I know everyone's pregnancy journey is different, and each pregnancy is different from the next. But I was woefully unprepared for how different I would feel during my second pregnancy compared to the first. I can't talk for all women but this has been my experience;
Other People's Excitement
Yeah... not so much! When you announce your first pregnancy there is a lot of excitement and hugs and grandparents welling up with tears. Some people are shocked (because lets face it, you don't stand on your roof sounding a gong every time you do 'the deed' just so people know you are trying to conceive), some people are giddy with excitement and a few even start trying to give you gifts of adorable little outfits or similar. It's all pretty magical.
When you announce your second pregnancy, it's almost expected that once you have had one you will be having more at some point, so no one is surprised - pleased yes, but certainly not surprised or the same level of excited. Suck it up buttercup, this pregnancy is just not as interesting for those around you.
When your baby is making someone a grandparent or aunt/uncle for the first time then it's all new territory for them, they shout it to the world. With the next one - although they are pleased - nothing has changed, nothing is new so understandably it's not as groundbreaking and exciting.
I can only presume that as you add more children to your collection people get less and less excited, perhaps even start to make a joke of your pregnancy announcement – don't be that person.
The Fun Shopping Trips
Oh how I look back wistfully at the exciting shopping trips of buying all the cute baby stuff for the first time. It's a girly day out with your mum or your bestie, you get to spend a small fortune on impossibly cute outfits and select the pram of your dreams and if you are super super lucky then the Royal Bank of Grandma and Grandpa is at your disposal too.
The second time around? You have all the essentials already as much of it you kept 'just incase we have another'. So, not much shopping to do. Then when you do go to the shops for the few bits you might need you have a bored toddler in tow. Joy! See, not as exciting.
Glowing Vs Dying
I was very lucky the first time around, I glowed through my pregnancy (until the end when I got pre eclampsia followed by a long drawn out and traumatic delivery but that's another story!) this time everything has already stretched once so is just pretty much falling apart this time around. Your bump is bigger quicker too you have all the fun that entails much sooner.
I was naive, I thought my existing stretch marks would accommodate this baby, how silly of me, I should have known that stretch marks can have stretch marks of their own.
I was also very unprepared for SPD - a joyous joke mother nature plays where you feel as if you are being ripped in two right down the front of... 'that place'. Really helpful when you have a toddler to chase about, bringing me neatly to my next point...
Relaxing Vs Chasing a Toddler
I was indulged and pampered as a glowing pregnant princess should be the first time around, which raised my hopes impossibly high for the second time around. Last time I could rest when I felt I needed to and went on maternity when I felt it was time to slow down. There is no maternity leave or resting when your boss is a three year old! They rise with the birds and have unceasing energy until way past what you imagine would be an appropriate bedtime for a small human, you must keep up! When your ankles are swollen and your belly bulging, you must keep up mummy! When they are hungry or bored or needing something fetching/making/wiping you must keep up! - and that's just the day time, if you're really lucky like me you will have one that still wakes all through the night too.
It sounds all doom and gloom at this point, but don't fear, there are positive points too. Mainly in experience. At least this time you aren't sat swatting up on the parenting and pregnancy books, you already know that everything you think you know needs to be thrown out of the window.
Additionally you also know your mind and won't be as easily bullied or pressured into believing that a certain style of parenting or method of feeding your baby is the perfect answer. You already know that there are no correct answers, there are no firm rules, you have to do what every other parent is doing and totally wing it. You will be OK with this when it's not your first time.
Now as I await the arrival of baby number two I also realise that my hospital bag is quite different too. Because experience has prepared me and I feel more confident in what I will need. Last time I wanted everything to be perfect, this time I realise that this is unrealistic and this time I am prepared for things to be perfectly imperfect.
The baby's carefully selected 'going home outfit' (which got peed on last time before leaving the hospital) has been replaced with a stack of interchangeable basics. The couple pairs of nice pants and a pack of 'lady pads' has been replaced with a huge pack of disposable incontinence pants – much more practical and much more absorbent. I have also packed my favourite nipple cream – something I didn't know about last time until weeks after birth when I was cracked and bleeding and crying. This time I am not naive enough to think I might just breeze in, have baby and leave; this time I am taking lots of extra jammies, no makeup and lots of extra snacks. Which of course probably means I won't need all of that this time.
What would you do differently from last time? Feel free to comment below your thoughts
Wife, Mummy and illustrator.