To hear my friends tell it, expecting your first child is one thing, and expecting your second is a whole other animal. So, I was interested to talk to Colleen just a few days before she welcomed her second baby into the world (Colleen is already mother to 18 month old Nicky) about what’s different, what’s the same, and what’s the most exciting.
Caitlin: So, to begin, tell me about your first pregnancy and your first baby.
Colleen: So, I definitely always wanted to have kids. That was really my number one thing that I ever wanted in life. I was super excited my last pregnancy. I knew I was having a boy and we were just really excited. We didn’t know what to expect and I did have a pretty easy pregnancy. I don’t think anyone can ever have an easy ninth month, but all things considered, it was easy. So, 18 months ago today, I was nine months pregnant and feeling it.
Nicky was an easy baby when he was born. I had a c-section, that wasn’t easy, but nothing went wrong.
Caitlin: How was this pregnancy been?
Colleen: This time I was a lot more sick at the beginning. Last time I didn’t have any of that. Last time I did a lot of prenatal yoga and even regular yoga which I think really helped me feel better. I haven’t had any time this pregnancy for that. Not even once. Now, I’m dealing with a back issue that’s making it a lot harder to get around. And, not to mention, I have an 18 month old son that I spend all day chasing around. You know, so that’s a little tougher. But, this pregnancy hasn’t been terrible.
Caitlin: Does expecting a girl feel different from when you were expecting a boy?
Colleen: Well, yes. I am thrilled that we’re having a girl! I feel lucky to get to experience being a mother of a son, and a daughter as well. I’m the only girl in my family and just seeing the relationship I have with my mom, and even with my dad, I’m glad that our family will have that, too. And another thing that I liked about having a girl is that my husband, Josh, didn’t grow up with any sisters and he always seemed like he didn’t know what was going on with girls. It’s like I’m the only girl he knows. So, I think it will be good for him, and also good for my son to have a girl around. I think it kind of softens a guy a little bit, and I’d like that for both of them.
Caitlin: That’s so funny and I think it’s very true. I heard someone say once that she was even more excited with her second baby because since having his first, he understood how wonderful it is to have a child. Have you felt that way at all?
Colleen: Yes, we both feel that way. We say all the time we can’t believe we get to have two. Especially right now our son is so funny, he’s talking, he’s doing all these crazy things every day and it is really, really exciting because before I couldn’t picture how much I would enjoy being a parent. And now I know and it’s almost like it’s going to be double the fun. I mean, not that we’re so naive to think it won’t be more difficult and more busy, but I don’t really focus on that part of being a parent. I know it’s busy. We can deal with it. In general, it’s just fun.
Caitlin: Have people been warning you about how hard life is with two?
Colleen: Yeah, I feel like people warn you about a lot of things. But, for me, when you have kids, you change, and you just do what needs to be done. And you don’t think, oh this sucks, and I’m missing out on all this other stuff. It’s just your life.
About having two, a lot of people warn us about finances.
Caitlin: That’s silly. What can you do about that?
Colleen: I don’t know. There’s nothing you can do with any of the warnings people give you. Oh, they’ll say having one is like… I forget the saying, it’s stupid. It’s something like, “Having one is like one and having two is like twenty.”
Caitlin: That person probably never had twenty kids.
Colleen: (laughs) Yeah, good point. So, yeah, we get a lot of warnings. Just like last time. It annoys me, but it drives my husband CRAZY. When I was pregnant with Nicky people would always ask him if he was nervous. And he would always say, “No, I’m not nervous! I’m 35 years old, I have a car, I have a job, why would I be nervous?” And it’s kind of the same thing this time.
Caitlin: So, your son is really young. Does he have a clue he has a baby sister on the way?
Colleen: I don’t know. He points at the baby’s room and says her name and he does touch my belly and say baby and sometimes he’ll even give my belly a kiss, which I did NOT teach him. But, I can’t imagine he really understands what’s about to happen. And I would actually say that that is what is most different about being pregnant this time. Even though I know giving him a sibling is the best thing that I can do for him, I feel guilty all the time that he won’t know how much he totally changed our lives and rocked our world and I could cry right now thinking about it. But, people say that that happens all the time and then when they come home from the hospital they never think about it again.
Caitlin: Is there anything else that makes the pregnancy different from the last?
Colleen: One thing is I do worry about the health of the baby a lot more. When you never had a child, you can’t imagine how much you’re going to love it. And it would be a lot harder and more heartbreaking now that I understand that if the baby has health problems. That’s one worry I didn’t really have last time that I do this time.
Caitlin: Does it feel like the stakes are higher?
Colleen: Yes, that’s exactly what it is. The other thing is I hope I get as much one on one time with both of my kids as I have with Nicky.
Caitlin: What are you most excited about?
Colleen: I’m most excited to see what she looks like and to see how Nicky reacts to her and how my husband reacts to her. I don’t think he realizes what it’s going to be like to have a daughter.
I’m happy to share that Colleen gave birth to her baby girl, Anna, just three days after this conversation. Both Mama and baby are doing great, and big brother Nicky is adjusting well. Congratulations Colleen & family!
What’s your best advice for expecting baby number 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on? Did you find you felt differently each time? Let’s talk!