Is a second pregnancy really THAT different?
“All pregnancies are different,” They said.
I didn’t believe them
My current condition brings along a colourful cast of unfamiliar symptoms; bad skin, stray neck hairs, and worst of all, the dreaded all-day-nausea. I was unprepared for this but I’m learning how to deal. These are my tips on how to have a better second pregnancy.
My first pregnancy was a breeze for which I’ve always been grateful. No morning sickness except for a few brief moments, nothing a cup of ginger tea couldn’t fix.
I was tired, sure, but napped when I got home from work. I still cycled to the office, went to the gym, recharged on weekends, stared longingly at glasses of wine. NBD.
Four years later and four years older, it’s a different ballgame. I have a three-year-old daughter and run a business from home. That’s a different type of busy.
“It’s always more difficult when you have another child to look after,” they said. No kidding.
They were right.
How to Have a Better Second Pregnancy
1. Ditch the Guilt
During the first trimester, I let my daughter watch a movie every afternoon so I could take a nap. Yup. Sometimes I passed out on the couch next to her and other times I took myself to bed (after giving her a water bottle, a snack, and locking the house- almost as if she were a puppy).
2. Food Prep
The second I fell pregnant, I became the world’s pickiest eater. Nothing appealed, except for carbs. The less I ate, the more nauseous I became. There had to be a solution other than eating potatoes and pasta with vitamins on the side. So I did what I do best and made a list. Forcing myself to scroll through recipe sites, I wrote down anything that seemed mildly appetising. Then, when I felt like it, I cooked a bunch of those things so I had meals and snacks on hand at all times.
3. Prepare the Network
I announced my pregnancy to the world at eight weeks for a few reasons. One was to raise awareness about pregnancy, silence, and miscarriage, but also to arm my troops with the knowledge that I might need help. Deciding to tell people early is a personal choice but one I made so that I could have support if things didn’t go to plan, or if I needed a hand.
4. Listen to your Body
I didn’t see the inside of my gym for most of my first trimester. Contrast that with a very active first pregnancy I worried that I wouldn’t be as healthy this time around, that I was doing this new baby a disservice. Then I remembered point number one. My body wanted rest, so rest I gave it.
5. Make a list of what you needed help with Last time
It’s a good idea to know what kinds of things you’ll need in case people offer to help (and they will). Don’t be polite and say ‘nothing’ or you’ll end up with a heap of flowers you can’t eat and fluffy toys that can’t empty the dishwasher. When in doubt ask for food.
6. Embrace the physical changes
No cardio, and carbs, and naps, oh my! I stressed about the ‘second pregnancy weight is harder to lose’ mythology. So what if it is? Last time I got my fitness back to about 85-90%. Let’s face it, our bodies have made miracles. They will never 100% function the same way- that’s what happens when two humans share one body. I made the decision to stop worrying about it and focus on getting through the pregnancy.
7. Manage Your Expectations
I think I’ve accepted (finally) that this pregnancy, this birth, and this child will be completely different from the last one. Having a blank slate helps avoid disappointments and also allows you to take every day as it comes. Nothing worse than fighting against something simply because it was ‘different’ in the past.
Every pregnancy IS unique. There’s a lot of energy in worrying so let go of the guilt and grow a healthy bub.
How did you deal with a second pregnancy? What’s your best survival tip?