Once the Merry Go Round of Motherhood has been ridden, it may install a false sense of security in a mother. She may think to herself, “Hey, I have done this before. The second time around should be a breeze!”
Girl, I have some unfortunate news—the second pregnancy can be harder in the first. This is due to many reasons, most of which cannot be prevented and are just a simple part of life. The one eternal truth of parenthood is that one can never fully prepare for anything. And that applies to pregnancy, as well.
The first time that a woman is pregnant, it can be a magical experience. It is new and it is exciting. And everyone else is excited, too! Friends and family cannot wait to see which of the parents’ nose has the strongest gene, or whether the baby looks just like Grandma Susan.
But this--all of this—changes with the second pregnancy. People have seen already seen what the gene pool has to offer, and frankly, they are bored. Folks have no attention span anymore and tend to focus their attention on newer, shinier things.
So, dear friends, here are 15 reasons why the second pregnancy is harder than the first.
15 Going Into Labor Is A Lot More Complicated
Remember how labor was a little stressful the first time? You had to worry about having all of your stuff packed and there was that nagging apprehension of getting to the hospital in time.
Well, welcome to being a second-time parent, where you now have to factor in your other child. You have to plan out child care which is really hard to do when you have a two week window in which you might go into labor. There is basically no one who can say with certainty, “Yes, I can be on call for you 24/7 for two weeks straight, any time of day or night to come to your house and watch your kid.”
You are asking for a bloody miracle.
14 At The Whim Of Baby #1
No matter the age of your first child, baby #1 is already in the world—so they have dibs on the attention. They also have dibs on the routine. So while your pregnant body may want to watch a marathon of OITNB and eat a heaping plate of nachos, your existing child is likely going to want to do something different.
He may want to play trains for four hours, insisting that you make choo-choo sounds until your vocal chords give out. Or maybe she wants you to watch her hour-long horseback riding lesson in heat of summer. It is possible that your eldest child needs help with their homework or has the flu. Whatever the reason—it supersedes your needs.
13 The Body Goes More Downhill
I don’t want to be the one that points this out to you but you are older now. Gasp. I know. With each subsequent pregnancy, your body has gone a little more downhill. Pains will hurt worse, muscles pull easier, and exhaustion sets in quicker.
The first pregnancy probably sped up the aging process a little bit anyhow, and now you’ve decided to do it again. It’s like you are asking a muffin top and an excuse to wear yoga pants for the rest of your life.
But maybe with age also comes wisdom; like your looks aren’t as important as you thought they were. Or, maybe, self-preservation is a powerful tool and you are utilizing the crap out of it. Either way, congrats on your second pregnancy!
12 The Toilet Will Be Mom's New Best Friend
Unfortunately, the horrid symptoms of pregnancy can also worsen with the second baby. I thought my morning sickness was atrocious the first time, but it got worse. I pretty much lay on the floor for three months straight, occasionally pulling myself up to the toilet so that I could puke.
Also, you don’t have the luxury of avoidance when you have a child already. You have to get food for the little buggers—and you have to cook it. This means that you have sit and stir the putrid, orange mess of Mac ‘n Cheese, and touch the decomposing flesh that makes up chicken nuggets.
For some reason, kids don’t have much sympathy for you when you try to explain that you are not feeling well.
11 Doctor's Appointments With A Kid In Toe
The frequencies of doctor’s visits are insane when you are pregnant. The more pregnant, more uncomfortable and agitated you become—the regularity of the appointments increases. They can be dreadful enough to begin with, with all of the poking and prodding and spreading of the lady parts.
But now you have the joy of experiencing all of these appointments with a child in toe. Have you ever tried to entertain a kid while your legs were in stirrups and there was a doctor’s hand all in your business? Women are geniuses at multi-tasking, but this is a stretch for even the best of us.
And your child will inevitable peak their head around your knee and sweetly ask, “What is THAT, mommy?”
10 Not Enough Time To Focus On The Baby's Milestones
The first pregnancy captures all of your attention—you are constantly checking Baby Center for updates on how big your peanut is and how their little body is developing. It will be torture to wait until the next update.
But with the second, you are not going to have the same amount of time to devote to thinking about a fetus’ milestones. You have a child out of the womb is doing amazing new things every day, and it is hard not to get distracted by them. It is possible that you will transition from one trimester to the next and not even realize it. (The first time you’ve got your calendar out, marking down the days until you can say, “I’m in my second trimester now…”)
9 Nesting Wont Be Something To Look Forward To
Nesting is so much fun with the first pregnancy. You sort and wash all of the baby’s laundry, and fold it into neat little piles. You hang their cutest attire in the closet, and spend hours flicking through the various outfits.
But on the second pregnancy, you are older. And you are wiser. You recognize that each piece of clothing will inevitably end up filthy, which means that you will have to wash it.
Doing laundry for a child is like eating an Oreo while brushing your teeth—useless. I have actually sat in a pile of clothes and sobbed my heart out, because there is nothing more daunting and disgusting than five loads worth of poop stained children’s garments.
8 No Time For "Self Care"
When I was pregnant with my first child I was pretty good about making time for me. I would go get pedicures, mosey through department stores, and eat ice cream without sharing. But this all changes with baby number two.
You probably won’t have time for a pedicure, and if you do have it, you’re going to feel guilty for missing out on time with Junior to have your toe nails painted and your calves rubbed. You can’t walk leisurely through a store anymore, because baby #1 will be pulling crap off of shelves and wiping boogers on the display mannequins. And you can forget about having ice cream to yourself—those days are over. You might as well just sit down with a bowl of broccoli—at least you won’t have to share.
7 There's A Lot Less Support
Remember how when you were pregnant with baby number one and everyone was fawning over you? Remember how nice it felt to be the focus of so much love and attention? Hold onto that feeling tight, because you’re not going to feel it the second time around.
Everyone has their own lives, and likely your friends and family will be busy. And because you have already done this before, no one is going to do much hand-holding. Sister-in-laws may be having babies of their own, grandmas have other distractions, and friends without kids already feel like they have paid their dues.
You will probably have to plan your own baby shower, and even if you do, it feels awkward to invite people to yet another party where they are supposed to bring you presents.
6 The luxury Of An Afternoon Nap Is Gone
The luxury of the afternoon nap is gone. Recall how the first time you were pregnant you could sneak in quick snooze in between first and second lunch. Yeah, that is not your life anymore.
You have a child now. There is no nap for you. Let’s say you are successful at getting the first kid down and you’re thinking to yourself, “Yes. Now is my time! Today I will sleep!”
There are dishes to be done. And laundry. And you might also have a job. Before you know it nap time is over and you have just devoted the last ounce of your energy into trying to scrub moldy milk from the inside of a plastic sippy-cup straw. (Which is, of course, impossible.)
5 Dad Will Be Less Sympathetic
My husband was a blessing with our first pregnancy; he massaged my feet every night, brought me water, and loved to feel my belly—just in case the baby moved. But by the second time, he was less interested. To be fair he usually had a toddler that was jumping on his back and screaming, “You are a horse! Neigh!”
But moreover, he had seen it before. The magic of pregnancy had waned slightly, and as excited as we both were for the arrival of our newest addition, the actual growing of the baby seemed more normal, and less sensational.
He was busy getting our daughter water, and unable to focus one hundred percent of his energy on me. There were not so many, “Here, let me get that,” and a lot more of, “You’re good, right?”
4 Everyday Chores Become Impossible
Even something as simple as bending down to tuck a child into bed can be difficult when you are 176 weeks pregnant. Your body doesn’t bend anymore. Things like putting a box of diapers into a cart is basically impossible and you have to rely on the goodwill of strangers or wait until you partner gets off of work.
Cleaning toilets makes you barf, doing dishes hurts your feet, vacuuming gives you a headache, and you putting a fitted sheet onto a King sized bed is hilarious—but also a little sad.
Furthermore, there is a kid following behind you messing up any chores that you actually manage to accomplish. You may fold laundry but by the time you get back to put it away it has morphed into the roof of a three-year-olds’ fort.
3 The Pregnancy Fantasies Disappear
Before you actually experienced the realities of being a parent, you could day dream about what it would be like to have a baby. You might have pictured how you would hold your infant close to you, and inhale the sweet smell of their hair. Or maybe you envisioned their first Christmas, sitting on Santa’s lap and touching his beard.
Wherever your pregnancy fantasies led you—it probably wasn’t authentic. You did not foresee what your face looks like after not sleeping for three months straight; the bags, the wrinkles, the utter exhaustion. You didn’t understand how much time and patience goes into raising a baby and keeping them alive.
But you know now. You are too wise. You have seen too much.
2 Sleeping 3 Hours In A Row Is A Feat
Pregnancy can make sleep a lot harder—there is the whole mess of not being able to sleep on your stomach, or on your side, or in any position that doesn’t look like you’re trying to make a snow angel. Some women experience intense heartburn that keeps them awake into the wee hours of the night, as they sit up in bed popping antacids like a kid left alone in a candy store.
But now, with your second pregnancy, there is a child to deal with as well. And children have nightmares, and they have to pee 45 times in the night, and apparently they can only get diarrhea when it is dark out.
If you sleep more than three hours in a row, my hat is off to you.
1 A Second Pregnancy Doesn't Make Mom An Expert
This may be the biggest pitfall of any pregnant woman—expecting that you are now an expert in all things pregnancy related. Oh, sweet thing, I wish I could assure you that that was true. But pretending to understand pregnancy is like thinking that you know your toddler’s poop schedule; it seems as if you have it all under control until there is a giant turd floating in the bubble bath.
Pregnancy is a mystery, even today. Each one is different from the next, and you cannot assume you have it all under control. If you go into it thinking that you are the master, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Just pretend that you have no idea what you’re doing—and then you’ll be fine.