The actress, model, and mom of almost two opens up about the major differences between her pregnancies.
Brooklyn Decker and her husband, tennis star Andy Roddick, knew they wanted to have kids. They just didn't think it would happen so fast with their first child, Hank, who turned 2 in September. The model and actress—from Grace and Frankie and What to Expect When You're Expecting fame—was in the middle of filming, so she returned to work just two weeks after giving birth. But she knew her second time around would be different.
We sat down with Decker, who was in town to discuss the launch of the new Clearblue Connected Ovulation Test System (and who's due with Baby #2 at the end of the year!) to find out the secret to timing her second pregnancy perfectly, what she's looking forward to most about having a girl, and how she plans to take on delivery day.
What was your experience like trying to conceive the first and second time around?
When planning for number two, we tried to schedule and plan it in a way where I could go back to work comfortably after having some time with the new baby. Frankly, I had very little knowledge about my cycle or my reproductive health. My friend recommended I try the Clearblue Advanced Ovulation Test to help give me an idea of when my fertile window would occur. We were able to actually plan our conception at a time that was convenient—which, is there ever really a convenient time?! The amazing thing about the [new] test is you can track month-to-month and connect results to an app that's using your hormone levels and personal data to give insight, which hasn't existed in apps before.
You said your first pregnancy was a surprise but this time around it was well planned. Were there any ups or downs to having a surprise versus planned pregnancy?
The trying to conceive story for so many women can be such a struggle, and for women to not have all of the education about their health and reproductive health in general is really a disservice. There really hasn't been a test that uses your chemistry, hormonal levels, and technology to give optimum results until now. Comparatively speaking, both ways of finding out I was pregnant was absolutely wonderful, but this time I'll have more time to snuggle a newborn for a few months at home, which I know is a huge luxury and something I didn't have with my first. I'm really looking forward to this one being a more relaxed experience and not having to go back to work two weeks after giving birth.
How did you tell your husband you were pregnant?
It was like a pee-on-the stick-and-show-him kind of situation. I get too excited about things and news like that, so for me to withhold that information for more than five seconds would have to be a miracle. There was no surprise plan or big reveal. It involved me running out of the bathroom with a pregnancy test. I was too excited to hold it in!
How are you prepping your 2-year-old son for the new baby?
He understands the idea that a new baby is coming and he says, 'baby sister.' Frankly, as a 30-year-old having my second child I don't even know what having a new baby in the house will mean, so I don't think a 2-year-old can wrap their head around what it's like to have a sibling. But he's precious. He talks about her all the time, so I'm hoping that translates when she actually arrives.
How has your first pregnancy been different from your second?
I've been very lucky with both pregnancies. They've been healthy and smooth. But the second one definitely feels more physically taxing, and I can't decide if that's because it's actually more physically challenging or because I'm chasing a toddler around—I'm sure it's a combination of both. The first time you're pregnant, you can luxuriate and nap and really take care of yourself. With the second one, you have to be scrappier and get on with your day without letting yourself experience the symptoms of pregnancy like you did with your first.
Do you find yourself to be more relaxed with your second pregnancy?
Oh, 100 percent. This poor child. The effort of going into nursery planning and shopping for the baby—I've been completely lazy the second go-around. With the first you're nervous and on edge, and with the second you just relax.
Are you tracking your pregnancy progress through an app?
It wasn't until the 6-month mark when I realized I didn't even know which week I was in and probably should. I don't know what produce she is right now—maybe an eggplant? She was a celery stalk a few weeks ago. It's always a concern when she's a lemon, like 'you should be bigger!' I mean, you want to get to the big fruits. She's a sturdy piece of produce at this point.
Based on your first birth experience, has your approach on giving birth changed?
I had no birth plan with my first. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, and it was completely turned on its head. My son was late, I was induced, I thought I would go all natural but once you're induced that goes out the window. With this one, I'm just taking it as it comes. Not having a plan with my first really enhanced my experience, because there was no disappointment. With pregnancy, so many things happen that are out of your control and you can give yourself every chance to have a smooth experience but you'll be thrown curveballs. You have to be able to bend and accommodate, and I think that's the same for childbirth. You'll never know what to expect.
After having a boy, did you want a girl?
I was absolutely desperate for a girl. Granted, after having a boy I could have easily had 10 boys and been very happy, but I did at one point tell my husband that we would keep going until we had a girl. I'm incredibly close with my mom, so I wanted a similar experience of my own.
You were in the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting. Did your role in that teach you anything?
Absolutely not. My character was pregnant with twins and sneezes and the baby comes out. It was this unicorn pregnancy and this ridiculously over-the-top perfect experience that no woman goes through, so the bar was set so high that I knew none of my real pregnancies would mirror that. So, no, I didn't learn anything from that. But it was fun to wear a fake belly!
Emily Elveru is Parents magazine's editorial assistant.