One of the main differences between your first and second pregnancy is that nobody really gives a hoot… That’s right, you’ve done it once before – what do you want, a medal?
When I fell pregnant with my second baby, hubs and I were super excited about the prospect of reliving sneezy wees once more – but it didn’t take long before I realised that in the world of pregnancy adoration, first-timers reign supreme.
Don’t get me wrong, our families were pleased – however I did note the sobs of happiness were replaced by almost audible mental calculations of how many babysitting hours would be required…
Not that it mattered (it totally did), but the general population were definitely less enthused by our news too…40% less Facebook likes second time round (we were, apparently, a total yawn fest).
You see, when you’re pregnant with your first you’re basically treated like a precious, fertile goddess – people are super excited, they fuss over you, get you shit in the middle of the night, and refuse to let you lift anything heavier than a box of Jaffa Cakes. It’s pretty awesome, and the closest you’ll get to royalty unless you’re especially good at stalking.
Second time around, things are dramatically different – basically, you’re just old, fat, leaky news.
Enjoy the limelight while you can first-timers – change is a ‘comin…
People held my hair back, fetched me water, insisted I stay off work, and hand-fed me ginger nuts like I was some kind of nauseated Christmas turkey.
Mascara dripped off my chin while I puked into cup holders, cereal boxes (not recommended – v leaky) and children’s shoes – all in-between meetings, nursery drop-offs, football classes, and making bloody fish pies (double gag). I’m fine everyone, thanks for asking…
I felt tired – I lay down. I wanted to sleep – I closed my eyes. So beautifully, beautifully simple.
I wanted a nap – tough shit. I lay down – a child jumped on my head and dribbled directly into my mouth. There was washing to be done, peas to be force-fed and a little person harassing me 24-7 with an expression on his face that said, ‘Sleep when you’re dead bitch’. At no point did an SOS team drop from the ceiling and remove him so I could get some shut-eye. Disappointing.
“Look how ‘neat’ you are!”, “You’re all bump”, “You wouldn’t even know you were pregnant from behind” – first time mums are inundated with lovely compliments. My favourite game was letting guys eye me up from behind in Tesco, before turning round quickly and being like, ‘Bam! Baby in your face’.
When someone does actually take the time to acknowledge your pregnancy, it’s “Gosh, you’re much bigger this time aren’t you?”, “Wow, look at the size of you!”. I was very aware I resembled Shamu, as a result – every day was filled with carefully calculated wardrobe decisions to ensure black and white garments were NEVER worn simultaneously. I also suffered an odd affliction of looking like I had both a front, and back baby bump – very strange.
The male oglers in Tesco were long gone too – replaced by sympathetic strangers who asked me if I was having twins. I was not. Then, obviously embarrassed by their faux-pas, they asked if I was due soon. I was not. I was 20 weeks. FFS.
Maternity leave with your first is like a dream – people swarm around you to make sure your feet are up and that you’re well rested. There are baby showers, lunches with fellow whale-like friends, and lovely ‘mum-to-be’ pampering sessions aplenty. Delightful.
Maternity leave with another child at home was basically like a Royal Marine Corps training exercise. Days were spent screaming “Do it IN the potty, IN!!!!!” and the closest I got to a baby shower was my youngest barging into the bathroom mid-lather. Not so delightful.
People fell over themselves to help me – heavy lifting and, heaven forbid, the opening of doors were massive no nos. At first it was a little annoying (‘I am an independent woman for god’s sake’), but towards the end of my pregnancy if I could have made one of my juniors take a piss for me every twenty minutes, I would have.
I was single-handedly lugging a three-stone child round on my hip whilst hoovering, scrubbing pee out of the sofa, and squatting with the equivalent of a two-stone weight belt on to pick up dog poo. My baby nearly had her face caved in by a swinging door too, just saying …
There are birthing classes, support groups and endless amounts of people falling over themselves to give you advice.
You’re naive, optimistic, and ready to embrace a ‘natural labour’ – it can’t hurt that much, right? Just like bad period pain, apparently…
Also, friends are chomping at the bit to hear about the smallest drop of amniotic fluid falling from your vagina, “Any news yet?”, “Are you in labour?! I had a dream you were…”, “Tell me the MINUTE it’s happening – SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!”
You are expected to be a birthing pro – what’s the big deal? You’ve done it before. EXACTLY, you’ve done it before and know what the f**k is coming. First-time mums live in ignorant, episiotomy-free bliss. Why should they get all the mollycoddling? We know shit, and it’s TERRIFYING. If anyone needs the extra support, it’s us.
When you finally go into labour (after days of bouncing on your new arch-nemesis, the swiss ball), you text a few friends to say, “It’s happening…”
Two days later…
“What babes? New series of GoT?”
“No. Another human has ripped its way out of my insides.”
“Babes! Didn’t even know you were preggers again – should have said. Congrats!”