Why a Second Pregnancy is Harder and What to do About it

Does your second pregnancy seem harder, despite it not being your first rodeo? Find our thoughts on why the second go around is actually harder, and what you can do about it.

8 reasons why your second pregnancy is harder and what you can do about it

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You might be surprised when you realize that your second pregnancy, despite experience, is harder than the first. Between the emotional hurdles and physical changes, the differences between your first and second pregnancy can be astounding.

People love to joke that you must have forgotten how difficult pregnancy can be to second time moms. I like to think, though, that it’s more than simply forgetting. There’s also a lot, physically, that happens sooner or more intense with a second pregnancy.

Plus there’s the bit about whole running around after the child you already have…

Before we delve deeper into the reasons why your second go around might suck a little bit more, I want to be candid about something.

I HATED BEING PREGNANT. Both times.

You’re never going to hear I LOVE BEING PREGNANT come out of my mouth because I didn’t love it.

I love my children and I genuinely think being a mom is the most important, fulfilling role I will ever have. But if I could have the universe magically deliver my baby via a stork, I would.

Then I wouldn’t have to give up wine. 

Somehow I decided that I wanted to and could handle being pregnant again. And I learned the hard way that – from the physical and emotional changes to just trying to balance everything – there are glaring differences between first and second pregnancies.

I’m not having a third to compare, so please don’t ask.

We’re sharing what we discovered, and what you can do about it so you can enjoy pregnancy and connect to your baby.

there are physical differences between a first and second pregnancy that can make it harder

8 Reasons a Second Pregnancy is Harder than a First Pregnancy

It’s Harder to Connect to the Baby

When it comes to a second pregnancy, it’s already harder to schedule appointments, keep track of medicine, update your pregnancy app etc. when you’re focused on caring for the family already.

With a second pregnancy, many women are simply too tired to enjoy pregnancy and take the time to connect. We cease to track what vegetable the baby is measuring up against or take weekly pump pictures. It’s almost just another chore.

In all honestly, I loathe “bumpdates” but I do wish I had a few more memories of my second pregnancy. At 27 weeks, I had taken a total of 1 belly picture. I didn’t even take any during our babymoon in Paris.

What you can do about it

You may not have time or be into tracking baby’s stats in an app or taking bump photos, but set aside five minutes a day to talk to the new baby. Consider a pregnancy journal, and continue to write in it after delivery.

How Can I Handle Two Children

Though expecting your first child is scary, the comparison trap sets in when you get pregnant again…and it’s a whole new level.

First, you’re afraid if another baby can be as adorable or funny as your first? How can there possibly be enough love to go around.

Second, you’re afraid of abandoning the older child completely. Again, will I be enough, can I love enough?

Those thoughts run through your mind daily. Of course, a second baby finds a way to carve out his own very large piece of your heart, without taking any love away from the older child. But it doesn’t mean the fear isn’t there.

What you can do about it

When the fear sets in, remember the love for your first was stronger than you could imagine and it will be for the second, as well. Involve your first child and have him talk to your belly or help fold clothes. Involving my older son helped me realize I really could be a mom of two.

though you may be fearful, you will find enough love for two!

Exhaustion Beyond Exhaustion

This is actually how I knew I was pregnant the second time. The extreme I’m going to collapse into an oblivion of sleep tiredness.

That pregnancy exhaustion is actually harder the second time. Because you’re busy running after a toddler, getting snacks, filling sippy cups, and focusing on anything but yourself or the fact that you haven’t showered or slept in a week. I’m still trying to catch up…

What you can do about it

Lean on your support system. Nap when the toddler naps. Have dad put him to bed. Take a sick day. Get takeout. Let your body rest when you can.

Everything Happens Sooner

Sure, the time flies by, but this really just means that you have a midnight acrobat keeping you up all night sooner. Your boobs hurt sooner. You show sooner – which means people touch you sooner and for more of your pregnancy.

I also gained more weight with my second. Probably because I now had no time to walk the treadmill and do yoga everyday.

All I wanted was labor to happen sooner! #howlongtillwine?

What you can do about it

Invest in things to make you comfortable. Get a few new nursing sports bras for extra support and compression socks for when the swollen ankles and feet set in.

Related: Pregnancy Must Haves You Didn’t Know You Needed

Labor is Likely Faster and Stronger

Just when you thought you knew how hard labor can be…

Second labors can often come on faster and stronger. Faster labor may sound appealing, but the intensity, at least for me, was well…intense.

My second labor was nothing like my first (which stalled). I barely had time for an epidural.

your second labor could be faster and stronger

What you can do about it

Have your hospital bag packed and a plan in place for your older child so you can focus on breathing and timing.

You’re Off the Pedestal

Instead of becoming a beautiful new mom, you’re already a tired, disheveled mess who probably needs a break now more than ever. Been there, done that, so no one really needs to cater to you, right?

People are very quick to help an expectant mother when she doesn’t know what she’s in for. They’re also very quick to dismiss how difficult pregnancy actually is because you’ve done it before.

What you can do about it

Regain your confidence and ask for what you need. Again, lean on the support system and vocalize when you need help.

Also, I always relished in the fact that most people left me alone with the second pregnancy. Less touching was okay in my book.

Related: Personal Development Books for Moms that Don’t Suck

You’re Judged Harder During a Second Pregnancy

You’re actually judged by the way you parent not only the child that’s living outside of you, but the one living inside of you. Should you be eating that? You’re going to try for the VBAC right? You better get your son into a toddler bed so he’s not jealous that the baby takes his crib. Your son threw his stuffed animal, teach him to be gentle around the baby.

Sheesh, I thought having one child was rough.

What you can do about it

Plan your responses to these nonsense questions ahead of time. Whether you want to address them head on reply with a simple f**k off, prepare yourself.

It’s Harder to Pick a Name

Almost every mom of two+ that I’ve spoken to have said it’s harder to settle on a name with a second pregnancy. Usually because they’re comparing to the first or considering how the two will sound together.

I struggled with this too…

My older son’s name is Caelan; it’s a strong, atypical Irish name for an American boy. We didn’t want our second son to have a more traditional name, and leave Caelan feeling different. I also never wanted to settle for some other obscure Irish name just so they match.

We ended up naming our second child Rory by the way. And by we, I mean me, at 4am mid contraction.

What you can do about it

My only advice here would be to not tell others what you’re thinking. It is harder to choose the second time, and outside opinions can make it even more difficult.

The One Reason a Second Pregnancy Doesn’t Suck

The one reason your second pregnancy might not be harder than your first is your confidence. AKA your your newfound ability to just not give a s**t anymore.

The second time around, you have more confidence in yourself as a mother and as a woman.  You sort of know what to expect without needing an internet stranger to tell you.

There were no email lists or logging into a baby app the second time. Shutting down unsolicited advice, asking people to stop touching me, and standing by my decisions as a parent came easier.

Because I’m a good mom…and SO ARE YOU!

Being a parent has brought me so much joy. Despite the lack of sleep and the toys I trip over daily. My kids have helped me let go of being a planner and to enjoy life’s experiences, even when messy and unplanned. I’ve learned that I don’t have time for the anxiety I used to dump into having everything perfect. I embrace our crazy, fun little life.

Welcoming a second baby into our world was amazing. Because our not so traditional world as a family isn’t so bad. I figured it out.

And you will, too!


What went through your mind with your second pregnancy? Share your best and worst moments with me!

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8 reasons why your second pregnancy is harder

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14 Comments

  1. January 1, 2019 / 9:22 pm

    This resonated with me more than anything I’ve read in a long time. lol. I did NOT like being pregnant with my son, and I’m quite certain that won’t change when we eventually have more kids. Everyone paying excessive attention to you and touching you is the worst. And I only have one bump pic cause I really hated it that much. lol. Thank you for reassuring me I’m not the only one who hated being pregnant.

    • admin
      Author
      January 2, 2019 / 9:13 pm

      You’re DEFINITELY not the only one who hated it! The problem is that it’s not acceptable to talk about hating it, even though I know very few people who actually enjoy having another human live inside them for almost a year. And yes, the touching is the absolute worst!!

      • Jen
        December 27, 2020 / 10:49 pm

        Yes!!! I hate being pregnant too!!! I would say the cool things are feeling baby move, (pretty miraculous) people are super nice to pregnant women (overall), and I feel very connected to the universe when pregnant. The physical, mental, and emotional toll are so insane!

  2. January 2, 2019 / 3:20 pm

    I’m in week 30 of my 2nd pregnancy and agree with so much of what you said! Although I really don’t mind being pregnant, I have also taken a grand total of one bump picture, I’ve barely given any thought to a name, and I’m worried about loving baby #2 as much as baby #1…. Also #howlongtilwine??? Best of luck to you, mama!

    • admin
      Author
      January 2, 2019 / 9:16 pm

      I keep saying I’m going to go home with a nameless baby!! It’s such a REAL fear that you won’t know how to love two kids..I know it’s different once the baby’s born but still, it’s such a weird concept to fathom, right!? Yes, I am totally counting down to wine!!

  3. January 2, 2019 / 4:35 pm

    This is so relatable for so many second time moms! I’m a labor & Delivery nurse and I have these conversations with my patients a lot! One good thing about second time pregnancy… you tend to be a lot more chill about everything! Great post!

    • admin
      Author
      January 2, 2019 / 9:17 pm

      Thank you =) My L&D nurse with my son was my life saver, I still remember her! You guys are the best! It’s so true, you definitely feel more in control and like you’ve got a handle on things the second time!

  4. January 3, 2019 / 7:05 pm

    Haha. This is so true. With my first I was posting a countdown on Facebook with how many weeks I had left. With my second, I figured out how much time I had left by following my cousin who was a week ahead of me. I also knew the pain that was coming and got more scared the second time with labor approaching.

    • admin
      Author
      January 4, 2019 / 3:12 pm

      It’s so scary thinking about experiencing labor AGAIN!! I ended up with a C with my first, so I had the pleasure of experiencing both…hoping it doesn’t happen again!

  5. February 6, 2019 / 10:10 pm

    I am not a mom and have never been pregnant, but this post made me laugh (and want to yell). People always judge…and then they get bored. Like you had one kid and as you say got all the attention… On to a second or third baby, ehhh, moving on to the other SIL who is pregnant with her first kid; I see it all the time with friends and family.

    I always wondered about people with 5 kids who decided over and over and over again to give birth. Can’t be that bad, right?! lol AHHHH!!

    • admin
      Author
      February 8, 2019 / 9:15 am

      It’s so true, though I do enjoy being left alone this time haha! Yeah, I’m not sure how people decide to have 5 kids…I legit asked my doctor to make sure I can’t have more bc I never want to be pregnant again. She laughed and said I can’t make that choice while I’m pregnant. oh well.

  6. December 27, 2020 / 10:42 pm

    I could so relate to these!!! Thanks for sharing, makes me feel less crazy, In addition, the mom guilt with pregnancy #2 was super intense! At first I was sort of mourning the loss of being just a mom to my firstborn son and wondering how I could ever love another just as much as him? I felt a lot better in the 2nd trimester, I think it’s because my hormones have balanced out. Being a non is so so challenging.

  7. Lejla
    January 14, 2021 / 1:58 pm

    Thank you!

  8. Paige
    March 9, 2021 / 11:19 am

    This is exactly what I needed to read right now, I am currently 23 weeks pregnant with my 2nd. I will have 2 under 2 and I’ve been throwing out violently for about 16 weeks. This time around my energy has been totally depleted as compared to the first. I am constantly guilty that I’m not doing something right because they’re so different. I literally was doing spin classes till 38 weeks with my first and now I can barely get my ass up to go to work. I thought I didn’t enjoy being pregnant due to my first but now I can really say I do not enjoy being pregnant, however I am not ungrateful.

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