Ah, having a baby. It’s a magical time, a stressful time, a happy time, an emotional time. Whether it’s your first baby or your tenth, there’s something special about every baby and every birth.
But as I prepared to give birth to my fourth child, I noticed a few differences between this birth experience and my first. Here are just a few of the things that have changed for me since my first daughter was born in 2011, for better or worse.
1. People’s reactions.
With your first baby, everyone is all smiles and excitement. But for some reason, when people find out the coming baby is your fourth, there’s a different vibe.
2. Solo doctor visits.
There once was a day when Daddy wouldn’t miss a chance to accompany you to the doctor. But now there are three other kids to take care of. It’s all right; that’s why they give you photos from the ultrasound.
3. You’re buying new clothes for baby.
But unlike the first time you did it, you’re not shopping out of pure necessity. You’re doing it because the kids’ clothes you bought for your first child are now worn out or out of style.
4. The name game.
As fun as naming a baby can be, it can also be stressful. Especially when you’ve already named three other children, and when those children have their own opinions on names.
5. People respect your birth plan.
Everyone has advice to offer when it’s your first baby. But when you announce your wishes for this birth — complete with past experiences that have led to your decision — there’s a lot less pushback.
This time, you don’t think he’ll be a good dad. You know he will.
7. The big baby announcement (or lack thereof).
The first time you announce you are pregnant, it’s all about the presentation. Online? In person? Clever pun? Special photo? But with your fourth child, the big reveal somehow feels less pressing. More often than not, people learn you’re pregnant when they see your belly bump, not when you announce it on Facebook.
8. Caffeine consumption.
With your first baby, you probably abstained from all cola products during pregnancy. But now, it’s easier to cheat a little. Hey, there are three other kids to take care of!
9. Nursery/toddler room.
Preparing for baby doesn’t mean converting the office into a nursery; it means converting your youngest child’s room to a child’s room/nursery.
10. Less anxiety, more excitement.
By the time you’ve had a child or two, many of the nerves subside. You know how great it is going to be. You know that pregnancy won’t last forever. You know the newborn stage is just a stage. Every pregnancy is wonderful, but the perspective that comes with time tends to sweeten the experience.
11. You know what you’re doing — sort of.
Fourth-time parents know what’s going on — or, at least, they know enough to know that they don’t know anything. Either way, it takes some of the pressure off.
12. There’s more love to go around.
Fourth babies are lucky babies. They get five people in their immediate family to love on them all the time, not just two.