The funny thing about pregnancy is that strangers assume it is your first time. I would like to think it is my youthful glow that has them fooled. You simply couldn’t have children. You look too beautiful, fit and rested. In reality, I also make the first-timer assumption when I see a pregnant woman without a child in sight.
Babe number two is definitely on its way. That doesn’t stop complete strangers from dolling out advice, warnings, and stories, both cute and disturbing. At first I would stop them and tell them that this wasn’t my first child. This tactic only made them switch gears.
“You know it’s going to be harder to get people to watch two babies,” said a lady in the elevator.
“You’ll never be able to get them to sleep at the same time,” warned another in the line at McDonald’s.
Truth is stranger than fiction. No, strangers are stranger than fiction. Nowadays, I don’t stop to tell them that this is a second pregnancy. What would be the fun in that? Instead, I take in all the advice, warnings, and stories, both cute and disturbing, like it’s the very first time. Below is just a sample of the comments I’ve received from people I don’t know. I have noted my thought process from my “real” first pregnancy and from my second.
Stranger says: You look really big. Are you sure you’re not having twins?
First time: Twins! Wow, that would be so exciting. The doctor didn’t say anything. I wonder if I should make an appointment. Oh, I can only imagine what the medical bills will be like. We’d have to get two of everything. Oh, but twins would be so wonderful.
Second time: I’m not having twins. I’m short. My torso is short. There is no place for this baby to grow but out. Man I could go for a soft pretzel right now.
Stranger says: Your life will never be the same when baby gets here.
First time: Of course everything changes with a baby. You don’t have to tell me that.
Second time: Of course everything changes with a baby. But I totally get why people say that. There are no words to describe the total colossal shift that is parenthood. Is the pretzel stand on level one or level two?
Stranger says: That baby is going to totally wreck your body.
First time: Not if I hit the gym real hard. Crunches for the abs. Chest lifts to keep the boobs up.
Second time: Do I even still have my gym membership? Breastfeeding will knock some of that weight off. We’ll manage the rest. Now you say the pretzel stand is near Macy’s department store?
Stranger says: You can forget about date night with your husband.
First time: What is date night?
Second time: Hubby and I suck at getting dressed up and going out. A television show we can both agree on and some barbecue potato chips–now that’s a date night we can work with. Man this is a long line just to get a pretzel.
Next time a stranger starts in with first-timer advice, don’t stop them. Whether it is baby number two or baby number eight, it provides an interesting look at how you have changed and grown over the years. What caused panic before may seem trivial this time.
My second pregnancy has definitely made me hungrier than the first. While you head off to bait strangers with your bump, I’ll be here munching on a cinnamon-sugar pretzel. Mmmmm good.
What’s the most interesting thing a stranger has said to you regarding your pregnancy? Ever receive first-timer advice when it wasn’t the first time? What is your favorite pregnancy snack?
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