I’ve been amazed at how different my second pregnancy is from my first pregnancy. It’s not just the actual symptoms that change; I’m also emotional about things that I never would have considered the first time around. So, whether you’re already pregnant with your second (or third or fourth, etc.) or you’re thinking about expanding your family, here are five things that might change for you during your later pregnancies.
- You worry about all the things you won’t be able to do with this baby. Tumbling class, library story time, music classes…my oldest son has my undivided attention when it’s just the two of us. But when his little brother or sister comes along, he or she won’t have the chance to do those kinds of things. What exactly is my three-year-old going to be doing while my one-year-old is learning to somersault? He’s not old enough to entertain himself, and I don’t know that I can wrangle two children in tumble class. When I go to the children’s museum with my oldest, we do whatever he wants. Add another baby into the picture, and there’s going to have to be some compromise. In the end, of course, I think this is a good thing. He’ll have to learn to share with his sibling; it can’t always be his way or the highway. But I also feel a little bit sorry for my youngest, who’s never going to be “master of the house” the way my oldest is. Luckily, my oldest will be too young to ever remember a time when he was king in the castle!
- You follow along less closely. During my first pregnancy, I could tell you exactly how far along I was to the day. I knew every little thing that was happening inside my body, and was constantly sharing amazing facts with my husband. “Did you know our baby is developing vocal cords?” “He has tiny fingernails!” This time, I still know what week I’m in, but you’d have to give me a second to figure out the day. And while I do appreciate the miracle of growing a child, I’m not tracking this one quite as closely as I did with my oldest. As long as all the pieces are there in the end (“no horns or hooves,” as my husband puts it), then I’m happy.
- You can’t sleep all weekend. I was so tired during my first pregnancy. Sometimes I slept until noon or one on Saturdays. If I didn’t have too much work, I could take a nap in the middle of the day! With this pregnancy, I’m just as tired (if not more so!) than I was with my oldest. But I now have a very active 18-month-old who wants to run and play, and who has very little tolerance for a nauseated, tired mama. On the bright side, I do think it’s helping me keep my weight down, and I can’t say I’ve had much trouble falling asleep!
- You know what’s coming…maybe. I didn’t really get morning sickness with my oldest until week 10, and when it hit, it hit hard. Every week I’d tell myself, “Most people stop getting sick around week 12, so if I can just make it that far…” Unfortunately, my morning sickness stuck around until week 18, so when I threw up for the first time nine weeks into my second pregnancy, all I could think was: it has begun. I can’t comfort myself with the thought that it will be over when I make it to the second trimester. Now, I know better. Like the groundhog who sees its shadow, I’ve got a long, rough road ahead. You’ll hear that every pregnancy is different, but my mother assured me that she felt just the same for all three of her pregnancies, so I guess we’ll see.
- Everything happens faster. With my oldest, I barely looked pregnant until month four, when my stomach seemed to pop out overnight. During my second pregnancy, I’m looking a lot rounder a lot sooner. I hear (although haven’t yet experienced it) that second- and third-time mothers feel the baby kick much sooner, since they know what it feels like. So that’s something to look forward to!
As you’re getting up to go to the bathroom for the third time in the middle of the night, or leaning over the toilet bowl feeling ill, it can be easy to forget the miracle that’s taking place inside your body. This baby – whether it’s your second, third, or (God bless you) ninth – is just as much of a gift as your first child. Yes, he or she may not be able to participate in all those classes or dictate the day’s activities the way your oldest once did, but a sibling is the greatest gift you can give your child. Enjoy your time with your oldest now, and know that when your second child is born, your heart will grow to encompass them both.