Expecting Baby #2: My Expectations vs. Reality

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baby #2When my husband and I decided we wanted to try for baby number two, I looked forward to all the joys I experienced when I was pregnant with my daughter. And then reality set in. 

Back Then

My husband and I had been married for three and a half years when we found out we were expecting our daughter. We were the first on both sides of our families to have gotten married, so naturally, people were waiting for us to have a child.

I like to describe my first pregnancy as the “perfect pregnancy.” The morning sickness was minimal, and I had figured out how to outsmart the feeling of nausea by eating a small snack every two hours. Some smells bothered me, but nothing like my husband’s cooking. He decided that THIS was the time to try out chili and stew recipes. Every. Single. Day. I didn’t start experiencing swelling in my feet until about the eighth month. Overall, I was as happy as I could be. I delivered our beautiful baby girl on a clear Sunday afternoon, just one day shy of my due date. I was doing so well that twelve weeks after my delivery, I ran my first 10K ever, in 4-degree weather at that!

Present Day

I am now 31 weeks pregnant, and I feel completely unaware and unprepared for this little boy growing inside me. My hormones, if I can even call them mine anymore, are completely out of sorts! Situations and things that would normally annoy me now enrage me! My husband has turned into my biggest enemy. Any comments, thoughts, or suggestions he may have are suddenly perceived as an attack on MY SOUL, and the attacker must be destroyed! Meanwhile, the poor guy hasn’t changed a darn thing – it’s ME! I’ve heard women say that being pregnant with boys is much different from girls because of testosterone. I don’t think this has been medically proven, but I will tell you, I believe it!

Everything in regards to our four-year-old daughter causes me great anxiety. Am I spending enough time with her? Is she going to resent me for giving her a sibling and taking away precious time from her? Is she hurt that I am no longer able to pick her up and hold her for long periods of time? Is she okay in school? And the questions go on.

I cry and sob about almost everything these days.

So What’s Really Going On?

Yes, this is my second pregnancy, and yes, I can probably blame 95% of my emotions on imbalanced hormones. Yes, my amazing husband can be irritating, and yes, my baby girl may feel a little neglected at times.

I am also feeling neglected this time around by family and friends. But the reality is that I am feeling most abandoned by my own self! I currently don’t have the time I did with my first pregnancy. I now have a preschooler who demands 100% of my attention, a job that keeps me out of the home for roughly 50 hours a week – Saturdays included. My husband and I are passing ships in the night to ensure we always have coverage for our daughter. We have little to zero date nights outside the home and only communicate the essentials – What did our daughter eat today? When was her last meal? Did she poop? I spoke to another speech therapist today, but she’s more expensive than the last one we called. Okay, thanks, love you, bye.

There is minimal time for getting my hair or nails done during regular hours. Any spare time I have to go to the gym, I’d much rather sleep or spend time with my husband. My schedule conflicts with my closest girlfriends, so even a girl’s date/brunch is nonexistent.

Reality Setting In

So this pregnancy is nothing like my first, and that’s okay. I may not feel like it’s okay, but it is. People aren’t as attentive to me because this is my second run. I’m not glowing as much because of the lack of sleep between a growing belly and 2 a.m. wake-ups by my four-year-old leave me looking exhausted. This baby inside me is the pickiest eater I have yet to meet, so my energy levels are down. I miss being myself when I finally thought I was getting to find myself again. The thought of having to choose between breastfeeding or formula terrifies me because (choosing formula may kill my mother-in-law). I know how exhausting breastfeeding is. I’m scared about the recovery time and all the joys of a squirt bottle. I’m not getting a baby shower this time around – I had two for my daughter. I haven’t bought one thing for my son, who is expected to arrive in 10 weeks. (I have a list, though). Are we really ever going to be able to have sex again – like in the next year? Am I even going to want to?

Will I love this baby nearly as much as my first? I think this is the most controversial feeling of all. I’m six months into this pregnancy and still asking this question. Will I be able to love our little boy nearly as much as our amazing, beautiful, always happy daughter? Other moms tell me yes. They tell me they’ve had the same concern, but that the second you lay eyes on that baby, your heart grows in ways you couldn’t even imagine.

When I’m finally able to let go of everything –all the worry, anxiety, and disappointment – I hold on to this: I can’t wait to meet our baby boy. He already has a father waiting to protect him. A big sister who lifts my shirt so that she can read him stories and give him kisses. And a mommy who will do anything to make sure that he is loved every single second of every day.

Breathe. It’s okay. I will find my new normal again.

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Isabel McLeod was born in the Bronx and has called Westchester County her home since the age of nine. She is married with a four year old daughter and baby boy on the way! When she is not at work in the banking industry, her days are spent trying to coordinate schedules and spending as much time as possible with her family. She’s loves to read, but with little time for it, audiobooks are her best friend. You will find everything from autobiographies to self-help books on her playlist. Isabel loves the outdoors and keeping an active lifestyle. Even in the winter, you will find her strolling or going for a jog in one of Westchester’s lovely parks.