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Lessons in Parenting
Pregnancy, Take Two
Published on June 2, 2013 by guest author: J LeBlanc

During my first pregnancy, once I was obviously showing, it was interesting to see people’s reaction. For the most part, they were quite chivalrous. Family and friends encouraged me to sit down and put my feet up; strangers at the supermarket would open the door for me and shower me with kind smiles. This kind of behavior was much more rare the second time around. The first time, it was as though people were secretly thinking, “You have no idea what you are in for — take it easy, because it will be your last chance!” Seeing me with a toddler in tow, it became, “You knew what this would be like — and you decided to do it again?”     

There also seemed to be an assumption on the part of others that I was an “old pro” now, with one pregnancy under my belt. One of the first places I saw this shift was from my midwives. With my son, the midwives carefully and kindly tried to prepare me for what it would mean to have a natural childbirth — each and every time I came in. They told me not to expect to go to the hospital the moment I began having contractions and held true to this when I did call them, telling me to go back to bed, to try and get some sleep. With my daughter, they cautioned me not to delay calling, as I had had a relatively fast labor the first time and each of them lived 40 minutes or more from the hospital.     

Even I began to treat myself as someone who needed little guidance. Rather than coming to my prenatal visits armed with a page or two of questions, I rarely had one. My visits went from averaging close to an hour, to my being in and out in less than 30 minutes, including getting my toddler son in and out of car seats and strollers. Usually, I was just happy I had managed to remember the appointment.     

Having been pregnant once already did change the experience for me. I watched for the different stages and signs I expected, such as the heartburn that came along even before I took a pregnancy test. Realizing that the new baby was positioned noticeably lower than my son had been made me guess in advance of the ultrasound that I was having a girl.  When I reached late pregnancy, I found it easier to picture her curled up inside, especially when I would rub my stomach (simultaneously rubbing her back) and feel her stretch in response.  

Perhaps the biggest change was that my focus was more on the postpartum period than on labor and delivery. It was hard to get past the “great unknown” that labor represented the first time and the idea of having a newborn in the house seemed so foreign, I could hardly imagine it. During my second pregnancy, I barely thought about labor and delivery and instead focused on preparing for the first few weeks and months — cooking and freezing food, buying new gear and getting old gear out of storage and cleaned — but also looking forward to holding, rocking, nursing, and singing to my daughter, just as I had done for her brother. 

J LeBlanc is a former high school teacher who resides in Lebanon, N.H. She is currently taking a break from teaching to stay home with her toddler son and baby daughter.

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