Hey friends! I wrote a little letter to the first trimester. 🙂 This is NOT in an attempt to be overly dramatic or to scare anyone away from pregnancy by sharing a “horror” story. Rather, I’m hoping that it’s a realistic view into 3 months that are often hidden from the public eye. I was shocked at how sad, emotional, nauseous, and exhausted I felt, and I was really discouraged when I realized it wasn’t going to be over in a few short weeks (my symptoms lasted for about 2.5 months.) Since most people start sharing their pregnancy journey around 12-14 weeks, the first few weeks don’t get any attention, and I just didn’t really know what to expect…
Also, every single journey is different! You might look at mine and think, “SHE sure had it easy!!” Or, you might be someone who didn’t deal with any of these symptoms. Doesn’t matter…your journey is yours, and my journey is mine.
All that to say: if you’re going through your first trimester right now and having a rough time, I GET YOU! I’m here for you, sending you love and good vibes, and just want you to know that you’re not alone. It DOES eventually end, but it really sucks right now. Hang in there, Wonder Woman.
Dear First Trimester,
I’ve never considered myself to be someone who wishes away days of her life, but you made me do that. Just a little..
When I peed on that fateful stick in February, I felt soooo excited! And then, a little bit terrified. And then, very quickly, all hell broke loose and the torment of all your First Trimester Fury came down on me.
You’re sneaky, because you mostly happen in the privacy of family life. When acquaintances announce their pregnancies on facebook at 14 weeks, I don’t have to see the horrible first 3 months. I just click “like” on that cute little photo of balloons and monogrammed onesies and offer a quick congratulatory comment to the new parents. I suppose that one of the reasons that you were so tough for me was that I just didn’t know.
First Trimester (FT): you’re a tricky little SOB. I’ve never experienced such a wide range of emotions, physical pain, and confusion in such a short time.
As someone who thrives on goal-setting, you absolutely ruined me. I mean, what’s the goal here? Survive? Make time go faster? GET THROUGH this without losing my mind? You KNOW that I hate binge-waching Netflix and spending entire afternoons on the couch! I want productivity! Efficiency! Goals goals goals! All of that went to sh!t during these past 3 months when I slept 14 hours a night, plus a daily nap. And when I was awake, I felt lethargic.
I always assumed I’d be someone who wouldn’t experience nausea in the first trimester. Ha! FT, thanks a ton for helping me lower every expectation I had for myself about pregnancy. I guess it’s best that this happened at the very beginning of pregnancy/parenthood to remind me that I’m not actually in control of any of this? I could feel seasick at any time of day or night, so I’m not even going to call it “morning sickness.” (Honestly, that term needs to go; it’s like calling a flight attendant a “stewardess” or something equally outdated and incorrect. Our society will get used to it, eventually. “Morning sickness” is out, “all-day-nausea-and-vomiting” is in.)
As someone who got her first motion sickness migraine at age 12 (I remember crying on a park bench at Six Flags while my mom went to go find some Tylenol and cold water…goodbye, roller coasters!) and has experienced car sickness, plane sickness, sea sickness her entire life, I really don’t know why I assumed I could just “tough it out and ignore” the pregnancy symptoms.
FT, here’s something I learned from you: there is no such thing as “tough it out and ignore it” with pregnancy symptoms. You can endure, beg for help, and cry. You can give the appearance of living a normal life and you can sustain a job and act semi-cordial to clients and friends and strangers, but you can’t just ignore what’s going on.
Thank goodness I craved all sorts of Instagrammable dinners like this one… ^ (You made food blogging a real joy for the past 3 months, FT!)
Speaking of food aversions, here’s one of the many reasons why you made me hate my life a little bit: Remember when 6 weeks of pregnancy hit and you thought it would be funny to make my stomach turn upside-down at the thought of coffee? I mean…seriously? I LOVE coffee. I NEED coffee! I already gave up wine, and now you’re taking coffee from me, too? That was a mean, mean pregnancy trick. Not cool.
Here’s something else I learned from you: first trimester hormones aren’t a myth. And they aren’t like the funny ones you see on rom-coms where the pregnant lady starts sobbing happy tears every time she sees a mom and a stroller go by on the sidewalk.
Nope, these pregnancy hormones gave me the lowest lows. I never went so far as to be considered at risk for prenatal depression, but I sure felt sad. God bless my husband who would find me curled up in bed sobbing into my pillow; he learned to immediately cuddle me and comfort me without asking too many questions, because when he asked, “what’s wrong, baby?” I wasn’t able to give any sort of response except for blurting out, “I just feel so, so sad!!
3 things I hate about you:
1) The emotional lows. Sooo low! I hate crying so much, and I just felt sad and alone.
2) Nausea. Throwing up is gross. Hell is: being stuck in a middle seat in the back of an turbulent airplane with the fasten seatbelt sign lit up, scrambling to find a barf bag so you can throw up in front of all of the other passengers. GROSS.
3) The loneliness felt miles long. I wasn’t sure how I would get through. A trimester doesn’t seem long now, but when I was 6 weeks pregnant and knew that I still had two months of this misery ahead of me, I didn’t feel any hope.
You also made me a little bit crazy, FT. I doubted everything! Am I actually pregnant? Am I just insane? Is there really a tiny baby in there? Will the sonographer just laugh at me?
I’ve never been more terrified to lose something.
I took pregnancy tests every 3-4 days until I was able to go to my 8 week OB appointment. I wanted to share the news with everyone, but I also wanted to protect my heart. Craving privacy while also craving support is the weirdest juxtaposition. I opted for privacy this time, but if I do this again, I’ll probably ask for more support.
You are a tough cookie, FT! I asked for you. I decided to become voluntarily ill for 2 months. I hate you, but I want you. (Am I sounding hormonal yet?)
I know you’re just doing your job. Hormones and growth and fatigue are all there for a reason. Ultimately, you and I are on the same team (I think….although I didn’t feel that way when I was kneeling in front of the toilet barfing up an apple, which I kindly ate in an attempt to give this little baby something other than wheat thins and easy mac….). Ultimately, we both just want a healthy baby.
Now I’m on the other side of the first trimester. I’m in the second trimester, or the “golden” trimester, and I feel energetic and excited about life, and I’m wondering….did I just make all of that up? Ha! I’m glad that I recorded lots of my thoughts and feelings in my journal; otherwise, I would have just thought I was crazy back then, too.
Here’s the thing: I’m ok with you now, FT. I made it through, I’m still alive, and baby is growing and healthy. We’re gonna be fine.
I’ll deal with you again in a few years if I have to, but I still don’t like you. 😉