Come read what Jen's mindset has been like as she enters the eighteenth week of pregnancy, and finally begins to start feeling she is once again part of the world.

I seem to be entering that energy phase of pregnancy, and it is such a relief! After the first trimester ickies and then the other strange things that were happening physically, this phase is very welcomed.

For the first time in months, I feel like I am really seeing the colors around me. The sky seems bluer, the trees greener - even the red of my husband's car seems richer. And I see more patterns, too: the light and dark in a cluster of leaves, the linear chaos of pine needle mulch. This may or may not have something to do with it also being summer now, but I really don't care. I am taking it at face value. It's so nice not to wake up in the morning and wonder how I will get through the day.

My creative juices are flowing again as well. For months I worked on some projects half-heartedly. Now I imagine things I want to make for our new baby almost all the time, as well as things for our son and the many, many children being born around us (including two more in the last week!). I see patterns and images and colors in magazines and catalogs and rip out pages to add to my inspiration file. My sketchbook has a number of new scribbles. My list-making is taking on new dimensions as I realize that there is just too much for one person to do in five months and still sleep.

I think I am past some of the barriers I had when I was pregnant with my son. After years of dreaming about all I would do when I finally became pregnant, when the time arrived to get to work, I was strangely unable to do much of anything for the baby. Part of it was superstition that if I did too much I might jinx the pregnancy, and part of it was not trusting in my skills and thinking that nothing I made could be good enough for my baby. In fact, it took until my ninth month for me to actually make a quilt for him (a mariner's star pattern). And I think I made him only two sweaters before he was born. I did, however, make a vest for my obstetrician and items for a number of people (kids and adults) around us. I was busy alright, just not on the kinds of projects I thought I would be doing.

After our son's birth, when I started to accept on occasion that I would never be a perfect mother, I began making lots of things for him. It seemed to be permission to be a less than perfect knitter or quilter or whatever. And strangely enough, it seemed to encourage me to try new techniques that had scared me before his birth. An example is a sweater I made for my son for his baptism. It was a Norwegian pattern that used a technique called a "steek." Basically, you cut up your knitting. You read that right. Pretty much complete a sweater, then cut it. But there is a method to the madness, and the result is spectacular, if I do say so myself.

So now I am approaching projects I want to work on for our new baby with a more open frame of mind. I look more freely at patterns and colors and textures keeping in mind that I can't do it all, and what I can't finish in time, some child somewhere could enjoy it when it is finished. Last weekend I picked up some yarn in a lovely purple called "Lupine." I have no idea what I will do with it other than something for the baby. Maybe there is enough for something for our new nephew, too.

Now my list-making includes attempts at prioritizing projects... I really want to do some new crib bedding and a quilt -- maybe a log cabin pattern using color progressions, and another one of those Norwegian sweaters for this child's baptism, and a Christmas stocking, and a couple of colorful hats, and, oh yeah, a little black and white cow sweater so I can use those pewter cow buttons I found recently. And lots more, of course. I guess I should also finish some works in progress. There's the little cotton sweater for Susan's new one, and the striped sweater for Amy's first, and the blanket for our nephew, and the quilt for Rebecca's younger son (not so new anymore!),


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