After having my first child 4 years ago, I am currently 4 months pregnant with my second child and have definitely noticed some major differences between my two pregnancies. Not only are these changes in my body, but also in how I approach certain things and even how I am approached by others.
Here are 9 ways that your second pregnancy may differ from your first:
1. You’ll get bigger, quicker
Okay so this may not be the case for 100% of second time mums, however, it is a well known fact that you are more likely to show sooner with baby number 2 due to the fact that your stomach muscles are already well stretched.
I could tell from 9-10 weeks on that I was pregnant, just from looking in a mirror and I’ve had the dreaded “Are you sure there’s just one in there?” query from quite a few friends/family members over the last few weeks.
2. You’ll be more tired
After complaining my way through my first pregnancy, I now wish I could give my 21 year old self a shake and tell myself how easy I had it. Back in those days, I had no one else to look after apart from myself and if I needed a nap after work or if I wanted to lie in until midday on the weekend then I could.
Now however, life is a little different. With a 4 year old to run around after, it’s a lot harder to steal a few minutes of precious sleep as and when you need it and the exhaustion of nurturing your child as well as growing another one inside you can sometimes take over. You might find that your little one isn’t the only person in bed by 7.30pm each night.
3. Sometimes you’ll forget
When you’re pregnant with your first child, everything is new and wonderful and shiny and every ache and pain has you reaching for Google or calling your midwife. You spend hours on end imagining what your bundle of joy is going to look like, worrying about what type of parent you’ll be, if you’ve got everything you’re going to need, names, possible complications – the list is endless.
Obviously, you’ll consider these things with your future pregnancies, but it doesn’t tend to consume your every thought. First of all, you have another child to make sure is fed and watered and secondly, you’ve done this before so you know what’s coming and in all honesty, it’s not always going to be the thing at the forefront of your mind. Sometimes for a minute you just forget.
4. Sometimes other people seem to forget
As mentioned above, first pregnancies are new and exciting, not just for you but for your family and friends. I’ve found that now that I’m pregnant with my second, everyone is equally as excited for me, but again, the novelty has worn off slightly and it’s not the topic of as many conversations.
No one feels the need to sporadically offer you words of wisdom or advice (which trust me, is sometimes a good thing) because you’ve already done this before. Realistically, you know what you’re doing just as much as everyone else does.
5. You’ll be more shop savvy
I remember when I was first pregnant, I had a book that I would use to write down lists of what I would need for every single situation, i.e “What to pack in your hospital bag”, “What you’ll need during labour”, “What’ll you’ll need for bath time”. I wanted to make sure I was as prepared as I could be and would spend hours trawling the internet for nursery ideas and furniture.
Truth is, half of the stuff I bought for my first child, I didn’t even use. It was nice to have, but it wasn’t necessary and for that reason, I’m a lot more easy going this time around without a list in sight!
6. Things may have changed
Depending on when you were last pregnant, it’s quite possible that certain “rules” of pregnancy, child birth or early years may have changed. For example, what was considered the best way to prepare and store formula (which worked perfectly well for our first children) may not be the "correct" way to do it now.
It’s a good idea to research what is currently considered best practice as changes often do happen with good reason. However, I try not to take everything as gospel and sometimes I feel that instinct and experience can also work in my favour.
7. You’ll remember the pain
During my first pregnancy, I was pretty terrified when it came to thinking about the labour process. Birthing programmes became a daily ritual and I would always ask other mums about their “birthing stories.” The one thing I remember everyone telling me was that once it was over, I would forget all about the pain. “Hey, there’s a reason us mums are happy to do it all again” is what they would say.
What I didn’t realise at the time, was that what they were really telling me is that you honestly do forget the pain of labour, until you become pregnant with your next one that is. Then those memories just sucker punch you in the face when you least expect it and the fear and anxiety returns all too quickly.
8. You’ll feel like you have to learn a whole heap of different skills
My first child I felt, was a total learning curve. I literally knew nothing and I made sure that if there were any birthing or antenatal classes going on that I was there just so I felt a little more clued up.
So even though now, I feel completely comfortable with the basics for my new baby, I’ve found a whole new list of things that I’m going to have to learn, such as “How to introduce a new sibling to the family” and “How to share your time fairly between a new baby and a preschooler”. What have I discovered? Having kids is just one great trial and error session. Research is helpful, instinct should be followed and coffee is more than necessary.
9. Birthing plans may not seem as important
It’s always a good thing to know about what options are available to you when it comes to your baby’s birth, whether its types of pain relief or a fully holistic approach to labour or even a water birth. However, from experience I won’t be making any iron clad decisions or creating a plan this time around.
After being induced two weeks early with my first due to pre-eclampsia, I laboured with a drip sticking in my arm in a bright, white room filled with machines and wires, crippled with lower back pain because baby was the wrong way round. Basically, it was nothing like how I had imagined and the truth is, it's probably never going to be. Things can change so quickly in pregnancy and it's highly likely that that things may not go exactly to your "plan".
What differences did you notice between your first and second pregnancy?
Becoming a mother, whether it's for the first, second, third or fourth time, is a learning curve. As the years go by, each milestone your baby achieves brings a whole heap of new experiences. We've put together a list of 20 things you learn since becoming a mum. Would you add anything else?