I was recently asked what it is like to expect a second child, as opposed to a first. It is an interesting question, one that I have thought about sub-consciously as I weathered the ups and downs of this pregnancy, but never thought to put words to--until I was asked.
There's no question that it's different. I don't excitedly read the weekly updates that give me the fruit or vegetable estimation of the size of my child; I don't dwell on the minute developments of the liver or eyelids or hair follicles the way I did before.
I do revel in the movement of the child that grows larger and stronger from day to day and week to week, poking and prodding me from the inside with more vigor. I do note with appreciation the milestones I have known were coming: the last day I wore jeans without an elastic waste, the day the baby pushed into my rib for the first time, the night I had to get out my collection of Tums the moment I tried to lay down for the night.
The first pregnancy the onset of discomfort and inconvenience was not something I savored. In a sense I was a newly-wed, enamored with the newness of everything and annoyed with all the details I didn't see coming when living with this new person. This time I embrace the familiarity of these nuances with an appreciation for the brevity of the time--this child, living and growing under my nose, will not be there for much longer.
It will be less than two months from now, if my delivery follows similar timing to my first child. Soon, I will wake in the night not from the discomfort of rolling over, but because a loudly, breathing newborn is hungry--again. Soon, I will ache as I go throughout the day not because of an imbalance of weight but because of gross need for sustained sleep. Soon, my body will reach the arch of transformation and begin to slowly return to the shape from whence it came--altered and marked with souvenirs of the journey.
Yes, the second pregnancy is different from the first: less naive and shocking, more rich and comfortable and known. I have always been one to prefer the pair of shoes broken in and familiar. Knowing the road ahead can be intimidating, but it can also be freeing.