I don't know what it is about a pregnancy announcement that pulls the "weird" out of some people, specifically when it's not your first baby but, instead, your second. Things people feel fine saying to women during their second pregnancy are often inappropriate, off-the-mark, and sometimes downright insulting. What happened to that simple, "Congratulations" or the, "I'm so happy for you" I received during my first pregnancy? The baby was created with my partner in (technically) the same way, so why is everyone acting so weird about it? I don't remember asking for the unsolicited advice anyway and yet here we are (again), only this time I'm more easily offended because experience.
During my first pregnancy, I fully embraced all the comments and suggestions people made because I'd never been a mother before. I wanted their advice. Sure, I would have discovered the ins and outs of putting a stroller together or all the horrible things that would happen during child birth at some point and — as all parents do — through experience. However, during my first pregnancy I was up for any and all "heads starts," I could possibly get. Something changed during my second pregnancy though, and I didn't need, or want, people's good-willed interjections.
The second pregnancy was familiar. I knew what to expect, I knew how my body would handle things, and I knew the end product would be a baby I'd have to help keep alive. While no two pregnancies are the same and a second pregnancy presents a slew of unique challenges all on its own, I'd already done it once so I knew my partner and I would figure it out. What I couldn't figure out, however, were the type of things people said to you during your second pregnancy. Things that still echo in my head and to this very day.
"You're Showing Sooner Than You Did The First Time"
Why in the hell anyone would feel like this is OK to say to a hormonal woman (or any woman), is beyond me. Maybe my body remembered the pregnancy thing and maybe it snapped right back to doing it's thing. Then again, maybe it's none of your business how big I am.
"That Was Quick!"
Are you trying to insinuate you know what goes in between my partner in the bedroom? Last I checked, we're two consenting adults who love each other so if we had relations and created a baby it's, you know, our business. However, thanks for pointing out how healthy and active my sex life is, I guess?
"Two Feels Like Ten Children, You Know"
When you tell a woman this, you're basically saying, "What were you thinking?There's no way you can handle this." It doesn't change the fact she's pregnant, though. In fact, all it does is enforce a doubt she probably already has.
Before my second, yeah, I thought about how difficult another kid would be when going to the store and trying to sleep and all the extra laundry. Still, the baby's coming, ready or not.
"The Second Baby Will Be Easier"
Uh, really? My second baby was way more high maintenance due to his digestive issues so not only is this false but it also negates just how hard it is to take care of any baby, whether it's your second or your eighth.
"How's Your Other Child Handling The News?"
Cue all the sobbing because, please, don't ask a question like this! We're already feeling so much guilt, we can't handle another thought about how this new baby will change everything in our life.
My daughter was a champ throughout my second pregnancy and continued to be the best big sister through those early days of having a fussy newborn in the house. Kids are resilient and can handle more than the credit they're given. Will there be a transitional period for all involved? Of course, but "transition" doesn't mean "hellscape."
"Are You Hoping For A Girl/Boy This Time?"
I'm hoping for a healthy baby. I'm hoping for a baby who doesn't kill me when I push him or her out of my body. I'm hoping for a million dollars to magically pop up from nothing. Just because I have a girl already doesn't mean I wouldn't love another girl. Likewise, don't assume I wouldn't enjoy a boy. Just don't assume anything unless it involves assuming I'd love to have some alcohol to handle this conversation (but can't for 9+ months).
"You'll Be So Tired With Two. Like, All The Time."
Yeah, and I'm tired with one. Actually, I was tired before I ever had one. Fatigue is part of life.
Being tired doesn't change wanting to have a second baby, or even having the first because what I've discovered is, honestly, it's all worth it. Thanks for reminding me of how little sleep I'll get, though. It really makes me feel better about my life choices.
"Childbirth Should Be So Much Faster This Time"
Newsflash: My second birth took nearly the same amount of time as my first two and a half days. That's a lot of time to reflect on all the comments people have made throughout the second pregnancy. Sure, there's always that one unicorn of a story where the baby nearly "walked right out" after only 20 minutes of labor but not for me and not for a lot of women on their second pregnancy. Though, statistically speaking, labor is supposed to be quicker the second time around but every labor and delivery is different for every woman and different for every woman with every pregnancy.
"I Bet Your Kid Will Be Best Friends"
This is a nice sentiment, isn't it? To find your best friend in your own home would be amazing.
However, I hated my younger brother until adulthood. Now, we're great friends, sure, and I've found the same is semi-true for my two kids. They're BFFs one minute and mortal enemies the next (though, this stage lasts the longest). Maybe at some point, they'll be close but, for now, it is what it is and we're OK with it.
"Two Is A Nice, Even Number"
Two is an even number of children. You're so right on the numerical front. What if I tell you I want three? Or five? Or what if I weren't pregnant with my second and my partner and I made the decision to only have one? Does any of this make me a bad mother? The truth is, we've struggled with wanting a third because of health reasons but that doesn't mean, if it happened, we preferred the nice even number of two and just "messed up." Maybe I had a third baby who passed in utero and this is technically pregnancy number four, then what? It's best to re-think this comment altogether because seriously — my body, my business.
Generally, people don't mean any harm when they say some or any of the above. I get it, I do. Though it's best to remember the old adage when a woman is pregnant and hormonal, already caring for one child and preparing for the second: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it. If you must anyway, just be prepared for the consequences, for hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman scorned (so I hear).