Pregnancy, the second time round

We’re here, we’ve made it: 20 weeks. The half way (ish) mark of pregnancy. I can’t quite believe that it’s come around so quickly. True, the first couple of months dragged, thanks to what felt like 24-hour nausea and almost overwhelming tiredness, but since then I’ve barely been able to keep up.

Pregnancy - the second time round

This is in stark contrast with first time round, when the whole pregnancy seemed to move along at glacial speed. It got me thinking about how different the pregnancy experience is when you’re expecting your second child.

First child: you can’t wait to ‘show’ properly…
… In the meantime, you dress in flowing smock tops and stick your tummy out as far as possible in photographs to create a baby bump.

Second child: your knackered tummy muscles ‘pop out’ virtually straight away. Strangers start congratulating you on your pregnancy and then do a bad job of disguising their surprise when you admit you’re not due for another six months.

First child: you know that NHS food guidelines off by heart…
… avoid everything on the list like the plague and frantically Google potentially suspect items that crossed your lips before you stopped to wonder if they were ‘allowed’ or not.

Second child: You nod as the midwife runs through the ‘no go’ list but are completely distracted by your toddler rummaging through the equipment in her bag. It’s all pretty obvious anyway, isn’t it? Although, now you come to think of it, you do vaguely remember long debates on the various pregnancy forums about Mr Whippy ice cream and other such seemingly innocuous food items…

First child: you give yourself license to ‘eat for two’…
…even though you secretly know this is a myth. It doesn’t matter, though, as you are making lots of plans for loosing the pregnancy weight, including doing various exercise DVDs in the living room while the baby lies happily in their rocker watching you. Breastfeeding helps the weight drop off anyway, doesn’t it?

Second child: you try not to feel miserable as all the baby weight you took so long to lose piles back on. You do not eat for two.

First child: you know how far along you are to the minute…
… and excitedly report to your partner each week that the baby is the size of a grape or a plum or an orange or another round fruit of increasing size. You’re reading everything you can lay your hands on about pregnancy and babies, including What To Expect When You’re Expecting cover to cover. Although you probably should have skipped the scary bits.

Second child: you have to stop to work out how many weeks pregnant you are when people ask you and are just about making it to the important appointments on time. You have no idea what size the baby is and no idea where you’ve put your copy of What to Expect. Nevermind, you’ve got no time to read it again and, well, you know pretty much what to expect anyway.

First child: you’ve never felt so tired in all your life…
… growing a baby is exhausting. It’s so hard being at work all day. You flop on the sofa as soon as you get home, where you stay all evening, and take extra naps at the weekend.

Second child: you’ve never felt so tired in all your life…
… being pregnant and running around after a toddler beats even the twelve months of extreme sleep deprivation you endured first time round. You don’t get much of a chance to flop on the sofa, and extra naps at the weekend, or any time, are limited to say the least.

First child: you take long, lovely soaks in the bath using your special ‘mum to be’ bath oil…
… and long, lovely showers using your special ‘mum to be’ shower gel. You make time each day to slather yourself with your special ‘mum to be’ tummy butter and stretch mark oil. Your partner paints your toenails for you when your bump gets too big to bend down and lovingly massages your feet with your special ‘mum to be’ cooling leg and foot gel while you’re watching TV in the evenings.

Second child: you dig out your half-used tub of tummy butter and occasionally remember to rub it in when you have an extra five minutes to yourself after your super quick shower. You’ve already got all the stretch marks from first time round anyway. You and your partner are far too exhausted in the evenings to worry about toenails and leg massages.

First child: you thoroughly research all the baby equipment you need…
… weighing up the pros of travel systems, car seat safety ratings and whether to get a cot or cot bed. You spend hours lovingly setting up and decorating the nursery.

Second child: Well, you have all the equipment already, so that’s easy. And there is no nursery to decorate for this baby; they’re getting a corner of your room and a corner of the spare room. They won’t realise they got the short straw for a good few years.

First child: you’ve got lots of ideas on how you’ll be raising this baby…
… and talk wisely about breastfeeding vs formula feeding and getting into a good routine. You say things like: “I’m looking forward to actually being able to sleep comfortably again – I know I’ll be up for nightfeeds, but at least I’ll be able to sleep well in between.” (To my Mum’s eternal credit, she didn’t even smile when I told her this.)

Second child: you realise you’ve got absolutely no idea what it will be like dealing with two children but try not to worry about it too much. The only thing you’re planning is not to make too many plans – you’ve muddled through so far, after all.

In many ways, I am enjoying this pregnancy a lot more. Having less time to focus on every little detail – and every little worry – has made me far more relaxed than I was with ToddlerGirl. I am not shocked this time that I am not skipping through the trimesters, a glowing and fit mum to be. I have been prepared for the seemingly endless morning sickness, the food aversions, the pelvic pain, the waddling. I am not on high alert every day for something to go wrong. And I know that as soon as I hold our baby in my arms, the hard bits will be instantly forgotten as I revel in being mummy to this brand new little person.

What would you add to the list of differences of pregnancy the second time round?


2 Comments on “Pregnancy, the second time round”

  1. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) says:

    Loving this post, I am so with you on all of it! My first pregnancy seemed to last forever, though this one is flying by! Excellent post, really sums up my thoughts on the differences between the two pregnancies! xx

    • Thank you :) It’s amazing how different I’ve found it second time round, mainly for the better! I expect I’ll be noticing lots of differences between having my first and second baby soon too!

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