Some worries of a first-time mother during pregnancy: Will my baby be okay? Will labor be like that again? Will I know all the answers to the parenthood dilemmas that stump me? Many worries like these plague experienced mothers, too, but it’s definitely different the second time around.
Based on what seems to be common between treatment of first pregnancies by novice mothers-to-be and subsequent ones by their older, wiser selves, I made this list of maternity concerns and progression of reactions.
(Every mother reacts to each pregnancy in her own way that’s impossible to predict. I’m sure many of you had pregnancy tales that contradict these below, but I tried to just stick to a line or two. Feel free to leave a comment about how you can relate or how you felt dissimilarly!)
1). The Baby Belly
First Pregnancy: “Is my baby bump too small? Too big? Too high? Too low? Too stretch-marky?”
Next Pregnancy: “That’s my bump. Yep, there it is.”
2). Social Media Updates
First Pregnancy: “HEY EVERYONE MY BABY IS THE SIZE OF A SPAGHETTI SQUASH TODAY AND STILL HAS TOES JUST LIKE HE DID YESTERDAY.”
Next Pregnancy: “My baby is a baby, not a fruit. Why did none of you correct me the first time around?”
3). The Support/Advice Channel
First Pregnancy: You look to real-life people who have had babies (strangers and long lost relatives mostly). And BabyCenter.
Next Pregnancy: You look to real-life people who have had babies (except strangers, who can kindly keep their opinions zipped). Your birth team. Groups devoted to your specific concerns. And Babycenter (but only to lurk… and laugh).
4). Photo Documentation
First Pregnancy: A photo every three days in front of a chalkboard with current baby growth stats and list of pregnancy symptoms etched in perfect penmanship. Always in the same pose and outfit.
Next Pregnancy: Does the ultrasound photo count?
(Me personally: I went backwards with this one. I was afraid to take photos the first time but now I don’t miss my designated ‘weekly progress photo.’ And it feels just as cheesy as I imagined).
5). Maternity Outfits
First Pregnancy: “Tell me, what’s my ‘Pregnancy Style Type,’ informative magazine quiz? Will an empire waist flatter me more than a pleated front-draped tent with embellishments hued to match baby’s gender? Should I heed the wise proposal of this store advertisement to shell out big bucks for a new maternity-only dress, a maternity hat, maybe some maternity socks too?”
Next Pregnancy: Oh, there’s a wardrobe plan alright. / First trimester: Hubby’s band shirts. / Second trimester: Hand-me-downs and gifts from generous friends and family. / Third trimester – One outfit that still fits okay and can withstand daily use, maybe even survive through labor.
6). The Baby Registry
First Pregnancy: “I need this done by my baby shower! No exceptions! And yes we need a wipes warmer! And a high chair and sippy cups ordered in time for the birth! Let’s get a link to baby’s college fund on that list too!”
Next Pregnancy: New car seat. Bam. Done.
7). The Birthing Place
First Pregnancy: A hospital because… what if there’s an emergency?
Next Pregnancy: Oh, now this quote by Jeannine Parvati Baker finally makes sense — “Birth is not an emergency, it is an emergence.” Maybe let’s stay close to home for as long as possible…
8). The Baby Shower
First Pregnancy: Don’t leave the baby out of the honoring, you say! Bells, whistles, gift-wrapped stuff all set for a baby shower celebration! You’re inviting everyone: Mothers, friends, neighbors, even the nice lady who baked the gourmet cake and the balloon-animal-maker you plan to hire for baby’s first birthday!
Next Pregnancy: Don’t leave the mother out of the honoring, you say! Bonding, healing, birth affirmations all set for a blessingway celebration! You’re inviting those few special people who have been the cornerstone supports of this pregnancy.
(Me personally: Our first baby shower honored both baby and mother and included mostly close friends and family. It was a grand affair with lots of love and appreciated effort poured into it. This time an official-form, repeat shower feels unnecessary, but there’s always occasion for a less formal celebration of baby and mother in some term).
9). The Reading List
First Pregnancy: “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is your idea of THE pregnancy bible.
Next Pregnancy: Looking for “How to Forget The Recklessly Unhelpful Info in WTEWYE.”
10). What’s On Television
First Pregnancy: Season passes to Baby Story, Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, Switched at Birth. These are all realistic and relevant to your journey, they said. Your baby will be born surgically amid dramatic complications and will mistakenly end up with another family, they said.
Next Pregnancy: TV? You have another kid now. You don’t have time for nonsense that doesn’t involve shadow puppets and paint spills on the carpet.
11). The Circumcision Decision
First Pregnancy: “Oh, there’s a choice? Sooo… should we do this *for* him?”
Next Pregnancy: “It’s not MY choice to make. Sooo… we shouldn’t do this *to* him.”
(Me personally: You can read about my initial feelings on neonatal circumcision here).
12). Plan For Siblings During Labor
First Pregnancy: You get to skip this chapter.
Next Pregnancy: You cannot afford to skip this chapter. This may be the first taste of the balancing act that is caring for needs of multiple children.
13). The Home Nursery
First Pregnancy: You’ll take one of everything in either blue or pink, or maybe green and brown if it’s a forest theme, because yes — every item is unmistakably possessed by woodland creatures, zoo animals, dinosaurs, or Mother Goose. All items are ready to go in the exact spot where you’ll return them properly after each use, because you’ll totally have time to do that while caring for the baby.
Next Pregnancy: Your baby reacted to the fine oak crib as if it were a jail and the room’s been dusty since the month after his birth. This time you understand the more practical nursery is located on your chest or in your arms, and you’ve got years until your child requests a space of his own decorated in the sophistications of JC Penney.
(Me personally: Proud to say we had a forest theme. Which will be passed down to the new baby, who will likely spend zero time in the room until he’s able to walk in there himself).
14). The Baby’s Name
First Pregnancy: You’ve probably known since you were eleven. If not, you need to figure it out NOW if only because you need it block-lettered above the nursery crib in time for your pregnancy announcement photo.
Next Pregnancy: Google searching “how long after birth can you legally wait to name your baby.”