It’s nearly impossible to compare your first pregnancy with your second (or third or fourth).
I remember the moment when I first found out the delightful news a few months ago that I was pregnant again, and I actually thought to myself, “This time will be easier because I know what to expect.” For all you experienced mommas out there, I’m sure you’re already laughing by now. But, on the one hand there’s some truth to this – I am working on a better diet this time around; I’m delivering at the same hospital; the shock value of sleepless nights with a newborn has waned among many other things.
However, there is so much about this pregnancy that is nothing like the last. For one, I’m older and my body just doesn’t work the same way it did three years ago. My muscles are looser, my back already hurts, and I’ve been dealing with horrible nausea that makes you just want to lie down and take the rest of the day off. I also know more of the risks of pregnancy and delivery now. It’s weird because the first time around I thought I was fully prepared, like I “knew everything” (ha!), and I felt like I could weather any storm. But it’s true what they say about ignorance being bliss. I really had no idea what I was getting into and for the most part I was just happy and excited to meet my baby boy. This time there are more fears and worries that come with more knowledge.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges about second pregnancy is the fact that you’re also running around with your first little one. My sweet toddler son is a bundle of joy and a momma’s boy true and true. I love him to the moon and back, and I treasure our days together, but man these days can also be exhausting when you’re pregnant. Remember that back pain I told you about? I can’t just lie down on the couch with a heat pack. From sun up to sun down, I’m racing cars and building legos and, when my son falls asleep in the car, I’m pulling him (as quietly and gently as possible) out of said car, going up the stairs and laying him down in his bed. My heart is full, but my back is crying.
I also think about how it will even be possible for me to have this much love for a second child. I have spent every day for the past three years with my first son, and sometimes it’s hard imagining that I could love anyone else as much as I love him. Or worse, what if I won’t have the time to do all the same things with my second baby? Will I be able to give my new baby girl all the same attention and energy that I’ve given to my son? Like, will she enjoy quiet, peaceful naps in her crib or will she be constantly getting in naps on the road, in the car seat or in the stroller while I’m running around taking my son to school or elsewhere?
If I’m sure about anything, it’s that I still have no idea what lies ahead. Yes, I know more of the possible risks, dangers and struggles that may come. But they’re not a reality. They’re not a for sure, and me worrying about them doesn’t help the situation one way or the other. Yes, I’m more exhausted and more in pain (thank you, age) than last time. But I really have two choices – I can complain about being older and slower, or I can just make every effort to enjoy the moment and be grateful for the fact that I’m pregnant and have a toddler. What wonderful, precious gifts both these children are.
“Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart,” a wise momma once told me. She is so right. The journey of motherhood is a journey of strength and perseverance, and our testings grow stronger with each successive pregnancy and child. I like to think that I’m simply joining hands with those mothers who have gone before me, and I strive to continue to model their legacies of love, humility, gratitude and strength now to my own children. So, if you’re in the same boat as me, enjoy the moment and persevere, dear momma. The days may not always be easy, but you are on a blessed journey.