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Motherhood’s Rollercoaster: First Pregnancy vs. Subsequent Ones – What You Need to Know!

March 11, 2024

Comparison and Expectations in Motherhood

You may have experienced this or you may have not, but motherhood is one big, you know what swinging contest. It’s the ultimate keeping up with the Joneses experience. The opportunities you’re able to provide for your kid or not, whether it’s whose kid is hitting what milestone first. My kid can do x, y, z, he can yours. Walking, talking, potty training, and more.

Even birth and postpartum is this big competition, if you will. Who went naturally? Who didn’t? Did you give birth vaginally, or did you do a c section? Oh, you breastfed? Okay. But for how long? Word to the wise, do yourself a favor and be very careful of what you consume on the Internet.

It will literally drive you nuts. It’ll get in your head, and you’ll start to compare yourself to every other mom out there. And, please, do yourself a favor. Stay away from those crazy mom Facebook groups, because they’re literally the worst.

The overwhelming feeling of being pregnant for the first time

But today, I wanna talk specifically about pregnancy. Whether it’s your first time, second time, or your 4th kid, none of those experiences are easy. And I remember being pregnant for the first time and having it be this very super overwhelming feeling throughout the whole process.

You know, it was only a matter of a week after finding out that I was pregnant where I started puking what felt like all day.

There’s not in my mind, there’s no such thing as, like, morning sickness. It’s all day sickness. And that was on top of balancing work, moving to a different state, and then, of course, diving into all the research that I did regarding vaccines, specifically with the Rhogam shot.

Learning and Preparation for Pregnancy

That is one that I really had to go back and forth on, and I’ve done a podcast episode on that I suggest you listen to if you are rh-negative.

My RhoGam Rebellion

My RhoGam Rebellion

The Rhogam Shot: A Personal Journey Challenging Modern Medicine Norms and Practices In this episode, I'm discussing the RhoGam shot. We're talking about what the RhoGam shot is, why ...

I had to find the right pediatrician who would support my midwife, and would support my decisions when it came to what I didn’t didn’t want for my labor delivery and just my prenatal care as well, postnatal care.

I was finding a doula and interviewing those people, looking into breastfeeding tips, tricks. Do I get a ring sling? Is a carrier better? I mean, you name it, I researched it. And all of these things felt like cramming for an exam when you know you have to figure it all out within the next 35 weeks after you find out you’re pregnant.

Lucky for me, I’ve lived most of my educational career cramming for the exam. That’s just how I rolled in college. So it felt like second nature to me in a way. But, regardless, it’s hard.

It can especially be difficult when you’re doing it alone, whether it’s that none of your friends have kids yet, maybe you don’t have siblings like myself, so you don’t have that kind of person to lean on, whether it’s a sister or a sister-in-law.

You know, maybe your friends are out of that season of life, you know, and they’re at cheer competitions and soccer games versus cleaning a blowout diaper.

They’re just way beyond it, so they can’t relate so much anymore. They’re just not in it.

Or maybe you have friends that just never even wanted kids. You know, you can definitely go into this whole woe is me hole where you think that you’re alone, so to speak.

But the fact of the matter is 385,000 babies are born every day. You are not alone in this. You will be able to find community. You will be able to find support just as I did.

And I was definitely one of those women who initially felt alone, especially in that first trimester where no one really knew. Right? And no one knew what I was going through because you just don’t tell people.

Right? At least I am. I’m a very conservative private person. I didn’t tell any of my best friends until I was about 11 weeks, And I was dealing with a lot. You know, I don’t have a thyroid, so that first trimester of balancing your thyroid levels is super, super important.

That’s something I didn’t know. I didn’t know that they would get all wonky, and so I tried to manage that. And I have friends that have multiples. Right? And I would look at them, and I would think, wow.

Like, they got this. They’ve done this. You know? Like and they made it seem so easy whether they had 2, 3, 4 kids, whatever. I mean, even my husband’s old boss, his wife, has had 12 children.

But the truth is it never gets easier. Yes. Do you get better at it? For sure Right? Certain things just become second nature.

healthy pregnancy guide - Maren with hands on belly

Healthy Pregnancy Free Guide

[OPT IN] Healthy Pregnancy Guide

Monitoring and managing risks during subsequent pregnancies

But there are trials and worries with each pregnancy. You’re just trying to get through the 1st 18 weeks. Right? Because then your likelihood of a miscarriage decreases significantly. And then you can tell the world that you’re pregnant.

Then you’re trying to get to 24 weeks, right, so that you can have a viable baby, and you don’t have to worry about anything like that. You know, staying in the hospital or losing the child.

Then if you’re like me and you’re shooting for a birthing center or a home birth, you’re looking at the 37 week mark because that is your next benchmark to ensure that that can happen.

Because anything before that, you would have to be in the hospital and your child in the NICU, etcetera.

It’s a constant worry. Like, you’re just trying to get to the next benchmark milestone, if you will. And although I have done this before, there are still worries.

For example, no. I don’t need to do any research on vaccines for my child. You know, if you asked me, I can recite them all to you. Right? You know, breastfeeding. I had a daughter that had a tongue tie.

I know to look for that this time rather than going through that struggle. And as far as breastfeeding tips and tricks, I mean, I breastfed her for 2 years. Right?

So I have that knowledge. I literally have the supplies down pat for what I’ll need for this next child, although there are a few things that I will change.

But this time, I’m considered high risk. And in my last pregnancy, I developed HELLP Syndrome, which is the most dangerous form of preeclampsia. I, you know, will probably do a whole specific episode on that, but the long of the short is it literally happens to less than 1%.

It’s, like, 0.8% of pregnant women that it happens to. And lucky me, I was one of them. Me, the unicorn. But I look at it… that it happened to me so that I can speak on it and educate other women.

So I try to find silver linings. Right? But now as a result of that, I’m being monitored heavily, which, yes, is also a blessing. Right? Because now they know what to look for.

And, quite frankly, I believe that women should all be treated as high risk so that these things don’t happen to them where they’re not told, you need to deliver this baby.

Otherwise, one of you is gonna die. Right? I mean, it’s just something that I think that all women should receive. But now that worry is in the forefront of my mind.

Right now, my research is, can I prevent this with other methods besides the baby aspirin? Will it happen again?

Talking to other moms that it’s happened to, what they did, what they didn’t do. Asking myself, will I ever get my home birth experience?

Coming to the conclusion, so to speak, that rolling the dice on having a 3rd, 4th, although that was really never mine and Nick’s plan anyway.

But, like, it’s just not gonna happen because it’s just not worth the risk of my life at that point. Right? Because every time you have a child, it’s happening later in life. You get the idea.

The impact of age on pregnancy risks and complications

And speaking of my age, I am 38 now. And while I don’t believe we have to have babies in our early twenties, It should go without saying that as you age, your risk of many things, including genetic mutations, like I said, preeclampsia, etcetera, increases.

And we had a scare with that as well where one of my tests came back with a 1 in 95 chance of Down syndrome. And then I had other tests, like the NIP test, which is the NIPT, which is literally almost 100% accurate. It’s 99.9% accurate, and that came back negative. Thank God.

And I was also given a high risk sonogram where they took extra images of the brain, the heart, and and different features on the baby to confirm that the baby was developing normally, which I totally recommend no matter what age you are.

Most places will not give you a high risk sonogram, and it was a night and day experience compared to my first one. I mean, the images you saw, the checking the heart and and that the valves were working properly.

Support and Advocacy for Pregnant Women

And the reason why I say that is because I have friends that have children who have spent months in the NICU. And these conditions were missed. The heart condition was missed in the sonogram.

So advocate for yourself as a mom and advocate for your baby that you want this sonogram done and find a doctor that will do it for you. I’m telling you. It’s worth it. So between the HELLP Syndrome, my age, like, there’s just all these new factors that are thrown in the mix.

Now I will say, like, in subsequent pregnancies, they’re not lying when they say that you definitely show sooner, but it’s because your body knows what to do, so to speak.

I definitely showed sooner this time around, which can be a total mind f*&$#* as well. That’s a topic for another day. But remember, God made this perfect design and is watching over you.

This is just a season, and you’ll get through it. And especially if this is your 2nd or 3rd baby, like, you know you’ve gotten through it before, you’ll get through it again. And let’s address the elephant in the room. Okay?

Navigating 2nd Pregnancy With A Toddler

We need to discuss the difference between having your first child and then going through pregnancy while you have a toddler. Folks, it is night and day.

Whether it’s dealing with morning sickness by yourself versus your child seeing you and saying, mama, okay? That always would break my heart when she would say that to me. She was so worried about me. 

Whereas when I was pregnant with her, the only one that really saw me getting sick was either my mom or my husband. Yeah. I knew how to combat it better this time around, but now I have this little person just so concerned about me every morning. You know? It’s awful.

Telling your child that they can’t snuggle with you or sit on your lap a certain way anymore because they always love to be on your belly or jumping. Like, that’s out.

Right? And trying to make them understand, well, what do you mean? Like, I used to be able to do that. You know? Trying to help them grasp the situation, which is obviously very difficult when they’re only 2 versus, say, 4 or 5. Right?

And no matter what the age of your first child is, it’s the back and forth emotional aspect of adding another new child into the mix and how your family dynamic’s gonna change.

How’s it going to affect all of you, especially your firstborn? And I discussed all those things in my previous podcast episode about the positives and negatives about being an only child versus having siblings, but it’s definitely something that weighs on you.

Changes in daily routine and activities during subsequent pregnancies

Not to mention your time factor. Okay? One of the biggest things I’ve noticed because I’ve been a working mom in both pregnancies is my lack of time the second time around.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I could squeeze in a workout whenever I wanted. Right? Whether it was in the morning, when I got home from work, you know, even midday.

Because sometimes if it was rainy at my job in New York, I would leave early, whatever it was. And or if I did have a tired someday of teaching a lot, I could come home and plop down on the couch and watch Netflix with my husband. Now stop it. Like, that’s laughable.

My routine consists of waking up, maybe having 30 minutes to myself like I did this morning to record this podcast

  • …then get dressed
  • … rush out the door to go to work
  • … teach all day
  • … get done with work
  • … pick up my daughter from my parents’ house
  • … and she’s usually waking up from her nap at that point
  • … then play and hang out with her
  • … feed her dinner
  • … bathe her
  • … and then we literally both go to bed at the same time.

Rinse and repeat. K?

And then on my day off, I’m running with her to her little class, or I’m cramming in doctor’s appointments and blood work because, obviously, you do all of that stuff when you’re pregnant. Right? You feel like you’re constantly at a doctor seeing someone.

So to all of those moms, those first time moms who are sitting back and reading, relaxing hey. Even if you have a newborn right now at home and you’re in your postpartum period and you’re getting to, like, read your book.

Like, they’re sleeping longer. Right? Enjoy it. I’m telling you. Enjoy it because it won’t ever be like that again in your next pregnancies. It just won’t. It will not.

And it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It’s just that your time and your schedule looks very different when you have multiples, and that is definitely something that I didn’t realize with my first.

And, you know, in hindsight, maybe wish that I had enjoyed more of that downtime versus, you know, worrying or whatever. I mean, in my postpartum period, I definitely binge watched Netflix. Like, you name it. I watched it. But if you are in that season, enjoy it. Because in your next one, it’s not gonna happen, homey.

It’s just not. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. There’s so much more we can unpack, and you can always reach out to me on Instagram to continue the conversation at @macrowley.

I will continue to create these podcast episodes discussing pregnancy, postpartum, and how to prepare in the next few months because I’m in it with you. And so make sure you stay tuned on that. And if you have any things that you wanna discuss or that are on your mind, let’s chat.

Shoot me a DM, and we can make it into content, and I can answer your questions. That’s what I’m here for.

Are you a first time mom?

If you’re a first time mom preparing for your baby to enter the world and want more of my tips to make sure that you have what you need or you have your list of, you know, how to get through labor and delivery, how to advocate for yourself, etcetera, etcetera, you can download my free pregnancy guide.

healthy pregnancy guide - Maren with hands on belly

Healthy Pregnancy Free Guide

[OPT IN] Healthy Pregnancy Guide

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

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