This pregnancy may start out being similar to your previous one – the excitement of finding out the joyous news, the early nausea, that familiar fullness in your womb. But as your pregnancy progresses, you may be surprised at just how much has changed this time around. Here are 6 ways your second pregnancy is different from your first.
Your body is different this time
During your first pregnancy, your body changed in a myriad of ways, some permanent like lingering stretch marks or widened hips, and some not so permanent like a heightened sense of smell or extra body hair (thankfully). Your body remembers that it has been through this before, so you may find that you notice certain pregnancy markers earlier. As first-timers, most women start showing in the fifth month or so; in subsequent pregnancies women generally start showing much earlier, being unable to fit into their pants pretty much as soon as the stick turns blue. You are also more in tune with your body this time, so you may feel the flutters and baby kicks earlier and can easily distinguish between movement and Braxton Hicks contractions. Morning sickness may not be the same – you may feel less nauseous or even sicker than before. Aches and pains may be worse since this baby rests lower in your abdomen, and your body releases a hormone to relax your joints earlier this time. Each pregnancy changes your body in different ways, so your next one could be nothing like the first two.
The first time around, everyone fawned over you, asked how you were feeling, held doors open for you and showered you with gifts and attention. Everyone was so excited for you and your upcoming bundle – you were treated like a princess! Cue the second pregnancy, and the reactions are much more muted. There isn’t as much interest in your condition and how you’re feeling. No one offers to carry anything heavy for you now that you’re hard-core into mommyhood, toting a toddler on your hip and a bursting diaper bag on your shoulder. Having a baby is old news. You might be slightly disappointed that Baby #2 isn’t as celebrated as the first. However, it to be a relief to have a quieter second pregnancy without strangers touching your belly all the time.
You were tired during your first pregnancy. Ha! This version of you, the experienced one, the one who has been through sleep deprivation hell with a newborn and chasing a toddler around all day, laughs at how naïve you once were. When you were tired or had aches and pains during your first pregnancy, you could sleep in on the weekends, go out to dinner, or stay in bed and watch movies all day if you needed a time out. Fast forward to Pregnancy #2 – you are way too busy raising your first child to take much time to rest. You are constantly on the go, shuttling your eldest to activities, making snacks, potty training or helping with homework – taking a break is rarely an option. Exhaustion reaches a new level.
Less research and less planning
During your first pregnancy you researched everything. The best stroller, safest car seat, the most educational toys for your little one. You created an iron-clad birth plan that you insisted had to be followed down to the last detail and were packed for the hospital weeks in advance. This time, you’re not up on the latest dos and don’ts and baby must-haves – if it was good enough last time, then why change it? Your birth plan, if you have one, is much shorter because you now know childbirth never goes according to plan. In parenthood, flexibility is a necessity; you’ve realized you can’t plan everything and have learned the ability to go with the flow and take life as it comes.
You might be scared – but for different reasons
When you were expecting your first baby, you had a lot of fears about becoming a mom, about what childbirth was going to be like – there were a lot of unknown variables. Now, during your second pregnancy, you have been through this before, and although you know what to expect, you may have different fears of your own. You may be worried that you have forgotten what to do with a newborn or how you’re going to handle the sleep deprivation this time around. You will probably wonder how to handle two children instead of one and how your older one is going to adjust. Also, you may be afraid that you’re going to develop post-partum depression again. And if your first childbirth experience was traumatic, you might be afraid of a repeat this time. These are all common and legitimate fears – but fortunately you can do something to help alleviate them. Speak to your doctor, midwife, or doula about your concerns so they will be able to address them and find solutions. Arrange help for the first few weeks as you recover and adjust to your new bigger family – people will be happy to pitch in and help out.
You actually forget you’re pregnant sometimes
First pregnancy: You know how far along you are to the day and practically to the minute. You know what fruit you can compare your baby’s size to every week and what organ is developing at each stage. Second pregnancy: At your appointment, the nurse asks how far along you are and you have to rack your brain to remember. Your growing baby is safe and sound in your belly, so your focus is on the well-being of your first child. Since you’re so busy taking care of someone else’s needs, you just don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it until – ouch – something hurts.
The second pregnancy is a lot different than it was the first go-round, in many ways for the better! This time you have experience under your belt and the knowledge that you are a tough mama who can get through anything. You can have faith and confidence that you can handle any changes that come your way, and enjoy this exciting new chapter as you focus on bringing another new little life into the world.