It has been said, time and time again, by many wise women across different time zones and generations, that there are fundamental and common differences between first and second pregnancies.
Being most of the way through my second, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on this sage wisdom of the mothers who have walked this road before me and I can confirm, that they were onto something…
You’re 10.9 seconds late starting your period, so you grab your pre-bought pregnancy test and your most accurate timer and pee on the stick. You stare at the clock for the entire two minutes…which feels like a lifetime. When you see the positive result, your heart leaps…it actually dances a little inside your chest. You feel elated and nervous all at once and even when nausea strikes, you suffer gracefully ― gratified in the knowledge that your body is miraculous and beautiful, even when it’s rejecting 90 percent of your diet.
You realize that you haven’t had a period for a while so you force yourself to remember something ― anything ― about your last menstrual cycle. Other than cramps and detailed bathroom conversations with your firstborn, you remember a hellish play date that confirms your dates. Win. Now to buy and take a test: “Pregnant.” You don’t really feel much or have time to process the news, since there’s a Lego emergency going on downstairs. Back to mom duties until daddy arrives home…at which point you and he can process the news together; him with wine (the lucky sod.)
You enter a level of exhaustion that exceeds all previously known sleep deprivation levels. Your firstborn begs for park trips. You beg for naps. There is no common ground. And then the sickness strikes. So much sickness, which is made worse by the exhaustion…did I mention the exhaustion already??
When you’re not working, you are resting. You need a lot of rest, more than you expected, but you accept that and honor it. You diligently plan your “gender reveal” with the finesse of the world’s top event planners. You embrace your changing body, your growing bump, your increased appetite. The sickness even seems more manageable now. You have a carefully chosen list of 10 baby names, complete with history, meaning and spelling variations, stuck to your fridge for daily musings. You consider using all 10 on several occasions, because they are all so completely beautiful.
When you’re not working, you’re still working. Because motherhood doesn’t allow sick days, did nobody tell you? Your gender reveal is a text message at best. Your changing body opens many conversations with well-meaning acquaintances, all of which make you want to buy a shirt that says “Don’t Touch My F*cking Bump.” You hate all names, without exception. Your firstborn has become immune to your sickness by now, but has developed the unfortunate habit of texting daddy with a running commentary of live puking incidents: