Alex Vance and her family

Finding Out I Was Pregnant the Second Time Was Anticlimactic—and That's OK!

“I’ve done this before,” I thought. “Why am I so nervous?”

I stood just far enough away from the pregnancy test to see the curves of the stick on the bathroom counter, but not the results on the screen. I hadn’t missed my period yet, but I had "a feeling." My body was in a bizarre state of deja vu. A subtle, unexplainable sick feeling took over my insides, and I had only felt it one other time in my life—my first pregnancy.

I wasn't throwing up, my breasts weren't yet throbbing with pain, but there was a familiar feeling going on in my stomach. That weird, sick-to-my-stomach-but-not-full-on-nauseous feeling was enough to alert my intuition.

So there I was, anxiously waiting for my early pregnancy test to make a decision. I glanced at my phone, wondering if I was estimating the three-minute wait correctly. I slowly slid over to the test stick, took a deep breath, and there it was—eight letters on a digital screen that I’ve seen before, yet it still felt like the first time: Pregnant. 

I slowly slid over to the test stick, took a deep breath, and there it was—eight letters on a digital screen that I’ve seen before, yet it still felt like the first time: Pregnant. 

I immediately sprinted to the living room, where my 2-year-old daughter was playing. “Yay!” I shouted. “You’re going to be a big sister!” I twirled around like an uncoordinated ballerina, my daughter dancing along in confused (yet excited) mimicry.

I thought back to the first time I found out I was expecting when my husband and I were huddled around the pregnancy test. After the positive result appeared, I literally dropped to the floor, shaking uncontrollably.

"You're happy...right?" asked my confused husband. I was, to the point that my knees went weak! I called my mom, who, in ecstatic disbelief, repeatedly asked "Are you sure?!" My husband jokingly made the announcement to our cat, and he shot us his signature, judgemental stare. The whole moment, to us, was perfect.

This time around—as happy as I was—went a bit differently. My husband was out of town for work, so I called and told him the good news. He rejoiced via speakerphone with his co-workers in the car (romantic, right?).

I texted my mom a photo of the pregnancy test with the caption, "Whelp, we have baby number two on the way!" And that was that.

Was our second pregnancy less important than our first? Not at all. To say we were thankful is an understatement. It was time to pop the celebratory sparkling cider! (Until we meet again, my dear champagne.)

That said, the sense of urgency had changed—not necessarily in a bad way, just in a way that came with treading in familiar territory. For example, our first time around, I rushed to the doctor as soon as we got a positive result. It was too early for anything to show up on the ultrasound, and I was completely bummed, to say the least.

The second time, I waited eight weeks to make my first appointment, knowing we'd be able to see that beloved, tiny spec on the ultrasound screen. I started taking prenatal vitamins, knowing my doctor would instruct me to do so. I explored the attic, taking inventory of what maternity clothes I had packed away. I bid a temporary farewell to my favorite deli sandwiches and leftover beers in the fridge.

"I'm ready this time!" I thought.

I bid a temporary farewell to my favorite deli sandwiches and leftover beers in the fridge. 'I'm ready this time!' I thought.

But, of course, I wasn't. (Not really.) As with any pregnancy, you're bound to get hit with the barrage of "what if" thoughts, and I was no exception. Instead of wondering about what was to come (I was prepared for the fatigue, backaches, and swollen elephant ankles), my brain focused on the thoughts that accompany a second child.

What if this pregnancy doesn't go as smoothly? Labor is usually quicker with a second child, so what if I don’t make it to the hospital in time? What if my daughter doesn't get along with her new sibling? What if it's harder to lose the baby weight after my second kid?

The thoughts flooded my mind like water bursting through a dam, and my initial euphoria downgraded to cautious optimism. If there's one thing I've learned from multiple pregnancies, it's that it's normal to feel stressed, regardless of whether you've "been there before."

There was also a new feeling that hit me unexpectedly: guilt. My daughter wasn't going to be the only baby anymore! I was already blaming myself for any sad feelings she might have in the future. Ridiculous? Maybe. Nonetheless, I felt a strange combination of excitement and remorse.

The thoughts flooded my mind like water bursting through a dam, and my initial euphoria downgraded to cautious optimism. If there's one thing I've learned from multiple pregnancies, it's that it's normal to feel stressed, regardless of whether you've 'been there before.'

The concerns you felt with your first pregnancy might reappear the second time, they're just altered a little bit. After all, you're only human (growing another human, no less).

Remember to cut yourself some slack! If you're worried, it's okay. If you react to your second pregnancy with a more "business-like" tone instead of with giddy, first-time mom energy, it's no big deal. Whatever reaction you have is right for that moment!

If you're feeling scared, anxious, disappointed, or any emotion that makes you uncomfortable, always reach out to a healthcare professional—you're never in this alone.

Pregnancy is wonderful, life-changing, and overwhelming all at the same time. Whether you planned it or not, your second pregnancy is bound to come with a whirlwind of emotions, sending you spinning into the next nine months. Regardless, remember that you've already reached your first milestone—learning you'll be a parent again! That, in itself, is an incredible accomplishment, no matter what comes next.