halfway there.

Where My Heart Resides Where My Heart ResidesWhere My Heart Resides Where My Heart ResidesWhere My Heart Resides-11 Where My Heart Resides{ 20 weeks | wearing this dress }

20 weeks. Halfway there. I've been trying to find the words to write about this pregnancy, but they have not come without effort.

The second pregnancy has been much different than my first: physically, mentally, emotionally. It's been harder, more trying---a difference marked, no doubt, by the fact that I'm chasing a toddler all day.

It's been hard to pay attention to this baby growing in my belly, as if my mind and heart don't have room for anything else right now. When I was pregnant with Everett, I vividly remember being consumed by him, unable to think of anything else. I felt connected to him, body and soul, perfectly in sync with his flutters and kicks. Everything about that pregnancy was impossible to ignore; he was a part of me from the moment I knew of his existence.

This pregnancy, on the other hand, has felt the opposite. Almost as if I need to remind myself daily that I am, indeed, pregnant. If it wasn't for the fact that every morning I run a soapy loofa over a foreign protruding belly button, I might forget altogether.

I don't feel as connected, as in sync, as in love as I did during my first pregnancy. I keep waiting for it to hit me, but if I'm being honest with myself and with you, I am still waiting. There is, of course, that all too familiar feeling that follows. Guilt. Everyone keeps telling me that it is normal to feel this way with your second pregnancy, but it doesn't feel normal to me.

Bonding with Everett was effortless, from the pregnancy to the second they laid him on my chest. He was mine in every way, and I loved him instantly. I didn't have to try the first time around.

And now here I am, trying so dang hard.

I'm not consumed by this pregnancy; I'm consumed by the trying. Trying to feel excited, trying to feel in sync, trying to feel connected to a baby who, more often than not, feels like a stranger to me.

I can't force it; I can only pray and wait. I know the connection will come eventually, of that I am certain. Just like Everett, this baby is a piece of me, of my heart and my body and my soul, and the love is there inherently, even if I cannot feel it strongly yet.

In the meantime, I am trying to remind myself of one of my favorite motherhood mantras: grace is greater than guilt.

Grace is greater than guilt.

Grace. Is. Greater. Than. Guilt.