How a second pregnancy differs from first.. things no one tells you!

We are reaching the end of my second pregnancy (hopefully the end is soon!) and as I am deep in nesting mode, I wanted pen some thoughts on how different the experience is emotionally on mums (mine anyways).

During the first pregnancy, you are overwhelmed- worried about doing the right things during pregnancy, trying to take in information from apps and books, advice from other parents (both solicited and unsolicited) and wondering if you will be a good parent. The baby shower, the shopping for baby things (including the cute but one time use outfits, soft toy mountains), the scans build the excitement slowly but surely. Watching your friends and family spoil you and pamper you makes you feel special. There are scares and fears along the way but you also have tools like antenatal classes to help you along. You are excited, anxious and in most cases, your partner is in the same emotional space. Even when you go in to labour, you are excited to finally meet your baby.

The second time round feels different- firstly you don’t bother about gathering information because you feel like an expert already. There is no real shopping to do because you already have the basics and you are smart enough to not buy any frills or impulse buys. There’s no special treatment for the mum (baby shower, spa day) unless you are Kardashian 🙂 Not that you are thinking about that, because you have one thing on your mind: your first child. You are constantly trying to be the same mom before you were pregnant, although you would love a long nap or take a relaxing bath. Most thoughts about the new baby are tied to how your child will react, making sure they don’t feel left out and figuring out how to juggle. Even when you think of labour, your main concern is how your child will take it, will they be alright without you.

My initial thought was a second pregnancy would be easier because you know the drill and there are fewer scares and surprises. But boy was I wrong! Anxiety was like a shadow, always there. I had a tough pregnancy and worried about how it will go as I get bigger- would I be able to run around with my child, can I manage my home, what about work. As my daughter became aware of the impending arrival, I worried if she would resent her sister for coming in the way of mummy/daughter time, especially when I was limited with pelvic pain. As the pregnancy progressed, I also felt guilt about not being excited enough for the new baby with all these thoughts and fears. Between the guilt and anxiety, I have been on the edge and speaking to friends, I realised I am not the only one. My friends reassured me that the anxiety is often worse than the reality- it was never as bad as I feared. I also found that often your partner doesn’t get the same anxiety so it isn’t a shared state. You find yourself worrying alone many a night on how things will turn out.

But I am hoping once the baby is actually here, the anxiety will go away and all my fears will be unfounded. That’s what I am told anyways 🙂

In the meanwhile, tell me what you think? Were/are you as anxious as me? Did it all work out? Share your experience in the comments below.

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Ironies of pregnancy

(Not mine, found it on google image search)

When you are pregnant the first time, it’s exciting and you get so swept away in planning and reading and the baby showers, that you don’t focus as much on what’s going on with you.

But the second time around, you are completely aware that pregnancy is a really weird experience, feels somewhat cruel at times!

Here are some examples:

  • You are always hungry or craving food but for most of the pregnancy you are either suffering heartburn or indigestion.
  • You should be drinking litres of water but your bladder has shrunk to the size of a pea so you basically live in there bathroom.
  • You are always tired but sleep is hard to come by (read above mentioned bathroom trips along with pelvic pain and finding a good position and being able to breathe).
  • The lack of sleep makes you crave copious amounts of caffeine which you are not allowed to have.
  • Your lack of energy makes toddler care challenging and after a long day, there is no wine o’clock.
  • You can’t bend down and grab things easily and you are at your clumsiest best!
  • You should stay active but with zero energy and the ridiculous pace, you take twice the time to get there.
  • You have great skin and hair when pregnant but rarely the energy to go anywhere (especially true for a second pregnancy).

Did I miss anything? Feel free to add to the list 🙂

Grieving a broken dream

Writing is cathartic; sometimes when there a million emotions bubbling, writing them down is a way to express it and sometimes deal with it.

So this is my dam bursting, with the emotions rushing to the surface. The last week has been the hardest week of my life. I was 11 weeks pregnant with my second child, and it was exactly what we hoped and planned for- we wanted my daughter to have a sibling close in age, both of us had that. I wanted to change jobs after the second child, so I didn’t have to start/ stop for maternity leave. Because online websites showed second pregnancies have a 4% chance of miscarriage and chances of miscarriage after 10 weeks are close to 1%, I told friends and family. We couldn’t stop ourselves from planning ahead as we reached the 8 weeks threshold. We went to New York to spend a week with my husband’s family and mostly to celebrate what a great year it has been. And then it happened, what started as a bit of spotting ended with a miscarriage.

We didn’t see it coming, and I feel like a deer in headlights. I can’t imagine how hard it is in people who haven’t shared their pregnancy and so can’t share their loss- the loneliness must be harder than the grief. And to to go about pretending like nothing happened must be exhausting. As I try to find a way to make sense of it, I often hear people say “at least you have your daughter”. Yes I am so grateful for my daughter and I have so much compassion for others who don’t and have to face this heartache. But I still yearn for that sibling for my daughter, that missing piece in my family picture. In the last few weeks, we imagined our weekends as a family of 4 with swimming and football games and lunches and naps. My daughter is the only reason I am sane, but it doesn’t stop me from grieving for the other child who I wanted and prayed for. I also grieve for my daughter, who would have been amazing big sister: she was obsessed with my 6 month old nephew and enjoyed touching his toes and playing with him.

What scares me is the future- now when we do try and I do get pregnant, I will be anxious and scared to take a flight, to lift, to do anything that could potentially hurt the baby. There is a foolish bravado when you haven’t fallen, and when you do fall on the cold pavement, how can you continue without letting it haunt you?

My Pursuit of Happiness

Have you ever felt blissfully happy ? Or does it seem like a moving target? I fall in the later category, every time I reach what I perceive as my goal, I realize that comes with its own set of fears and insecurity, and the goal changes.

As a child, I used to play pretend with my cousins; we built elaborate story lines of our lives (we pretended to be adults). My cousin would choose to be a model sometimes, or a business woman other times, but I almost always picked the same thing: a house with a garden and many kids. I would be the PTA and bake sale mom who also had the best roses in the block, so it comes as no surprise that my big dream as an adult was to some day become a mom.

And December 2015 gave me the opportunity to realize this life long dream. I always thought that moment would be pure bliss- after all, if this was all you ever wanted, it should feel special right? It was, but for like 1 or 2 minutes. Then followed waves of fear and insecurity- will everything be OK? things never work out for me, how can this be happening to me now? As we crossed the 12 week threshold, it moved to will I be a good mom? Every friend and relative I know is a mom will probably be better than me- will be the worst mom of the block? What if there are comparisons? Will I live up to other’s expectations? Will I live up to my own expectations? These thoughts are turn into dreams and it becomes a narrative in your head. Every mother gives you her tips and advice with the best intentions, but you get more and more petrified that they think you can’t handle it. As the whirlpool continued, I googled if this anxiety is common and apparently it is, so I can tick off not crazy box!

I know I can overcome it, but what got me thinking is why is it hard to stop worrying? I wake up every morning saying “this is all I have ever wanted so thank you universe” and focus on making it a stressful day, but somehow the thoughts are never far away. When we are aware that a small portion of our life is in our control, we still can’t relinquish control. I understand the worry when it is something you want to achieve, but when you seem to get what you hoped, why does fear get in the way? Is it the chase of our ideal vision which may or may not be realistic?

There are a lot of self help tips and ideas out there, but I haven’t read enough about the logic behind this train of thought. Understanding why would be an interesting window into our minds.

 

As I close this rambling train of thoughts, I am curious to see what you think- share your views and experience below!