Is It Easier The Second Time Around?

I’ve always heard that expression, “easier the second time around”, referring to all sorts of things. Public speaking, eating brussel sprouts, pregnancy; everything gets easier after you’ve done it once, right?

Well, as someone who’s on their second time ’round on a couple of things, I’m not feelin’ this phrase.

Tomorrow I’ll be 16 weeks pregnant. The first trimester, which was filled with mostly nausea and scattered vomit sessions, is over. While I did have nausea in my first pregnancy, it wasn’t like this. And the first time around, when the second trimester hit, I was good to go. Nausea was gone, I could eat as I like, and the urge to nap was replaced with crazy nesting energy.

Frown

Confidence Level: NOPE

Now, I find myself still struggling to be interested in food, and I could probably nap every hour on the hour.

But it’s not only the exhaustion and nausea. It’s the fear.

In theory, having done this once before, I should feel more confident in my ability to get through pregnancy and birth a child. Instead, I feel myself questioning every little thing I do and worrying about all the little things that can go wrong.

Everything went so well the first time – maybe I should have quit while I was ahead?

Pregnancy isn’t the only thing that has me dreading the second time.

2013 was a year of watching my first published work do it’s thing (it was released in November 2012). And it was pretty cool. Things went far better than I anticipated. Wil Wheaton even highlighted a quote from my book! (Who knows if he actually liked the whole thing, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.)

Now, I have several manuscripts at various stages asking to be completed, the sequel to my first work at the top of the pile. This should be easier, right? I mean, I’ve learned a lot from the first go. Mistakes can be remedied in this run. In theory, I should have grown as a writer and this next one should be even better!

But instead, I find myself worrying that this one won’t live up to the expectations set by the first. Or I’m dreading the self-promotion that has to happen when this book is ready (granted, I do very little promo, but I have to do something).

I keep trying to think back to the first time. Was I this anxious/nervous/hesitant with my first pregnancy and birth? With my first book release?

The answer is simple. No.

I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but I’d researched enough to feel confident in moving forward. While that confidence didn’t exactly make me invincible, it did make the worries fade.

I didn’t know that I would be in labor for days. (Yes, days. Active labor by itself was a whopping 26 hours.)

I didn’t know that there would be other writers that would be less than supportive and even downright rude once I published.

But I also didn’t know I COULD labor successfully for so long.

And I didn’t know that I would be able to shrug off nasty criticisms and continue writing.

The second time should be easier. For everything. I CAN do it. And, barring external factors, history says I can do a pretty okay job of things.

But confidence has less to do with what I can do, and more to do with the fear of what I can’t.

And I guess that’s what I need to work on. Stop focusing on the fear.

The baby is going to get here either way.

And hopefully, so will the book. :)

 

Do you find yourself more confident the second time around? Or do you find yourself fearing the known more than the unknown?

 

[PS - Speaking of seconds, we are having another little boy!]

Comments

  1. I love you. All of this sounds like anxiety: quite normal for a performance driven, high-powered particle such as yourself! Oh – and remember, you’ve got all those excellent hormones goin’ on right now. :) Be gentle with yourself. Maybe this is not the time to give birth to the book. Maybe just focus on the baby. And if things are REALLY different? Well, remember people are different, too – and you are growing one! And maybe it’s a she, so maybe that’s why things feel so foreign. Either way, you’re going to be okay! Keep breathing, Amber! I’m serious! Are you exercising? Even just walking is a rhea way to relax. Get those endorphins going! This coming from a girl who knows anxiety! xo

  2. Relax, lovie. The second time around isn’t easier, it’s different. Some things will fit like your favorite pair of jeans, other things will just blow your mind with HOW FREAKING DIFFERENT they are from the first time around. Just settle into rolling with the punches, and you’ll be just fine. You’re totally capable of all these ‘second firsts’. Promise. Big love, sweetheart.

    • You know how you can know something, but your feelings pull you in the opposite direction of logic? Yeah. That. But it’s good to put those feelings out there and have the logic part confirmed. Especially from someone who’s been through their seconds. And thirds… :)

  3. I don’t think things are always easier the second time around. My second pregnancy was worse, but I was 6 years older and not in as good shape as the first time. I think every experience is different no matter what it is. We just deal with it.

    • Lauralynn, the last pregnancy was 5 years ago for me, so I am fully expecting that my energy levels, etc, may not match those of my first. I think maybe the key for me is just looking at the experience as “different” and not letting myself get caught up in the fear of things that might happen.

  4. Excellent advice from Renee. And the first long labor is not necessarily a precursor of the second. My first one was 24 hours, so I didn’t think I was in any hurry to get to the hospital with the second, so we barely made it to the hospital as my son burst his way into the world without waiting for full dilation. So take it easy. By the way, try Sea Bands for the nausea, found in the motion sickness department of your drug store. No chemicals and they worked for my daughter and daughter-in-law. (Wish they’d been invented when I was pregnant.)

    • I have the sea-bands, Lee. The nausea I was having in the first trimester didn’t seem to change much, but I’m going to try them again for this latest stretch. Thanks for the reminder!

      On the long labor – I figure if I count on this one being that long, anything less will be a pleasant surprise! (And I’m birthing at home, so at least if this kid is speedy, I won’t have to worry about a mad dash to the hospital.)

      Renee, does have great advice, doesn’t she? :)

  5. Oh Amber, I feel ya on both the book and the baby. It’s not exactly EASIER the second time, it’s just a trade-off of advantages/disadvantages. Every pregnancy and labor is different, although generally you won’t labor as long with #2. But it sounds like you’re a worrier like me. When I was pregnant with my second (I have 3 boys, btw!), I worried that having another baby would “mess up” my perfect first child and change him negatively. *snort*

    With the writing, it was harder to start the second book, because I knew how much work I was in for, and the thought of that was discouraging. But I’m happy to say that I just brought my second book/baby successfully into this world last month, and it was rewarding and filled with a lot of personal growth, so definitely worth it!

    The one advantage of a baby over a book is that you’re going to have that baby whether you do anything or not! The book requires more deliberate effort, LOL. But your first book was a fabulous success! Your fans won’t let you get away with NOT writing it.

    So so happy for you and your soon-to-be set of boys – enjoy! (Deep breaths help!)

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • I’m definitely hoping for the shorter labor bit. :)

      And you totally hit on yet another fear – my 4 y/o and I have had all this quality one-on-one time for years. What happens now? (My mom had five of us, so I know it will all be fine, but again, rational mind vs. emotional)

      Thanks for the super sweet words about writing – and way to go on your second book baby!! :)

      • Thanks, Amber! I was an only child, so I had no point of reference. REALLY worried about “scarring” the first one, after three years of undivided parental attention. Hubster (oldest of FIVE) kept reassuring me otherwise, but it’s hard to shake those feelings! My moment when I truly breathed a sigh of relief over that issue? When son #1 discovered he could make his little brother laugh. What a fabulous interaction to see! It was then that I realized what a gift having a sibling could be.

  6. I’m sure you’re going to do well with both. You have a wonderful spirit. I think it’s only natural that the more we know the more we fear – because really, when we don’t know anything we don’t know enough for fear to set in. And the more we get lucky and the more we have the more fear there is of losing it. But you are an awesome writer so you should just do your best and concentrate on you and your lovely growing family. It will all work out. Blessings to you and yours this brand new year. :-)

  7. Sometimes practice just makes tolerable, to turn around the old cliche. You seem to be doing quite well sticking to these things! Good meeting you via Susie’s party.

    • Ha! So true. I used to have a job that involved public speaking. I had NO fear when I started. As time went on, I wasn’t exactly nervous, but I didn’t have that same comfort level I had at the beginning.

      And thanks! Always nice when Susie hosts a good mingle.

  8. What fun to meet you and thanks to Susie for sending me over. Congrats on the baby and good luck with the book.

    I have to confess — I was never one of those women who just enjoyed and glowed with pregnancy. The only earthly use I could imagine for it lasting nine months was that by the end I didn’t care WHAT it took as long as I got that baby out. And then somehow each first step was JUST as much fun, and every first word just as incredible, and every bump just as scary. A wild ride that I would not have missed for the world.(Of course, by child #2, we were so shell-shocked we somehow didn’t notice we were doing it again. And again…) So congrats, write when you can (I particularly liked those middle of the night hours when I’d had a few hours of sleep and the house was miraculously quiet. Well, now and then…). And now somehow I’ve spawned four writers who did guest posts on my blog. So, you know… worth it.

    • Funny, I always hear women sound almost apologetic when they say they didn’t enjoy pregnancy. But the fact is, it’s hard work! And for some women, it’s tougher. You enjoyed the important part, I think. :)

      That’s awesome that all your kids write! My little guy writes crazy stories that don’t always make sense (he is only 4, so it’s ok) and it’s great fun. Maybe I should have him guest post sometime.

  9. Well, I don’t have kids so I can’t chime in on the whole pregnancy thing and I’ve never written a book but I do know a little about other things going around a second time. For me I always think, “This will be easy, I’ve already done this once.” And, then I either sail through with flying colors or fall flat on my face, there doesn’t seem to be an in-between for me!

    • Sometimes I think the two extremes are better than the middle. (Weird, I know.) It’s as if I totally fail, I can readily accept “well, this isn’t for me”, but if I just sort of accomplish things I’ll obsess over what I should have done.

      Thanks for commenting!

  10. Um, I’ve never had a baby so I feel like anything I say on that subject will be false information and also a guess but! It seems like people have you back in that regard. :) In terms of things for the second time I guess it’s always going to be different. Not worse or better but different! There will be things you love and things you don’t and I guess that’s what makes life so interesting. Have a fabulous 2014! <3

    • I’m good with different – and that’s probably the best way to look at it! Now, to get my brain on board. :)

      Thanks for coming by, and hope to see you around here again!

  11. Do what all of my relatives that had kids did, train the older one to watch the younger one. It worked for my parents. I babysat my sister for ten years.

  12. I wish I could commiserate or empathize, but the truth is, I’ve never been there. I can only imagine how you’re feeling. So instead, I’ll hold a thought for you…for a calm you’re not yet feeling, and for your fears to be for naught. Crossing my fingers that it’s smooth sailing for you soon.

  13. Wow Amber! I can see that the party moved to your place!
    Congrats on your book! Will Wheaton???? WOW!
    I have a WIP that I want to get published. this year. I can’ only imagine the pain of an error or the stab of a jealous comment.
    Thanks for bringing it to the party! Have fun clicking back to other blogs to mingle!

    • Oooo! I hope your book publishing plans happen, Susie! If you need anything, or just need to chat as you go through the process, come find me!

      And yeah, the jealous comments are far worse than an anonymous poor review. But I do have to say, once you get something like that out of the way, it gets much easier. (Hey, I guess some things DO get easier the second time?)

      Loved visiting so many new blogs this time around – thanks for hosting!

  14. Congratulations on another boy! The second time around can be more challenging with everything in life but you also recognize those really good moments a bit more often and celebrate them more often! Good luck to you with your baby and the book!

  15. Susie sent me, plus I appreciated your comment on my blog and wanted to return the favor. For me, the second was a lot easier (aside from the sciatica). He popped out after only about an hour of severe labor. I was in the birthing tub just trying to relax — no plans on giving birth in the water — but he came so fast I had no choice but to stay put. Did you know newborns actually swim? It was amazing. Congrats on your book and Wil Wheaton. ;)

    • I gave birth to the first one at home, though not in the tub since he was so slow getting here – I’d love to try again in water, though! One hour of severe labor sounds like bliss. :)

      Thanks so much for coming by!

  16. So my kids assure me this is a good analogy: The second time around in parenting is like the regeneration of The Doctor — same principle, but very different personality. You know more of what you’re doing, but this kid won’t behave like the last one, in pregnancy, childbirth, and raising the little tyke. That said, my second kid was easier than the first (less colic), plus I had the basics down so that helped. Praying you feel better soon!

    As to the writing, I’ve heard that authors always sweat their next book — whether it’s the second or the seventeenth. I actually worry when a writer doesn’t seem concerned, because maybe they aren’t taking seriously enough that they should turn out a quality book for readers. Just remember you can do this, and write the story.

    Here’s to a lovely 2014, Amber!

    • Julie! You brought wise words in the form of a Doctor Who analogy! Love.

      I’m glad you said that about worrying when a writer isn’t concerned. I have seen writers that crank out books and the way they talk about how amazing everything they are producing is, I can’t help but wonder about the quality (and sadly, I’ve read some that confirmed my fears). So I guess a little worry is a good thing in this case. :)

      Looking forward to another year of sharing!

  17. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    Hey Amber! Just dropping back by form Susie’s blog party and signed up for your blog! Thanks for commenting on mine. I did not know you are pregnant, congrats! I’m sure a seasoned pro-Mom like you will do great!

  18. You’re going to be a magic mother of TWO boys, the same as you were with one. :-)

    Also, I read your first book and I’m looking forward to book #2, so just kick all that pesky self-doubt to the curb so I can have it!! Easy for me to say, right? Just remember: Done is better than good. Once it’s done, you can make it good. Right now is the time to focus only on “done.”

    I think these fears get magnified when you’re pregnant. I had a hell of a time focusing on writing. All you want to do is sleep and eat and bake a baby. And right now, that’s okay.

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