Sam and I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed several dates in recent weeks. During one of these nights out we got onto the subject of this pregnancy VS Arlo’s, and it didn’t take long before I was listing off all the differences, and realising just why this pregnancy has felt so much more relaxed and simple.
When I found out I was pregnant with Arlo, I had to get used to not drinking or smoking as soon as I took that pregnancy test. It was an instantaneous change, and one that left me feeling quite isolated considering my lifestyle at the time.
I was hanging out in pubs most evenings and weekends. As the only sober person. It felt like I was constantly watching on whilst everything changed for me, without me choosing it too. (OK yes, of course we chose to have Arlo, so it was ultimately my choice to have everything change, but whilst I was pregnant I never quite came to terms with the fact that none of the options in that decision-making process were really what I wanted). This time round, whilst we still like a pub, we are not found in them quite as frequently as last time, and saying no to the pub does not mean spending evening upon evening at home alone, because Sam doesn’t go out as much either – we are happy at home having family time and time alone together after Arlo has gone to bed.
I didn’t know any pregnant people, or people with babies/young children. Now I have loads more people to chat to about pregnancy/children, etc. It’s a lot less lonely in that respect.
I wasn’t on Twitter. I wish I had been on Twitter.
I’m not shit scared about becoming a parent (because I already am one). Going from one to two will be a big change, but it’s not as life-altering as having your first child.
I don’t feel a need to keep up with pre-baby life this time round. I’m not going to exhaust myself dragging a young baby to all the corners of London because I feel a need to carry on socialising as normal. This time, I just want to relax at home as much as possible in the early months. Looking back, I was mad to do what I did in the early days with Arlo. I needed rest. I was exhausted trying to keep up with all of my friends and also looking after a young baby. Because we moved to the other side of London, each weekend starting from when Arlo was just one week old, I’d drive at least two hours a day to see friends or family – complete madness considering I was so tired. (I have told Sam that I am not doing any unnecessary driving trips if I am feeling tired once the baby is here, hence rushing around now trying to do all the trips that involve driving – officially sick of the sight of IKEA and garden centres!)
We’ve not had to make any drastic changes to our living circumstances. From the start of this pregnancy, I’ve known exactly where I’m bringing my baby home to, and Sam and I have been living together for more than three weeks, which helps. With Arlo, we started off living separately, then Sam moved in with me and my housemates during my second trimester, then we lived at my mum’s with all of my siblings for five months before finally moving in to our own place. Comparatively, we’ve had a hell of a lot more privacy in this pregnancy.
There are no anxieties about having this baby. It feels exciting – unfortunately something I can’t say I felt during Arlo’s pregnancy (Sorry Arlo!)
I thought I hated pregnancy. I thought I hated the extra attention, the same questions being asked over and over again, people commenting on my body, staring at my body before looking me in the eye and greeting me, the fact that I felt pregnant forever. But having now experienced it more than once, I’ve realised that everything I hated was a result of the circumstances surrounding my first pregnancy, rather than pregnancy itself. It turns out that pregnancy is actually alright when you are feeling in control of it.