There’s nothing more magical and terrifying and exhilarating than that first pregnancy, is there? The rush of the positive test (maybe you’d been trying forever or maybe it was an unplanned surprise), the growing belly, the thoughts of how in the hell you are going do be a parent. And then, after what seems like both an eternity and a minute, you are one. You’re a mom to a little human and everything is different now.
But when you give it another go-round, and create a sibling for your little one, it’s not quite the same pregnancy is it? Chasing your hangry toddler down the frozen foods aisle at Target while another human mercilessly kicks you in the spleen just doesn’t have the same magical luster as the first time. Hmmm. But you know what? Pregnant moms of toddlers are pretty badass, even while they endure everything on this list. (Or perhaps because of everything on this list.)
Here are 10 truths of being pregnant while also parenting a toddler:
1. Your diet = mac and cheese and not much else.
Your first baby was probably fed organic kale and homemade smoothies with acai berries for proper brain development while in utero. For round two, however, your sustenance will 100% consist of whatever is left on your toddler’s plate because a tiny drop of ketchup touched a carrot or because the noodles were too noodle-y. You’re too tired to fight the toddler and/or make a different meal for yourself, so hopefully that little bugger in there likes cold half-eaten chicken nuggets.
2. Your child is “creatively dressed” six days a week.
The bigger your belly gets, the less your toddler will wear shoes or any outfit that makes sense. Bathing suit on the bottom and Christmas sweater on top? To church? Whatever. Barefoot at the park? Eh, calloused soles build character. You don’t have the energy to wrestle him into pants, and your belly gets in the way when you do. Just give up, let him embrace his “style,” and ignore the judgmental comments from Aunt Martha at the next family gathering.
3. Toddlers are jealous and irrational.
Your toddler knows something is up with Mommy. They will, as a result, try to re-enter your uterus and battle their new sibling for your love and attention. With one crawling around your outside while the other takes up all the space on your inside, you’ll never be alone. Never ever ever. Not even at your OBGYN appointment when you have to give a urine sample and merely guess where to place the cup because your stomach is so effing huge that you can’t see a damn thing. Nope, not even then. Your toddler will be in there with you, melting down in sadness because they “want to pee in a cup too!” and life just isn’t fair.
4. Your body is everyone else’s for what seems like a lifetime.
You might still be nursing and you swear you were just pregnant the last time like 11 minutes ago, so your body hasn’t actually been your own in years. And it won’t be again for a while, so get used to sharing yourself. And all your food. And your bed.
5. There’s no rest for Mommy.
Remember your first pregnancy when you’d be tired and could nap after work or on a Saturday? HA! Now, if you’re drop-dead exhausted, the best you can hope for is that your squirrelly toddler will sit their little butt down in front of Peppa Pig for 20 minutes so you can rest your eyes and hope to God they don’t climb into the oven or run outside into traffic.
6. Your kids are on opposite schedules, of course.
At night, when your sweet cherub of a toddler finally closes their beautiful blue eyes, that’s the very moment your other baby will wake up and train for America Ninja Warrior in your belly all night long.
7. Toddlers give zero fucks that you’re sick.
Your child will find it fascinating that Mommy is hanging her head over the toilet and vomiting every morning. This is also annoying since they really need Golden Grahams in the sparkly pink bowl STAT. So they’ll pat you on the back in sympathy, but also poop their pants in irritation two minutes later because you’re not moving fast enough.
8. Your standards could not be lower.
When you look over and see your toddler coloring on the walls and you realize it’s going to take you 10 minutes to hoist your big old self off the couch and try to catch them, you say fuck it and yell, “Make it pretty!” And you count your blessings that at least they’re only playing with a Sharpie instead of knives or the razor in your bathroom that you haven’t used in weeks.
9. You know the drill now.
The “nursery” for the second baby is just the bassinet brought out of the attic and a pile of diapers and onesies. This baby probably won’t get a matching bed set and curtains, but that’s okay since they’ll probably sleep in your arms or on the floor next to their 2-year-old brother most days anyway. And your hospital bag is lighter this time around, packed with just the essentials—slippers, comfy pants, and a bottle of wine to pop later. You know now exactly what you’ll need, and it isn’t a stuffy baby shower with games that involve baby food jars and guessing when you’re going to pop out a kid. It’s a housekeeper, a babysitter, and a personal chef, thanks.
10. You don’t know how to be Mommy to another.
You’ll cry yourself to sleep and swear up and down that there is no way on earth you’re going to be able to love another human the way you love that little child who creeps into your bed at 5 a.m.
But, in a couple months, when another tiny person enters the world and wraps their miniature fingers around your thumb, you’ll know. You’ll feel all the feels as your heart doubles in size, making room for your toddler’s new sibling, whom you’ll love just the same.
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