I have heard it time and time again that no two pregnancies are the same. Some women are plagued with nausea, and others feel fabulous and sit there eating doughnuts and sipping hot chocolate wondering why some pregnant ladies are so dramatic about feeling sick. Some show before the end of the first trimester, and others (like myself) hide their bump for months and don’t look pregnant until well beyond the halfway point. Some ladies breeze through with zero complications, and others require weekly doctors visits, extra tests, and anxiety. Truly, no two pregnancies are the same, and every woman has her own experience, every time.
With that being said, there are a few things that I can say, with quite a bit of confidence, that every woman would agree is different when you are on your second pregnancy in comparison to the first. Because, while we are all mamas from the day that test turns up positive, a first time mom’s pregnancy experience is just a little bit different than those who have already been through the ringer.
1. Sleep. I think this is one area where nearly all women experience a sign of pregnancy, and that is the fatigue. Because it is real, y’all. I am talking can’t keep your eyes open, falling asleep at your desk, 7pm bedtime kind of tired. The big difference with pregnancy number two, though, is there is no milking this symptom and taking it easy. Guess what? That little munchkin(s) whom you so lovingly let grow in your uterus a mere year or two ago is now a living breathing monster, and they could care less that ‘mommy is tired’. So embrace the tired. Feel the tired. And smile knowing that the pregnancy fatigue is only a brief preview of the sleepless decade that lies ahead of you. Or, give in and begin co-sleeping with your one year old because it makes sense to just start going to bed at the same time (7:00pm, in case you were wondering), anyway.
2. Your body. As I said before, every woman experiences different body changes in pregnancy. But, it is a fairly safe assumption that bump #2 will show up earlier than bump #1. Your body remembers doing this before, and it is more eager to pop out and say adios to your normal pants than it was the last time. Changes will likely be different this time, too. This time, my skin is worse, I feel ‘wider’ as opposed to growing straight out, and I totally do not feel like I am rocking the pregnancy glow I did the first round. Of course, that could be due to the lack of sleep and monster child mentioned above. I digress. The main point is to not have expectations that if you rocked your skinny jeans until your 7th month of pregnancy, that you will this time. And that is 100% ok.
3. Pride. I am a late shower in pregnancy. I also linger in the ‘is she pregnant or fat’ stage much longer than I would like. However, in my first pregnancy, I was convinced that I would squeeze into my jeans as long as possible, if only to say I wore pre-pregnancy jeans through my 25th week. And let me tell you, I had a few experiences of wanting to rip off my jeans in public because of this. This time around, even though at almost 18 weeks I am still fitting (pretty comfortably too) in my regular jeans, I am rocking sweater dresses, oversized sweaters, and leggings on the regular. Comfort is the priority this time around, and I am saying goodbye to my ‘pre-preg’ wardrobe way sooner. Not because I can’t squeeze into it, but because I would rather squeeze into my yoga pants.
4. Feeling pregnant. While I can’t speak for others, my first pregnancy I obsessively tracked my baby’s progress, size, weight, and growth milestones every single day. I would lay for hours waiting for those first kicks. And I spent all of my free time daydreaming about nursery decor and what he would look like. This time around, I will literally go days and forget that I am even pregnant. Not because I love this child any less, and not because I am any less excited. But this time around, I have the most beautiful little 16 month old boy who wants to play pat-a-cake with me and giggles at everything I say. I know I will love this baby with every fiber of my being just like I love my first, but for now, I know that baby #2 is safe and warm in my belly getting all of the love that he or she needs, and I am soaking up every second I can with my precious first born.
5. Being nervous. This one could go either way for women, but depending on how your first pregnancy and labor went, you likely feel much more prepared for delivering and bringing home a baby. First time mom nerves tend to focus on:
- Will it hurt
- I don’t know if I can do this
- What do you do with the baby once you bring them home?
- When will I find time to shower?
Second(or third or fourth of tenth) time moms get nervous, too, but not like first time moms would expect. Our fears are more focused on:
- Who is going to take care of my other kids while I am at the hospital?
- Will I love this baby as much as my first?
- How will I split my attention between kids?
- Just major mommy guilt, in general, because you are obsessed with your first kid and don’t yet know this second kid who is gonna rock your first kid’s world.
- OMG is that much of my paycheck really going to daycare costs?
- and really though, WHEN WILL I FIND TIME TO SHOWER?!
I am not an expert by any means, but hopefuly this provides a bit of insight to how much things change. I look back at my self two years ago when I was pregnant and just think ‘oh, if only you knew how easy you have it’. Because really, I have now accepted the harsh reality that I will really, truly, never sleep again 😉