The Second Child: How Pregnancy and Parenting Differ Among Children


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When I was pregnant with my first child, I routinely stayed hydrated with water, anxiously awaited doctor’s appointments so I could stay apprised of the baby’s development, was terrified of taking anti-nausea medication because of the child born with lobster claws in the Daubert case (lawyers, you know what I’m talking about), and diligently avoided tuna and shellfish.

With my second child, I was downing five cups of coffee per day, “forgetting” about doctor’s appointments, popping Zofran with reckless abandon and, in desperate times of starvation, eating Cuban sandwiches straight off convenience store shelves. (Putting the sandwich in the microwave will kill the Listeria, won’t it?).

With my second child, the five-second rule became the five-minute rule. I breastfed my first child for three days. My poor second child didn’t receive even a drop of colostrum. Hey, it wasn’t for me.

My first child had a closet full of haute couture that would impress even Joan Rivers. My second child received a closet full of our first child’s stained hand-me-downs.

With my first child, I was terrified to leave the house and risk exposure to germs. I took my second child to a zoo with my then-toddler in the dead of summer when she was ten days old. (Maybe if I expose her to lots of monkeys, she’ll be immune from the Ebola virus when she joins the Peace Corps in 2032).

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I was consumed with the “newness” of the entire experience. I found myself saying things like, “Oh my God, I just felt her kick!” and “Jason, get the camera, it’s time to take the 9-week belly picture for her album!”

When I was pregnant with my second child, the conversation became, “I can’t freaking sleep because she’s kicking my ribs!” and “If I rub my skirt really hard with a Shout Wipe, do you think anybody will notice the vomit residue? I’m too huge to bend over and change.” When I was pregnant with my first child, my baby bump became a photographed shrine. With my second child, it became my first child’s pillow and, occasionally, chair.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I loved when strangers stopped me on the streets and asked when I was due and whether I was having a boy or girl. When I was pregnant with my second child, I became homicidal when somebody asked me about being pregnant. Or gave me dirty looks when I was downing that fifth cup of coffee.

On the same token, when I was pregnant with my first child, I was a panicked, uncertain mess. With the second child, I had an idea of what to expect and didn’t have time to stress about the pregnancy because I was so busy chasing a toddler while juggling a career and marriage and attempting to reach Domestic Goddess status. (Never made it to the latter).

With my second child, I knew that most of what I thought mattered during my first pregnancy didn’t really matter at all.

What does matter is that she is loved, nurtured, and raised to feel a sense of validation and belonging in our family and the world. What does matter is that she, like our first daughter, is raised to treat people kindly and to understand her purpose and work hard at fulfilling it.

What won’t matter, dangit, is whether I ate and enjoyed a giant slice of brie during my pregnancy.

How did your first and second pregnancies and child rearing differ and do you think it made a difference?

Cheers!

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    17 Comments on The Second Child: How Pregnancy and Parenting Differ Among Children

    1. Emily
      August 5, 2016 at 9:23 am (3 years ago)

      I have about 1,000 pics of B’s first year. S has maybe 10 and 9 are from my iPhone.

      Reply
    2. Claire
      January 31, 2016 at 11:14 pm (4 years ago)

      I haven’t heard a reference to Daubert since law school! And I’m just now learning the differences with a second but my pregnancies and deliveries were SO different!

      Reply
    3. Lisa
      January 29, 2016 at 11:22 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol! With my first two, I did yoga and limited all caffeine…was definitely different with my last two! At least I am not the only one!!

      Reply
    4. Rhi
      January 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm (4 years ago)

      We’re having our first (11 weeks along) and everything is meticulously organised. I suspect this will be the same with a second cause that’s just the kind of people we are. Hopefully with less anxiety though

      Reply
    5. Life Breath Present
      July 8, 2015 at 10:03 am (4 years ago)

      My experience with this second pregnancy is actually a little more involved, in some ways, than with my first. I think, for me, it’s less learning about my choices and making (or explaining to others) those choices, and more of just being pregnant.

      Last pregnancy, I was stressed and tired and working too hard (as usual) and overall struggling with a multitude of changes at once, not least of all actually being pregnant. Now that things are different and a bit more settled, I’m able to enjoy this pregnancy without the internal or external stress.

      But, I am eating more cold cuts and tuna this pregnancy lol! 🙂

      Reply
    6. Kristen from The Road to Domestication
      July 6, 2015 at 1:24 pm (4 years ago)

      Goodness, I’m still trying to get pregnant the first time LOL Thanks so much for taking the time to link up with us over at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again on Friday!

      Reply
      • jenniferdaku
        July 7, 2015 at 8:55 pm (4 years ago)

        Thanks Kristen, and good luck in your endeavors!

        Reply
    7. Liz
      July 6, 2015 at 10:43 am (4 years ago)

      Things are so different between one and two. I always tried to buy new things for my youngest but she got a lot of hand me downs. But I think about that my youngest has the benefit of not being the guinea pig. We get to fix our mistakes by the time we get to her!

      Reply
      • jenniferdaku
        July 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm (4 years ago)

        I love that philosophy, Liz! The second time around is a lot easier.

        Reply
    8. J @ A Hot Southern Mess
      March 12, 2015 at 10:13 pm (5 years ago)

      I have heard that the five second rule turns into the 5 minute rule a few times, so it must be true! Loved this post. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
    9. Robin @ The Golden Rule Kids
      March 11, 2015 at 10:37 am (5 years ago)

      It is so funny how things change or how we change form the first child to the second child. I can really relate to this. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      • jenniferdaku
        March 11, 2015 at 11:00 am (5 years ago)

        Thanks for stopping by Robin! Glad you’re on board with this and Cheers!

        Reply
    10. Bridget/The Recipe Wench
      March 9, 2015 at 2:23 pm (5 years ago)

      I loved that! My two pregnancies were different as well. I was so worried with the first — hardly took the time to enjoy. My second was completely relaxed and enjoyable! Thanks for sharing on the Inspire Me Mondays Link-Up!

      Reply
    11. Stacy
      March 5, 2015 at 9:53 pm (5 years ago)

      beautifully written:)

      Reply
      • jenniferdaku
        March 7, 2015 at 7:12 pm (5 years ago)

        Thanks Stacy! I’m sure you can add some interesting insight about having a third 🙂

        Reply
    12. Loren
      March 5, 2015 at 6:14 pm (5 years ago)

      You are so witty and I love reading your blog!

      Reply
      • jenniferdaku
        March 7, 2015 at 7:13 pm (5 years ago)

        Thanks Loren- you’re my jam.

        Reply

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