I’m currently expecting my second daughter come mid-spring and I’ll just put it this way: my first versus my second pregnancy have been night and day. I know it isn’t always the case, but from how I’m feeling, how active I can/can’t be, and how fast time is going have all been polar opposites.
Here’s my personal experience on my first versus my second pregnancy.
1st Pregnancy: It felt like 500 years to wait the recommended 12 weeks before announcing to family. I was so incredibly nervous to tell anyone, even family right away. I literally only told one or maybe two friends that I was expecting before 12 weeks. We told almost everyone else, including Facebook, around 12 and 13 weeks.
2nd Pregnancy: Those first few weeks didn’t feel like 500 years but went by in the blink of an eye (more on this later). We told family around 7 weeks and lots and lots of friends early on too. I wasn’t nearly as nervous about telling close people but wanted to wait a tad longer to tell the “whole world.” I actually couldn’t get my act together to get our announcement photos done by 12 weeks but got them out by 15 weeks. Most the people who saw the announcement already knew weeks beforehand anyway!
Overall, I felt like announcing the first time seemed like SUCH a big deal. It totally was, it being my first baby. This time, however, wasn’t as a big of a surprise, especially since my kids are going to be close together in age. I liked waiting longer to put anything on Facebook for the whole world to see and was able to wait since I wasn’t working or around a lot of people who could “tell” I was pregnant.
On How You Feel
1st Pregnancy: Like death. If you read a list of symptoms on pregnancy, I had them all. While I didn’t actually vomit, I was very, very nauseated for the first four months. No food sounded good, ever. Exercise quickly went out the window for me, which was surprising since I was a very active person pre-pregnancy. I had to stop running and in the end I was even put on bedrest for pre-term labor issues. I really, really disliked my first pregnancy and didn’t enjoy many parts of it.
2nd Pregnancy: I don’t even feel pregnant. I actually Googled “don’t have pregnancy symptoms” about 57 times because I was worried something was wrong. Other than a positive pregnancy test and a teeny bit of nausea, I pretty much felt normal in the early days. As I’ve gotten into the second trimester, I’m working out like normal, which is so different than my last pregnancy. I have very little symptoms other than now getting some heartburn, needing to pee a lot, and back pain – but they’re all so much more mild than with my first. Now that my baby moves, I remember I’m pregnant, but before I felt movement, I really did forget sometimes!
Obviously, these are my unique experiences and there’s no guarantee what a first or second or third pregnancy will look like for other women. I find that other moms I talk to often have totally polar opposite pregnancies like this. It seems rare that you’ll repeat the same type of pregnancy twice, although that is just anecdotal information of course.
On Where My Focus Is
1st Pregnancy: I was literally all consumed by thoughts about the baby. Sometimes at work, I had such a hard time focusing that I’d go binge on Pinterest and look at nursery ideas or add more things to my baby registry just to feel like I was being productive on the “I’m expecting a baby” front. I was extremely focused on connecting with my baby-to-be, I read my weekly Baby Center emails like it was my job, and worried about all the things I wasn’t supposed to eat or taking my vitamins, etc.
2nd Pregnancy: “Wait, what? I’m having another baby? OH YEAH!” <– literally my thoughts some days. To be honest, my focus is nearly 100% on the child who is already here right now: my toddler. I don’t love this baby-to-be any less, but when my 19-month-old needs more cheerios and mommy is taking too long to get them, I don’t have time to think about if I took my prenatal vitamin today.
On Pregnancy Rules & Recommendations
1st Pregnancy: I felt guilty about painting my nails or being exposed to paint fumes or pretty much anything that could potentially harm the baby. My biggest craving was lunch meat sandwiches with this pregnancy and I avoided it for a LONG time until it got unbearable and then I always always heated up my meat to be super hot to avoid listeria. I felt kind of batty the whole time trying to keep up with what was recommended.
2nd Pregnancy: While I would never do anything terrible to jeopardize the healthy of my baby, I realize a lot of these things we’re told are just recommendations, not rules that some pregnancy police is going to come and fine me for. I never stopped eating lunch meat this time, and come the 3rd trimester, I think there will be some glasses of wine to be had.
On Body Image
1st Pregnancy: I loathed bump photos and rarely shared them. I waited until the last possible second to buy maternity clothes, and even then, only bought very few but never had enough (although I think this was most in part because I needed maternity business clothing, which was expensive and I knew I wouldn’t need it a second time). I literally cried over getting bigger and every pound I’d gained. Prior to my first pregnancy, I was very weight conscious and trying to stay very fit, so it was BIG mental shift for me to go from wanting to lose weight to being okay with gaining weight.
2nd Pregnancy: I can deal with bump photos and actually think having a bump is cute because I know it’s a very temporary thing. I actually want maternity photos because I know this will (most likely) be the last time that I can document it. I whipped out my maternity clothes actually almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant because I knew I’d need them even sooner. I think I feel bigger this time, both my belly and the way I’m expanding, but I don’t feel nearly as gross this time. I think I just know that this is temporary and last time I had yet to see my body return back to normal, so it was too hard to process.
On Naming The Baby
1st Pregnancy: She was named by 12 weeks along and I called her by name the rest of the pregnancy. I pretty much had this name picked out before I even conceived. It was easy and my husband and I agreed on it right away.
2nd Pregnancy: This time, we didn’t even talk names for weeks, until we found out the gender. When we did, we had no clue what to name another girl (but of course had a boy name ready to go that we will now never get to use!). At 22 weeks along, I still don’t have a solid name yet. We are debating coming up with a list of names and waiting until we meet our new daughter to actually decide. This is SO different than last time! I guess this time around I feel much less worried about it. I know she will have a name and it doesn’t have to be decided this second.
On Preparing for the New Baby
1st Pregnancy: I was glued to my Target baby registry making sure we had ALL the things. The nursery was done six weeks before I gave birth. I washed everything in Dreft. I repacked my hospital bag five times and included four possible coming home outfits. I bought baby clothes any chance I could get. I could hardly contain myself waiting for her to get here, and felt so impatient at the end.
2nd Pregnancy: This time, most my preparations are actually for my toddler, not the new baby. I already have all the baby stuff and because we’re having another girl, I feel like I need next to nothing at all!
My toddler is actually getting kicked out of her room and her current room is staying exactly as is for her sister-to-be, so I don’t even have a nursery to create anymore. Most of my time lately has been spent decorating a new room for my toddler, wondering if and when I might try to potty train my toddler before the baby comes, and trying to explain that a new baby is on the way to my daughter.
It’s amazing how my focus on preparing is not on this baby, but I do still feel like preparing my toddler is something good to do for the baby so that said toddler is A-okay when she comes.
On Preparing For Birth
1st Pregnancy: I was dead set on having a non-medicated as-natural-as-possible birth in the hospital. For three months, I listened to self-hypnosis CDs training me to relax through labor and make labor go quickly. I had a very good birth experience that I wouldn’t be disappointed if I had again.
2nd Pregnancy: This is one of the only things that remains exactly the same. I’m planning on doing the same exact thing to prepare because it worked. However, I am much more open to the fact that it’s unlikely that my birth will go the way I “plan.” I still think I got really really lucky last time. If I end up with a totally different birth (which I’m sure I will!), I think I’ll be a lot more okay with it come this time around than I would have the first time. This time, I feel much more like it’s important to get a the baby in the end than what the experience is actually like. But I of course still hope for a decent birth!
It’s hard to say exactly why these pregnancies are so different. As for my physical symptoms being different, I imagine it’s just because I’m carrying a different baby who has a totally different set of hormones and DNA. For a lot of the other differences, I think knowing what to expect and the fact that everything is not brand spanking new this time really helps. But at the same time, some things are so different for me that it’s hard to know what to expect because they haven’t been the same as last time at all!
How did your pregnancy experiences differ? If you haven’t had another baby, how do you imagine you’ll be different the second time around?