The Bittersweet Way a Second Pregnancy Is Different than the First
I'm 30-something weeks pregnant, and I have no idea what fruit the little baby inside of me is. Pineapple? Banana? Your guess is as good as mine. As a second-time pregnant lady, I've accepted that this time around won't feel as "exciting" as the first. But with a few months to go and the realization that I might not do this again, I got determined to slow down and connect with my body and unborn baby. To do that, I just had to recognize the realities making it difficult and come up with a plan.
Fewer Chances to Mark the Pregnancy
The first pregnancy provides lots of opportunities to celebrate — and freak out — about impending parenthood. Chances are you'll have a baby shower (or two), spend time researching and buying baby gear, or attend a childbirth class. While all this baby prep can be overwhelming at times, it does give you a chance to experience the pregnancy in an active way.
With a second, not so much. I'm not having a shower and am having another girl, so I don't need to do any clothes shopping. I plan to reuse all my gear and feel like I could lead a childbirth class after all the classes and reading I did for my first. With the first baby, even doctors appointments felt like an event. Now they feel routine or, worse, inconvenient.
More Distractions From Baby Number 1
With a 20-month running around, I don't have time to fold and refold tiny newborn clothes while giddily anticipating the tiny human who will soon inhabit them. In fact, I tried to sort through a box of newborn clothes recently, and my toddler thwarted my organization efforts by throwing the clothes all over the place. When you already have a child outside of your body demanding your attention, it's hard to give the one inside a ton of it. And if I did ever find extra time, I'd take a nap.
My Solution For Making This Second Pregnancy Feel Special
After accepting that no pregnancy is the same, I've also made a conscious effort to connect with this second pregnancy. One way I've done that? Attending prenatal yoga once a week.
With prenatal yoga, I get to spend 75 minutes present with my pregnant body and my baby's kicks.
Unlike with my first pregnancy, this requires lining up schedules with my husband and sometimes extra childcare, but it's worth it. Once a week, I get to spend 75 minutes present with my pregnant body and my baby's kicks. The practice I attend also emphasizes connecting with the other pregnant women in the class. We spend the first 20 minutes checking in with each other and sharing what happened with our pregnancy that week. This chance to reflect on annoying symptoms or exciting milestones has been invaluable, and I surprise myself that I have so much to say when it's my turn.
A second pregnancy might not be the same as the first, and that's OK. I can feel reassured that I'm a more experienced and confident mom, who knows how childbirth works and what baby stuff is actually worth buying. I also don't mind that the pregnancy feels like it's going by a little faster (although some days it feels like 40 years, not 40 weeks). Before I know it, I'll meet my daughter — and that's when the real connection will begin.