It is a slightly terrifying thought that, soon enough, Rich and I will be the parents of children. We will no longer have the numerical advantage over our offspring, but will be evenly numbered with two kids two and under (yikes!).
As I’ve progressed through my second pregnancy, I’ve found it to be very different than my first. I’ve always heard that parenting is very different the second time around and I suppose the shift in mindset begins in your pregnancy. Here are a few ways I’ve found things to be different the second time around.
1.The pregnancy is passing much quicker.
Toddlers are busy people. Often, it seems Isaac’s goal for the day is to cover the floor of every room in the house with an assortment of trains, trucks, books, and puffs. I could easily spend my entire day going from room to room picking up the assorted chaos. Seeing my roles as business owner and mama come with many other daily tasks and responsibilities, the chaos generally stays intact until Isaac is tucked away in his crib for the night. By the time he goes down, the toys are put away, and the kitchen is cleaned up from dinner, it’s at least 9 pm, sometimes later. In less than 10 1/2 hours, Isaac will wake up, and the same routine will begin again.
With my first pregnancy, I still had time throughout the day to pause. I didn’t have the responsibility of taking care of a small human with contact needs. The days moved at a slower pace. Now, it feels like every moment of every day is focused either on Isaac, or a long, never-quite-ending to do list. The business makes the weeks fly past and it absolutely feels much quicker than my first pregnancy.
- I am far less able to listen to my body.
I used to feel like I was pretty in tune with my body and what it needed. Then I had a baby. Suddenly, it didn’t matter if I was sick, tired, had a headache, or was breaking out in hives. I had a child who needed me and his need was not determined by how I was feeling. Motherhood does not afford you the ability to tap out simply because you are feeling tired or nauseous.
Motherhood is business as usual when you are pregnant. This means you can’t just take a nap when you are feeling tired, and the idea of “relaxing before the baby comes” is an unattainable goal you wish you had taken more seriously during your first pregnancy. While there have been days when I wish I could just tap out for ten minutes, life goes on and you find a way to make everything work.
- I have no idea where my copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting is.
The week after I found out I was pregnant, Rich and I experienced the first-time parent rite of passage of purchasing a copy of What To Expect When you’re Expecting. I kept it on my bedside table and every night before going to sleep, Rich and I would excitedly read about how our baby was growing and developing.
I currently have no idea where that book is. I think I might have opened it once since finding out I was pregnant. I have no idea what size fruit my baby is. Prenatal vitamins sit on my bedside table and on a good day, I remember to take one. I know when the baby is due and so far I’ve only forgotten about one OB appointment, so I feel like I’m doing pretty well.
- I’m less concerned about stretch marks and weight gain
Last pregnancy, I regularly went to the gym until I was 36 weeks, ate healthily, and regularly rubbed cocoa butter on my abdomen. And you know what happened? I gained nearly fifty pounds and my post-baby stomach looked like the surface of an undiscovered planet. The truth is, I don’t think there is much I could have done differently to avoid the end results. Everyone’s body handles pregnancy differently. I carry big and my skin doesn’t stretch well. There is not much I can do to fight it.
This pregnancy, I am regularly exercising and being mindful about what I eat but I am (trying) not to get stressed out about the number I see on the scale. And my stomach is already so stretched out that the idea of using any kind of anti-stretch product seems completely futile. All I can do is be as healthy as possible and keep growing this baby.
- I’m more nervous about my delivery but more likely to be my own advocate.
Isaac was delivered via a scheduled C-section nearly a full two weeks after my due date. When they pulled him out, they found his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, shoulders, and a figure eight around his body. It explained why he was never engaged in the pelvis, why I never experienced effacement or dilation, and never went into labor.
For my second baby, I am faced with two options: to have either a VBAC or a repeat C-Section. They each have advantages and risks and truthfully, both make me feel quite nervous.
Before having Isaac, I didn’t think too much about what birth would be like, but I assumed it would be similar to what happens in the movies. Rich and I would be hanging out, my water would break, we’d rush to the hospital, and I’d deliver the baby. Since none of that happened with Isaac, I feel more aware of the unpredictable nature of childbirth and more nervous about all of the ‘what ifs’.
That being said, if I do end up having another C-Section, having already been through one, I have a much better idea of how to advocate for both myself and the baby (to fully explain would have to be another blog post).