If you had told me back in 2014 when my husband and I first began discussing our goals and desires to start a family I would never have imagined that we would have four babies in the next seven years! Putting that even more into perspective, I only had a handful of months in those years where I was not pregnant or nursing. During this time while my children were growing, I was growing as a mother so I truly was a different person from my first pregnancy to my fourth one. From my first pregnancy to my last here are some things that I seemed to change my perspective on:
While I’m very aware that typical pregnancies last 9 months and trust me most of my babies made me wait a few days past their due date, my thought here is that the way time moves changes from the first pregnancy to the subsequent ones. With my first pregnancy, I had ample time to rest, prepare, and honestly, by the end, I was begging to meet baby! With my subsequent pregnancies, I found myself being shocked I was going into labor because I was wanting more time either to just create a few more memories with my baby or babies at home, to rest before the new baby, and/or just prepare.
For example, with my second pregnancy, I vividly remember hoping the precious baby girl in my tummy stayed in just a bit longer because we were about to have a snow storm and I wanted to spend the snowy weekend making memories with her two year old big sister. Baby girl had other ideas and decided to make a quick arrival ahead of the snow storm, which I’ll never forget, but the memory of wanting more time with her big sister is also something I’ll never forget. This pattern repeated as I welcomed our third daughter and finally our son. I remember always wishing for a few more memories before our family grew again and time flew faster with each pregnancy.
2. Relaxed rules
During my first pregnancy, I was so very concerned with making sure I followed every possible food safety rule. Seriously, this is just my personal experience so listen to your doctor and your body, but with my first pregnancy, I would religiously avoid eating deli meat or microwave it throughout my entire pregnancy. Fast forward to my subsequent pregnancies and as long as I was eating at a reputable establishment, I would allow myself to have the cold sub I was craving with no shame.
Same thing with caffeine intake. I remember with my first pregnancy I cut out caffeine entirely in the first trimester and then only had about one cup of coffee each day after that. Fast forward to my most recent pregnancy, where I was caring for 3 little ones while working full time, so let’s just say that more than one cup of coffee was non-negotiable. Seriously, relaxing on these rules never felt dangerous to me and luckily many of my close girlfriends seemed to share similar stories about relaxing around rules like this.
3. Body image
During my first pregnancy, I had no reference point. I remember worrying about every pound I gained, never truly feeling comfortable in my maternity clothes, and stressing I would never feel like myself again. With each subsequent pregnancy, I was able to accept the process of my body gaining the appropriate amount of weight to result in a healthy baby. I had figured out my maternity style and felt so beautiful during this special time! I ultimately learned that while my body will never look like it did pre-kids, I can accept the wonderful changes it has gone through. My body is strong and I love how it has provided for each of my children both during pregnancy and after through nursing.
4. Knowing weeks
During my first pregnancy, I marked each week off on the calendar and knew that baby was exactly the size of a banana. By my fourth pregnancy, I didn’t even find out I was pregnant until 12 weeks because I was so busy with the other little ones at home. I also felt like by the time I knew what week I was another month had flown by so I just started to refer to myself as 4 or 5 months pregnant versus weeks.
5. Nesting and insomnia
While I do remember the urge to nest and the lack of sleep at the end of my first pregnancy I think this stage intensified with each subsequent pregnancy. By my fourth pregnancy, I started dealing with the urge to nest around my second trimester. I don’t know if it was because with more kids we had more clutter, but I was thankful for this extra energy to put toward house projects that I usually dreaded. Insomnia, while tiring, did allow me to be most productive with nesting while my other children slept. Honestly, I think Mother Nature knows what we need, and having my sleep schedule adjust to less sleep while I was pregnant allowed me to better adjust to sleep deprivation I would deal with in the fourth trimester for feedings and diaper changes.
Overall I am a person who enjoys being pregnant and with each subsequent pregnancy, I enjoyed it a bit more! I knew going into it that pregnancy does not last forever and I truly cherished the special bond of having those little movements and kicks to myself. One thing that never changed during each pregnancy was our desire and prayers for a healthy pregnancy and baby. I know everyone can relate to these hopes and they only grow as we meet our baby or babies. Whether you plan to have one pregnancy or as many as you can, maybe this perspective will help you enjoy each one a bit more!