So many things are different. While I was pregnant with my first, I spent my time behind a desk in an office, working full time. This time, I am chasing a two-and-a half year old, as a stay-at-home mom, and squeezing in work on two different non-profit organizations. The first time, I was constantly daydreaming about the little person growing inside of me. Wondering if they were going to have hair; going to be big; going to be breech (as both myself and husband were). This time, I honestly spent much of my second trimester too busy to think about the baby at all. It’s not that I am not excited. This baby is someone we have wanted in our lives for well over a year now, and is due at the same time I had a miscarriage last year. We are so excited to meet this little person.
I have to admit, in some ways it is easier. When my son takes a nap, I can take a nap too. This is a luxury I didn’t have the first time, and one that came in very handy in the first couple of months and again now at the end. This pregnancy also feels like it is going by faster. That probably has something to do with the fact that I am not dwelling on the growth of every fingernail and eyelash. Instead, I am chasing a crazy toddler and trying to give him as much attention as I can while he is still an only child.
The most significant change is my confidence. I was not a nervous mom the first time, but I had no clue what I was doing (as no first time parents do). My husband and I jokingly refer to our son as our “practice baby”. With the first one, there is a huge learning curve and a chance to really understand what kind of parent you are going to be. It’s totally different than reading any books. There is nothing that can prepare you to be a parent more than being one.
I am about 8 weeks from this baby’s “due date”. The biggest lesson I learned from my son’s birth, is that there is only so much planning you can do. You shouldn’t really “plan”, so much as “prepare”. You have to make sure you are mentally ready to let go, and let your body work hard. I am spending these last weeks trying to make sure my head is in the right place to deal with labor. With my first pregnancy, I had never even heard of a doula. I had only recently heard of midwives, when my cousin gave birth a couple of years before me. My plan for my son’s birth consisted of receiving my care from a midwife, requesting that I not be offered drugs, and that I could have my support team in the room with me (all of which happened). This time I have a doula. My doula just happens to be a great friend of mine, and my husband and I are excited about the support we will have throughout my labor. My mom will be here with our son to keep his life as normal as possible while I am at the hospital.
I think that although this pregnancy is so different, and I spend less time thinking about it, I am better prepared. I know what the important things are now…and they have nothing to do with painting the nursery or picking out cute baby clothes.