The day after I found out I was pregnant with Carter I dragged Barry to Baby City and we spent close to an hour in the store, looking at and touching each and every product whilst gushing on repeat ‘OhMyGodICantBelieveWeWillBeNeedingTheseSoon!’. I am now (on Saturday) 8 months pregnant with ‘Pip’ and have yet to step foot in a Baby City, or do anything else for that matter.
I used to be so judgmental of parents who slacked off with their second and third pregnancies, and now I am one of those slackers.
So, what are the biggest differences between the first and following pregnancies?
- No one really cares as much. And it’s totally OK. When you’re expecting your first, your bump is an automatic talking point. It’s expected that people will always ask you how far you are and what you’re having. It’s like there’s an invisible neon sign on you that reads ‘I’m new here, make me feel welcome’. With number 2, it’s almost as if even complete strangers can sense that your womb is used goods. It’s safe to say that a drop off interest rate of atleast 75% will occur. Hell, I’m not blaming them. I often go days without remembering I’m knocked up. In fact, if it wasn’t for my heavy reliance on wine, I think sometimes I might altogether forget.
- You are slow off the mark. With baby 1 you have Googled your gynaes CV before the pee is even dry on the stick. With baby 2 it takes weeks to book that first appointment. The one commonality however, for me atleast, is the excitement that comes with each scan. I don’t care how many baby’s I bake, the thought of knowing I have a visit with them is still always the highlight of that month. I still haven’t booked the hospital bed and just yesterday had to ask someone to ‘remind me’ how to have a baby. For the life of me I cant remember the logistics that lead up until D-Day.
- The nursery goes from Glamour! to YOU. Carters room was featured in a magazine, and I feel, rightly so, It was gorgeous, personal and entailed hours and hours of blood sweat and tears from me. I would trawl the shops for the perfect addition and Pinterest was my go to reference for all things baby. And with number 2? We may or may not have even taken the cot out of the garage. It’s not because we aren’t excited, it’s because you just never find the time. Which leads me to…
- You never have the time. With your first pregnancy you are allowed the luxury of down time. First trimester nausea can be handled with a relaxing TV session on the couch after work. Exhaustion can be treated with early bed times and late weekend lie ins. With a second kid, unless your first is a teenager, you have no such luxury. Time waits for no one, and nor does your toddler. They could not give two tiddly shits if mommy is tired, puking into her cereal bowl or her back is so sore that she cant see straight. You need to get home from work and make dinner and play with them and sort the house out and remind them how to stay in their bed and do this every single night until your second baby is born.
- You are so distracted. Things like taking monthly belly pics, filling out UIF forms and other such necessaries and niceties fall by the wayside as you’re just too busy trying to keep your other kid alive.
- The preciousness of it is gone. Not that pregnancy is an ailment, and god help me when I’m around those delicate flowers who treat it as such, but the general rule of pregnancy is that you should never really exert yourself too much. Again, whoever wrote that rule book forgot one vital thing – toddlers weigh a lot, and toddlers want to be carried all the time. So if I can hoist my 15 kilogram son on my hip you can sure as hell bet that I will now be called upon to help with other every day tasks around the house as well. Just last week I was helping my husband remove a fridge off the back of his bakkie.
- You don’t do the research. Second time rounders live in a bubble of false security. With Carter we attended pre-natal classes, did a hospital tour and I would greedily inhale app data, articles and chapters from ‘What To Expect’ every night. I could, at any given time, tell you how many weeks I was and what fruit-size the foetus was. I am under no illusion that I have forgotten pretty much everything about bringing a newborn into this world. I really should be reading and researching but I can’t, because, time.
- Money becomes even more of an issue. I always said I would take longer than 4 months maternity leave the second time around. Dropping Carter off at school at the age of 16 weeks broke me, and I wasn’t ready to leave him. This time round though, the reality is that if I thought I was poor then, I really am going to kak off financially now. I’ve already agreed with my boss to start working after the first month (luckily from home) and am only taking time off shoots for the first 30 days. You gotta do what you gotta do, so a lot of my maternity leave will be more hustling and less cuddling.
- You feel so guilty. Because all of the above. Because as much as you looked at other second time moms doing it, you swore you would never be that mom who treated baby 2 differently, just because they were number 2. This baby has maybe one new outfit waiting for her. We have been so fortunate to receive some amazing hand me downs, but already – she’s the second-hand-baby.
That being said, she is no less loved. She may be sleeping in a cardboard box for the first few weeks of her life, but it wont mean too much in the bigger picture. I don’t know who is more excited to meet her at this rate – but I think it’s Carter who keeps asking me to ‘open my tummy and take the baby out’ so he can see her. Not long to go my boy, and then it will be mommy’s turn to ask a nice Dr to open her tummy and stitch it up niiice and tight. And maybe fix her boobs at the same time 😉
PS – Everyone has however, been commenting on how I’ve been carrying this baby compared to my first. And by ‘commenting’ I mean telling me I’m not nearly as fat. ha! I thought it would be fun to compare the 2 pregnancies, month by month. The first pics are all Carter and the second pics are all baby #2. Apart from how far my photographic skills have improved, I also think the 2 babies look extremely different. What do you think?