During my first pregnancy, I worked full-time as an elementary school librarian.
My daughter was born during the summer, and I decided not to return to work.
Two and a half years later, I got pregnant again, with another little girl.
Although both pregnancies were fairly similar (a sick first trimester, with relatively easy second and third trimesters, and week-overdue babies), there were some big differences between being pregnant while working full-time versus being pregnant while staying home with a toddler. Here are a few I noticed most:
Sick Days while Working Full-Time
I had sick days and, if I really needed them, I could take them. Plus, the occasional school holiday where I could stay home alone and sleep in and rest.
Sick Days while Staying at Home
My toddler, while having many delightful qualities, was not, perhaps, the most sympathetic to my pregnancy woes. She basically wanted life to go on as normal (and I couldn’t blame her – so did I!)
Naps while Working Full-Time
I’m not sure I took more than one nap during my entire first pregnancy. With a full-time job, there just wasn’t a lot of time for napping.
Naps while Staying Home
During my second pregnancy, I would put my toddler down for her afternoon nap and then SPRINT to my bed and sleep like a rock for two hours. It was so fantastic.
Hundreds of Bathroom Trips while Working Full-Time
It’s definitely suspicious at work when you’re dashing off to the bathroom every 10 minutes. And since I had hour-long classes with 30 students each, it was also HARD for me to run to the bathroom (thank heavens for an aide!).
Hundreds of Bathroom Trips while Staying Home
My toddler had no idea that I was making more trips to the restroom than usual (and even if she had noticed, it wouldn’t have meant anything to her – she certainly didn’t know that was a prime indicator of pregnancy!)
Maternity Clothing while Working Full-Time
Working full-time meant I had to squeeze into work-appropriate clothing every day, even as my body shifted into a shape that wasn’t particularly conducive to my professional wardrobe.
Maternity Clothing while Staying at Home
Maternity clothing could mean pajamas. On those days where the idea of wearing anything with a waistband was absolute horror, no one was giving me skeptical looks. And I could wear the same pair of maternity pants for days in a row — my toddler never noticed!
Coworker Sympathy while Working Full Time
As an elementary school teacher who mainly worked with women (there were only three male teachers between the two schools I taught at) – and women who were mothers, at that – everyone I worked with was extremely understanding of my pregnancy.
Coworker Sympathy while Staying Home
My co-worker (um, toddler) had never been pregnant, so she was surprisingly unsympathetic to how lousy I felt for those first few months. And even when I felt like doing nothing but snuggle in my bed, she still wanted breakfast!
Cravings while Working Full-Time
If I did want to eat nothing but Cheetos for lunch (my #1 craving during my first pregnancy), I had to hide in my office. I was too embarrassed to let my co-workers see that it was the only thing I was eating.
Cravings While Staying at Home
My toddler was more than happy to eat whatever snacky foods I was craving at the moment (she was delighted to drink smoothies every day or eat nachos for lunch).
Doctor Appointments while Working Full-Time
While I was working, I had to schedule my doctor appointments around my daily calendar or use up my sick days to go to them (but I did go alone and didn’t have to worry about stashing suckers in my purse to help a toddler make it through).
Doctor Appointments while Staying Home
I could schedule my appointments for any day of the week (although I did have to work around naptime). I especially liked early morning appointments because they usually weren’t backed up and running behind yet. I always had to take along my little two-year-old sidekick, though. (In her defense, she was always VERY well-behaved and loved hearing the baby’s heartbeat).
Length of Pregnancy while Working Full-Time
I’m not sure if this was because I was working or if it was because it was my first pregnancy, but it seemed to go by pretty slowly. Maybe it was because, almost daily, some co-worker or another was asking how far along I was.
Length of Pregnancy while Staying at Home
My second pregnancy, while I stayed at home, seemed to zip by much faster. (Also, I was better prepared for the possibility that my baby would be late. She was, by seven days).
Trying to Hide a Pregnancy while Working Full-Time
Even though I was pretty sick the first trimester, I had to act as much like normal as possible – eating second and third breakfasts hiding in my office, throwing up in the bathroom, and wearing clothes that disguised my growing bump.
Trying to Hide a Pregnancy while Staying at Home
While I still didn’t want to tell my friends until I was out of the first trimester, it was much easier to hide it because I simply just didn’t go out (or I’d wait until the afternoons, when I generally felt much better). At home, I could wear clothing that didn’t disguise my weight gain and spend the morning on the couch.
Energy Levels while Working Full-Time
No matter how I felt, it was still my job to be high energy at work, teaching five hour-long classes a day to rowdy elementary schoolers. I didn’t have the option to hide in my office or take a nap.
Energy Levels while Staying at Home
Although parenting a toddler does take a lot of energy, there are plenty of things I could do while lying on the floor or sitting on the couch (we read lots and lots of books and played many games of bingo). If I was feeling particularly exhausted, I could take a nap during her nap time, and I could stay home, in my pajamas, all day.
P.S. What were some of the differences between your pregnancies?