What to expect when you're expecting...again!
So you finally feel like you've got a handle on this whole raising a human business, so it must be time to get pregnant again right? You've done the pregnancy thing before so you know what to expect when you're expecting ... or do you?
On the one hand, yes, there will be less surprises the second, or in my case, third time around, but the fact is this: subsequent pregnancies are very different from your first.
Like anything, there are pros and cons to this scenario, and as I get so many questions on the topic, I thought I’d break some of them down for you. Here are THREE ways that pregnancy changed for me for babies number two and three.
**Just a friendly reminder that this is based purely on my personal experience which is all I can really speak to. Everyone has a different story (and very different pregnancies), but I’m sure any mama of more than one child can agree that a lot of this is true across the board!**
1. It's no longer all about you.
When you’re pregnant with your first, life is very much all about mama-to-be. Your partner, friends and family members will cater to your every need.
When you wake up in the morning and the nausea hits, you’ll stay in bed a little longer, move slowly, have toast brought to you in hopes you can keep it down.
When you get home from a long day’s work, no one will expect you to do anything but lie down and rest. Get those feet up, don’t worry about making dinner, perhaps even have a warm bath.
And you absolutely cannot be expected to lift anything over 10lbs - not in your condition!
Well, now it’s your second or third pregnancy and guess what? You are no longer a delicate flower. You are a mama bear. There is a child outside of your body, and truth bomb: their needs come before yours - pregnant or not!
So you’ll still wake up nauseous, but life won’t slow down for you. Especially if your partner needs to leave for work early and the responsibility of your first child falls on you. You’ll be up early, getting them ready, making them breakfast, shuttling them off to daycare if you work outside of the house like I do … nothing will change from your pre-pregnancy, mom-hustling routine - you’ll just be miserable and sick while doing it.
You’ll still come home exhausted, but again, life isn’t slowing down for you then either. You can’t even go directly home because you have that other child that needs picking up from daycare - remember? Oh and they also need dinner, a bath, your attention, your love. You can’t give them those things while lying on the couch mama. Life goes on, pregnant or not!
And what’s that about not lifting heavy objects while pregnant? Well, let me tell you something you might have forgotten: toddlers tend to weigh over 10lbs. Hell, my first-born was nearly 10lbs at birth! And as a toddler who still very much wanted to be carried by his mama (I got pregnant with my second when he was 13 months old), you can surmise just how much lifting over 10lbs I was doing during my second (and now third) pregnancy.
The good news? You’re well prepared for this already, and it’s excellent practice for life with two children.
You’re a mama, you know allllll about putting your child’s needs first. It doesn’t matter if you have a broken foot or a fever - life goes on once you join the ‘hood, and some way some how, you always figure out how to do it all. And once there’s two of them, this only becomes more real, so why not get in some extra practice ahead of that reality, right?
2. Your body will change sooner and more.
This was particularly true for my third pregnancy. My uterus just knew what was up right away, and quickly accommodated. I swear I had a bump by week six, while during my first pregnancy I remember the technician commenting at my 20 week scan that he could hardly tell I was pregnant if not for the fetus on the screen.
And it’s not just bump that changes quickly either. Your breasts will hurt like hell sooner, and more than you remember them hurting before. Your skin will break out earlier (and stay that way), and the rest of your body will quickly acquire a few extra sneaky layers of fat to hide any definition you may have managed to form while postpartum.
The good news? You’ll avoid that awkward time period when you definitely look heavier, but no one knows for sure if you’re pregnant or just ate a big burrito.
Your cute little bump will be unmistakable and you’ve got the maternity clothes at the ready to show it off :)
3. Your partner won't treat you like the pregnant goddess you were when carrying your first-born.
There’s a lot of wonder and awe in the eyes of your partner when they look at you pregnant with their first-born. Like I said before, they will have catered to your every need during your first pregnancy in an attempt to make it as easy as possible for you to bring their offspring into this world.
But now that you’re pregnant again? Sorry friends, but your partner (and the rest of the world) have figured it out: you’ve got this.
They’ve seen what you're capable of: BIRTH. Followed by postpartum recovery, and then raising a little human. You’ve likely done a pretty amazing job and the truth is - they’re right! You are capable. You don’t need hand-holding (though it can feel pretty nice sometimes), and frankly, your child needs more caring for than you do.
I’ve personally learned that the best help my partner can be to me during pregnancy is to provide as much care for my child(ren) outside of the womb as possible, while I try and hold myself together through pregnancy and focus on baby in utero.
The good news? If you haven’t realised it yet, you will now: you’re a mother f’n rock star!
Girl, you are capable of anything. You don’t need no man! You’ve got this! And you know what else? It’s basically a huge compliment that your partner doesn’t feel the need to treat you like an easily breakable vase - they see you for what you really are: a strong, capable, powerful woman who can do just about anything - pregnant or not!
And P.S. - they’re probably getting in some great practice at solo-parenting for a little while when you’re hunkering down with your newborn in the months to come. Though, I’ll be honest, there’s a whole lot less of THAT dreamy scenario with your second and third babies then there was with your first ... but let’s save that for another chat ;)
Mamas of many: can you relate? Are there any other major differences between pregnancies that you would add? Comment below!