Confession: I sometimes hang out on the message boards of a particular
pregnancy site (let’s call it What to Anticipate When You Are Knocked Up). As I
read the panicky, sometimes downright ridiculous (“Can you non-medical
professionals take a look at this eight-week ultrasound and tell me if I’m
having a boy or a girl?”) posts of first-time moms, instead of missing the
exciting days of the first-time pregnancy, I now rejoice in being a veteran
this time around. Here are just some of the things I like about doing it the
second time around:
I’m not so
self-obsessed. I kept an exhaustive journal when I was pregnant the last
time, chronicling every single physical symptom, doctor’s visit, feeling and
general thoughts about being pregnant. While I’m glad I did, because it’s been
interesting to compare it to this pregnancy, not every feeling is a FEELING.
Sometimes it’s just anxiety ... or gas.
Bump schmump. I hope
this kid won’t be offended, but we’re not doing belly photos this time around.
It was hard enough to remember to do them the last time and now, with an actual
kid in the house, forget it. Plus, I’m not as concerned about bump-popping as I
was last time. A first-time mom likes having proof that she’s got a baby in
there. Now, my belly grows (especially after I’ve eaten a lot), it shrinks,
sometimes it’s not there at all. I’m fine with mixing maternity and
non-maternity gear because showing off my shape is not at the forefront of my
mind. If people assume I’m chunky and not pregnant, I really couldn’t care less
this time around.
God, I love not overthinking. I have enough stuff to worry about.
I can see the big
picture. When you’re pregnant for the first time, everything you read is
designed to terrify you and convince you you’re going to hurt the baby
(especially if you don’t buy the right products)! If I wake up on my back, I
switch positions, knowing I woke up for a reason and that very few, if any,
babies died because their mothers were sleeping the wrong way. I’ll have my
morning coffee and sometimes a half glass of wine because I know the difference
between a little and too much. I exercise because it feels good and am aware
that I am not the type of elite athlete who is going to overheat or
hyperventilate. If I have a cold, I take the medications that the doctor told
me I can take. God, I love not overthinking. I have enough stuff to worry
I don’t have to
register! I’m so happy not to have to go through that again. What is the
perfect stroller that does not cost $700 but will not cause my baby to erupt in
flames? How many onesies do I need? What type of bottles are best? Answer: the
ones that are in the basement already.
I know what I want. I
know I wanted to go back to the same ob-gyn. I wanted genetic testing. (Then I
didn’t want any more.) I don’t want to save cord blood. I will formula feed. We
will put the baby in daycare when I go back to work. I want an epidural (if
possible! #2 also means knowing that how a baby is born is pretty much out of
your hands). I will use the same pediatrician. I will not take birthing
classes. When I think about how much time I spent researching all these options
the first time around, it’s amazing I got anything done.
I know what I know. Good-bye,
I am pre-disillusioned.
One of the hardest parts for me about having a newborn was adjusting to the
fact some of it sucks. Nobody really tells you that when you’re pregnant
because it’s not kind. I know what I don’t know — specifically, how much more difficult it is going to be to have two
kids instead of one — but at least I’m aware now of how hard it is to take care
of a newborn while taking care of my postnatal body, that being tired all the
time makes you fight with your partner, that having even well-meaning, low-key
house guests over can be exhausting, that maternity leave can
be wonderful but also tedious. But on the upside, I hope this knowledge can be
empowering so that I can better articulate what I want, need and feel.
There’s definitely few moments as special as those months
leading up to the birth of your first child, when you know your life will
change forever but you don’t yet know how. But for me, if some of the
first time magic is gone, so is a lot of the fear and doubt, and that’s a good