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Having two children while in your 20s can be a real life lesson.
I had my first girl at 23 and now, five years later, I’m expecting my second. I’ve started to notice how much can change in just a fist of years. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how I’ve “aged” from pregnancy to pregnancy and wanted to share my concerns, lessons and advisable solutions, which can come in handy for any second-time mom, no matter the age.
You’re pregnant again. Now what?
Seems like it would have been a no brainer, but this time around the big questions is if going with a OB-GYN or midwife (again), is the right choice. My last labour was five hours and they called it “natural” but pulled every method possible to get that kid out in speedy time. My midwife didn’t deliver because the doctor had to intervene, a.k.a. I underwent induced labour.
After a brief health scare during the second trimester, I thought I would be safest to deliver with an OBGYN, but my doctor assured me it wouldn’t affect birth. So, we’ve decided to try the midwife route again since the first time around we experienced wonderful care.
Keep your options open – every pregnancy is different.
Another concern: the prenatal vitamins.
Going over the brands offered today I’m much more aware and interested in the organic versions. However, I still can’t remember if five years ago I used Materna, Centrum or Equate. Sound familiar? I want to use the same brand because my first baby was so healthy. I ended up getting a different brand (gasp!), but I’m doing fine so that concern is taken care of.
Boy or girl?
Oh, the concern of gender: is it a baby boy or girl? Our answer is coming soon. Picking room colours, theme, baby registry, outfits, etc, it’s all on the brain. But, It’s a whole new playing field five years later. I remember with my first, I scanned everything possible for my baby registry. I also ended up getting a lot of hand-me-downs. This time I look forward to perhaps choosing a few designs and outfits of my own (out of this world with selection and cuteness!), and not needing to accept items I know now won’t serve any purpose.
The baby gap
Having a second child also begs the questions of age gap preference. I wanted a four year age difference, basically waiting until my first little one was in school. I also wanted to soak it all in with my first born. I still can’t imagine another love as powerful as ours.
I struggle with the thought of not getting to rest as much with the second tyke, like I did with the first. Nothing beats relaxing during the first pregnancy. The nights alone, the last minute trips, the last few date nights without worrying about the wee one, the freedom of browsing shops, Pinterest for cute baby things, and the list goes on. Well, those lazy days are over I’m thinking because not a day has passed since the birth of my first, that I haven’t had alone time and simply not worried about what she’s doing. It’s impossible not to think about it. Now with two to worry about…I should say goodbye to my own headspace now, what’s left of it.
Speaking of headspace: I do still make my best effort to keep fit during pregnancy. Just like my first, I’ve been making time for prenatal yoga and walking a ton. The second pregnancy, I find at least, keeps you more active simply ‘cause you already have one of them to look after and play with. I’m concerned with the amount of energy I’ll have no caring for two kids. I hear the post weight melts off thanks to running, after popping out two babies. I can’t bloody wait.
A lot has changed since my first pregnancy food wise, too. There’s a new super food every week, there’s a new scientific study released on the regular, and there’s a lot more organic options available. I learned so much when I became pregnant at 23.
I tried new foods I never tried before or dreamed of making (avocado, sweet potato, for example). I basically learned how to cook only because I got pregnant.
All the fuss over food sourcing and choosing organic, local options definitely consumes my head (and budget) daily. I’m more paranoid over what I choose to eat because I’m also trying my best to make sure whatever goes in my mouth benefits my baby and I.
As for cravings: It was steak last time, but this time around it’s chicken that turns me off. It’s been great having another pregnancy during the summer though – thank you, unlimited watermelon!
Baby shower, anyone?
In five years’ time I do regret getting rid of a lot of our baby things. We all do it, right? We pass things along in a circle of family and friends, expecting to get it back for when “the next baby” arrives. Thing is, apparently we don’t get a baby shower for the second pregnancy? Different families have told me this. Is this the case? Why? I believe every life deserves to be celebrated (and endless showering of diaper supplies really goes a long way). There, I said it. I threw my girlfriend a second shower, but named it a diaper party because everyone was gasping at the idea of a second shower. And heck I’d do it again.
Ouch, my 20-year-old body:
OK, let’s talk about the physical aspect of pregnancy no. 2. I had one pregnancy in my early 20s, as a college kid, and this one is towards the end of my 20s while being a career woman.
I didn’t start out this pregnancy as thin as I did my first, nor as in shape, nor as rested.
As mentioned above, I do my best to keep with prenatal exercises and finding that personal time is a hell of a lot more challenging for round two.
It will come. Everything comes with time, right?
Now with round two, I have a better idea of who’s sticking around because that they stuck around with the first time. A woman goes through a big flux in friendship changes, especially if, like me, you’re the first to have kids in your “circle.” I’m not expecting much more now, except for people understanding that helping me means not just holding the new baby, but making the other one feel just as loved. Oh, and maybe bringing over a fresh meal or two.
You can not be too shy to ask for help
As for our relationship: because of the five year gap I think there has been some areas where we’ve needed to “remember” the pregnancy lifestyle, the changes, the mood swings. I depend a lot more on my boyfriend after work and on the weekends to ensure he’s playing as much as possible with our daughter. Mama is tired.
I think it’s important for people to know that even though you’ve been down this road before, it’s gotten a bit weathered and – some extra TLC for growing family can go a long way.
The fashion statement
To grow on one of the previous sections: A physical concern is that my right hip is hurting (words I never said as a 23 year old mother). I’m cramping more, too, boobs are already bigger, I’m noticing more uncontrollable acne this time around, and simply put, I don’t care what I’m wearing as long as I’m comfortable.
My first pregnancy was like a maternity runway every day. I spent all my time browsing vintage stores looking for the sweetest statement pieces for my bump. I attended film festivals and music events and people could hardly tell I was pregnant because I looked so good.
This time I come with a little more cushion and a lot less time and energy than before. I dart straight into the maternity section to find more comfortable options. I hope once my belly pops I’ll be dressing it up again, you know, in tighter style pieces because I do care about I look – I’m just busier.
The main event: birth
There’s the ongoing mind worries and ongoing curiousity. I have been filled with stories from my friends and family about light labours and 24-hour long labours. What I have heard is that the second one flies out. No birth is the same, but my mind is consumed with thinking about the unexpected, regardless if I’ve done it before.
Still, will my pelvis still be narrow? The doctor oddly talked about this following the forceps and induced birth – my midwife told me not to worry.
Will my water break naturally or in some public place? Will it break in the hospital?
Can I hopefully do a better job of “breathing through the moment” or whatever they called it?
My takeaway from it all
After recently getting inspired to run (from my couch) following the Olympics, I’ve decided to challenge my new aches, pains and pregnancy gains. I’m going to start training. Thinking as an Olympic athlete, I’m also eating, stretching, exercising, meditating and doing everything I possibly can to create a stronger body.
By knowing I’ve done my best to prepare, regardless of the outcome, I know I’ll be mentally and physically strong post birth.
I want to be able to immediately hold my baby, experience skin-on-skin right away.
Not every athlete wins the race, but I’m definitely looking forward to crossing that line knowing I’m creating my healthiest self for my growing family.
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