After being pregnant once, each subsequent pregnancy is a completely different experience than the first.
The first pregnancy is the Honeymoon. You are a human-creating Goddess. Everything is new and beautiful. Even the uncomfortable moments like morning sickness are nature’s pleasant reminder of the miracle growing inside you. Strangers look at your belly adoringly, and comment how lovely you look. Second (or third or fourth) pregnancy has lost the romantic novelty factor. You don’t glow anymore…you’re just crazy tired because you’re waddling around, taking care of your firstborn. Strangers give you pitying glances at your stomach in the grocery store as you try to console a crying toddler.
I’m currently in the second trimester of a third pregnancy. Which means that I have done extensive research on the differences between first and additional pregnancies. Here are a few things to expect when you’re expecting again:
First pregnancy – You take notes when your O.B. runs through the list of pregnancy dietary rules, and obey them with vigor. No sushi, no alcohol, no soft cheese. You up your intake of folic acid and omega-3, and dutifully take your daily prenatal vitamin. Only the best nutrients for your little fetus.
Second pregnancy – You realize that 9 months is way too long to abide by all those nit-picky eating rules. You eat some raw fish and have a few sips of wine, and feel free to not go crazy about the outside possibility of contracting a food-borne disease. If you’re lucky, you remember to take a prenatal vitamin once a week. Mostly, you just hope that your baby can glean enough nutrients from ramen noodles and ice cream, because that’s all you can stomach.
Shopping for Baby Stuff:
First pregnancy – There’s a whole world of new things to get for your new baby. And people are excited to give them to you. So you spend hours upon hours researching the best strollers, carseats, and baby carriers out there. You create a baby registry, and get to open loads of cute baby stuff at your shower.
Second pregnancy – No big baby showers. You have most of the stuff you need, albeit used versions with pasta sauce stains. All you really need at this point is to wipe down the high chair, and buy some new pacifiers because the old ones are in some sandy crevice in the car. Second baby has to be content with hand-me-downs. It’ll build character, right?
First pregnancy – Every change is an exciting milestone. You take photos of your growing belly each week. When you finally have enough of a bump to buy maternity clothes around week 20, you go on a special shopping trip with your girlfriends. People encourage you to rest and nap as much as possible; you happily comply. Your husband offers to give you massages and get you your favorite ice cream at your whim.
Second pregnancy – Your stomach is so huge by the end of your first trimester, people think you’re about to go into labor. You forget to take belly photos until maybe halfway through the pregnancy. But by then you don’t feel beautiful; you feel huge and bloated, and you don’t want to document your chubby face and butt. No naps for you, because you have a young kid to tend to. You pass out around 8pm every night from sheer exhaustion.
First pregnancy – You research the birthing process extensively, reading every book and website possible. You watch videos on the Bradley method, write up a very detailed birthing plan, and discuss said plan with your O.B. Hospital bags are packed and doula services are procured months in advance.
Second pregnancy – Your water breaks before you even have a chance to think about the baby’s birth. You and your husband scurry around at the last minute, getting someone to babysit your older child, and installing the carseat at the hospital.
First Pregnancy – Every single milestone is exciting and momentous. You’re anxious about being a first-time parent. Joy and anticipation are shared between you and your spouse. You feel overwhelmed with love for your baby.
Second pregnancy – Each milestone is barely noticed. You’re so uncomfortable, you wonder if you can even make it to the end. You’re anxious about being a parent of multiple children. Joy and anticipation are shared between you, your spouse, and your kid. You feel overwhelmed with love for your baby (again).