Pregnancy is a really subjective thing — it’s different for everyone. Some women are lucky: they walk around with an adorably rounded belly and a radiant glow, and claim they’ve never felt better. Some women look like they’re smuggling a large toddler and can only stomach saltines. (Sometimes.) I never had severe morning sickness, thank goodness — although I did gain 90 pounds and grow massive amounts of facial hair, so I had my own gestational woes to deal with.
But whether yours is smooth sailing or the crappiest nine months of your entire life, there’s one thing women who have more than one child can agree on: your very first pregnancy is your very best pregnancy. Even if it’s not great, it’s still much better than the ones that come after, and here’s why …
1. You don’t have other kids to deal with. (Yet.) When you’re expecting your first child, there’s no one else to worry about. No toddlers flopping onto your bulging midsection at 6 a.m. demanding waffles. No one tapping at the door hollering, “Mommy? What are you doing in there? Can I watch?” as your head is in the toilet. Nobody elbowing your belly as you wrangle them into a car seat. No chauffeuring Junior back and forth to soccer practice when you feel like death (and no hassle of arranging alternate transportation). No nap schedule to adhere to — unless it’s your own. And that’s another thing …
2. You have the luxury of rest. A pregnant woman is a tired woman. A pregnant woman who can take naps at will is a lucky woman. During no subsequent pregnancy can you sleep as soundly and restfully as you do during the first (partly because once you become a mom, you will never sleep normally again). You have the option to take an uninterrupted siesta, and to sleep in on weekends. DO IT.
3. You can wear your regular clothes longer. I couldn’t wait to start showing during my first pregnancy, to get a cute little baby bump to show off. But like most first pregnancies, it took forever. I didn’t realize it then, but this is actually a good thing — you can spend less on maternity clothes that way! Enjoy it while you can, because from practically the exact moment that your next pregnancy test turns positive, you’ll look about four months along.
4. All the firsts! Roll your eyes if you must, but I’m about to spout a cliché: certain moments during pregnancy are truly magical. And while that goes for every pregnancy, there’s just something special about the very first time you ever, say, hear the whoosh of your baby’s heartbeat, or feel the tiniest of flutters, or have your first ultrasound and actually see the little arms and legs waving around. I’m getting misty-eyed just writing about it. It’s just so thrilling. And you’re not the only one who’ll be feeling that way, because …
5. Everyone is more excited. Think of a kid learning to ride a bike: the first time she totters down the sidewalk on two wheels by herself, everyone is captivated by the inherent preciousness of the kid mastering something new. Awww. But by the time she’s able to whiz around the block unassisted, nobody cares that much anymore.
When I finally got pregnant with my first son after a long bout of infertility, our families and friends were over the moon. Two different groups of people threw us baby showers. Everyone wanted to know how I was feeling, and I gushed to their eager ears about every aspect of my pregnancy. I think they thought my enthusiasm was adorable. But by the time I was pregnant with my fourth son, hardly anybody batted an eye (except to express their utter disappointment that I was having another boy). Some friends did graciously throw me a small baby shower, but only because most of my stuff was worn out from being handed down through three older siblings. And speaking of hand-me-downs …
6. You get more new stuff! When you have more than one kid, especially if they’re the same sex and can re-use their older sibling’s stuff, you don’t get nearly the volume of brand new goodies. But if you’ve never had a baby before, it’s not like you have a ready-to-use arsenal of supplies — which means shopping! Wheeee! Not only that, but people are practically salivating to buy things for your precious bundle. By the time your due date rolls around, you will have spent hours excitedly fingering the pristine rows of never-before-worn clothing in baby’s closet and breathing in that new-nursery smell.
7. You get more special treatment. I don’t know why this is true, but it is, at least in my experience: during your first pregnancy, someone is always offering to help in some way. They want to give up their seat, or extend a hand to steady you on the steps, or bring you a snack or something. It’s like society wants to coddle you. You’re the center of attention — like you’re the first and only woman to ever gestate a human being. But when you’re waddling along with a toddler and a couple of shopping bags in tow, and could actually use a hand, no one’s hurrying to your rescue. Maybe they figure since you’ve done it before, you’re obviously a pro.
So even if you’re feeling like crap on a cracker, First Time Mama-to-Be, try to enjoy it as much as you possibly can — because little do you know, you’re being treated like a rockstar. Never again will people be so accommodating, naps be so plentiful, and experiences be so fresh and new. Focus on yourself and take all the pampering you can get — because once the baby comes, you’ll be chopped liver.
… but we’ll talk about that later.
Related post: I Hate Being Pregnant And I’m Not Apologizing For It
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