An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

You mean I’m not supposed to be eating raw chicken?

This week I participated in a Momversation about behaviors I’ve allowed in my second pregnancy that I didn’t during my first:

When the producers of the show first told me about this topic, I was all, wait a minute. This has to be a total set up. Do they want me to be honest? Because I still routinely break into the hospital at night just so that I can rub my belly up against the x-ray machine, and I just know that some crazy person is going to try to tell me how that’s bad for the baby.

This topic has the potential to be really divisive because some people are fanatical about their idea of what is appropriate behavior for a pregnant woman, and I am just not one of those people. A few months ago I mentioned here that I’m still working out at the gym three days a week, and more than one person wrote to tell me that I might as well cut open my belly and smother the baby with a pillow, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. I’m not really moved by emails like this, only because I learned when I was pregnant with Leta to expect the judgmental glances and ridiculous opinions of total strangers. There’s just something about the presence of a pregnant woman that suddenly makes everyone in the room an expert on the health of unborn children.

This pregnancy has been so much more relaxing for me at least in terms of what I’ve allowed myself to worry about, which is somewhat ironic given that I suffered a miscarriage after giving birth to Leta. I think I’ve realized that most of the mechanics of this process are out of my control, and while I can ensure that I am physically and emotionally as healthy as I can be, a lot of this is left up to the mercy of nature. And I have experienced an almost overwhelming sense of freedom and calm in letting myself go to that notion.

Jon will be the first to tell you that I have never been so relaxed as I have been in the last couple of months. I’m not sure he has ever seen me so calm, and I’m not so sure I can explain it. I feel really lucky to have made it this far in pregnancy with no complications, and I’m even more eager and excited for what’s to come and have been preparing myself to work with whatever scenario plays out. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, exactly where I want to be, and this sense of peace is nothing like what I felt in the weeks leading up to Leta’s birth. Maybe it’s experience, maybe it’s because this time I’m medicated, but I have such a better sense of who I am going into this. And I’m so grateful to have been given a second chance to feel this way.

How did you guys feel during your subsequent pregnancies?

  • Ashley

    33 weeks pregnant with my second. After seeing what my first has lived through (binkies dropped in the dirt, drank out of Grandma’s bird bath, occasionally shares a snack with the dog) that a little cold lunch meat, a cup of coffee or *gasp* some antidepressants are fine. There are a few things Im still a stickler on. Even though friends and family have told me that a beer or glass of wine every once in awhile is fine, I just cant bring myself to drink it.

  • Shaunalee24

    Hmmmmmm well I am currently 23 weeks into #2 and it’s big difference for me. I too had a miscarriage before this successful pregnancy and wow my first 14 weeks were very stressful in that I was constantly worried I’d loose it. I remember very little about my first pregnancy ,it was 8.5 years ago so I kind of feel like it’s all new, well sort of. This time around it seems a lot more painful, as in my back hurts constantly and oh lord my feet, don’t even ask!!! The constipation and just the feeling of being the size of a whale is overwhelming!!. I have honestly come to terms with the feeling that though I like the end result I really dislike be pregnant. I swear I want a surrogate!!!! As for my mental state well since I can feel him move I am much more relaxed it’s the physical side I really detest!! I love my child and now children dearly and believe it or not since this is another boy I will be doing this again in about a year and a half.

  • Anonymous

    I know all about the looks from strangers. I was on my work’s social committee, and was nominated to do the liquor run for the Christmas party. You think you got looks. Imagine the looks I got with two shopping carts full of liquor at 8 months pregnant.

  • Kris

    I’m coming up on the 35-week mark for #2, and I’m really excited about how the next few weeks are going to play out. My first was born just shy of the 35th week, so everything from this point on is new territory. I didn’t do anything particularly different as far as diet or exercise. Wait, no, that’s not entirely true. I was carting a 25-pound toddler up and down a flight of stairs up until a month ago. It’s not the gym, but my legs say it’s exercise.

    I also decided to downgrade my responsibilities at work, and that has been a tremendous boost to my mental health. Now I have time to actually think about and marvel at this pregnancy. I’m the vessel, not the micromanager in this deal.

  • Had to laugh at how you remind us that pregnant women and new mothers seem to be fair game for every well-meaning “adviser”.

    My friend, a new mother, just had a homeless lady scream at her all the way down the street because she didn’t have her baby’s face covered up in “the cold”. (It was a spring day in San Francisco.)

  • Well, this is my first pregnancy and I wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your pregnancy posts. I’m due June 15th so we’re experiencing a lot of the same things at the same time. Your humor has really appealed to me because I do not like being pregnant. So uncomfortable. Ugh. Come on already. But it will be worth it, I’m convinced.

    I decided when I found out I was pregnant that I was not going to freak out about everything little thing. I drink wine (Dr. said it was ok), I will have a bite of raw cookie dough, don’t freak out about some deli meat, a sip of my husband’s beer, etc etc. There is an element of surrender in being pregnant (and I would imagine in giving birth too) that is hard to explain to people. In our culture where having control over everything is valued over surrendering, I think that women tend to freak out and act ridiculous about every little thing just to have some appearance of control. As you said, pregnancy is mostly out of your control and you just have to live with that notion.

  • Brandi

    I have to agree that subsequent pregnancies were, for the most part, more relaxing. I think there was the ‘fear of the known’–as in ‘A Baby Story’ would send me into a sweat as I thought about contractions & labor–but when the babies came, it was so much more comfortable. My fourth is now almost 6 months old and I think this is the most I’ve ever appreciated the tiny toes, little smiles, etc…and I can’t believe I ever let myself get so wound up before. It is so brief and beautiful, enjoy!

  • Tricia

    This post just exudes calm. It makes me happy to know that you’re so much more relaxed this time around, even with a husband, child and two dogs to take care of (or perhaps, in part, because of them?).

    I haven’t traveled down the road to #2 yet, but I hope to be more relaxed about it. I was pretty militant the first time around, and while I don’t feel that I made anyone else uncomfortable or unhappy with all of my reading and rule-following, I definitely remember feeling constantly on red-alert. I was forever scanning mental lists of what I could and couldn’t touch, eat or do. It was tiring. One exception, I think I’ll reinstitute the Husband-has-to-clean-the-bathrooms rule. That was nice.

  • Dee

    I indulged a lot more than with my first pregnancy, but I was not happier and relaxed.
    With my first son I had a postpartum depression, with the second one a prepartum depression.
    Is that English? In my language: postnatale depressie and prenatale depressie.
    So the depression kicked in during pregnancy.
    I was an utter and complete mess for the better part of my pregnancy. I simply could not stop crying.
    And I didn’t cry some tears, I cried buckets!
    At my work, my boss told me to go home. I cried even harder and said I was going to be unemployed. He said I was not.
    Then I said: but when I’m not working, I will be!
    He said he knew what I was worth in other circumstances.

    I cried and cried and cried. I’ve been depressed before, and even after but it was the only time in my life I considered ending it. I didn’t make any real plans, but it were more sudden thoughts. While driving a car for instance, I could think: “see that tree? Only one second, and all the pain will be gone”
    But then I thought about my other kid. And I also realized it was just due to the pregnancy.

    Because I simply could not care less I drank an occasional glass of wine,…
    The only thing I didn’t eat where mussels and oysters (something that I eat as often as I can when not pregnant) and non pasteurised cheeses.

    The birth itself was a piece of cake, though. I first wondered if I had gas or if it were contractions.
    Two hours later I decided it were defenitely contractions, but very soft ones.
    You know how bad it can get with the second one.
    Another two hours later we went to the hospital and there the contractions were very fast. Half an hour later I asked for an epidural, but they said it wasn’t going to do any good as I was fully dialated. Another half hour later he was there.
    So only one hour of real labour.
    I sincerely wish for you to have a one of those deliveries!

  • Well, seeing as I’ve only given birth to belly button lint, my take on this probably won’t help much…

    But I’m glad you’re more relaxed. 🙂

    And eff the know-it-alls. They wouldn’t know a healthy baby if it walked up and smacked ’em in the face. Think about THAT ONE! 😛

  • I had posted over at Momversation, but essentially my craziness increase with pregnancy #2. I read ALL the time over what was going on, which only resulted in my getting more freaked out. I wasn’t worried about labor. Labor was actually easy and more relax the second time around. I actually had a pretty good I would hope that if I decide to go for #3 that I’d be more relaxed, but I doubt that.

  • This is my second pregnancy (my first ended in miscarriage), but I can only imagine that I’ll be more relaxed during my next. My first pregnancy was fraught with worry and then it ended. With this one, I was much more accepting of the idea that I’m not in control. And as time passes, I’m even more accepting of that idea.

    So with the next one, I think I’ll go out and get tattoos and smoke heroin with you. On the weekends, of course!

  • It’s nice to hear that you’re feeling so good about yourself and about what’s to come! I had that same wonderful calm feeling when I was pregnant with my first child. I feel 110% even with the heartburn. It was pure heaven!

    I wish I could have felt the same when I was pregnant with my daughter but Multiple Sclerosis had other plans. I aways felt a bit off and in the end she was born three weeks early — healthy but early.

    I can say that after my daughter was born I was much more relaxed than I was with my son. It’s like everything came naturally — I had already done this before. Even breastfeeding was a breeze unlike the first time around.

    The best thing in the world was watching my son comfort his sister, hold her little tiny hand and in his little wee voice tell her everything was going to be alright. My heart melted right then and there.


  • kazz

    I was a by-the-book kinda girl when I got pregnant with my first son. Ate right, drank the right stuff, exercised appropriately, the whole enchilada. Ten weeks after my first son was born, I managed to get knocked up with #2. Shortly thereafter, my husband was deployed to Iraq. Everything changed. Being in charge of an infant and being all alone left me little time for perfection. I ate a lot of fast food, I drank caffeine, and I even (gasp!) smoked here and there. I was stressed and depressed and beside myself with worry.
    My kids are PERFECTLY healthy and totally gorgeous. Girl, be yourself and do what feels right to you.

  • Chantal

    I was way more relaxed with my second, and I too went to the gym through my entire pregnancy.

    I am pregnant with my 3rd now and I had an aquafit instructor tell me that I can’t swim in the deep end (because the water pressure will crush my baby) and that I can’t do any abdominal work outs because my abs are supposed to loosen, not tighten. I guess this baby is just going to slip out of me with not effort at all. She is insane (and now I can’t go back to that class, she scares me). UGH.

  • I had less time to worry my second pregnancy because I was chasing my then 2 year old. I’d like to say that with everything going on in our family and household (there was more than just baby #2) that I was pretty relaxed. But I worked at it on purpose because of all the other not-relaxing health issues of the time.

    PS Loved the donuts pictures for week 36?!

  • Margaret

    Yeah it’s been tough giving up the cocaine, agreed. Haha. Second pregnancy? Heck, this is my first and I am as chill as can be! =) I still drink Diet soda, I still have coffee, I even *gasp* eat lunch meat. My baby is still moving around and I am confident that he will be just FINE. I realized, though, when a friend asked me how I felt about giving up *chocolate* that there were different lines. GIVE UP CHOCOLATE? SERIOUSLY? This baby has made me a freakin’ chocoholic! I can not even imagine what a chocolate-less pregnancy would be like!

  • I don’t think the prenatals have anything to do with the beautiful hair and the nails, Heather. I’ve been really bad at taking them (very embarrassing) and my hair and nails have never been so strong and lush. This, of course, will be paid for about 5 minutes after birth when my entire head of hair will fall out all over the floor of the birthing suite.

  • Elaine in the UK

    All this “mustn’t eat this, drink that, do whatever” makes me laugh. I had my five kids many, many years ago, before anyone told expectant mothers not to drink alcohol or coffee. And WTF is that thing about soft cheese? Who knew? How any of us ever managed to have live, healthy children is a total mystery to me! LOL!

    Oh, and yes, I got more and more blase with every pregnancy. Of course 😉

    BTW, I’m getting impatient now to meet not-Maria! I guess you must be, too?

  • My first child died at 30 weeks, so my second pregnancy was insane. I was paranoid over every little thing. I went to the dr. twice a week for a doplar or an ultrasound or a NST. I lived at the dr. They all knew me and my whole life story. I was nuts. I read every label, I agonized over every detail. My third was a much calmer pregnancy. I even took allergy medicine (but I worried about it a lot.)

  • Skylar

    OMG you are horrible… the heroine and the cocaine!!

    I am 25 weeks into my first and I freak out about A LOT but I have had a really hard time being strict at all about what I eat. I try to keep the fast food to a minimum because I like being able to move my toes.

    I like caffeinated soda but I cannot stand the taste of coffee which makes me sad. All I want is a beer but I do not trust myself to stop at just one… case.

    I smoked one cigarette about four days before I found out I was pregnant and I am still freaking out about that a little. I am sure that I caused lung cancer in my unborn baby with that one Marlboro Light.

    I was fortunate enough to be purely ignorant of my pregnancy until I was 15 weeks into it, if I had know the first trimester I think I would have needed sedation.

    I also just recently got married. I am not planning that during my second pregnancy!!

  • With my first I was so anxious I could barely breathe, with my second I kept the caffeine, ate french fries from McDonald’s and Frosty’s from Wendy’s for nearly a month because I craved it and other things made me sick. I called my doctor less often. My second was a lot more enjoyable. I’m hoping for a third one day(if hubby would get on board!) and figure I’ll sail right through it until labor when I can go ‘baby? oh right forgot I was pregnant, just thought I was uber fat and had developed asthma’

  • I was a very relaxed & happy pregnant woman. A glass of wine with dinner? Sure! (just not more than once a week or so) Diet Coke? Yep! And I worked out 5 days a week until the day I had each kid (3 of them). And so far, so good – they seem to be reasonably normal, healthy little people. Some women like to be militant during pregnancy. Me? I say relish every moment of not having to suck your stomach in when you walk by the mirror! Good luck in the final weeks, Heather. Such a special time!!

  • We share the same due date, June 14th, and the fact that our babies are both number twos.

    With my (now 2 yr old) daughter, I remember reading all of the books and obsessing about the nursery, the stuff, the action plan, etc. but I find that I don’t remember that much of the actual pregnancy itself.

    This time around, of course, I have lost the sense of urgency that accompanied my first pregnancy and know that all you really need is a) car seat, b) diapers and c) some onesies. Needlesstosay, the nursery is a work in progress.

    Happy end to week #38 to you. May we both have quick and easy labors!

  • Adrienne

    Oh my gosh. I did not admit to pre/post/lifetime depression until after a breakdown 6 weeks into my 2nd’s life…And so, with my 3rd I felt that with medication I had built a bridge over what I had jumped off with the first two.

    With #3 the experience was SOOOO much better that I had to go through feelings of remorse about missing that time with the first two!! If it’s not one thing, it’s another!

  • I felt like I hardly had time to notice my second pregnancy, it flew by so quickly! I tried to make sure to find the time to just enjoy it, to remember it. When the second baby came, I could not believe how HARD I had thought it was when I had my first. It all felt so natural and I knew enough to trust my instincts and not worry so much. Of course, having two makes things more interesting, and mine were much closer together than yours so there were many toddler issues we had to work through, but now that they are old enough to play together, it’s simply the best thing ever. Good luck with the home stretch!

  • My second pregnancy was WAY better than my first. I was more relaxed and even allowed myself — gasp — a fully caffeinated Coke with my medium rare hamburger. If I had eaten sushi then I would have been truly walking on the edge.

  • sarah

    I am a freak! My second pregnancy, I was wracked with anxiety! I was 22 or so when I was pregnant with my first, and like the baby I was, I was just walking along, la la la, doing what my dr. told me, taking it all for granted. Then I stayed home on bedrest and got hooked on daytime TLC programming. Then I got pregnant with my second and quit my job and omg the worry! all those horror stories of people losing their babies in their 38th week. Maternity Ward on TLC? bad! bad! My husband, on more than one occasion, had to physically stand between me and the tv, saying “okay…that’s enough” lol. I was convinced there was something wrong, and convinced that because everything went well the first time and I took it for granted, everything was going to go horribly wrong the second time. I laugh now, but still. I was definitely not more calm the second time around and I totally thought that was the norm, but I just read through most of the comments and apparently I’m the weirdo haha.

    My capture is berth thing. Is that weird?

  • I’m in the middle of my second pregnancy now, and against my thoughts and wishes (I was talked into it by the doctor) we got one of those damn blood tests for diseases, and they said we have a higher likelihood of having a baby with Down Syndrome. Now we don’t care either way, we certainly aren’t going to abort, but the “you have a 1 in 50 instead of a 1 in 250” crap is just killer. So, I am both more relaxed in exactly the way you say (although I too suffered a miscarriage) and I do still occasionally bike to work, I am also kind of keyed up about … everything. Anyway, nice post — glad to hear you are at peace!

  • when i was pregnant with the monkey, other than some nausea in the morning (that was taken care of by constant eating), i felt i had a breeze of a pregnancy. i once obsessed about a little spotting and feeling overheated one day. but i had a co-worker i sat next to who was more freaked out that i might deliver right there in her cubicle. i wish i would have exercised (at all) just to make the weight come off easier and to heal from the c-section better. frankly i’m surprised you’re getting funny looks or comments at all about exercising while pregnant. it was encouraged by my doctor and lamented afterward by the new one (insurance change DURING my pregnancy).

  • Like you, I had a miscarriage between my first and second children. And yep, when I was pregnant with my second child, I just didn’t worry about anything. I didn’t crack a book, whereas the first time around, I was full of factoids I’d gleaned from What to Expect, and The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy, and OMG You’re Huge! Weekly or whatever.

    Actually raising the second kid has been that way too–I just don’t sweat the details the way I used to. He seems to be okay so far. I hope you keep feeling good right up until the big day!

  • I don’t know if it is the hypnosis-for-childbirth tapes I listen to or the hormones (I think the latter) but I always have less anxiety when I am pregnant than in “normal” life. Or maybe I’m just too exhausted to care about anything. EDD 7/8/09.

  • Nancy

    I’ve never been pregnant so I’ve only heard of some fish being risky to eat. Whats up with soft cheese, coffee, and lunch meats?

  • Well – I’m not one of those women who ‘enjoy’ pregnancy at all. My first – a girl. I had liver complications with the second and literally allergic to my own body and ended up taking Benedryl daily. By the time the ultrasound rolled around where they could tell the sex of the baby – when the technician showed me the ‘proof’ I was carrying a boy – I had my husband fixed. 🙂 No regrets. Two was enough.

  • More relaxed, or just more exhausted so it looks like I am calm….I’m not sure. I’m 36 weeks with a 2 year old boy, and this time is so much harder! I’m tired! Enough already. Plenty of sympathetic looks from other mothers on the sidewalk, and the occasional comment that “how old is he? oh, that was fast, you didn’t wait long.” and the time a nanny at the playground scolded me for letting my son lick the chain-link fence (yes, gross, but really, will it really hurt him?). Anyway, wishing you all the best!

  • Can I just say that I laughed out loud at you and hope and pray that I deal with my future pregnancy (first) as you have done with your second – calm, relaxed, and not freaking out over the amount of mercury that one piece of sushi contains. I heart your blog!

  • Amy

    I think I finished a case of diet soda every other day while pregnant. My children are now 13 and 11 – smart and healthy. Just makes me more grateful I didn’t give up my damn soda!

  • Jinx

    My first was an emergency C section, the second a planned C section, I was so out of it after the first, I just wanted to be more conscious and aware the second time.

    I’m so happy you are feeling well, and enjoying the experience Heather!

  • Evie

    I definitely feel the same way. This is totally out of my control. I hardly think twice about what I am eating and I really do everything I was doing before I was pregnant.

    I remember just being totally worried about every little thing with my last pregnancy.

    Maybe having to take care of another child plus my husband doesn’t allow me much time to even think about it this time!!

    EDD 9/5/09

  • I’m on my fourth pregnancy right now. It seems like I have different anxieties each time. I still drink my Diet Mt. Dew (after my first pregnancy, I had a lactation consultant tell me that you may as well do it while you’re pregnant if you’re going to while you’re nursing so the baby is already adjusted to the caffeine and it won’t keep it awake). This time around, I still have maintained blue cheese dressing as my favorite condiment. I think this is the first time, though, that I’ve had an irrational fear of soft ice cream.

    I think that I was the most neurotic with my first pregnancy since it was supposed to be an absolute miracle that would never happen again. This one probably comes in second, though. Of course, the fact that it is my first girl and I have already been through a bad car accident, a child with fifths disease, and an abnormal ultrasound during this pregnancy probably hasn’t helped.

  • I had this exact same experience as a second time around mom. I did not eat ONE BITE of junk food when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I was terrified of so much during my first pregnancy, and really over-protective and anxious as a first time mom. I also suffered a miscarriage between my two daughters, and I don’t know if it was that, or the experience under my belt, or that I also was medicated during my second pregnancy (wasn’t during my first), but the whole experience was SO MUCH more relaxed. The birth, the infancy, the exhaustion, it all just seemed expected and normal the second time around. This is not to say that I didn’t totally lose my mind when, at seven-months-old, my second daughter had yet to sleep through the night. But I felt much more equipped to deal with the situation and much less guilty about letting her cry it out. And OH, DID I LET HER CRY IT OUT. I read your book, Heather, and loved it. And I hope you have the same kind of experience I did second time around. Much less anxiety and much more laughing and fun and sisterly bonding. (By the way, I didn’t feel too bonded to my second kid right away. But I do 100% now that she’s 2. Don’t worry if it takes a while.) And I hope you have much more of feeling, “Oh, I actually KNOW WHAT TO DO in this situation!!” Imagine!! So glad to hear you’re doing well.

  • Went to a college European program reunion three weeks before giving birth to my second son. Drank one imported Austrian Beer out of a bottle in front of 100’s of people.

    That’s how I felt about my second pregnancy!

    (Baby is now 14 years old)

  • Michele P

    I was SO much more relaxed with my second pregnancy, but my ob/gyn sucked the second time. I was living in the UK for work and idiotically didn’t push for private medical. My doc was about 27 and looked like a barbie doll. She told me not to run (stupid!), to not have one single diet coke (c’mon people) and didn’t check my iron levels and i ended up being SO deficient that my US doctor said he couldn’t believe I got out of bed in the morning. I was manic about my diet the first time, like MANIC. With my second pregnancy I ate more chocolate and less fruit, which definitely wasn’t good but I was so, so much more comfortable with the whole thing. And I had to travel constantly for my job, so ended up flying all the way to the last month of my pregnancy with no issues at all.

  • My youngest is only 8 weeks old, so I’m pretty fresh off the second pregnancy boat. I enjoyed both my pregnancies and feel so incredibly fortunate to have had 2 healthy babies. My first child was conceived via IVF and I think that set the tone of that pregnancy. The whole first trimester was carefully monitored with weekly ultrasounds, and I had a brief scare with some unexplained bleeding at 9 weeks gestation. Despite all that, once I was through the first 12 weeks I sailed along. I kept up my work and gym routine, but ate/drank pretty much by the book. My second pregnancy was the result of a good old fashioned knock-up, and there again that set the tone. I approached the pregnancy with a sense of calm, confidence, and fun. I never really worried that this baby would be anything but perfect. I was a good little mama during the first trimester avoiding all the “dont’s”. But during the last half of the pregnancy I carried on pretty normally. I had a glass of wine here and there, coffee, even an occasional sushi dinner. Prenatal yoga was my workout of choice and all turned out well.

    Good luck with your pending delivery!

  • FWIW… I was skipping around your posts from right before and right after Leta was born. There’s a visible differnce in the way you engage the camera now with your eyes. You may not only feel more relaxed, but you LOOK more relaxed. Enjoy!

  • Ann Johnson

    People really think you’re not supposed to work out?

    I couldn’t find a link to the picture in Runner’s Magazine – the one of Paula, eight months pregnant, totally passing a really angry looking guy in a race.

    Pregnancies are like weddings, no one is ever happy with what you choose to do for your own. Ever.

  • I have no advice because I am only the mommy to a half Dachshund/half Jack Russell terrier, and thank God I didn’t give birth to this bearded lady! However, I am just overjoyed to experience all that goes with pregnancy: nausea, kankles, expanding waist line, random people wanting to touch me, strangers telling me what to do… know all of that fun stuff!

  • Kelly

    My first was a surprise and since my husband was COMPLETELY against having a child, I was not prepared and terrified. (the minute the stripe turned magenta my husband was all smiles and hugs and twinkly I was FREAKED OUT). With the first, I was not ready to be a mother and was mad that it was “thrust” upon me. I didn’t enjoy my pregancy, was sick for 5 months, didn’t buy any cute maternity clothes and moaned and complained the whole nine months. My sister was pregant at the same time and had complications. It was as if she was trying to have a harder pregancy than me. It was pathetic how we “competed” with our morning sickness. I am embarassed of my behaviour. The minute my son was born, I realized that he was not “just mine” any more. I used to sing to the radio at the top of my lungs in the car and he used to jump up and down in my belly to “dance along”. Once he was out of me I realized that there would be no more just him and me time and I was so mad that I took that for granted.
    So with my second, I was determined to enjoy every minute of my pregnancy. I bought cute maternity clothes, ate well to curb the nausea, excercised, did everything that I “should” have done with my first. I enjoyed my second pregnancy SO MUCH MORE. A plus: since I excercised with the second, my recovery was like nothing! (I could hardly walk after my first)
    My boys are 4 years apart, and I found that many things had changed with breastfeeding, availability of cute things, etc. so it was like starting over. Plus there were many things that I had to re-learn, like changing a diaper, believe it or not.

  • Talon

    Panicked. Completely panicked.

    But that’s because my son died four days after he was born from a heart defect that no one caught. Seriously. We took him home and everything. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. They have surgeries and transplants, but it wouldn’t have helped Rhys any if they had known. He had a very severe case, so severe that the doctors who saw the autopsy report (and yeah, I have a copy) were amazed he lived as long as he did. With no symptoms. None.

    So, strike 1.

    The following year, after a year and a half of trying to get pregnant I have a miscarriage that requires a D&C because the little bit of placenta attached to the empty sac was causing me to remain “pregnant.”

    Strike 2.

    So my final pregnancy, which ended with my daughter Ripley who is nine now, was filled with utter panic and fear. Ironically I was more afraid of miscarrying again, because after Rhys, it suddenly became hard for me to get pregnant. With him, I stopped the pill, and two days later was pregnant. With both the miscarriage and Ripley, I had to take fertility meds, because turns out I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and even though losing weight would have helped me get pregnant faster, my doctor was understanding, because that whole practice was just…stunned when Rhys died. And I couldn’t lose the weight anyway.

    I had thirteen ultrasounds, from five weeks up with Ripley; including a specialized one at 22 weeks to play, “Let’s all count the heart chambers, shall we?” My other personal favorite ultrasound game was, “My baby DOES have a brain, right? Please? Yes, I know I saw it last week, but show me again, please? Cause in these pictures it looks like she doesn’t have a brain.”

    Aside from that, I really didn’t DO anything different with the second successful pregnancy than I did with the first. But I also didn’t have that feeling of incredible competence that Rhys had given me when they gave him to me. When I had him, I just felt…so right. I knew this child, I knew how to take care of him, what he needed, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or scared. I felt just…calm and competent. Never before, and never since have I felt that so strongly.

    So there you have it.

  • Kirsten

    I felt so much better with my second and third pregnancies, I miscarried after my first child as well.

    With my second and third I just knew what to expect better, knew better how I hoped things would go, but also knew I had such little control over all of it. Knowing that last part really freed me to enjoy the journey more.

    In the years since I’ve learned the really hard stuff comes so much later, pregnancy looks almost easy now:)

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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