parent opinion

'Nesting is impossible.' The 5 things you know to be true when you're about to have your second child.

I had a pretty good pregnancy the first time around. 

The first trimester left me feeling bone achingly tired. I felt nauseous, was turned off by certain foods, and felt like I was constantly on a moving boat. 

But once that passed, excluding the heartburn, it went by without too much fuss.

Watch: We share our weirdest pregnancy cravings. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

I found out I was pregnant for the second time just before my son turned two.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew practically what to do this time: get a blood test, book my dating scan, pick up a prenatal vitamin, call my obstetrician. It felt oddly familiar, yet completely different at the same time. 

I’m now mere weeks away from welcoming my second child into the world, and whilst I was expecting some things to be different - I wouldn't have the luxury of coming straight home from work and napping from 7pm for one - there were some surprises.

Here are the five things you know to be true when you're about to have your second child.

1. You will not know how many weeks pregnant you are most days.

When you’re expecting your first child, everything is exciting and unknown.

I became completely consumed with the pregnancy. I waited for each week to tick over so I could check four or five different pregnancy apps. 

I knew not only how many weeks pregnant I was, but the exact size of my baby, what 'fruit' he was, when his fingernails grew, and when he started opening and closing his eyes.

I lapped it all up. 

I was equally fascinated by childbirth so I focused all my energy and attention on listening to pregnancy podcasts (shout out Hello Bump), and reading birth stories. I even watched every episode of One Born Every Minute. I couldn’t get enough.

This time around? Whenever anybody asks me how pregnant I am, I have to stop and think. I also have no idea what size fruit the baby is either. 

This time all I’m doing to prepare is giving myself permission to binge watch Call the Midwife (which is excellent, by the way).

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Image: Supplied. 

2. Ignorance is bliss.

The first time around, you daydream about what it might be like to have a baby, usually during those nice, long afternoon naps on the weekend. 

You start counting down the days excitedly. You’re a mixture of excitement and anxiety, you lap up everyone’s advice, and you know your life is going to change. 

Having a theoretical understanding that your life will change is one thing, but knowing exactly how it is going to change with real life experience? Completely different.

The first time around, the weeks dragged on. It felt too slow, and I was so impatient. I wanted to see my baby; I was bored, and I was over my free time. 

I even found myself running out of things to do on my 10 days of maternity leave between finishing work and my son’s birth. I was 'ready'.

Now, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. I know what I’m in for, and whilst there is still excitement, there is also a patience I didn’t experience the first time. 

I’m in no hurry to start navigating life with a newborn again: the sleepless nights, the breastfeeding challenges, witching hour, navigating sleep windows and teething. It’s safe to say I’m not in a rush this time.

3. Nesting is virtually impossible when you have a toddler.

I still have an intense urge to nest. But the difference is I have absolutely no time to do it.

By this stage of my first pregnancy (33 weeks), I had a completed nursery. I had bought, washed, ironed and hung lots of little outfits. 

The cot was put together despite it not being needed until my son was six months old. 

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I had bought books, toys, new towels, and lots of creams and nappies. 

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My hospital bag was not only packed, but it was in the boot of my car (I really watch too many movies). And yes, the car seat was already installed in the car too.

All of this was promptly completed before I hit 28 weeks so I could "enjoy" my final trimester.

This time I have had the urge to cull, but all I’ve managed to muster the energy up for is to clear one shelf in my bedroom, ready for the clothes that I still haven’t washed to be stacked into.

The backseat of my car is littered with sultanas, yoghurt residue and a varying array of dinosaurs and Marvel figurines, without a second car seat in sight.

I’m sure I’ll get around to it, eventually.

4. You are expected to have a gender preference, and others will clearly tell you theirs.

For my first, we didn’t know what we were having; we wanted a surprise. 

We loved that experience so much we’ve decided not to find out again. 

However, what's different the first time around is there’s really no expectation that you would have a gender preference.

But the second time around? If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "Oh, you must want a girl this time!" I’d be able to take another year off work.

Because I have a son, the constant assumption is that I will only be satisfied if my second child is a girl. I’ve heard multiple times, "I hope it’s a girl because then you can stop at two!" Sorry... I am planning on stopping at two regardless, but thanks for your concern.

It’s mostly followed by an archaic saying like, "Every mother needs/wants a daughter" or "Every mother deserves (?) a daughter", or my personal favourite, "But... a daughter is your daughter for life, your son is your son until he takes a wife".

Image: Supplied. 

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Is it any wonder the mental load typically falls on the shoulders of women with attitudes such as these? It’s such bullsh*t. Why can’t I have the same expectation of a fulfilling, genuine connection with my son? 

All this does is highlight to me that it’s more about the relationship you choose to build with your own child - regardless of their gender.  

5. Some days, there will be an overwhelming sense of sadness.

There are always nerves and anticipation before a big change. 

For me, it started like small waves of sadness when I’d have nice moments with my son. It would hit me. The most incredible, fulfilling, happy two and a half years of my life are about to come to an 'end'. I know this sounds dramatic, but it’s something I didn’t expect. 

If you have a toddler going through the 'terrible twos', they’re already feeling a huge range of emotions on a daily basis, regardless if a baby is on the way. They don’t want to share, and it’s a struggle most days to get them to brush their teeth, let alone put their shoes on to leave the house. 

You’re constantly negotiating with a very unreasonable tiny person with big feelings and all the highs and lows that come with that.

I am truly grateful that we are adding to our family. 

I have two siblings and my life wouldn’t be the same without them. They are by far the best gift my parents ever gave me.

I know he’ll thank me in the long run. Yet, I can’t help but mourn the time we’ve had, just the three of us, or worry about how he might adapt.

The mum guilt has already settled in when I think about spending my days with a new baby while he is at school.

Whilst every parent I know has assured me your heart expands and there’s enough love for all of your children, I can’t help but feel sad that this particular phase of our lives - just the three of us - is coming to an end.

So as the weeks start to fly by, I’ll do my best to enjoy my last pregnancy, soak up all the kicks and make the most of having an only child.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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