My Parenting Perspectives column from May 10 …
As I progress through my second pregnancy, more than three years removed from my first, I’m struck by the differences between the two. I’m carrying lower. My stomach grew bigger much sooner. I’ve felt a lot sicker.
A few people have credited the distinct experiences to carrying a boy versus a girl. Some of the differences can be attributed to changes in medical technologies or guidelines. For example, there are new recommendations for diagnosing gestational diabetes, making it more likely pregnant women will be diagnosed with the disease.
One pleasant change was when I scheduled my mid-March ultrasound. Unlike in late 2007, I didn’t need to drink roughly a gallon of water before the appointment. The scheduler didn’t explain why, and I wasn’t about to question her.
Less pleasant was the scare the ultrasound gave us this time, when it revealed a potential marker for a chromosomal abnormality. Thankfully a follow-up scan last month showed everything was fine with our baby boy.
But what most distinguishes this pregnancy from my last is the fact that I have been there, delivered that. You could say I’ve taken on a bit of a veteran’s attitude. It’s not that I don’t care, but the worry and obsessive tendencies that marked my first pregnancy are absent. This seems to be a universal experience among my mommy friends. You stop sweating the small stuff, so to speak. (Which is good, because with an August due date, I’ll be sweating enough as it is.)
Here are a few examples of the “been there, done that” differences, drawn from my personal experiences:
Time: During the first pregnancy you know down to the day how far along you are. During the second pregnancy you have to look at a calendar to remember what week gestation you’re in.
Caffeine: During the first pregnancy you abstain from all caffeinated products, even so-called caffeine-free sodas. During the second you guzzle a can of pop, or two, daily, finding the balance between functioning as the mother of a 3-year-old and staying under the recommended limit of 200 milligrams caffeine per day.
Diet: During the first pregnancy you’ve memorized list of verboten foods and avoid them like the plague. During the second you realize halfway through a deli sandwich with a side of sushi that, “Oops, I’m not supposed to eat that.” And then finish your lunch anyway.
Research: During your first pregnancy you devour every single book about pregnancy ever written. During the second you find your “What to Expect” book in a box of baby clothes and promptly use it as a paperweight.
Morning sickness: During your first pregnancy you learn that morning sickness was inappropriately named. During the second you remember that morning sickness was inappropriately named.
Sherri Richards is pregnant, has a 3-year-old daughter, and works for The Forum. She blogs at http://topmom.areavoices.com