Second Time Around


Being pregnant for the second time is a surreal experience. Everything feels oddly familiar, yet completely unique. There is less hype, but just as much anticipation. And the 40 weeks, which once felt like an extended waiting game, could not possibly fly by any faster.
I’m only halfway through my second pregnancy, so I can’t yet offer a nuanced comparison on Braxton-Hicks, popped-out belly buttons, or stretch marks. Nor can I weigh in on the experience of hauling a screaming toddler out of the grocery store at 32 weeks pregnant. (Expect a follow-up post in a few months?) But here are a few of the differences that have stuck out to me so far:
 
Technology
 
First time around: I downloaded three different, but basically the same, pregnancy apps and checked each one daily. I read the tips, devoured every article, checked on my baby’s progress, and if there was still time left in the day, logged into the forums. I googled every twinge I felt — my google auto-fill defaulted to adding “pregnant” at the end of every search —  trying to figure out what contractions felt like and what brand of receiving blankets would make my child feel most loved.
 
Second time around: I never deleted those apps from my phone, and I still check in each week or so to see which fruit my child most closely resembles. Every once in a while, I click on an article but rarely am able to finish the whole thing; instead I find myself scoffing at articles like “Sex during Pregnancy 101” (who has time for that anyway?), “7 exercises you can do while pregnant” (does chasing a one-year-old around the house count?), and “How to avoid cankles” (just…stop trying).
 
Maternity Clothes:
 
First time around: I waited as long as possible to ditch my favorite pair of skinny jeans. But when I finally resigned myself to maternity pants around 18 weeks, I breathed in a sigh of relief, reveled in the miracle that was the belly band, and wondered why everyone in the world, pregnant or not, didn’t switch to elastic pants.
 
Second time around: I had passed my maternity clothes on to my sister after my first son was born, so my first order of business was to request that wardrobe back. Good thing, too, because I had a noticeable bump at my first doctor’s appointment. (Related side note: don’t assume that you will be able to make it out of the first trimester before having to break the news to your friends and co-workers. You have no control over when your belly will give you away!!)
 
Finding Out the Sex
 
First time around: a few people asked whether we hoped for a boy or girl, and we answered, honestly, that it didn’t matter to us. We read up on all the old wives’ tales and determined that we were having a girl…well, until the anatomy scan proved us wrong, that is!
 
Second time around: Throughout the first half of this pregnancy, people assumed that we were hoping for a girl, to complement the boy we already had. And even though it still didn’t matter to us one bit, we found ourselves getting swept up in that assumption, as well. We weren’t going to rely on the old wives’ tales again; instead we over-analyzed every pregnancy symptom that was even slightly different from before (I didn’t crave Coke last time! Must be a girl!)
When we found out, just a few weeks ago, that this baby is also a boy, we found ourselves unexpectedly breathing in a sigh of relief. This means we already have all the newborn clothes we need; our kids can share a room for the rest of their lives; and we already know how to be “boy parents” (whatever that means). And in spite of the horror stories I’ve read about people losing their filter around all-boy households, I’m grateful that our families and friends have offered nothing but congratulations and excitement….though many of them have cautiously asked how we felt about the news before doing so.
 
Worry
 
First time around: The week I found out I was pregnant was the same week the worry kicked in. What if there was no heartbeat? What if something happened? What would labor feel like? Could I handle the pain? Would I lose the baby weight? I had never been around a baby before — how would we even go about learning the basics (diapers, feeding, bathing)? What if my maternal instinct never kicked in?
 
Second time around: Unfortunately, worry is an intrinsic part of parenthood, and it seems as though having two kids on my radar has only doubled that worry. But the exact nature of my fears has shifted. I’m less worried about surviving contractions and more worried about how labor and delivery will affect my toddler’s daily routine.  I’m worried about the pitfalls that we have discovered along the way: sleep regressions, separation anxiety, ear infections, and other such delightful milestones. On the days when I’m struggling with my strong-willed firstborn, my mind immediately jumps to the thought: “How in the world will I ever manage with two, when I can’t even handle one?” And I find myself worrying even about the things that have gone smoothly, like nursing, because I have since watched friends struggle and am acutely aware of how lucky we were.
callie pic
But I also carry a quiet confidence with me that I didn’t have before. Though I dread the sleep deprivation of the newborn stage, I also know that I can do it, that I will somehow summon the superhero strength to wake up seven times a night, simply because I have already done it once.
I vividly remember the feeling of my first son being born: the primal, physical feeling of fierce mama-love that consumed me totally. So even though the math seems impossible, I know that I will be able to love both of my boys with 100% of my being. And I trust that, in spite of whatever else gets thrown our way, that this will be enough to carry us through.
Callie Dean
About me

Guest Blogger Callie is wife to Jordan, mom to Luke and a yet-to-be-born-or-named baby boy. She lives in Shreveport, where she fills her days with music, teaching, writing, toddler-wrangling, catching up on laundry, and trying to find time for a nap.

12 Comments

Linda
Reply January 15, 2016

Perfect!! And as a grandma, can I just say that it is equally exciting the second time around for me, as well, and a confidence that "YOU'VE got this"!

    calliebdean
    Reply January 27, 2016

    Thanks for that vote of confidence! :-)

JayEssJay
Reply January 15, 2016

You already totally rock at this two baby thing! Thanks, once again, for paving the motherhood way for me and others.

    calliebdean
    Reply January 15, 2016

    Happy to pave the way :-) I was thinking this morning about how important it is to connect not only with moms whose children are the same age, but also those with slightly younger and slightly older kids. We need each other!!

Kathy Olenyik
Reply January 15, 2016

Great article!!! You will love having two boys!! I'm so excited for all of you and look forward to sharing the journey ahead!!!

    calliebdean
    Reply January 27, 2016

    Thanks! It will be an adventure for sure...as you well know!

Sue Kamm
Reply January 15, 2016

Congratulations to all of you!! You 'll be a great mom to both of your sons😊

    calliebdean
    Reply January 27, 2016

    Thanks!

Norm & Elaine Parker
Reply January 16, 2016

We are so happy for all of you. The soon to be here addition is a lucky boy to be joining Calli, Jordan and Luke. You all are the greatest and Lanie and I are so proud to be your friends. Hang tough, you will do fine.

    calliebdean
    Reply January 27, 2016

    Thanks, Mr. Parker!! :-) We're super grateful to call you our friends as well...and to have you, Linda, and Gayle as our examples to go before us in this parenting thing, as well!

Leah Miller
Reply January 16, 2016

Love the article and love watching your precious family grow! Can't wait for you to write another article on the differences in parenting the second child compared to the first. Of course, mine were 10 1/2 years apart, but in that time I did figure out that a child who ateTWIX occasionally could survive almost as well as the one given TOTAL and CHEERIOS exclusively!

    calliebdean
    Reply January 27, 2016

    Haha good to keep in mind!! And I'm pretty sure Luke could survive on Cheerios alone if given the chance!! :-)

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