It’s a bittersweet moment. That precise point in time that you recognize this will in fact be your last pregnancy, for whatever reason that may be.
And it is so vastly different from your first pregnancy. That very first time you realize you are going to be a mom, as a a new life forms inside your body…all the joys in the world filling your soul.
For your very last pregnancy flies by, with little time to care for yourself, soak in every new baby movement or even take baby bump photos like you did the first time around.
You are barely surviving life with a baby and toddler to wrap your head around basic baby prep.
But then out of nowhere it hits you, and hits you hard: this is the last time a child will hear your heartbeat from the inside. And you can’t help but tear up…
Many other differences come to mind with first baby vs. last.
Interest in your pregnancy
Every friend and family member will show explicit interest in your pregnancy, reaching out for details on your due date, baby names and how your morning sickness is progressing. You’ll feel empowered and extra special knowing that you’re preparing for a very important role, with so many people concerned about your well-being.
You’ll notice a bit of decline in the number of times people actually ask about you or baby, how you’re feeling or if you need a hand. It can hurt inside when you compare it to that first experience.
But perhaps it could be due to the fact that friends and family now think you’re a pro and don’t need as much support as you did the first time around. And in a way that can be a compliment, but by the same token it can be downright depressing.
So whenever someone asks, “How are you feeling?” or “Do you know what you’re having?” I am often caught off guard and get a little emotional. Blame it on the pregnancy hormones or what not, but feeling my eyes swell up with happy tears every now and then became a common experience…especially when random strangers did things like offer with groceries bags or reach out to touch my belly in admiration — definitely not annoying during your last pregnancy!
You take week by week photos to show your “bumpdates” and recap on what fruit or veggie baby most closely resembles, making sure to journal every new sensation you experience. You even have time to pamper yourself as you embrace that natural pregnancy glow and pencil in a maternity photo shoot.
What belly pic, say you? With your second or last pregnancy you’re lucky to get a handful of belly photos, and many by accident when a friend tags you on social media! Sadly, it’s usually a time issue…with more kids and less time, being the culprit.
With your first pregnancy, your health is of utmost importance. You follow all the dietary guidelines to avoid all the soft cheeses, raw meats and processed foods possible, and buy all-organic because eating healthy for baby is a MUST.
You go to bed early each night, making sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep and napping when tired.
You take long, relaxing showers and even manage to treat yourself to the bi-weekly mani-pedi and dress in cute maternity clothes.
Meals usually consist of left-overs or whatever the kids are eating. You feed them first and then after those picky eaters finally eat, you can take a couple bites. Fruits and veggies are an afterthought.
You are lucky if you get 5-6 hours of sleep a night, after getting the kids to bed and then rise bright and early to gather shoes, coats and school lunches.
Your daily attire consists of t-shirts and leggings, and if you’re lucky to shower each morning without the kids busting in, it’s quick and more of a chore.
Your room will be filled with flowers as visitors flock in from near and far to meet your new bundle of joy and there’s so much reason for the excitement of a first baby.
You’re lucky to get 1 or 2 visitors besides baby’s daddy. It’s just the reality. When you’re no longer a first-time mom, friends and family will wait to visit once your home and baby is a few weeks old (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for germ-a-phobes).
But it can also make for very lonely experience and not help if you’re dealing with postpartum depression.
Yes it’s true that the first pregnancy is much more of a new experience and therefore a bit more exciting for everyone. So of course in comparison the last, will seem less eventful.
As different as the two experiences can be, I think it makes it even more important to remember to cherish that last experience with all the highs and lows it comes with, because it is equally as special.
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.