The Rules Apparently No Longer Apply

One of the first rules I recall learning during my first pregnancy was "absolutely no heavy lifting!" I took this advice very seriously, traded in my oversized handbag for a small over-the-shoulder purse and didn't so much as lift a bag of groceries until Archer was two-months old. (I was paranoid I was going to pull a muscle in my vagina and the baby was going to prematurely fall out. This might have had something to do with my "no book" policy during pregnancy. I kind of just made worst-case-scenario situations in my head and prayed I was just being imaginative.)

The day Hal and I moved in together, I, being ten-weeks pregnant, got to sit on the stoop of our apartment building all day and drink bevvies (bottled water) out of a paper (Whole Foods) bags. Every now and then I'd throw down some beatbox for the boys when my mouth wasn't otherwise occupied with snacks.

Meanwhile, Hal, my dad, Uncle Frank and our friend, Kelly, schlepped our shit like robo-studs, in and out of the Uhaul while I, the resident Tim Gunn sang, "Carry on! Make it work! Carry on to make it work!"

I remember feeling only a teeny bit guilty, but that was because I ate more than my share of the pizza we ordered for lunch.

"I'm eating for two!" I explained, hoping no one would notice my intense bouts of flatulence. I was apparently farting for two as well.

"Put the couch there and the TV there and how about you move the bed to the other side of the... Wait! I have an idea, how about you move it, here, instead... No! Hold on, let me ponder this for a good two-minutes while you balance that box spring on your head..."

I can only imagine how quietly annoyed my dudes were but IN YOUR FACE, PALS! I had the ultimate nurse-pass.

Anyway, long story short, I slept like a baby that night. I mean, what a day.

I look upon that afternoon with fond tenderness and those were the days deep sighs because now I know that those really were the days.

Being that I'm (once again) about ten-weeks pregnant and lifting a thirty-five pound child pretty much 24/7 when he isn't at school, I'm beginning to wonder if all that "absolutely no heavy lifting" was some kind of joke. Because COME THE FUCK ON, people. How can a parent possibly go through nine-months without lifting extremely heavy shit? If it isn't Archer, tantruming six blocks home in my right arm while I carry bags of carrots and baby bok choy in my left then it's me lifting hearty strollers into backseats, gigantic diaper boxes into shopping carts, spare-tires out of the trunk THE ONE AND ONLY day we were to arrive at preschool on time (damn you, old tires! Damn you!), backpacks full of sand toys and trucks and bikes and plastic snakes and yogurt to-gos and bottles of water and purses large enough to hold every Dr. Seuss book in existence....

Seriously, need I go on?

The good news is, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to pull a vaginal muscle and drop my strawberry-sized fetus somewhere south of Melrose. I'm smarter this go around. More experienced. I do however fear this second child will have some sort of lifted-heavy-things-while-pregnant-with-me complex which will only be heightened by the fact that #2 has to deal with an older brother who has an entire book devoted to how much his mother loves him and how he changed her life and blah blah blah...

Oh my God. I'm not even out of my first trimester and I already owe this kid a pony.



Melissa | 10:46 PM

Just not a very heavy pony.

Backpacking Dad | 11:19 PM

I have the same kind of worry (about the book, not about vaginal muscles failing) when I think about my next kid. I write e-mails to my daughter everyday, and I've done so ever since I became the primary in September; so she gets the e-mails, and those first stories about being an at-home dad, and working out all of my emotional crap that needs working out as I figure out how to be a father for the first time.

My next kid will be lucky if I can muster the energy for writing "From Santa" on his/her Christmas presents.

Homegrown {& the Bug} | 8:35 AM

{Just a note: Single mom, discovered your blog two days ago and have spent the meantime reading every damn post you've ever written...}

Don't worry, your vag is fine and so is the little one slowly taking over your innerds. I read every single pregnancy book there was before I had The Bug and there was nary a mention of kiddies falling to their premature death when mommy lifts. I'd keep tight hold of that excuse though, it's a good one :)

Trysha | 10:24 AM

Rebecca Woolf does not fart! Don't tell me that!! I can't hear you...lalalala.

I had numero dos when numero uno was only 13 months. You try to tell my 7 month old mom is pregnant so she can't pick him up. I don't think so.

Her Bad Mother | 11:04 AM

I find that I am farting, this time around, for both this fetus *and* the toddler and very possibly every being within 4 blocks of my home.

But don't tell anybody.

Cheryl | 11:49 AM

I'm having surgery in a few weeks to rebuild my lady parts (so sad), and my mind is totally boggling at what they said were the restrictions in the first two weeks after surgery. Unless I want my internal stitches to pull out, I cannot lift anything heavier than 12 pounds. Not even my cute little daughter who tips the scales at 15 pounds. I have to have someone around to hand her to me so I can nurse. Give me a freaking break. How the hell?!? -- When I was preggers with #1, I bought my husband a surprise for Christmas. A table saw. And then, 7 months pregnant, I hoisted it up the stairs to our apartment. All 150 pounds of it. Almost had the baby that afternoon. :) I was such an idiot.

Loukia | 11:50 AM

Hilarious... I was the same way, did not lift anything with my first pregnancy, and during my second pregnancy, carried around my 2 year old, 40 pound boy everywhere. I'm happy to say my new baby boy is now almost 2 months and it feels great carrying him around... so much lighter then my 40 pounder! xo

karengreeners | 12:23 PM

Unfortunately it's just not possible to play 'I'm a petite fleur' the second time around. But do try.

Anonymous | 1:36 PM

Amen to the heavy-child-lifting! And yes, you do owe your wee strawberry a pony and I probably owe my wee bean something equivalent due to the fact my entire thesis was all about Lochlan. =P Hey, strawberry and bean both have a big brother! Does that count as a "pony" to ride on when they get big enough? ;)

Anonymous | 3:22 PM

hahaha... i second the above. #2 can just ride archer around, thereby taking out sibling-directed aggression AND assuaging motherly guilt. and hey, you can always say "I gave you the best present of all... a BIG BROTHER." see how that goes over :)

Kirsten | 7:41 PM

I am laughing out loud. The first time around, it's all about you. The second pregnancy is so not!

You also touched on the extra mom guilt that comes along with having more than one child. I sometimes feel like I spend my day trying to cut my heart into three pieces... but mostly trying to make sure the pieces are equal.

PunditMom | 7:55 PM

I'm just impressed by the photo showing that Archer is clearly getting his share of calcium -- the orange string cheese AND the yellow string cheese.

Anonymous | 10:57 PM

Archer might he less heavy if he had a haircut. He's peering out from behind some seriously overgrown bangs.


Anon, I mean, Mom? ... Is that you?

Style Police | 5:05 AM

Hahahaha, Rebecca, you crack me up. Keep lifting! x

foodiemama | 9:17 AM

i always wondered how it works when you have another little one to run after...good luck.

clueless but hopeful mama | 10:33 AM

Love the post and I must get serious on you for a moment. As a Pilates instructor, I would be struck dead by the ghost of Joe Pilates if I didn't tell you to engage your deep abdominals before you lift anything heavy. Take a deep breath and on your exhale draw your abs in toward your spine (like you're trying to fit into a tight pair of jeans). HOLD THEM IN while you breathe slightly shallowly and lift the package/tantrumming toddler. If you can kegel at the same time, that's even better (and I'd be super impressed).

The real worry is getting a split in your rectus abdominus or a hernia. Both can cause long term issues so it is worth limiting your lifting whenever possible.

Just remind me of all this when we try for baby #2 this summer!

Candy | 12:32 PM

Your vagina is probably in much better shape now, after that first childbirth. I wouldn't worry about it :)

Mom101 | 6:26 PM

Lift away mama, but only for the next thirty weeks or so.

A week out of the hospital with Sage, I carried Thalia a block to the doctors office. I pulled my pelvic ligaments and was in mortal agony for a good month. Good times.

Um, what I mean is - enjoy this time, for it is the greatest, most magical time in a woman's life. I bet those farts even smell like roses.

Jeni | 7:11 PM

I pulled the pregnant-can't-move-boxes card too with the first one. I won't have the same excuse this time around. As for lifting number one while carrying number two, good luck.

Anonymous | 8:52 PM

Love the blog. Hooked on it. haha. And for the record I like Archer's hair cut...or lack of it. He looks like a little rockstar! :)

kittenpie | 12:51 PM

Oh god yes. Not only the heavy kid, but apparently I'm not immune to home reno projects, either. Seriously. No consideration is given this time around. (And dude, I am belching like a hosue full of frat boys after a kegger. It's terrible!)

Irish Mom | 3:14 PM

I farted for two as well, probably had a little someithing to do with my addiction to the spicy chicken combo from Wendy's. I think it so funny how we are with our first pregnancy, then with our second. Oh how motherhood changes, you learn soooo much after that first child.

Anonymous | 11:22 AM

Just remember... Rod Stewart's first kid got a song, and the rest got divorces. But they all turned out ok, I mean, right?

My point is this... Your children have a tendency to be ridiculously good looking geniuses, so they will all be perfectly fine.


Anonymous | 9:54 AM

I always wondered why my second kid thinks it's so awesome to lift me up. It must be that he got that lifing-heavy-things complex!