In my first pregnancy, I knew almost to the minute how pregnant I was. I could use the little abbreviations like 19w4d with confidence and I knew the difference between my ovulation date and my due date and the impact of my long cycle and blah blah blah. That’s because during my first pregnancy I was GOOD at being pregnant. The second time around? Not really.
It’s not that I’m not doing the right things to care for myself and the baby-in-progress this time around. I totally am. I’m down to just one cup of coffee per day, I gave up diet soda altogether, don’t even talk to me about wine and I’m not popping bites of lunch meat when I make my son’s lunch for preschool. I’m taking my prenatal vitamins and I gleaned from the prevalence of the letters DHA on the bottles for sale at CVS that I should get that kind because DHA is clearly important. Why? I don’t know. I haven’t had time to Google it.
I go to my OB regularly and get all the tests and screenings and checks that I’m supposed to get, too. But then we get to the part of the appointment where the doctor asks if I have any questions and I go blank. I’ll realize that the deepest pregnant-related thought I’ve had since my last visit involves remembering that the myth of peeing less in the second trimester is a BIG LIE. I supposed I could ask them to start warning other women about that but I don’t think that’s what they want to hear.
It’s just that this time around Being Pregnant isn’t the first activity on my mind at all times. I have a four-year-old son who demands first place in my mind each day, and he takes away the brain power I had to calculate how many ounces of water I’ve had like I did in my first pregnancy. Now I drink when I’m thirsty … and if all I have handy is a juice box? Well, it’ll have to do. (Side note: apple juice is great for pregnancy-related constipation. And you don’t need to check SafeFetus to make sure it’s ok!).
Like any mother, be she in her first pregnancy or 20th, I want a happy, healthy baby at the end of this process. I also realize, though, that my constant attention to my body during pregnancy won’t influence that outcome. What I know now — and other mothers, back me up here — is that striving for perfection in pregnancy or in motherhood is admirable, but ultimately impossible. It’s important to get the basics right and not sweat the small stuff.
How are you treating your second (or third or fourth or … ) pregnancy differently? What did you learn from going through it all before?
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