There is a hilarious video circulating the Internet of a mom showcasing the differences in how she prepared for the birth of her first child vs. how she prepares with littles already running around. It pokes fun of the contrast in the glamor that we create around first-time pregnancies – and how this glamor abruptly fades once the messy realities of motherhood take over.
I’ll admit I kind of hated this light-hearted comparison when I was going through my first pregnancy. I remember feeling a bit laughed at when I was showing off my Pinterest-themed “under the sea” nursery, relishing in my interior decorating only to be told some form of how decked-out nurseries aren’t practical. Or that I was such a classic new mom for tracking my pregnancy by the week and using those weird fruit and veggie comparisons. Or that I was so cute for complaining about being tired even though I had the “luxury” of being pregnant without other kids.
So classic first-time-mom, bwahaha.
Sometimes it can feel condescending when our journeys are countered in ways like this. There’s value in using our wisdom to guide those around us, but there’s equal value in letting people experience things for themselves. It’s why when I see a new mom share a nursery project I will compliment how beautiful it is, only sharing what worked for us when asked. It’s why when a new mom complains how exhausted she is, I won’t tell her to “just wait,” but encourage her to fill her cup before baby comes.
Meanwhile, here I am, preparing for the birth of our second baby, laughing my ass off at this video. I can relate to much of it. Not all of it – I am still nesting a ton around the house and shopping like a first-time mom would, and even using my old fruit-and-veggie tracker app. Though, I did convert to “team no nursery needed.”
It got me thinking. What has really changed between my first pregnancy and my second that is so … funny? I always wondered what the inside joke was amongst experienced mamas. How are they so cool and collected?
Now that I’ve been pregnant as both a nervous first-time mom and a seemingly cool-and-collected second-time mom, I realize there’s no inside joke. There’s no secret society. As I’ve written before, I’m really just a “new again” mom more than I am a “seasoned” mom. I am right there with you, first-time moms.
The only difference is that while I am waiting to meet my new baby and start from scratch, I have had the privilege of finding my voice. I don’t ask as many questions not because I think I’m above learning more, but because I know that most questions in motherhood can be answered by my intuition. I don’t plan as much as you not because I think planning is a waste, but because I have to be more flexible now that I’ll be outnumbered. I don’t celebrate with the same excitement over nursery decor and baby gear not because I’m above these adorable finds, but because my house has already been taken over by all of it.
You see, it’s actually never been a comparison. As I catch myself giggling at the mom I was then and the mom I am now, I realize it does not come from a place of superiority. It comes entirely from a place of solidarity over the things us “seasoned” moms have realized we can’t control. Truthfully, we are still giddy and naively excited, too, just over different things that are defining this next stage of motherhood for us. And you’ll get here, too – and when you do, you’ll realize that the only secret to be uncovered is discovering that none of us really know what the hell we’re doing. And frankly, that’s funny, especially when we all tend to start our motherhood journeys as “know-it-alls.”
If anything, I’ve become much less of a “know-it-all,” and my confidence has grown by way of accepting that. So if you ever felt that another mom was laughing at you for not knowing enough, I assure you she wasn’t. She was laughing at herself for once thinking she knew everything.