Oof, first trimester… There are lots of pages on the internet dedicated to these delightful 13 weeks of life because it’s a crazy time! This was the second time I’ve been through the first trimester, and both experiences were so different! But also very much the same.
The last time I was pregnant, I wrote this post about my first trimester experience. That was nearly two years ago, but it’s still the blog post that triggers the most emails to me. I hear from women all over the country who stumble upon that blog post and want me to know “yes, so true, it’s horrible, I’m in it and feel alone right now too.” It’s odd…there are something like 6.5 million pregnant women in this country right now, which means that roughly 2 million women are in their first trimester at any given moment. Yet we feel so alone.
I waited a long time to announce Milo’s pregnancy (10 weeks to my family, and 15 weeks to the rest of the world), and I told myself that if I was fortunate enough to get pregnant a second time, I would share about my first trimester in live time. But you know what? When it happened and I was pregnant a second time, I wasn’t ready to talk about the first trimester. Two reasons behind this:
1. I wasn’t in a good enough place to talk about it. Social media is both a valuable tool and a dangerous weapon, and I try to be careful to only share on it when I’m in a space where I can see clearly. Welp…I was basically not seeing clearly for about 3 months there. 😉 I took a two week complete break from social media, and I had a lot of days where I never posted anything to my account. I’m not afraid of showing my real life and being honest with y’all, but I also don’t want things to get so carried away that I’m on instagram stories griping and complaining every day. And that’s all I felt like I was able to do during the first trimester, so I just took some time away from it all.
2. The support versus privacy argument came up again (I wrote about that here), and I thought that I would opt for more support this time by sharing my pregnancy with everyone…but guess what? It still felt too scary! That precious life is so fragile at the beginning, and the first month of pregnancy (after getting a positive pregnancy test test but before hearing a heartbeat at the first ultrasound) made me feel raw. Any time I thought about my pregnancy, I’d feel a sense of trepidation. There was still so much that could happen, and I could lose this baby, and I didn’t feel ready to tell everyone in the world. (I did tell my family much faster this time…at 3.5 weeks!)
I told you about my pregnancy last week, at 13 weeks! And it feels so nice now to talk about it with friends and not have to monitor every thing I say to make sure I’m not letting the secret slip.
If you want to read about my first trimester with Milo, here it is. In a nutshell, it was full of nausea, food aversions (my body rejected coffee?! WHAT? So rude), fatigue, and sadness. Pretty typical first trimester.
This time around was very different! The nausea lasted for a couple of weeks (6-8) and I there were only two times that I wasn’t able to keep my dinner down. I was able to handle the smell of coffee throughout the entire trimester (praises…) and pretty much any food tasted ok. It was nice to be able to eat protein this time around instead of relying 100% on wheat thins to get me my calories. I mean, breakfast tacos always do some good for my soul. 😉
For my second pregnancy, I was more acutely aware of the hormone imbalance in my body; particularly how it affected my emotions. To put it simply, I was depressed for 2.5 months. Nothing could make me feel happy or excited, and I was a “medium” on the happiness scale until I crossed the 13 week mark.
It’s a frustrating place to be, because there was nothing really wrong in my life. I have so much to be thankful for and a really lovely life that I get to live! But it was this lack of excitement about…well, anything at all. Everything felt exhausting and overwhelming, from cooking a meal to playing with my toddler, starting a home project (painting my bathroom vanity was supposed to be a two-day project and it took me two weeks to finish!) or even just starting a new Netflix show. Everything was surrounded by a cloud of sad. The news of Nate’s 8th surgery absolutely wrecked me, which is odd because it was a smaller and less invasive than previous surgeries. But I spent about two weeks feeling really down about it.
Since it was my second pregnancy, I could recognize that this was pretty normal and something that would lift at the end of the third month. I felt the same way when I was newly pregnant with Milo, and I remember crying myself to sleep some nights. If it hadn’t lifted at 13 weeks, I would have definitely talked to a professional to see what was going on, because that’s not a normal way to live life.
I’m curious about those of you who have also gone through the first trimester during the pandemic: did it feel harder? Everything compounded, with the first trimester hormones multiplied times the monotony of staying home in the pandemic times Nate’s surgery and his inability to walk for a while. I was just in a low place for a couple of months.
And so, that’s my first trimester story! Haha. I got pregnant, I felt happy for a couple of days, and then I felt very, very sad and low for a couple of months. And then I felt happy again! (GEEZ.) I’m sharing this all because I know that there are many of you who are experiencing the same thing right now. And even though hearing my experience doesn’t make yours any easier, I do think that it’s nice to feel a connection with other women in similar situations, especially during a time in life when you feel so alone.
A few other tidbits:
- Nate had a surgery and was in the hospital for 3 days when I was 9 weeks pregnant. My mom came and lived with us for a week, and then immediately after she left my sister lived with us for a week. I don’t know what I would have done without their help while Nate was recovering. They got up with Milo every single morning so that I could sleep, they handled all of his baths and bedtimes, and they spent hours and hours playing with him throughout the day. Family, y’all! I am sooo so thankful.
- Going through the first trimester with a 15-month-old felt really hard! After my family went back to Dallas, Nate was still recovering and so I was the only one who could chase Milo around. The afternoons consisted of hours of following him around to keep him safe while he played at the playground or wandered around in the backyard, feeding him dinner, bathing him and getting him in bed, and then…collapsing into a heap on the couch at 7 pm. Haha! (I would go to bed at 8:30 during my first trimester!) He’s so tiny yet soooo exhausting! This is how we both felt at the end of each day:
- I really feel thankful that my body allowed me to eat almost anything during this first trimester. I really think that the Universe knew that I needed the extra protein and energizing foods to get through those weeks that Nate was injured and not able to help as much with Milo, and every time I was able to eat fish or chicken or vegetables it was a little gift.
So that’s it! This is certainly not a “rah rah” energizing blog post, but it is an accurate glimpse into the first trimester that so many of us experience. Sending you so many hugs if you’re in the thick of it right now! I wish there was a way to ease the burden a bit, but unfortunately the first trimester is an underground tunnel that only has room for one person. The good news is that when you emerge from the darkness and come up for air, there will be a crowd of people cheering for you when you announce the news to the world. The timing of that really is perfect. 🙂