You would think that a woman pregnant with her second child would have a kind of "seen it all" mentality when it came to anything the outside world tried to throw at her. When you've been through the trials of pregnancy and child birth, everything else feels like small potatoes in comparison. Sadly, however, there are many cruel things you could do to a mom during her second pregnancy, too. Ugh, Get it together, people. Perhaps things are more magnified because this is not her first ballgame and, in fact, she has another ball in the air the size of a small human being she's already taking care of while simultaneously growing a human, but can we just take it easy on the people who are growing other people? Please?
At the beginning of my second pregnancy, I fancied myself a "pro" and an "old-timer." I really thought that after my horrible first pregnancy, with the constant vomiting and nausea, the gestational diabetes, and the postpartum depression, I'd have this one in the proverbial "bag." Yeah, I was wrong. Not only did I have a 2-year-old toddler who insisted I carry him, pick him up, and hold him the entire day no matter how pregnant I was but, for some reason, no one cut me any slack. Friends somehow expected me to want to go out all the time "before they never saw me again (again)," so there wasn't really a whole lot of understanding to go around. Instead, people invited me to plan their parties and, worst of all, they asked me questions that required me to use my brain. The nerve of them all.
In short, I feel like it was all too much to expect from a pregnant lady who was already attempting to raise a toddler. All I wanted was a nap and to not have my 2-year-old son touching me for like, six solid minutes. These two things would have been the biggest kindness. But alas, the world is cruel.
Ask Her To Plan Your Baby Shower Or Bridal Shower Or Any Kind Of Party
Here is a golden rule about pregnant women in general, but most of all, women who are pregnant with their second or third or fourth: do not ask them to plan your parties. That goes for your bridal shower, your baby shower, and for the love of all that is holy, please do not ask them to plan your bachelorette party.
I had to go to a bachelorette party when I was 9 months pregnant and it was just gross. Someone tried to dance up behind me at one point, and I knew that when he saw what I looked like from the front that he would run away screaming. He may have screamed, but the music was too loud to be sure.
Ask Her If She's "Hoping For A" [Insert Opposite Gender Of Child She Already Has Here]
People can't seem to help but ask a woman pregnant with her second if she's hoping she's going to have a baby who is the opposite sex of the one she already has. Why? What if she is perfectly happy sharing the hand-me-downs of the kid she already has? What if she has not desire to have "one of each?" I think it's fair to just not make assumptions about anything gender related. Better yet, just let the mom tell you what she's hoping for. (Prepare for her answer to be food-related, because pregnancy.)
People always asked me if I was hoping for a girl. I always said "yes" but secretly (and I don't know why I felt I needed this to be a secret) I wanted another boy. I loved being a "boy mom," and I loved the idea of having a brother for my big boy. Why was I afraid to say that out loud when people asked me if I was hoping for a girl? I can't say. But I do know that when they asked that question, I pretty much knew the answer they were hoping for.
Expect Her To Know How Many Weeks Along She Is
Oh, you want her to keep track of something in addition to chasing her toddler around, remembering to pack snacks for the stroller, and also remembering to make her next doctor's OB-GYN appointment? Yeah, cool.
When people asked me how far along I was when I was pregnant with my second, I would just stand there stuttering before I would shrug and finally be like, "I dunno." Because, I just can't with numbers right now.
With my first, I made multiple (yes, multiple!) books that documented my growing belly, my feelings, my dreams about what the baby would look like, and also kept careful track of each sonogram picture. The second baby? I think I have a corner of a drawer somewhere with a couple sonogram pictures shoved in and crinkled, but I'm not really sure.
Remind Her Of All The Things She Should Be Worried About
Well, hello grandma (I'm talking to you, random person or so-called well-meaning friend). Thanks for stopping by with your reminder of all the ways in which this pregnancy could go wrong and the possible birth defects that could befall my unborn child.
With my first pregnancy I scoured the internet for doom and gloom and what-ifs in order to steel myself for the possibility that things could go seriously wrong with my baby. Not because there was any medical reason for me to think this would happen, but because I am a worrier and it is something I really excel at. One of the blessings of my second pregnancy was that I was too damn busy dividing my time between dealing with 2-year-old son and puking in the toilet, to spend hours looking for things to worry about. So no, I didn't appreciate it when people asked me if I was "worried" about upcoming fetal tests or when certain tests were scheduled for. Frankly, I don't think that's anyone else's place to ask. Except, maybe, my child's actual grandma.
Deprive Her Of "Verboten" Pregnancy Foods
First pregnancy: you avoid cold cuts, too much caffeine, soft cheese, smoked salmon or meats, sushi, anything from the raw bar, alcohol and you limit your canned tuna consumption.
Second pregnancy: if I happened to be eating a smoked salmon bagel or some pasteurized camembert when I was pregnant with my second, it could be assumed that this was something of which I was very aware. One sign to onlookers could be that I was using my giant eight month pregnant belly as my table. If anyone dared to suggest that I not continue to eat whatever I was eating, I could not promise that my response would be rational. Because, you know, pregnancy hormones.
Suggest That She Take Naps
If you even say the word "nap" to a woman pregnant with her second child, she will either laugh in your face or kick you in the shins. You decide if you want to take that gamble.
Sure, a woman in her first pregnancy might have the luxury of taking day time naps, but a woman who already has a child doesn't stand the chance of a nap. That is, unless she lives in one of those magical houses that self-clean the tornado that her kid made that morning, or one of those houses where she has wonderful cleaning gnomes that do all the work while her kid naps so she can nap too.
Expect Her To Handle Basically Everything By Herself
A first-timer in the pregnancy game is treated like a delicate flower. People are careful about letting her stand for too long, making her walk far distances, or even allowing her to drink a second cup of coffee.
The super pregnant woman holding the screaming toddler while pushing the empty stroller uphill is a warrior. People don't pity this woman so much as revere her, and some are even afraid. Because she makes it appear as if she's handling it Olivia Pope style (because, well, she is) you might think she doesn't need any help.
I was a hot mess with Baby Number One, but by the time I was pregnant with Number Two, I had a system basically down. On the outside, I looked like I had it all figured out and, for the most part, I did. So it was surprising to people when I expressed that things were actually kind of hard and a little bit terrifying. I had to ask for some extra support from friends and family members, and even had to hire some extra help. People ended up being super supportive and helpful but they told me the reason they didn't think I needed help was because I seemed to be doing such a great job on my own. Which may have been true for the most part, but just because we may have "done this before" doesn't mean we couldn't use a helping hand every now and then. Or just someone to ask if we're OK. Just sayin'.