You know those stories you hear about second pregnancies being so much smoother than first ones? How you're more relaxed and happy and full of light because you know what to expect and your body has been through it all before?
Those stories are lies. Lies, I tell you. And I've come to hate them. Because my second pregnancy is WAY harder than my first.
The irony of all this is thick and multi-layered. I am expecting a boy this time; my first is a girl (boys are supposed to bring mommies easier pregnancies, if you believe those unfair myths about baby girls). I have been declared "complication-free" so far -- knock on wood -- but last time was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (which I am convinced was a crock, but that's another post for another day). I am settled into life as a married working mom; last time I started my job at The Stir halfway through and was planning my wedding (don't ask).
But none of that has mattered. Not at all.
I've had a lot of the same pregnancy symptoms with Baby #2 but far more intense -- with some new ones thrown in. I've got the unbearably itchy skin again but worse. I had mild queasiness last time in the beginning but this time had bad morning sickness in the first trimester and some more nausea, heartburn, and other stomach issues I won't get into since. I got bigger earlier. I am more winded, tired, and run-down -- especially now, in the midsummer sweltering heat. I've also had every bug in the book -- the flu in spite of the flu shot, a 6-week-long cold, pink eye twice ... you name it.
But probably the most surprising of all? I'm scared to death of what things will be like when this baby is born like I never was when I was expecting my daughter.
Now there are those wise ones who admit subsequent pregnancies are often more difficult for exactly the same reasons others swear they're easier: your body has done this before. But instead of touting it as a plus, the sages say what it really means is your body is beaten down beyond all get-out. So naturally, you feel everything more.
I know, I know. Some women truly do have it better the second time around (I'm not jealous, I swear). No two pregnancies are the same, blah blah blah. And some women are apparently symptom-free each time they're with child. But let's be real. That isn't most of our experience. Carrying a baby is wonderful, yes. A blessing, yes. But it's hard. And for me and many others, it only gets harder the more times you do it.
Part of my struggle is because I have a more hectic job now and am chasing around a toddler, when before I could focus more on taking care of myself. Plus I'm later in the pregnancy at the height of summer, so all the discomfort that comes in the third trimester is compounded by the desert-like temperatures outside.
But why the heck am I so terrified, you ask? It's not the birth I'm afraid of. It's the fact that I know what an upheaval a second child will cause in our already crazy lives. Don't get me wrong. I know how lucky I am. I am so thrilled to be having this baby, over the moon that it's a boy and I'll have my dream of one of each. I will love him as much as I love my beautiful little girl. But I'm a realist. Two -- especially when they're both so young -- are a heck of a lot more to juggle than one. And one was already a heck of a lot!
So, dear readers, fellow moms, sympathetic listeners. Thanks for understanding. Go easy on me in the comments. And wish me luck.
Come on - tell the truth: was your second pregnancy easier and harder than your first?