momtribe

9 Ways That Pregnancy is Different the Second Time Around

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I am really good at being pregnant. During my first pregnancy I was a champion student— I read every book and article, I took every class and I hung on to advice given to me by those mothers who came before me. Just a few of the topics every pregnant woman is sure to find herself Googling include:

When does morning sickness end?

Can I eat _____?

Signs of Labor

What does a real contraction feel like?

On the research front, I had it covered. Then, I had my son and had to learn a whole new skillset: Parenting. These learning moments come in waves and I just recently (after 2.5 years of toddler bliss) started a new one: Parenting While Pregnant. Holy moly things are different this time around. How did I have time to read so much about mucus plugs and pre-eclampsia before? They say every pregnancy is different and that is the truth! Here’s all the ways that pregnancy is different your second time around.

1. You Will Look Pregnant 5 Minutes After Conceiving

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. But that bump comes fast when your uterus already knows what to do. During your first pregnancy you stare at yourself in the mirror at 16 weeks pregnant telling yourself that there’s no way it’s gas bloat and that you do have a bump. At 16 weeks your second time around, you look (and may even feel) like you’re 22 weeks.

2. You Will Eat Whatever You Please

Everything in moderation is a good motto to go by, but when you’ve already been through this rodeo you know that obsessing over every single thing you eat doesn’t have to be your norm. For my first pregnancy, my body was a temple that no soft cheese, sushi, coffee, Diet Coke or lunch meat shall enter. This time, the recommended caffeine intake is something I follow religiously (yes, I ration out my small cups of coffee throughout the day to survive), I realized Diet Coke helps my morning sickness, and if I want to eat something, as long as I’m getting it from somewhere that doesn’t have a B Health Grade or from a gas station, I’m good.

3. You Don’t Sweat the Body Changes as Much

With my first pregnancy I gained 40 pounds and stressed about swelling, stretch marks and varicose veins. This time around, ehhhh not a big deal. It took me a while to lose the weight and feel comfortable in my skin again, but it did happen so I’m not going to stress out.

4. You Treasure Sleep More Than Anything

Okay, you treasure your first born and your partner, but if your first-born kid is like mine, then sleep is fickle and far from reliable. I’m with you on missing that much needed sleep at night. Also…

5. You Really Miss Pregnancy Naps

Like, really. I napped A LOT when I was pregnant the first time around. This time, if my husband takes the toddler to play so I can get some mid-day shut eye it’s like my own personal version of a party.

6. Your Symptoms May Be Different

No two pregnancies are cookie cutter, so it only makes sense that your symptoms are different the second time— unless you are like my unicorn friends who manage to “feel great” their whole pregnancy, but that’s another story. For example, I never experienced a migraine in my life until I was pregnant with Baby #2 and HOLY. CRAP. Ouch.

7. You Don’t Worry About the Birth That Much

So, I realize this one is really subjective, if you had a stressful birth experience prior to this pregnancy you may have prenatal anxiety, which is totally normal, but if you are like me, and you had a positive birth experience the first time, you know it’s going to hurt like hell, but it is SO WORTH IT (you also already know how awesome mesh undies and adult diapers are).

8. You Realize the Baby Crap You Don’t Need

First pregnancies are exciting for many reasons and one of them is that you get to buy (or be bought) a ton of baby stuff from toys to swaddles and from things like The Windi or a Pee Pee Tee Pee. Seasoned mamas know what essentials they need, all of the clutter that doesn’t even work and the reality that your kid doesn’t need much but mommy and milk for the first 6 months anyway. *However, if something amazing came out since my baby was a baby, then you’re right that I’m going to definitely buy it

9. You Know Mother’s Love

Having a baby is the craziest experience ever, becoming a mom is one of those surreal, magical things that can’t be put into words. You feel so connected to this little person that you grew inside of you and reciprocally, they love you more than anything in the world right back. I had a lot of anxiety the first time around about being a “good mom” and whether I’d be doing things “right.” I can assure you there have been days where I’m not a good mom, I definitely don’t do everything right and my kiddo still loves me nonetheless. I just can’t wait to share that love with another baby— and watch my first born (hopefully) fall in love, too!

We all have our own parenting experiences, pregnancy experiences, birth stories, battle scars, parenting styles and philosophies, but I think it’s safe to say it’s different for everyone the second time around. Now, I’ll get back to you if we ever decide to do this for a third time.

9 Ways My Sorority Prepared Me for Motherhood

"From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it."

As I get older and (I’d like to think) wiser, I can’t help but look back on the road that led me to where I am today. I only graduated with my undergraduate degree four years ago, but being married and a mom makes it feel like it has been three times as long. Instead of drinking wine out of a bag I go for a moderately priced bottle, and my evenings are spent picking up toddler toys and cuddling on the couch with my husband instead of doing whiskey shots and dancing to bad top 40’s music.

I always was designated the “mom” of my friend groups, not in that I always carried the Advil, was the first to show up with ice cream during a break-up, or because I really knew how to rock some high waisted jeans, but because I just always felt that it was a part of who I was. When I was pregnant I took classes, I read books, and I consulted with online mom groups way more than I’d like to admit. Here I am now, the parent of a 14 month old in the trenches of toddlerhood, wondering how I made it through my first year and how I learned to parent. Then I had an unbelievable revelation: my sorority prepared me for motherhood.

You’re probably imagining every awful stereotype that has been perpetuated by the film industry and the news, but that’s what those are, stereotypes. I gained so many valuable life-lessons from being a part of my sorority, and so many of those can be applied to motherhood.

1. I can withstand impressive volumes and decibels of noise

There is no noise level like the noise level of a room of 150 girls before a chapter meeting. Nothing except the noise of a toddler running rampant on a bunch of Fisher Price toys. Not only am I embedded with the ability to handle decibels of that caliber, I can also command a room of loud college girls or toddlers within seconds.

2. I am all about singing songs

I still love the songs we sang in my chapter; I sing them to my child pretty often. Especially a lullaby which (in my most wishful of thinking) would put my child to sleep. Either way, those recruitment songs with their catchy beats and hand motions and clapping trained me perfectly for what I endure on a daily basis. If You’re Happy and You Know It? Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star? Literally any Disney hit from the past 30 years? Get on my level, y’all.

3. I can pull an all nighter and still fully function the following day

All nighters in college and all nighters as a parent are two different worlds. One thing that they do have in common is that every time I’ve done it, I’ve been surprised that I survived. I would like to thank my days as a sorority girl for my ability to withstand functioning on two hours of sleep with a boxed wine hangover all while volunteering at 8 a.m. I now stay away from the boxed wine and drink the good stuff, but this is just as applicable when you're parenting with a hangover. I would also like to thank my days as a sleep deprived sorority girl for teaching me how to utilize dry shampoo and make myself look like a human being. Seriously, I'd be nothing without you. 

Advice for new moms: Invest in dry shampoo before you even make it into the third trimester of pregnancy, you’ll thank me later.

4. I recognize the importance of tradition

Something that I’ve always loved about my organization is that is was built on such foundational traditions. When I was initiated, my organization had been around for 113 years. That’s 113 years of holding up values and sisterhood, 113 years of unconditional love and service to the community. Starting traditions that hold true within my own family is something that is so important to me because when I’m old and senile looking back at the start of our family, I’ll know again just how important those traditions are and how much they help you to grow.

5. Crafting is a necessary skill in life

I’ve always been on the crafty side of things. I’m not an artist by any stretch, but I am pretty damn creative and I can get crafty when I need to. My child is only a toddler, so the crafting only goes so far at the moment with Halloween costumes and homemade decorations for his first birthday party. If my obsessive crafting for twins (twin littles, that is) taught me anything it's that I need to always use a stencil when it comes to lettering, and that crafting is good for the soul. Stay tuned for some future science projects, because they’ll be f*cking epic.

6. Catty Girls are a fact of life

Sigh. Catty girls are everywhere, from sorority rivalries to the playground. Women can be plain mean. Luckily from years of tight-lipped smiles, backhanded compliments, and knowing when and when not to bite back, I’ve carried with me the skills necessary to take on the mean girls, even if those girls are also members of the PTA.

7. There is strength in numbers

Not all women are catty and competitive when it comes to recruitment and not all women are catty and competitive when it comes to motherhood (although I legit do not care that your little angel was walking at 6 months and sleeping through the night since birth). Half the battle of getting through motherhood comes from support from my friends. Friends who are also my sisters, friends who have kids, and even friends who don’t. It’s a hell of a lot easier to get through the B.S. and celebrate the big wins when you have your tribe by your side.

8. Squad Gear

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From the moment I accepted my bid I imagined myself with my letters. I then immediately plastered them on everything: my car, my purse, my outfits, hell I even had a belly button ring with Greek letters on it (not my proudest moment). Little to my surprise, I did the same thing when I found out I was pregnant. I traded in my lavalier in for a necklace with my child's initial on it, and I swear within minutes of seeing those pink lines I was ready to order every “mama bear” product they had on Etsy. Zero shame up in this game.

9. Sorority Wardrobe and Mom Wardrobe Go Hand in Hand

Speaking of mom shirts, let’s talk about how my sorority prepared me for the greatest thing of all: looking cute AND comfy. Am I aware that walking around in a huge t-shirt and running shorts (that I never run in) makes me look like I rolled out of bed? Yes. Do I care? No. I dressed like that in college on campus and it was socially acceptable. Now that I’m a mom I can do the same exact thing and it’s still acceptable. Beautiful. Half the time I think the barista at Starbucks is impressed when she sees that I put on mascara or that I'm wearing a shirt that matches.

My sorority gave me so many amazing memories, incredible friends, and to my amazement, the skill set I needed to take on the craziest sisterhood of all: motherhood.