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Mendo Lake Family Life

Worried about the Pregnancy Police? Take a Chill Pill

Mar 03, 2020 12:22PM
By Pam Moore

The night before I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my biggest concern was finding an amazing restaurant where my husband and I could go to celebrate our anniversary. We found the perfect place, where I enjoyed way too much wine. At least it was organic. (I think.)

The next day, I peed on that fateful stick.

At the airport, instead of paging through Real Simple, I scrolled BabyCenter and nearly spit out the sushi I’d been devouring. I shuddered to think what other pregnancy laws

I’d unknowingly violated over the past 24 hours.

I also needed to know: Which fruit did my baby most resemble, five weeks, two days, and 17 hours into my pregnancy?

Two years later, while my toddler sat on the bathroom floor with a board book, an expired pregnancy test I found at the back of the linen closet revealed a faint plus sign. I waited until my daughter was asleep that night to hit the supermarket for a fresh test. I couldn’t muster the strength to take her to the store for one lousy item. That night, I fell into a dreamless sleep. Between pregnancy and toddler-wrangling, I didn’t care if I was carrying a peanut, a kumquat, or a glazed donut.

In hindsight, I wish I could have saved the energy I spent trying to have a perfect pregnancy that first time for other things—like taking my two children, now three- and five-years-old, to the supermarket.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who, if given a chance, would do things differently the first time around. A number of women gave me their best tips for making the first pregnancy feel like the second.

Chill Out Like many, Elizabeth Waterstraat grew more laid back with each pregnancy. She summarizes her three pregnancies in simple terms. “First: No coffee, no wine. Second: Some coffee, no wine. Third: Daily coffee, some wine.” Allison Schwartz also steadily increased her coffee consumption with each of her pregnancies, noting, “By pregnancy number four [cutting out coffee] was not an option.”

Joy Jackson, a mom of three, says if she could go back in time 12 years to when she was pregnant with her first, she’d put down her copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. “Experience teaches us we don’t have as much control as we’d like to believe,” says Waterstraat. “[Babies] will come out the way they want to come out. Not much you do will influence that. So relax, let go of ‘plans,’ and enjoy the journey.”

Enjoy It Caitlin Hardy fully enjoyed her second pregnancy, focusing on the experiences she’d have less, if any, time for once her newborn arrived. “I went out to dinner more, hung out with girlfriends more, did prenatal yoga every Sunday, ran around at the bike park with my toddler, nabbed every date I could go on with my husband.”

For Morgan McGarvey, a mom of a toddler and a newborn, enjoying her second pregnancy meant doing less, not more. “I gave myself many passes.” With her first pregnancy, she strictly avoided the prescribed dietary no-no’s, went to “every possible class,” and had her nursery decorated well before her due date. With her second, she skipped the classes, enjoyed some Brie cheese, and held off on buying anything for the nursery until after her baby arrived. “Both kids are totally healthy and each pregnancy was completely different,” she says.

Everything in Moderation Many women regret taking the idea of eating for two and getting plenty of rest a little too seriously. Laura Kurian, a mom of three, wishes she’d forced herself to exercise more during her first pregnancy. A dedicated athlete who enjoys running, Kurian says she was glad she only made that mistake once. “I was miserable during my first pregnancy. The second and third were so much better!”

Any mom will tell you, you can’t recreate the novelty (or the neurosis) of your first pregnancy…and that’s okay. Liz Willey, whose sons are 1 and 4, says she felt guilty about paying so much more attention to her first pregnancy versus the second. “But in the end,” she says, “I shouldn’t have worried. They are both nutty, happy boys!” 

This article was originally published on Parent Co.

To get Pam Moore’s free guide to crushing Impostor Syndrome, visit pam-moore.com.