pregnancy

"You’ll start showing earlier." 9 truths I learned in my second pregnancy.

Now that I’m well and truly past the half-way mark in my second pregnancy (and consequently displaying early symptoms of baby brain), I wanted to get my thoughts down on a page before this all fades behind those rose-coloured glasses I’ll no doubt be wearing while in the newborn bubble. 

So here are nine truths I’ve learned in my second pregnancy (so far).

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Truth #1. You’ll start showing earlier.

I announced my first pregnancy when I was 20 weeks. That’s how long it took for my belly to show. Or so I thought! In hindsight, I could’ve passed it off as a bloated tummy or a food baby. See evidence below.

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This was my bump at 26 weeks... still barely a bump by comparison to this second pregnancy.

And here I was, in the third trimester...

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And guess how many weeks pregnant I am in the shots below? 16, going onto 17 weeks. Definitely comparable to my third trimester bump in the first pregnancy.

My body definitely remembered how to be pregnant and it took next to no time for my bump to show this second time.

Image: Supplied. 

Truth #2. Each pregnancy will feel completely different, stop comparing them.

There was a lot of joy during my first pregnancy; I remember lovingly rubbing Bio-Oil on my belly from the moment I found out that I was expecting. 

I’d walk past a mirror and admire my pregnant body. I loved the feeling of being pregnant. Having a growing baby inside of me felt like I had a secret language and connection that only my baby and I were privy to. 

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My hair was glossy, my skin had that telltale pregnancy glow, and I just adored being pregnant.

While I suffered from morning sickness during the daytime in the first pregnancy, it disappeared by night and allowed me to feel human again. 

This time round, my nausea and first trimester fatigue has been so much tougher on my body.

Feeling queasy and so revolted by food all day and night has made me tremendously miserable. 

The permanent metallic taste in my mouth turned me off even drinking water. My belly popped from week five and due to other digestive issues, I was bloated and uncomfortable all the time.

Placenta position can also play a huge part in how you experience a pregnancy. 

Most commonly, the placenta is located at the top of the uterus (fundus) which was the case for my first pregnancy. 

This time, I have an anterior (front wall) placenta so it hasn’t been possible to feel kicks or punches as strongly because the placenta acts as a cushion between the front of my stomach and the baby.

It is difficult not to compare pregnancies because they inadvertently set your expectations but Teddy Roosevelt’s famous assertion that "comparison is the thief of joy" is a great reminder here that comparing pregnancies can sometimes leave you feeling deflated and inadequate.

Truth #3. If you ever feel guilty for taking a nap or resting, remind yourself that you’re creating a human.

When you’re pregnant for the first time, you don’t have the responsibility of taking care of any other humans, so you can leisurely nap at any time of day. 

You don’t have to abide by anybody else’s schedule but your own.

When you’re pregnant for the second time, there’s a never-ending list of things to do for the first child. They need love, support, and mostly, attention.

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Combatting first trimester fatigue and nausea with a toddler definitely left me feeling disheartened and even guilty that I needed to lie down. 

My inability to be completely present for my toddler weighed on me like a tonne of bricks. So it was helpful to remind myself that at any given moment, my body was in fact working miraculously hard. 

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My body could have been making an eye ball, creating an arm, or a million other things, all from scratch. Give yourself the compassion and space to rest. You deserve it.

Truth #4. Self-care needs to be a priority that gets scheduled in.

This leads me on to self-care. 

With my first pregnancy, I tried to do all the things. I was juggling the intensity of running a marketing agency and an events company, while carrying the mental load of being a mindful boss, wife, friend, sister, aunty, daughter, and granddaughter, all while growing a child. 

Then there was the pressure I put on myself to exclusively breastfeed and freshly prepare organic food for baby-led weaning. 

Needless to say, even three years post-partum, I was feeling run down and depleted.

This time around, my self-care was top of the list. 

I signed up to pre-natal yoga, which thanks to COVID, had to be online. I sought the support of a naturopath and a clinical psychologist to ensure my body and mind was prepared for the upcoming changes. I’ve also been treating myself to monthly pre-natal massages.

I’ve learnt that the hormone Relaxin starts to circulate throughout the bloodstream just after ovulation, peaks after the first trimester and continues until six months after giving birth. 

Relaxin functions to relax and loosen joints and ligaments and the cervix to prepare for birth. 

As hips widen, the gluteus muscles are stretched and become weak and sore. Pelvic and lower back pain occur as a result of an increase in weight and stretched ligaments. 

So when your muscles feel tight or sore, book yourself in for a massage; better yet, schedule it in as a monthly commitment and you’ll definitely be thanking your past-self.

Self-care is one of the first things to drop off the list when things get busy so I’ve been putting all my self-care appointments in the calendar to ensure they happen.

Truth #5. You may not be on top of taking your supplements every single day.

As someone who diligently takes all her supplements without fail every single day, the first trimester nausea really threw me off. 

I was caught off-guard but my naturopath reminded me that it was okay if I wasn’t on top of taking my supplements every single day.

The best strategy I have surrounding this mindset shift is to 'never miss twice.' This is a concept I got from James Clear on building good habits.

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I think the pressure we put on ourselves can steal a lot of the joy from pregnancy so this truth is a reminder to be kind to yourself.

Truth #6. You won’t have to buy much.

With the first pregnancy, there was a sentimental novelty about getting to buy everything for the first time: the first size 00000 onesie, the first pair of shoes, the first high chair, the first car seat...

I often sought the best of the best, which actually worked out quite well as it means now, four years later, lots of things are still in great condition and can be passed down. 

Tip: We accidentally discovered that a four-year age gap is ideal because the firstborn will have transitioned from the baby car seat to a booster seat, and they’ll have moved on from using things like the high chair and pram.

I’ve also embraced pay-it-forward groups on Facebook, having gifted appliances, pre-loved toys and clothes that we don’t need, and have received some of our own gorgeous pre-loved clothes. 

Owning pre-loved clothing helps the environment and reduces waste. 

My sister and I have also been swapping kids' clothes which means we’ll have a complete wardrobe ready for the baby, without needing to buy anything—her three-year-old son’s boy clothes are being saved for our baby boy, and my daughter's girly clothes are being passed down to her two-year-old daughter.

For the first two years of my daughter's life, I only bought her gender-neutral clothing but since becoming a toddler, she’s decided that she loves pink, tutus and all the girly things so I’m glad it’s all going to a good home.

Truth #7. You’ll embrace maternity wear as early as you need.

This is somewhat related to the first truth about showing earlier. 

As a result, I invested in my first two pairs of maternity tights when I was only four weeks pregnant. By week five, I knew I’d made the right decision as it was pure comfort.

Tip: Check out the Active Truth maternity tights with pockets. Having pockets makes all the difference.

In the first pregnancy, I was too self-conscious about how pregnant or not pregnant I looked, but during the second pregnancy, I’ve learned not to care.

Truth #8. Trust that the firstborn will be more resilient and adaptable than we give them credit for.

It’s natural to be worried about the upcoming changes and how that will affect your firstborn.

I’m particularly sensitive to this as it triggers my inner-child and fears of emotional abandonment and rejection. It’s something I’ve been working through with my psychologist.

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It’s been a great relief to see just how much my almost four-year-old understands. 

When I was experiencing the first trimester nausea and fatigue, she knew to give me space and would turn to Daddy to play. 

She quickly adapted to seeing me hovering over the toilet and would gently rub my back while asking if I was feeling okay. 

Whenever she saw me lying down in defeat, she’d fetch me a glass of coconut water or my Kindle. Often, I’d wake up from a nap to a small bouquet of wildflowers she’d hand-picked during an outing to the park with Daddy, or a new artwork piece she’d created for me with Daddy’s help. 

My favourite part has been hearing her loudly and proudly declare: "I’m going to be a big sister!" while she lovingly puts aside a collection of hand-me-down baby toys and clothes that she’s outgrown.

Truth #9. You won’t keep track of the pregnancy week-by-week and that’s okay. Sometimes you’ll even forget that you’re pregnant.

I was able to track my first pregnancy by the day and at any given point, I could’ve even told you what fruit the baby was the size of. 

But this time round, the days have blurred into weeks, and the only time I check the pregnancy apps is when my firstborn asks how big the baby is.

You wouldn’t have thought it possible but many times, I’ve even been surprised to see my protruding belly in the bathroom! 

So yes, it is possible that sometimes, you’ll forget that you’re pregnant because your sole attention is probably on your firstborn.

Furthermore, if you took daily photos of your pregnant belly during the first pregnancy, don’t be alarmed if you only manage to take weekly photos during the second pregnancy. 

In fact, I started my daily photos from around week four during the first pregnancy to create this time-lapse video in the CineMama app:

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And I didn’t even start taking a weekly photo until week 15 this time, because most mornings, my only goal is to get my pre-schooler to daycare before morning tea is served.

Can you relate to any of the above, or how has your second pregnancy been different? If you’re a parent to more than one, what truths have you learned?

This post originally appeared oMama Has Got This, and has been republished with full permission.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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