When I was not quite six months pregnant with Adeline we hosted a party and watched the USA play in the World Cup. I was super excited and we joked that Adeline was going to be a great soccer player because she kicked like crazy the whole time.
But the truth was, there wasn’t really anything special about that day. She kicked like crazy ALL the time. Her kicks hurt me, they were urgent, almost frantic. It was as though she had something important to communicate, somewhere that she needed to be, things she needed to do.
That personality only strengthened after birth. From the very first hours she was overly wakeful, alert, and interested in the world. She could hold her head up from the beginning and she would turn to a new voice in the room. Strangers and friends constantly commented on how “awake” and “alert” she was for a newborn. The girl never stopped moving.
Now, at roughly the same point in my pregnancy with this little boy, he seems like a completely different person. He moves, but he rarely ever actually “kicks”. His movements are little nudges, as though he’s changing positions, getting comfortable, stretching out. Maybe a little bump now and then, as though he’s testing the edges of his little world. So, incredibly, different.
And I wonder, is this a real personality difference? They say that you pay attention to the second one less because you’re so busy with the first one and because, well, it’s just not as big of a deal the second time around. Honestly, though, when we’re hanging out at the park and I’m watching Addie climb up the ladder and slide down the slide for the tenth time in a row, there’s not much else to do BUT pay attention to this little being inside me. And especially since I started contemplating this post last week I’ve really been paying attention. This is a legitimate difference.
Which gets me thinking about why. Is it just genetics? Probably, to a large extent. But I’ve also read a lot of studies recently showing that when pregnant women are highly stressed, their babies suffer. All of those stress hormones flood the amniotic fluid and baby gets what mom gives. And those babies are shown to be more stressed after birth.
I think of the first five months of my pregnancy with Adeline: working on an incredibly intense case, typically working 20 hours every day (even weekends) and often working straight through the night and into the next day. Working with a horrible partner and crappy senior associates. Throwing up in my garbage can because I literally could not take a minute to go to the bathroom to throw up there. Crying at my desk. Yeah, you could say I was highly stressed.
Is this boy reaping the benefits of a relaxed, happy, peaceful mama? Or is he just naturally different?
Or is all of this just in my imagination to begin with?
Did you notice differences between pregnancies? And if so, did those differences continue once the children were born?