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Why I Prefer Second-Time Pregnancy

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.

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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 about.

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.

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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, baby books!

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 thing.

Image via Thinkstock

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