July was FULL of clients giving birth, and a whirlwind of Antepartum, Labor, Birth, and Postpartum support. My weeks have been so packed that I have sometimes been working 7 days a week, so much so that I was unable to post a blog last month. To balance that out, I am on it today, and responding to the community question from Jennifer Negles: “How different is birth/labor in the second pregnancy?”
That is a GREAT question!
To be perfectly honest, second pregnancies can sometimes be like my month of July: not a break to be found, but oh so worth it!
There are many aspects that can be easier and others that might be considered more challenging, but all in all, second and subsequent pregnancies and labors are almost always never the same as your first. So many times I listen to clients share how DIFFERENT this pregnancy is; how “it wasn’t like this the first time.” Many feel that having done this once makes it easier the second time; that during a second pregnancy and labor there is not so much to surrender physically and emotionally. This can be attributed to the fact that your body has done this before, and is more prepared to accommodate a pregnancy and more ready to respond to labor. We can also give credit to the possibility that we are more psychologically ready, having taken the big leap from no children to one or more with our first pregnancy and having actually experienced birth rather than trying to imagine what it might be like.
The more challenging points to consider are that you HAVE done this before, and may be chasing a toddler or parenting an older child while trying to care for yourself during pregnancy. The fact is, you will be older, even if just by a year or two, and maybe much more tired. All this can take a toll as we gestate and prepare for labor. Although
we may be more sure of what it will be like to labor, we may feel more weary, especially if was a traumatic the first time. There may be a lot of work to do processing our first birth to allow this NEW experience to unfold. We can have faith in the knowledge that each pregnancy, labor, and baby is different, and we can learn from our first what worked for us and what didn’t, and prepare more fully for this next one.
Most helpful of all is that we learn to become more FLEXIBLE. We know that labor is a mystery, and caring for ourselves during pregnancy while preparing the perfect support team for birth and early parenting is essential to our health, well-being, and satisfaction. Talking about your first pregnancy and birth with your medical provider and Doula can help you be fully ready to embrace this new experience with a wise and open heart and mind. You ARE strong <3