When I got pregnant with “Dumplin”, we were elated and I felt prepared. I had been through all of this just a year before, so I felt like a seasoned vet when it comes to pregnancy and babies. One thing I wasn’t expecting was just how different a second pregnancy can be from your first! If you have just found out you’re pregnant with baby number two – congratulations! Sit back and let me tell you what you’re in for.
Your cravings and sickness can be completely different
This one completely shocked me. I thought I had horrible migraines during my first pregnancy with Nugget. That was practically a walk in the park compared to what I’ve gone through this time around.
Another huge difference for me was that with Nugget, I had literally no cravings. Well, I remember getting extremely angry with my husband because I really wanted a strawberry daiquiri wine cooler and couldn’t find a nonalcoholic equivalent. Other than that, seriously no cravings. Only food aversions. The mere mention of peanuts, peanut butter or anything fried was enough to send me running for the bathroom.
This time around – oh my! If there’s food around, I will eat it. I will eat – it – all. I’ve seriously eaten myself into pain more times than I can count and am convinced I’m going to give myself stretch marks from a food baby long before this baby gets around to developing them for me.
People won’t give you as much advice
When I was pregnant with Nugget, I swear, I heard it all. Let the baby cry, it’s fine! Don’t you dare let that baby cry, they’re only little once.
You’re going to breastfeed, right? If you don’t, you’re a bad mom. Breastfeeding is disgusting, that’s not what your boobs are for!
Save yourself money and buy the cheap diapers. Cloth diapering is the only way to go. Even expensive diapers have dangerous chemicals in them. You wouldn’t want to put that stuff near your baby!
Don’t ever let your baby sleep with you! It’s incredibly dangerous and they could die of SIDS! Let your baby sleep next to you, it promotes a great breastfeeding relationship and a stronger bond between mother and baby.
Don’t eat processed foods, drink wine, any other form of alcohol, sodas, coffee, or really anything but salad and water if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s bad for the baby! Does your baby really need those mozzarella sticks?
You’re a vegetarian? How will your baby get the protein it needs to grow? You’re a vegetarian? Oh that’s great for the baby!
This time around? Silence. It’s actually a pretty wonderful thing. Anyone who sees my big belly and then sees my toddling one year old gives me a quick smile and then keeps walking. When we’re at the grocery store, I often wonder how much unsolicited advice my beautiful son is saving me from.
Okay – you will get some input…about how close together or far apart your kids will be.
I’ve heard it all this time around. I’ve gotten these looks of pity as though this baby must have been an accident to be so close to his or her brother. They’ll be 17 months apart.
I actually get compliments on Nugget and Dumplin’s spacing more than criticism. I hear on an almost daily basis that my babies will be lucky to have each other and will grow up to be best friends because they’re so close.
I’ve also gotten these almost defensive reactions to their spacing from moms who have a few years between their kids. “Well, my kids are 7 years apart and they’re still best friends!”
It seems that no matter what, people just can’t help commenting when they see a visibly pregnant woman toting around a tiny toddler. My son is in the 1st percentile, so he looks even younger than he is. People assume he was just born when his sibling was conceived. Meanwhile, he was 8 months old!
The trick is to smile, nod, and take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Oh, you think my kids will be too close together? Okay, let me turn back time and not get pregnant. Your opinion matters that much.
Your life won’t be centered around books and classes. You’re already an expert!
Okay, so no one can ever actually be an expert on parenting. After one little one though, you know how to change a diaper, clean spit up with your sleeve, and scrub just about anything out of an outfit if it’s the only one you have with you. You know the joy of a blow out and can smell a bowel movement coming a mile away.
Childbirth? Been there, done that. If you had a great experience, you’re probably naively calm about the next labor and delivery experience. If you had a bad experience, you’re probably terrified and your terror grows exponentially with each passing week.
The thing is, during your first pregnancy, you spend a ton of time (and maybe a lot of money) on books and classes trying to learn all that you’ll need to know to take care of your beautiful new baby.
Suddenly, your baby arrives and you have no choice but to figure it out. In my case, I had 12 weeks of labor and delivery classes, but not a single class about breastfeeding. Delivery was a piece of cake compared to learning to breastfeed! Somehow, you figure it out.
With baby number two, you aren’t as concerned with what you don’t know, because you know that it’ll work itself out and you and baby will be just fine.
You might worry more.
With all of that knowledge comes some anxiety. This time around, you’ve already heard other people’s war stories about pregnancy and even some tragedies. With your new mom eyes you’ve witnessed other people have difficult experiences throughout pregnancy and have even read some stories you wish later you never would have clicked on. (My husband is currently trying to figure out how to block Google from my phone.)
At least for me, the second pregnancy has been a more harrowing, emotional ordeal than my first. From the first ultrasound not going as planned, to finding out we have a pretty special umbilical cord with this baby, I’ve done my share of worrying and losing precious sleep.
At some point, I kind of realized that worrying is pretty pointless. I was only hurting my already delicate situation with migraines and putting my poor husband through a new kind of hell.
My advice – if you’re like me and tend to over-research, overthink, and overanalyze things…do these three things.
Stop researching – nothing good comes from knowing all that can possibly go wrong. Put down the phone and look away.
Have some faith – no matter what, this is the baby that was meant for you. More than likely, everything will be okay. Even if it isn’t, your baby has you to depend on and that requires that you not be mentally and emotionally weakened from all the worry.
Control what you can – you can control what you put into your body (unless you’re me and there’s pizza within a ten mile radius), you control whether you take your prenatal vitamins, and you control whether you go to all of your doctor’s appointments. Aside from those things, there really isn’t much you can do anyway. So sit back, try to relax, and enjoy being the amazing pregnant goddess that you are, even if it’s your second or sixth pregnancy and no one else notices.
You get way less attention the second time around.
During your first pregnancy, everyone is sneaking peaks at your belly trying to decide if you’re showing or not. All of your friends listen intently as you describe exactly how many inches long your baby is and what fruit it can be compared to.
Your baby is developing lanugo this week? Awesome! Your baby has fingerprints already? Wow!
The second time around – no one cares! Sure, people will still check on you periodically to see how you’re feeling, but gone are the days of friends, family, and coworkers hanging on your every word as you describe in great detail every aspect of your pregnancy.
Come to think of it, maybe you were the only one that excited the first time around too and your excitement outshined everyone else’s lack of interest. At any rate, this time, you’re well aware that your pregnancy is old news.
You probably won’t get a baby shower.
…and if you do, lots of people will be annoyed that they have to buy you another gift. I didn’t realize until I was pregnant with Nugget that this baby shower thing is kind of a one-time deal. You don’t get to throw a party every time you have a baby. At least, it isn’t customary to do so. You get one big hurrah complete with cake and presents.
The next time around, you get offered hand-me-downs.
You won’t be treated like a goddess.
Seriously, during my first pregnancy, I had strangers coming up to me at Walmart to touch my belly and tell me how beautiful I was. I realize now looking back, that I only got that attention after they asked the all-important “is this your first?”
When I responded “yes”, the swooning ensued. Even if I looked like a blimp, I was a gorgeous goddess who you would have thought was the only woman in the world capable of growing another human being.
This time around, I didn’t realize people could tell I was pregnant until they started asking if we knew the sex yet.
It could also be that thanks to those cravings, I’ve already gained about as much weight at 25 weeks as I did during my whole first pregnancy, but who’s counting?
At the end of the day, you have a beautiful baby coming along that will add so much joy to your family. Take others opinions with a grain of salt, try to wait until advice-givers are out of ear shot before cursing them out, and enjoy this pregnancy in all its glory – even if you’re sitting on a couch indulging in a couple bags of Doritos in lieu of a beautiful, Pinterested-out baby shower.
And most importantly, be sure to tell me in the comments all of the amazing advice you get from know-it-alls that you encounter. I really can’t get enough of those stories!
Did you notice a big change in how you felt during your second pregnancy? What about changes in how others treated you? Be sure to let me know in the comments!