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.
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!]