When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt consumed by the miracle of pregnancy and the anticipation of parenthood. I felt healthy, organized, and rested. I was full of new life.
Now pregnant with my second child, I have discovered that pregnancy is different. The miracle of pregnancy is often the fact that I can make it through the week as a fully functioning human being. The anticipation of parenthood is no longer a mystery, as I am well aware of the realities of living with a newborn.
There are some clear differences between my first and second pregnancies; here are five of the biggest differences that I have discovered so far:
The word “tired” does not even begin to describe my sheer level of exhaustion. During my first pregnancy, I would go home at the end of my work day and nap. Occasionally I would nap at noon, and I almost always napped on weekends.
The days of taking a luxurious nap are long gone with my second pregnancy. This is not because I no longer need naps. I am desperate for one. It has everything to do with the fact that I moonlight as a toddler’s entertainment director. And chef. And housecleaning service.
Prenatal yoga classes. Light jogs around the neighborhood. Powerwalks with friends. Exercise during my first pregnancy was a priority.
I still get exercise during my second pregnancy, but it has taken on a slightly different look. I regularly lift and carry a 25-pound weight with blond hair and blue eyes. I dance around my living room, still carrying the 25-pound weight on my left arm. I squat to pick toys up off of the floor, balancing the squirming 25-pound weight now dangling from my left side. My left bicep has never looked better.
During my first pregnancy, the comments people made were primarily very complimentary. Comments about the “pregnancy glow” and the “tiny baby bump” were abundant, and descriptors such as “rested” and “healthy” were overheard.
Some of these same sentiments have been expressed to me during my second pregnancy too. However, inquiries as to the possibility of having twins occurred much earlier this time around (no, for the fifth time, I am not having twins), as did comments regarding “too much stress,” “looking a little tired,” and “didn’t you just get back to work?”
I have an amazing group of mommy friends who are my go-to sources for anything and everything parent related. These experts in the parenting field have provided me with the guidance that many websites and books could not. However, every one of my supportive confidantes failed to inform me of the incontinence issues that can accompany a second pregnancy.
As a generally healthy adult, I filed the word incontinence away in the “aging parent” and “toilet training” categories years ago. Imagine my surprise when about halfway through my second pregnancy, an unexpected sneeze caught me off guard and forced me to file incontinence into the “urgent-problem-sound-the-alarm” category. A little heads-up on this issue would have been nice.
I love plans, organization, and punctuality. During my first pregnancy, I had all baby items purchased, borrowed, and organized ahead of time. I had weekly photo documentation of my burgeoning belly and a journal to record every movement, thought, and feeling that this first-time mama experienced. I was ready.
This time around, newborn essentials are in a box in the garage, photo documentation is limited to ultrasound images, and journaling primarily consists of the to-do list I have for the next day. I am already preparing my “I’m sorry” speech for the day my second child discovers this disparity.
There is no doubt about it; pregnancy is different the second time around. It can be disorganized, it can be messy, and sometimes it is utterly exhausting. The realities of a second pregnancy may not always be ideal, but we all make it through trimester by trimester, one unexpected sneeze at a time.