The paradoxes of being pregnant again

Candice Lopez-quimpo
Unfortunately, I can't be like one of those who are still samba dancing or capoeira-practicing at 8 months. But I'll be happy to have an uneventful pregnancy until it's time to give birth.

OLD YET NEW. I want to do things differently this time. Graphic by Ina Jacobe/

MANILA, Philippines – I’ve officially turned into the person who raids her husband’s closet daily for clothes. See, nothing in my closet fits me anymore: jeans don’t close, tank tops are too short, and shirts wrap around too tightly.

Unlike the first pregnancy, when I was on the speed pedal going through every pregnancy-related item, this pregnancy has me on some sort of brake button. I want to need every purchase, not just want it. This time, patience is winning out versus impulse.

I want to do things differently this time.

Everything is familiar, but everything is new again

Experts like to stress that each pregnancy is different, not just from woman to woman but also from child to child.

Nothing like an early emergency to drive that point. My first pregnancy was relatively easy; this second one had me getting an emergency ultrasound at an early 6 weeks and sent home with instructions of a two-week bedrest and a prescription for pampakapit medication (basically, progesterone pills).

I suspect that if this complication had happened when I first became pregnant, I would have been in a state of panic and nervousness. And while those two weeks of bedrest leading to my follow-up checkup was spotted with some anxiety, I was mostly calm and quiet about it.

Thankfully, we got a heartbeat and good vital signs in the next ultrasound; we went home with the news that things were looking normal.

“Normal” is such a good word to hear when you are pregnant.

There is so much information, and still so much unknown

In the last years, I’ve seen how medical and cultural practices have evolved when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.

But all these choices and advances also mean that I’m kind of back to square one in terms of preggy knowledge. It’s not like I’m just going to the hospital one day, pop the kid out, go home, and get on with my life.

It is crucial, then, to find the kind of support that encourages questions and discussion so you feel comfortable and confident as you go through the next months. It is especially important if the pregnancy has some issues like mine.

For one thing, since I delivered via caesarean section the first time, I’d really like to explore the option of VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) this time. I brought it up with my doctor as soon as I had the chance.

Not only did she tell me that we may look into it, she told me something I had never heard of before: that if that happens, it would be a scheduled birth. There won’t be any waiting the water to pop this time. That day, I went home with instructions to read up on it.

Preparation is still key, but the focus has changed

One of the things we did when we learned we were pregnant the first time around was enroll in childbirth classes.

For first-time parents, childbirth classes are recommended. Besides crash-coursing in childbirth information, it makes your and your partner’s journey as expectant parents more in sync as the weeks go on.

Mostly because I can’t go through Lamaze this time, and partly because I don’t feel as anxious about that part of this pregnancy’s journey, I’d like to focus more on what I did not prepare for the first time.

This is my time to take advantage of my “if only” list (ie, if only this was available then, if only I was aware of this then, if only I made an effort then). I now know I can seek out breastfeeding support. I now know that I don’t need a giant crib (my firstborn used his about 10% of the time only!). I now know that the bigkis is not a necessary part of the layette.

I now know that recovery after childbirth will be difficult but I can prepare for it now, many months ahead, both mentally and physically.

Which brings me back to my clothing conundrum. I’m not shopping for maternity clothes (yet) because I now know that new, lovely items like belly bands hold up your pre-pregnancy jeans as long as you still fit in them.

It’s great to feel that I can be more decisive now about things I want and need, but I also know what my limitations are. For one, being older also means that my body needs better and more conscious care. Unfortunately, I can’t be like one of those who are still samba dancing or capoeira-practicing at 8 months. But I’ll be happy to have an uneventful pregnancy until it’s time to give birth.

But, you know, even with this certain level of self-assurance, I admit that the nervousness is something I live with.

While we all know (and sometimes resent) those who have an opinion about things new parents should, would, and could do, I’m sort of happy to receive advice from all those who became moms in the last couple of years.

Because even if I’ve done this all before, honestly, it feels like the first time again. Not only is this pregnancy different from the first, times have also really changed. It’s in our best interest to approach this new life with fresh eyes and open wonder.

After all, it’s about a brand new life. That is reason for grand excitement. –

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms! How are you celebrating the day with YOUR mom? Tweet us your pic @rapplerdotcom, use the hash tag #loveyoumom.

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