As happy as I look in these photos, and I am happy…very happy…I am not a person who loves being pregnant. Not at all. Aside from how cool it is to feel life growing inside of me and the connection I feel to my unborn child, I would rather just not. Don’t get me wrong, I completely appreciate the miracle of birth and how amazing we are as women. I appreciate, love, and adore the beautiful children who are a result of this nine months of hell, I’ve just never been able to relate when women tell me they love being pregnant.
Several women friends of mine have told me that each of their pregnancies were very different. So as I reach the final weeks of my second and final pregnancy (yes, this is it), I have been contemplating the similarities and differences of my own. In my case, both of my pregnancies from about five weeks on were quite unpleasant in the comfort department. From morning sickness, to migraine headaches, to incessant heartburn, to insomnia, to incredible pelvic pain, there haven’t been any obvious physical differences between my pregnancies.
However, there are five major differences that are worth mentioning, especially for pregnancies that are only a couple of years apart. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced them, because a friend recently joked to me that the reality of a second pregnancy is that it’s all about your toddler (and no longer about you). I’m not judging these differences as good or bad, rather acknowledging them as interesting changes to my life as a pregnant person.
- Where is the rest? And by rest, I mean sleep. I mean lounging. I mean sitting for hours in a recliner, binge-watching episodes of Mad Men and dozing off without restriction. When I was pregnant with LB, if I was feeling sore or tired, I could come home after work and veg out. Obviously, with a two year old, constant resting just isn’t an option. And all the running. Constant running. And chasing. Constant chasing. That wasn’t exactly part of my daily routine during my first pregnancy. And it’s not exactly easy to do when you’re hugely pregnant, and slow, and uncomfortable.
- No more caution tape. When I was pregnant the first time, I was obsessed with what I put in or on my body…and so was Jason. To the point that it was downright ridiculous. When I had a medical need for antibiotics, I cried for hours because I was afraid taking them would harm my child. When I accidentally ate a morsel of blue cheese, more of the same. Jason wouldn’t let me near raw chicken (I got out of a lot of cooking), pump my own gas (yay, me), or carry baskets of laundry (no argument here). This time around, I have touched raw chicken many times, I pump my own gas, and (hello) lug a thirty pound child around much of the time. Neither of us get so worked up about the small stuff, partly due to necessity, but mostly due to experience. Sure, there are foods to avoid when you are pregnant, and things you shouldn’t do. I haven’t forgotten about them, but I’m no longer on the verge of a nervous breakdown if I need to take two Tylenol.
- What, no parade? Everyone knows that a second pregnancy typically doesn’t warrant a baby shower. But it doesn’t end there. I distinctly remember feeling like the center of the universe when I was pregnant the first time. Friends and family would regularly check in to see how I was feeling, Jason was constantly asking “Are you okay?” or “Can I get you anything?”, and there was plenty of fanfare with two showers and a Blessingway. During my second pregnancy, there is much less of this. I’ve concluded that folks just aren’t as attentive the second time around. I suspect that it’s partially due to the amount of time spent with these people, since that inevitably changes with the added responsibility of a family. But also, I think the same level of excitement just isn’t there for a second pregnancy. I don’t doubt for a minute that each one of them cares just as much about me and my family as they did the first time, but it’s definitely different. So it’s on the list.
- Less pampering. I was rather self-indulgent when I was pregnant with LB. I got regular massages, acupuncture treatments, and at least two pedicures (with no nail polish – see item 2). I had brunches and lunches and chats with my friends. I went to movies and took long baths. Jason would regularly massage my back, hips, or feet to help me feel more comfortable. Now, while pregnant with LG, I still get regular massages (because without them I would be an even bigger physical mess) but all the rest of it is virtually a no go. The first reason for this is, due to flipping our lives, we aren’t spending money as frivolously. The second reason is there just isn’t any time…for me or for Jason…and it’s totally understandable. What kind of person would I be if I demanded a foot rub from a husband who often works until two in the morning, only to get up bright and early to care for LB when I go to work? That would just be rude.
- More peace of mind. As you probably guessed from reading item 2 on this list, I was two clicks shy of a basket case when I was pregnant with LB. I was nervous about every little thing. It was all so new, and I probably called the after hours nurse line fifteen times. The pregnancy itself was all consuming. There wasn’t a single moment that I wasn’t consciously aware of the fact that I was pregnant. It was all I thought about and I spent many hours obsessing about getting the nursery ready, learning about labor and delivery, or any number of other baby-related topics. The weeks dragged on, and my pregnancy seemed to last F-O-R-E-V-E-R. In contrast, this second one has flown by. I’m much busier with life, which doesn’t hurt, but I’m also much more relaxed overall. I (sort of) know what to expect, and that’s comforting. There have even been a few days that I was just regular old me, not pregnant me. As physically uncomfortable as I am, I am really surprised by how quiet my mind is. It’s…nice.