After recently hitting the 20-week mark in my second pregnancy, I’ve learned a few things. First, and maybe most importantly, do not under any circumstances get yourself impregnated when there is also a maniacal toddler living in your house. If it’s too late for you, like it is for me, then do what you’re probably already doing and grab a bagel (made of white-flour and gluten, if possible, or the closest heavy carb with negative nutritional value) sit said toddler in front of TV, turn on Caillou for irresponsible amounts of time and travel in your mind far, far away to a beautiful winery with glorious vats of wine (or just to your local liquor store…they both get the job done).
Aside from that, I have actually learned a ton so far with this second pregnancy—about myself, about my toddler, about my marriage—and each of those deserves its own lengthy, dysfunctional post. But I can tell you quite bluntly one of the biggest, most glaring differences I’ve noticed since deciding life was going WAY too smoothly and it was high time to change that by growing another human inside of me is that the first pregnancy is vastly different than the second (or what I like to refer to as “The Forgotten Pregnancy.” Or sometimes, on particularly teary days when we’ve run out of Halo Top ice cream, “The Pregnancy That is Going to Make My Husband Get a Vasectomy and/or Leave Me For a Lady Who Hasn’t Yet Turned Into One Big Walking (Waddling) Hormone.”
Where do I even begin? With your first pregnancy, you’re kind of regarded as some sort of magical, ethereal, beautiful baby-grower. It’s new, it’s exciting and everyone wants to know literally everything about this miracle of life you’re conducting right before their eyes. “How are you feeling?” they say. “When is your due date?” they say (as they mark their calendars/block off their schedule in nine months). “Can I feed you grapes (pre-peeled, obviously) while telling you how amazing you look and fanning you with a palm leaf?” they say.
You become the apple of your friends and family’s eyes. You’re intriguing, you’re still cute at this point and you’re the reason for a million ooooohs and awwwws simply because your uterus has suddenly morphed into a luxury AirBnB for the next nine months.
With your first pregnancy, people are thirsting for details—they are practically foaming at the mouth for insider info on hot topics like your nursery theme and your extravagant birth plan (spoiler alert: I don’t have one. Not that you would want to know about it anyways, because I’m on my second pregnancy.) The first go-round, people want the chance to touch your adorable, magic belly not unlike the way I imagine lepers ached to touch the hand of Jesus. Now, no one wants to touch me and instead they ask me to scoot over a tad because I’m sweating on them.
Oh and my “nursery theme” for this second baby? It’s an inspiring mix of shoving a hand-me-down crib in the corner of our guest room and using an extra storage closet for all of her things in place of a cute dresser.
Basically, the second pregnancy just feels a little anti-climatic; you’ve been there, done that, gotten the incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction to prove it. You aren’t living in this idyllic state of blissful ignorance like you were the first time, being giddily excited to simply be pregnant and having literally no idea what to truly expect (which is a good thing!). By the second time around, you’ve heard way too many horror stories, you’ve watched helplessly as way too many friends have experienced complications and loss, you’ve read way too many insane mommy blogs written by highly accredited authors like stay-at-home moms whose primary pastime is filling message boards with extremely helpful advice like “coffee is poison!” and “have you checked your mercury levels today, ladies?!” and “if you want a safe, healthy baby just hide inside your house for nine months straight while sitting very still (aside from doing your kegels every hour of every day!!!) and not breathing in any of the surrounding air! And for the love of God don’t forget to relentlessly Google EVERYTHING!”
With your first pregnancy, your head was filled to the brim with sweet, naive unknowns like will she look like me? Will I know how to make her smile? Will she grow up to be a famous country music star so I can finally fulfill my own dashed childhood dreams through her (but only if it’s her choice, of course…)?
With your second, your unknowns turn a little less cute and a little more emotionally-cutting like will I carry this baby until a miserable 41 weeks like I did with my first? Will she brutally kick my ribs relentlessly every night until one of them pops out of place again and requires me to do months of physical therapy? Will I even be able to deliver naturally again without any complications and no C-section? And if so, will my vagina ruthlessly rip open like a stubborn bag of potato chips just like last time? Great, now will I ever be able to open a bag of potato chips again without experiencing PTSD symptoms? And so on and so forth.
***(This is V-V-V important guys: regardless of how tough your pregnancy is, you must always ALWAYS post a happy, light-hearted, whimsical pregnancy announcement photo like the above including but not limited to large balloons and some sort of cohesive color palette theme! Oh and you must also push your marriage to its outer most limits by forcing your husband to pose for an ungodly amount of time while your toddler shrieks and hits you both in the face! Write this down, plz!)
Frankly, I want to go back to the pregnancy where my biggest concern was where we would be baby-mooning, and how to convince my husband that a babymoon was, in fact, a real thing. (Side note: our first babymoon we went to Miami Beach, the very same place everyone is yelling from the rooftops that pregnant women shouldn’t step foot in because of Zika. Again, take me back to simpler times before I didn’t have to choose my babymoon locale based on where blood-sucking demons weren’t waltzing around town.)
While we’re on the topic, with each pregnancy it gets exponentially harder to convince your husband you even need said babymoon. In the same way people typically only have one honeymoon, my husband applies the same logic when debating whether or not his uncomfortable, pudgy, emotionally-unstable wife really needs a tropical getaway to repay her for months of nausea, overactive bladder and adult acne. (Second spoiler alert: the weekend I had suggested that we save for our babymoon, my husband scheduled invasive back surgery. I spent my “babymoon” bringing him meals in bed and cleaning his incision.)
A few other highlights: with your first pregnancy, your entire body just kind of lets your stomach do the work. Your semi-toned arms, legs and butt muscles that you’ve worked so hard to achieve are sort of like “go ahead, Stomach, you do your thing. We’ll just sit tight (literally) and watch from afar.” With your second pregnancy, every fiber of your being is in on the joke. You will look much more pregnant much, much sooner– and all over. Basically you will pee on a stick, see the two pink lines and then your stomach will be like “aight, step aside Waistband, I ain’t playin” and start embarking on its journey to spill over your pants before you sit down for dinner that night. In addition to your stomach’s swift migration outward, every other part of your anatomy will begin it’s journey in a different direction: downward. (Specifically the boobs, buttox and arm fat, most notably, but truly no part of you is safe. Industrial-strength leggings and sleeves of any variety will become very important to you in your life, and you will wear them selflessly during the dead heat of summer in order to not offend the innocent civilians around you.)
Hm, I seem to be forgetting something important … ah, yes, I’ve got it now. Remember during your first pregnancy when you felt tired, achy and sick so you curled up in a ball and napped whenever you could? You know, you turned down the lights, drew the shades, put an eye mask on and drifted asleep softly to the soothing tunes of Boyz II Men (just me?).
Well you can literally throw up the peace sign to that sort of delusional eurphoria this time! Because now you have a tiny human inhabiting your home who makes it her sole purpose in life to make sure your eyelids never close more than a 45 degree angle. Toddlers have zero chill when you’re pregnant (or ever, I guess). And they have an unsettling, uncanny sixth sense that emerges during those nine months and that’s to pop up from nap time shrieking incessantly the minute you finally heave your pregnant, sick body onto the bed.
Currently everyone reading this is now frantically googling “most heavy-duty birth control pill on the market… no SRSLY give me the hard shit, something so strong that it might not even be lethal in some countries.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m SO THANKFUL to be pregnant, so excited to add to our family and there are most definitely good days along with the bad. But to any mamas out there currently in the thick of a “forgotten pregnancy,” it’s important for you to know you’re not alone: you can rest assured I’m right there with you, taking aggressively large bites of my cinnamon raisin bagel (when/if I stop crying long enough to do so) while getting hit over the head with a Paw Patrol book and pondering exactly how many stitches I’m going to have in my vagina in four months.