it off, our parents couldn’t get enough of him so we had sitters whenever we needed or wanted them. Back then, this parenting thing wasn’t so hard at all and as far as I was concerned, things were going to be rosy forever.
Little did I know, in two months I’d be romping around Chicago with a weird case of nausea, a low tolerance for alcohol and that sinking feeling in my stomach. Am I fucking pregnant? Suddenly, my jokes about having 30 kids weren’t so funny – like, at all. I will never forget sitting in my best friend’s living room with two of my best friends, both of whom were extremely hung over, worried to tears that I might be pregnant. At the time, Seth and I had two best friends back home who had been trying to get pregnant with their second since we had had Matty and it didn’t seem fair that I could be pregnant again without trying. I had seen first hand how stressful the last eight months had been for them and I worried about how they’d take the news. It felt selfish and unfair and even though I prayed it was all a fluke and I wasn’t pregnant, five hours later I landed in Omaha, bought three boxes of pregnancy tests and went home to see not one, but two pink lines – not once but four different times. Seth cried happy tears and I just cried. Maybe it was the hormones and the overwhelming news but I didn’t want to be pregnant if our friends couldn’t be – especially when I didn’t need another baby to be happy, I was PERFECTLY happy with Matty. To prove things would be fine, Seth suggested we call and tell his friend first, my friend’s husband, and so we did. Unfortunately, that phone call was the beginning of a long, arduous, drawn-out deterioration of a friendship and, in retrospect, the exact moment my rose-colored glasses came off.
Being an adult and growing up is really fucking hard and sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
When we went to our first doctor’s appointment, I laughed at how ridiculous it was to be back in the gynecologist’s office, pregnant again so soon. Matty was on the verge of turning one and I was 10 weeks pregnant. I remember our doctor, sweet and giddy as can be, making a joke upon entering the room. “You guys just couldn’t wait to see me again.” I love my doctor and I would probably follow her into scientology if she asked me to. We both laughed, Seth made some mildly inappropriate joke and my face turned red (story of my life). That day we did a bunch of the blood work and left with ear-to-ear smiles. We weren’t necessarily ready but we were in it and over the next 33 weeks, that office would become our second home – again.
During the week of Matty’s first birthday party, we were scheduled to get a call from the doctor’s office with the gender. It was the Friday before the party, June 26, 2015, when that call came. I was sitting in the middle of my living room, watching CNN full volume, painting a sail boat photo booth prop for the party. It was the day the Obergefell overturned Baker and the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry was to include same-sex couples going forward. Shortly after the court decision was made, the phone rang with the news. I stumbled on my words and asked if the nurse could call back and leave the gender in a voicemail so Seth and I could listen together. Immediately, I called Seth and told him he had to come home. Thirty-five minutes later we were listening to the voice of a woman who had sort of become like a second grandma to both of us over the last two years tell us we were having another boy. We hugged. We cried. And I probably danced an awkward dance.
The next day, Matty’s first birthday party was a brilliant success. I felt an immense sense of relief. We had survived our first year and all of our favorite people had made the trip to help us celebrate. The weather was perfect, our babies were healthy and our hearts were overflowing with gratitude. After the party, as my family lounged in our living room, Seth and I broke the news that it was a boy. As expected, everyone was over the moon. We joked about how maybe baby number three would be a girl (HAHAHA – NOT) and how much gray hair I was bound to get over the next two years. If only I’d realized how true that statement was.
Time flew by. Before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving and our babe was 27 weeks. Matty was growing like a weed and so was I. I looked like a 40-week pregnant person at 27 weeks and my excitement had, over the course of a few months, turned into anxiety, terror and exhaustion. The farther we got into our pregnancy the more and more I was bothered by it and my previous experience with maternity leave, breastfeeding and the overall toll it took on my mental health. For some reason, I was extra annoyed with people’s unsolicited opinions and advice this time around. My pregnant rage was 30 million times worse than I’d ever experienced and I was on the verge of setting everything on fire for, like, the entire third trimester. On top of it, I was extremely worried I wouldn’t love this baby as much – I became extremely depressed thinking about having to share my attention with another baby. I hardly looked at the weekly baby development updates I had lived by during my first pregnancy and I wasn’t super motivated to do a ton of “pregnancy projects” at all. Emotionally, I was all over the place.
Seth and I had frequent conversations about how we were feeling and a lot of our worries were the same, mine were just on level 100 and his were on the normal level of 1. As our due date approached, Seth pushed harder and harder for me to come up with something to do while I was on maternity leave. With Matty, as I’ve talked about here before, maternity leave was really hard for me. I wasn’t used to giving 100% of my time to a small human blob who gave nothing back or not being able to just get up and go places whenever I wanted. For some people, it’s easy. For me, it was like living in a nightmare (see also: A New Mom of Two: All of the Confessions, #1), so Seth wanted me to have something I could do for myself during the transition into our new life as a family of four.
We threw around a couple ideas and I wasn’t really feeling any of them (or anything at all) but eventually he got me sort of excited about possibly doing a blog – just something to pass the time, to call my own and to keep my sanity. In early December of 2015 I bought the domain abbottandjune.com, I asked around for a good hosting site, found one and technology-wise, I got everything set up and ready to go. I wasn’t even sure what the blog would be or if we were naming our second baby Abbott but it sounded good and I didn’t care to brainstorm anymore. The only thing was, at the time, I literally had nothing I wanted to write about – I had a bunch of things to write about but no desire to actually do it – and so my site sat bare with a “coming soon” landing page for months.
On December 28th, 2015, about four weeks after purchasing my domain, I had a baby boy and we named him Abbott Douglas. For the next four-ish weeks (really, what is time on maternity leave?) I suffered through a lot of emotions and a lot of heartache and a lot of confusion. Seth asked me over and over if I thought I had postpartum depression, I thought I was just having a severe identity crisis but either way, something had to be done. And so, with a heavy heart and a fucked up state of mind, I finally decided with about two weeks left of maternity leave to sit down at the computer and just write.
It’s amazing how quickly I fell in love with Abbott and June and how much joy I found in it. As of today, it’s gotten me through a lot – I mean, it’s gotten me through ONE WHOLE YEAR WORTH of growing up in what feels like a twilight zone. It’s given me a place to come and speak my mind, to share my momming heartaches, my fuck-ups, my graciousness and my losses. It’s allowed me to explore my thoughts and, through my friends, those who read it and my children, encouraged me to have a voice and to not give a fuck about what people think about it. Abbott and June has been a godsend to me, my lone editor who reads 100% of what I post on here before I post it (thanks, Seth) and to my family – it’s the one thing that has helped keep me sane.
Happy birthday to the best gift my little family has given me! Thanks to everyone who reads A+J from time-to-time but mostly thanks for commiserating with me, sharing with me and since 99.9% of you are friends and family, thanks for loving me and my little family as much as you do.
HERE’S TO US, YOU GUYS! And onto another year!
Where’s the whiskey?