A second pregnancy is always going to be a bit different – mainly because you’ve got a child to look after, which means less time looking after yourself. But there are other ways pregnancy changes second time round.
Being in the thick of pregnancy #2 I have given the matter considerable thought and here are my conclusions…
It’s less of a novelty the second time round
The evidence? After my 20 week scan I told my mum the sex of the baby over the phone. With my first pregnancy I would have probably waited to do this in person, accompanied perhaps by a fanfare. After cooing for no more than 30 seconds, she moved briskly on to tell me some news of her tennis club. I was a bit stung, then it hit me: this is the way it’s going to be for my second (son, by the way) all his life. He’s going to have to work twice as hard for half the attention.
My second pregnancy has been more complicated
And now I know what a “complicated” pregnancy really means: it means uncertainty that it’s going to end well. It means lots of scans and lots of doctors pointing out your age, as if a) you didn’t know your age, and b) you might be able to do something about it. Basically, lots of potential anxiety. But thanks to being a mum, anxiety is now such familiar territory that I’m taming it and am less inclined to plunge into the “what ifs”. Counterintuitively, the way I’ve got to this higher state of non-worry is by being totally neurotic – which the more I think about it, is a very strange process. Like gorging on chocolate for years in order to rid yourself of the desire to overindulge.
I’m more excited in some ways… but also more scared
The former because I love my son and marvel that I co-created someone so perfect. I find it amazing that a similar process of alchemy is under way. The latter because oh God, the sleeplessness, the rowing with my husband, the lack of conversation, the unrelentingness of it all, the fission of my identity… I know too much.
I don’t feel noticeably more tired in this pregnancy
But then this could be because a) my pregnancy hasn’t been such a tired one, or more likely b) being a mother of a highly active four-year-old means I’m already a bit tired all the time anyway, so I haven’t noticed or c) my social life has been decimated so come 9.30pm I’m usually asleep on the sofa.
Involving a small child in the discussions about another small child is exciting
Seeing my four-year-old stare wide-eyed at my belly and imagine a baby in there has reminded me of the biological genius of pregnancy. My son is amusingly rosy in his view of what a baby is like, however. Yesterday he informed me that we “weren’t going to have one of those crying babies.” He smiles during Pampers ads, certain in the knowledge that the giggly, freshly laundered baby is our future.
What is a bit scary is how how similar – and out of touch with reality – I also was when pregnant the first time. I know exactly what a shock he’s in for.
I’m not sure if my husband has been more supportive of me during this pregnancy.
I feel that’s because we have our clear areas of work carved out, North Korea-style, already. We both know where our areas of responsibility are – but, to be fair, a few more cups of tea have appeared along the way. And yes I’m drinking tea, two cups a day. How anyone could cope with pregnancy and motherhood without tea mystifies me.