Being almost through my second pregnancy, I have learned that there are many fundamental differences when you’re pregnant the second time around. I’d like to take a moment to highlight those differences for other 2nd time moms like myself.
When you’re pregnant for the first time you can blissfully fall asleep on the couch, in a puddle of your own drool, at 6:30 PM every evening.
In the second pregnancy this is nearly impossible. I mean, try to nap if you can. It just might be significantly harder with a three-year-old poking you in the head and the unrelenting nagging feeling that said three-year-old is destroying the house unsupervised.
During your first pregnancy, you can let many things around the house fly. Who cares if you don’t have that much clean clothes. You’ll find something to wear. It doesn’t matter if you sweep your floors. You’re not eating off them.
During your second pregnancy you can let some of your house chores slide as well. It just becomes a bit of a problem when your three-year-old daughter runs out of clean underwear and she does occasionally eat things off the floor… The unswept floor. In a house with three animals.
When you find out you’re pregnant the first time, you start planning all the glorious ways that you’re going to be an amazing parent.
A few weeks into your second pregnancy, you might be resorting to new lows in parenting that you never thought you’d go to. Like bribing your toddler to behave with Starburst candies.
Sidenote: I had been massively craving Starburst candies early during this second pregnancy, but the yellow ones disgusting. They came in handy when I just needed Lilly to be eat breakfast without a fight. When she’s older and reading this, she’s going to realize two things. One, I bribed her into good behavior with candy. Two, I did so with the gross lemon flavored ones that I didn’t want.
Food and Cravings
The first time you are pregnant, you can eat whatever you want. SpaghettiOs for dinner? Sure! You have no examples to set. When morning sickness strikes and you want childhood comfort foods, you are free to have your fill of them.
With the second pregnancy, you have a little person watching your every move. You can’t blatantly tell your husband you think broccoli is gross right now. Well, you can. But that will greatly backfire with your toddler present. You might have to grin and bear it through a few meal times…and then eat what you want after bedtime…
Nurturing the Baby Within
With your first pregnancy, you read all kinds of books and articles that suggest ways that you can bond with and sooth your unborn baby. You sing her lullabies, talk to her in a calming voice and gently sway her in a rocking motion. It’s beautiful and heartwarming.
Baby #2 hears very different sounds before he makes his entrance into the world. Instead of lullabies, he will hear yelling with phrases like, “Because I said no!” or “Don’t play in the dog’s bed!” or “Ewww, don’t eat that! It was on the floor!” It is also likely that he will hear things such as bum, poop, fart and any other body-based words your 3 year old currently finds amusing.
Preparing for the Baby
When you’re a first time mom, any extra energy you have goes into preparing for your new baby. You start the baby quilt 5 months in advance. You have washed, rewashed and rewashed again, all of the baby clothes, blankets, etc, at least 8 weeks prior to your due date. You have organized the entire nursery so that is ready for her arrival…even though she won’t be sleeping in it for months…and the bassinet is cleaned and ready to go beside your bed by 30 weeks.
With your second pregnancy, you’ll find that the majority of extra energy now goes into keeping the first child alive, clothed, fed, and living in some state of a hygienic house. You might find yourself, say 5 weeks away from baby’s arrival, and you have yet to finish cleaning the bassinet, have washed only enough clothes for the hospital bag (and only did that after a terrifying night of false labour) and that the nursery is a mess of totes, bags and toys that looks like the 3 year old got into it. As for the quilt – wait, I have to make a quilt?! Crap.
I have to admit, between work, university, family and house life, this pregnancy has gone very different from my first. I can distinctly recall preparing for the balancing act that I was about to embark on before Lilly was born. This time I have felt like I am hanging onto the tightrope by my pinkie finger and about to crash at any minute.
Ideally speaking, I will get something, anything, done in the next 5 weeks and feel some level of sanity before the utter chaos of a newborn arrives. I have a new found respect for the Mamas who do this 3, 4, 5, 6 times…you ladies are my heros.