Ever since I became aware that I was expecting our second baby, I’ve been curious about the differences between a first & second pregnancies. Is it arbitrary? Are there really specific differences that you can count on? Is it just a personal thing? Is any of it in my head?
Well, now that I’ve gone almost completely through this second pregnancy experience, I can say that there are definitely similar differences to other women between first and second pregnancies! Some of these are personal to me. Others seem to be consistent with other women’s experiences.
1. Less anxiety over what happens next.
Because I’ve gone through a pregnancy and birth experience previously, I know what to expect…to a certain point. Of course every pregnancy and birth brings different challenges. But overall, you know the drill.
Knowing what to expect and look for can really cut down on the anxiety of the future. Having already done something once makes it less daunting. At least to me. 😉
2. Less weight gain.
I think this one is consistent to other women’s experiences. I gained 50 pounds with Baby #1 and this time I’ve gained 30 pounds. Huge difference! Of course a few factors have changed too!
- I’m chasing a toddler around the house all day.
- I’m eating WAY healthier! (You can read about the changes I’ve made here!)
- I don’t late-night snack in bed (like I did with Baby #1)
- Ironically, I’m not exercising (like I did with Baby #1). I don’t know that that impacts my weight gain so much; I just thought it was an interesting point. They say that good health is 80% good nutrition and 20% exercise. I think we’ve got it backwards in America.
3. Better understanding of my body.
With Baby #2 I felt her kicks earlier. When I became nauseous, I knew exactly why. I could mitigate heartburn more easily because I was more in tune to what my body wasn’t liking at the time. I knew about what size to buy in maternity clothes. I knew that my tiredness was a normal thing and not to fight it.
Simply having experienced something once before, made it immensely easier to know what to expect as far as my body went.
Let me take a moment to talk about women’s body image during pregnancy. While it varies from woman to woman, it can be a very touchy thing. During my pregnancies, I don’t necessarily love the way I look. Much of this is dependent upon my personality, my taste in maternity clothes and what I can find to wear.
As far as feeling beautiful and attractive, I’ve not really felt that way during pregnancy. And the same may or may not be true for you. But a few things to realize (I’m preaching to myself here!) are these:
- You’re not as big as you think you are.
- You (and Hubby) are the only ones who see your whole body for exactly what it is (stretch marks, poochiness, sags, all of the imperfections).
- This time will pass.
4. Baby showers are limited.
Hubby and I were fortunate to have several baby showers for Baby #1! It was such a blessing because with limited income we knew we couldn’t afford all of the baby supplies we would need. But the showers took care of everything!
Baby #2 is almost here and we’ve been blessed to have 1 small family baby shower for this one.
I’m not complaining at all! I’m just trying to give you a realistic idea of the difference between first and second pregnancies.
This time around we don’t need as many supplies, so we really don’t need as many baby showers. With Baby #2 being a different gender, we’ve had to buy a few more things than if it was going to be a boy. And honestly, some things we’ve splurged on because dressing a girl is so much fun!
5. Family drama should be more limited.
With the birth of our first baby, there was quite a bit of family drama. We decided to utilize a birth center (literally the size of a small home) and consequently decided not to have any family present (except for my parents with whom I’m extremely close). This made other family members unhappy and irritable. There were several other preferences we had that certain family members didn’t like or understand. And those family members created so much drama!
This time around, those same dramatic family members know our drill. They know to expect us NOT to do things like “normal”. And consequently, there has actually been less drama. Praise the Lord! Having gone through something once helps the following experiences to run more smoothly.
Some areas to consider that will affect your family are as follows. You should really have these set in stone before baby comes so that your family knows what to expect.
- The actual, physical birthplace of your baby: hospital, birth center, home. Depending on where you have your baby, some family members will expect to be present during your labor so they can be the first to see the baby afterwards.
- Alerting family to your condition. Are you going to call everyone you know as soon as you go into labor? Are you going to wait til you get to the hospital? Will you contact everyone after baby is born? Personally, I prefer to labor alone and have the first few hours to myself and baby. We called everyone several hours after the baby was born. Why? Because everyone wants to visit the new baby!
- Allowing visitors. I would be superbly happy with having no visitors the first week of baby’s life. But that’s my personality. Depending on your preferences, where baby was born, complications that arose during childbirth, recovery status, etc. you may or may not want to have visitors. And you can do whatever you want because people will get over it!
One tip I will give you when it comes to difficult family members: Let them know BEFORE events take place, what your plans are. That gives them time to process and cope. Springing things on them last minute or trying to avoid an argument doesn’t help.
6. Your postpartum birth kit will be more comprehensive.
Having gone through childbirth once, you get to know those products that you loved! And you know how important they are to you! This second time around I’ve made sure to get those items I knew would make recovery easier!
I kind of “winged it” with Baby #1 as far as postpartum supplies. I knew there were suggested products to use after having a baby, but I didn’t get any of them. I guess I thought that the birth center would provide everything I would need.
This time I don’t want there to be any room for unnecessary pain or recovery time that I could have mitigated. So I’ve stocked up on things that I may or may not need this time. I just want to play it safe!
7. Hubby will know better what to expect.
Pregnancy emotions are crazy! Sometimes it’s hard to recognize that they’re crazy because you’re the one having them. At the time, these emotions may seem normal! But this pregnancy it’s like I’ve been able to step outside myself and see the crazy that is happening!
This time around I can feel my emotions actually swinging from happy to all of a sudden super sad. I’ve been able to recognize that at certain points I’m being totally unreasonable. I’ve been able to realize that cravings are just me wanting something that’s bad for me and I blame it on pregnancy! 😉
If I can see all of this more clearly, so can Hubby. He’s actually been so good to me this pregnancy! And he’s been so acquiescent and tender to me when I get cravings, crazy emotions going or uncontrollable emotions. He remembers from Baby #1 how things were. That’s a blessing! I don’t have to explain as much. We are just more in sync!