At Week 34+, we are counting down the weeks before Thing 2 makes his grand appearance into our lives. In the midst of getting things ready and spending as much time as possible with Crystabel before she gets our shared attention, I can’t help but think back how this pregnancy differs from the first.
Yes, it is true that no two pregnancies are the same – this time round, I am plagued with extreme tiredness, the effects of water retention and quite possibly Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. But besides all these discomforts, it’s quite interesting to think back of how we (and those around me) are dealing with this second pregnancy compared to the first.
Here are just some examples:
1. Food choices
During the first pregnancy, we really played it safe and do things by-the-books by eating almost every possible food that is deemed good for the baby’s growth and development in utero and avoiding the nasties such as soft-boiled eggs, sashimi and junk food. This time round, although I try my best to resist soft-boiled eggs and sashimi, I don’t go overboard by having avocados or salmon every day (maybe just once a week instead) and I’ve allowed myself to nibble on chips, pretzels and fries when the cravings call for it.
2. Lifestyle habits
Similar to that of food choices, back with the first, I stayed away from colouring my hair or having any chemical treatment done. I’ve discussed this topic widely with friends and other mums-to-be, way before I got pregnant the second time round – and it seems like there is no real evidence that suggest having work done on the hair should be barred during pregnancy. Although I’ve coloured and touched up the roots of my hair, and went for an organic rebonding treatment to tame my untidy hair this time round – I played it safe to some extent by doing it after the first trimester when things are more stable.
3. “Oh right, I’m pregnant!”
When I was pregnant with Crystabel, I spent almost every waking moment thinking about my pregnancy and talked to the people around me about it quite often. I also checked BabyCentre, The Bump and WhatToExpect.com on a daily basis to see what’s up with the baby on the womb. This time round, I find myself ‘forgetting’ that I am pregnant (at least for a while) and went about running around and carrying a sleeping four-year-old in the first two trimesters. With a preschooler who talks and moves non-stop, I hardly have time to sit back and admire the baby bump as much as I used to and the only time I read the weekly updates on the baby is when I see it in my inbox. In a way, this makes the entire pregnancy process breeze through more quickly than before.
4. Sharing the joy
The first time round, I could hardly wait until the first trimester was over to share the news of my pregnancy with friends and family on social media. Those ultrasound scans make a frequent appearance on my timeline, and we bought a maternity photoshoot package to document the pregnancy journey. This time, I resorted to being Ms Mysterious by uploading vague images that left people guessing and we decided to skip the professionally taken photos and do something DIY the bump photo taking instead by featuring the 4-year-old.
5. People’s reactions
With the first pregnancy, everyone around us was so excited over the pregnancy – and with that, the advice on what to do/not to do came in waves. This time round, the excitement level has mellowed down and the reactions were more along the lines of “Oh, you’re pregnant again – like finally!”. You don’t get bombarded with a million questions anymore on your birth/breastfeeding plans, because this is your second time after all – you’ll know what to do. Honestly, I actually welcome the peace as it allows me to take things one day at a time rather than think of all the possible things that could go wrong.
6. Sleep is luxury – and also rare
During the first pregnancy, all I had to do was to take care of myself and the growing baby bump. And so, I had all the time in the world to sleep (whether I choose to or not is another story), and looked forward to the weekend where I could sleep until almost noon. Now, with a preschooler who had classes to attend on Saturdays, I would need to heave myself out of bed to prepare breakfast and lunch, and spend some time doing homework with her. Thank goodness for hubby who helps out on the days when pregnancy tiredness got the better of me!
7. Baby shopping
With the first baby, we can’t seem to stop buying stuff for the baby – which makes sense, as we started with nothing at all and the people around us weren’t having kids yet. I think we went a little overboard too especially with the clothes, once we found out that we were having a girl. Now that the second baby will be a boy, I used up all that time sorting out clothes to keep (the few that came in neutral colours) and selling/giving away the cute pink ones because at this point I can’t imagine having a third! However, we did made a trip down to a baby fair recently to get some items we didn’t get before, which we now know will make our lives a little bit easier (think, bathtub with stand and the UV steriliser). Also, I brought my trusty Medela Freestyle pump for servicing to make sure that it was in working order, as I embark on yet another breastfeeding journey.
8. Baby clothes and hospital bag
The first time round, I settled the washing of the baby clothes and packing of hospital bag by Week 34. As I struggled with fatigue and a busy daily schedule, I have only managed to get the clothes washed and folded in the cupboard. The hospital bag is half packed and there’s still the pillows and bedding left to be washed – and we need to get a new mattress for the cot (for hygiene purposes).
9. Fears and worries
Now, this is where I differ greatly from most second-time mum. As I had quite an easy time during the first pregnancy, my fears and worries were quite minimal and I didn’t fret over the slightest thing. Fast forward five years later, and being in a job that involves editing medical and pregnancy related articles, I find myself fretting over the slightest symptoms and pondering over the what-ifs. Maybe it’s the age factor (not getting any younger!) combined with the fact that it took a while for us to get pregnant this time round which makes me extra careful about certain things.
Again, this is an aspect where I differ from others. As there weren’t a lot of options when it came to maternity fashion during my first pregnancy, I just went with whatever that was available and bought more casual ensembles. Also, the dress code at work back then was a lot more casual. Over the course of that few years between then and now, I’ve gotten to know of websites and shops that offered the best deals on maternity clothing – and so, a lot more effort was put in to add on to my wardrobe. Also, my work dressing needs to be more proper now and in comes the nice dresses and jeans (for that denim themed day every last Friday of the month). On top of that, I made a conscious effort to get comfortable maternity bras now as I know that I will be using it through my breastfeeding days.
Now that I have shared some of the quirks that made my first and second pregnancy different, what about you? Do you have other factors to add on to the list? Let me know by leaving a comment below!