I’ve been pregnant, well, many times. If you only count healthy pregnancies carried to term, I’d be on my sixth.
And I’ve noticed that there are lots of differences between the things you think, say and do when this is not your first rodeo — versus when it actually is.
First pregnancy: Can’t wait to put on your new maternity clothes! In fact, you start wearing them before you actually need to, just because you’re excited.
Last pregnancy: A funeral dirge starts playing in your head when you reluctantly drag the box of tired old maternity clothes out of storage.
First pregnancy: Know how many days pregnant you are, what size fruit the baby is, and what’s new this week in fetal development at all times.
Last pregnancy: A friend asks how far along you are and you answer, “Uh... five-ish months, I think.”
First pregnancy: Excitedly make your first OB appointment before the pee dries on the pregnancy test.
Last pregnancy: Put it off until 14 weeks or later, because everyone knows you really don’t do anything but pee in a cup and get asked if you have any questions (you don’t) before the 20-week ultrasound, anyway.
First pregnancy: “I can’t wait for my next ultrasound so I can see the baby!”
Last pregnancy: “Enough with the goop already! Do we really have to do another one of these?”
First pregnancy: Taking your prenatal vitamin is like your religion, and you started before you were actually pregnant.
Last pregnancy: “Um, yeah, I think I took one of those... this week...”
First pregnancy: Plan an elaborate pregnancy announcement for your husband (and then again for your parents and in-laws). Record it and put it on YouTube.
Last pregnancy: Leave the positive pregnancy test on the bathroom counter and figure your husband will see it eventually. Your parents find out on Facebook.
First pregnancy: Use spreadsheets to track your daily water intake and the number of Kegel repetitions you’ve done.
Last pregnancy: You can’t remember your children’s names or whether you ate breakfast that morning, let alone when you last did a Kegel.
First pregnancy: Obsessively read, highlight and annotate your copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and stay up late Googling every single pregnancy complication in the book.
Last pregnancy: You’re not really sure where it is, but you assume What to Expect is probably a coloring book for your toddler somewhere now.
First pregnancy: Husband vetoes all your cute baby names.
Last pregnancy: You veto all your older kids’ weird ideas (“We’re not naming the baby Voldemort or WWW-Dot-Com.”)
First pregnancy: Proudly display ultrasound pictures on the fridge, scan and send them to relatives, and post them online.
Last pregnancy: Find them crumpled at the bottom of your purse, with Cheerios stuck to them, three weeks later.
First pregnancy: Spend a weekend in your third trimester filling your freezer up with wholesome freezer meals for after the baby comes.
Last pregnancy: Plan to get by with cereal night for dinner three times a week for the first few months of baby’s life.
First pregnancy: Pass the time before your prenatal appointments leafing through pregnancy magazines and/or chatting with your husband in the waiting room.
Last pregnancy: Pass the time before appointments trying to keep your toddler from breaking things, climbing on the furniture or touching your urine sample (“That is not apple juice!”) in the office’s restroom.
First pregnancy: You schedule a prenatal massage to help you relax.
Last pregnancy: Your ideal relaxation would be spending 10 minutes alone in the bathroom, but you’d settle for your older kids trying a little harder to stop headbutting you in the stomach.
First pregnancy: Pack your hospital bag with scented candles, a journal, a pillow, massage oil and a tennis ball, and a stopwatch two months before you’re due.
Last pregnancy: Grab your camera on the way out the door and figure your husband can bring a bringing-home-baby outfit to the hospital later.
First pregnancy: You are teensy and cute well into the third trimester of pregnancy, at which point you simply look like a skinny lady shoplifting a basketball.
Last pregnancy: Your uterus is like a pop-up book by now, so no need to announce your pregnancy to anyone. You start showing immediately, and you spend the last month looking like a water buffalo.
Jenny Evans is a writer, a perfectionist, a night owl and a Mormon mom of six who makes jokes at her own expense and blogs about her messy life with a houseful of kids at Unremarkable Files.
You can also visit her on Facebook.