There is one main difference between my first and second pregnancy – this second time around, I know what the hell is going on (mostly).
In pregnancy, especially for the first time, I think there is an energy of ignorance that feels like a trifecta of a mess.
I felt ignorance in…
Things I couldn’t possibly have known until I was “in it”.
For example, how having a baby would impact my relationships.
Things I didn’t know because I didn’t know it was something to know.
For example, options around informed consent + evidence-based research.
Things I didn’t want to know.
For example, what would happen to my body after birth.
My first time being pregnant
I would say my main feelings were excitement, fear and definitely ignorance.
I was beyond excited to become a mom. Every single day I dreamt about what my little guy would be like. I envisioned seeing my husband hold our son. I thought about going on long walks with him wrapped around my body. Every tiny sock I folded brought joyful anticipation around the tiny foot that would soon be inside.
And then there was fear and ignorance. I had no idea what was going on with my mood/hormones and how that was impacting so much of my new life. I was terrified of the physical action of birth. Truly how was this full grown baby going to make it out of me? I felt like I just had no way to grasp the magnitude of the changes that were happening with being pregnant and becoming a mother.
My second time being pregnant (2.5 years later)
I have one main feeling this time around and it is the feeling of empowerment.
This is not to say that I don’t still feel massive excitement and sprinkles of fear too. Obviously. And the hormones are real, always.
But I have come to understand that for me, being pregnant is like being cracked wide open. With that comes a lot of going inwards.
Pregnancy Painted in a Picture
I am in my garden pulling all the weeds and unwanted plants with the intention of replanting only the most healthy and beautiful seeds that will nourish me and my family.
I am standing naked in a field and forgetting that clothes exist because the warm breeze feels too good on my skin to think there’d be an alternative way to be in the world. All while knowing the weather could change brutally in an instant.
I am a puzzle put together, and now I find myself in a hundred different pieces, only to come together again to create an entirely new picture.
To feel all that while not knowing what is happening can feel like a type of trauma. Layer that with the world shouting how blessed you are (true) and how beautiful pregnancy is (true) and then we get to add the emotions of guilt and confusion.
This second time around I feel like I am doing a much better job of allowing this transition to move within me because I know how powerful + transformative this time is for a woman and why!
A short story
When I first found out I was pregnant with my second baby I sat down with my husband on the edge of our bed and asked him for something.
I asked him to be gentle with me.
There were a lot of painful moments in our relationship during my first pregnancy and especially in the 4th trimester. There were times when my emotions were spinning in a way that I couldn’t recognize or understand (and most definitely that I couldn’t control) and that was really hard on both of us.
There were times when I didn’t want to do things that I once had. Things that we did together. Late dinners, long walks, spontaneous trips and other things that didn’t feel “good” anymore. On top of that I developed anxiety (mainly around safety in public places) about halfway through my pregnancy and I was admittedly not the easiest person to be around.
So this time around, I have the knowledge to ask for what I need. Right now I need to feel supported. I need to be able to rest, to have time alone, to talk more about what I am going through and mainly to have some grace around the fact that I am not always going to be “rational.”
It is going better than last time but we still definitely hit some bumps and I have an idea as to why.
Parenting and Re-parenting
Becoming a mother forced me to reexamine my own family experience. I all of a sudden had a very different relationship with my own family now that I myself was not just a daughter and sister but also a mother.
The way that translated into my marriage was that I felt flooded with so many ways that I wanted things to be different with the family we were creating together. Often those moments would hit in a way that looked like my husband doing or saying something that felt triggering and I would flip. A simple comment or thought could feel so extreme.
I know that isn’t “good” for me to get so upset, but here is what it is: for me pregnancy is being completely exposed while also feeling incredibly intuitive, determined and a bit reckless. That combination is like a wild release that is all based on the soul.
That is a lot. A lot on the woman experiencing it and a lot on those around her. But there is no other way.
That is the birth of a mother. And it is the most magical experience of my life.