I’ve always known that I wanted more than one baby, and my husband did, too. The decision to have a second was fairly simple, but deciding when proved more complicated. It seemed like most moms pregnant with Number Two struggled more the second time around. I’d hear about how much more exhausting and uncomfortable it was, and I wondered how I could ever do it, especially with an older child to care for.
Now at 36 weeks pregnant, with the finish line in sight (though I know the final few weeks will only get harder), I can confidently say that this pregnancy has been easier than I expected. I won’t call it “easy,” just easier. It’s still pregnancy. I’ve been tired and emotional and had downright hard days, but I’ve been fortunate that my pregnancies have been complication-free. As I reflect on the past almost-nine months, there are several positive features of this second go-around that seem to be overlooked and that no one “warned” me about.
- I already owned most of what I needed, so I felt less guilty splurging on other things (like a Snoogle pillow!) this time. Same goes for what I’ll need when the baby arrives. I didn’t spend hours creating a registry and researching baby products, some of which never left their packaging. My husband and I decided to upgrade a few things, but for the most part, everything was in basement storage, used and loved and awaiting its time to shine once again.
- I had the knowledge that I learned last time: what foods to avoid, what to expect as my body changed, tricks to decrease morning sickness. I had already researched a lot of major decisions I’d need to make, and my husband and I had discussed our pregnancy and childbirth options. Of course, there’s room for adjustments, but we’ve had practice getting on the same page as parents.
- Everyone seems to have a story about some wild name their partner insisted upon that they despised. Hopefully by now, you’ve managed expectations and set those seemingly crazy choices aside. My husband and I have some names from the first pregnancy that we didn’t use but still love, so we’ve spent many fewer hours discussing this little one’s moniker.
- I’ve received less unsolicited advice. People must recognize that since I’ve been through it before, I’m competent enough to do it again . . . or maybe they see me as a lost cause. Either way, I’ve appreciated not being constantly advised on what to do.
- I’ve already made mom (and dad) friends. Hopefully by now you’ve established a network of people in your life that you trust, who can commiserate, answer questions, offer to help, or loan you baby gear you might not already have. On difficult days, having a playdate motivated me to get moving and lifted my hormonal spirits.
- The pregnancy goes fast. I’ve had little time to ruminate week by week or count down the days with a two year old on the loose.
- I love watching my firstborn interact with my bump. Recently he patted my belly and said, “Hi, Baby. I’m your big brother. What my name is? My name is Theodore. And I love you!” (Yes, this actually happened, and yes, I was lucky enough to catch it on video.) Rather than wishing the time away, I want to slow down and soak in these remaining weeks with him one-on-one.
- The pregnancy will (probably) be shorter, right? My first was born at 42 weeks + 1 day gestation, so it’s almost impossible to be pregnant longer than I was the first time. So many moms of multiples have assured me that the second baby arrives sooner and that labor tends to progress more quickly, too. (TBD, but fingers crossed hard on this one.)
- I know I can do it. I’ve felt considerably less anxious about pregnancy, childbirth, and the early newborn days. After all, I’ve done it before with less experience, and we all seem to have survived. It has been easier for me to trust the process and know that eventually I will get back to feeling “normal” and having a “routine.” I use those words very loosely.
- I know it’s worth it. While I was pregnant with my first, I daydreamed about holding my new baby and what that sort of love might feel like. Now those daydreams are based on real memories. I know how incredible the journey is, and I am so excited to experience it all over again.
If you’ve been miserable and uncomfortable during your second (or third or fourth…) pregnancy, by all means, you’ve earned the right to feel that way, and I will happily listen to you vent as often as you need. I have those moments, too. But if you’re a mom of one feeling trepidation about becoming pregnant again, like I did, know there’s some silver lining to be found.
Stay tuned over the next few years to see if this experience tricks me into doing it all a third time . . .