When I first found out I was pregnant with Alex, I didn’t really know what to expect. Sure, I had friends who’d had babies before, and I read parenting books telling me all about what I should prepare for. But learning about being pregnant and actually going through a pregnancy are two very different things! I learned so much more about pregnancy by experiencing it than any book or advice could have ever taught me.
My husband and I recently got some very exciting news - Alex is going to be a big brother soon! We were thrilled to learn that our little family was going to grow again. And I felt way more confident and prepared for my second pregnancy than I had for my first - I’d been through it before, I knew exactly what to expect.
Or, so I thought.
Turns out, every pregnancy is different and doing the same thing a second time doesn’t necessarily make it easier. The differences between my first pregnancy and this one have really surprised me in so many different ways! Here are some of the major differences I’ve noticed - I’d love to hear any of yours!
Long before the doctor was able to determine its gender officially, I was pretty certain I knew the gender of this second baby. According to those old wives’ tales, whether you get morning sickness is a surefire way to tell if it’s a boy or a girl. When I was expecting Alex, I never had any morning sicknesses and always had great appetites. This time I threw up nearly every day during my first trimester. That totally different experience made me certain I was pregnant with a girl.
However, after a recent ultrasound, we’ve found out that baby #2 is another baby boy! Turns out that difference didn’t mean anything about the gender - it was just one of those big differences from pregnancy to pregnancy!
I still remember during my first pregnancy, I was waiting for the fetal movement to start in the second trimester and it finally came around week 25. I was so excited and amazed when I felt Alex was kicking inside my belly, and I counted those movements three times a day to make sure he was alive and healthy.
Believe it or not, the fetal movement during my second pregnancy started at week 16! I was very surprised when I feel the fetal movement that early. I asked myself several times, “Could that have been the baby kicking?”
Every week during my first pregnancy, I took a baby bump photo to check the differences week after week. Thanks to those photos, I have proof: my belly is way bigger than last time! I’m currently 34 weeks pregnant and everyone who sees me asks if I’m about to deliver soon. But the reality is I still have a month and a half to go! Having such a huge belly has really made a difference - it’s made me much more tired, and it’s almost impossible for me to turn my body over or bend down. My due date can’t come fast enough!
Although my belly is enormous, the weight I’ve gained this time around is less than during my first pregnancy. I guess chasing after a two-year-old toddler is a great exercise for a pregnant woman! Being a couch potato all day long is no longer an option for me. I’m still constantly holding Alex or trying to catch up to him - sometimes I even forget I’m a pregnant woman!
I’m an only child, so I honestly don’t have any experience of how it would be to have siblings. But I can easily imagine having more than one kid at home can be tough, and it’ll be a big change especially for Alex. My husband and I started telling Alex about the new baby from the beginning, and tried not to give him too much pressure being a big brother while still helping him get excited. Having Alex engaged and prepared to welcome our second child is very important. It’ll be a long-term task; I’m happy I started early.
Preparing my hospital bag months ago before the due date? Desperately searching for baby clothes? Trying so hard to decorate a fancy nursery and looking for ideas online every day? Prenatal yoga? Baby shower? Pregnancy photo shoot? None of those are even on my radar during my second pregnancy! When I got pregnant for the first time I was so worried about every little thing. I prepared a long list of questions before every OB visit and asked them one by one to make sure everything went right. I asked Google even more questions, constantly. Now, I feel much more laid-back and peaceful. All I want to do is lie on the couch in a comfortable position and savor life with only one kid while I can.
Although there already have been so many differences between my two pregnancies, I’m just as excited to meet my second baby as it was my first! There is nothing like growing a family. My heart is full of love and joy every day. And I believe that like my belly, my heart is magically growing bigger to make room for all the love I’ll have for my second little one. I can’t wait to meet my son!
How have your pregnancies been different from each other? Any advice on how I can help Alex feel more prepared and excited to welcome his new little brother? Let me know in the comments!