As a slightly older mom to be I have witnessed several of my friends, relatives and colleagues go through one or more pregnancies. I have also watched about four hundred episodes of Teen Mom as well as countless films and TV shows that depicted women in various stages of gestation. So you would think I would have had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Wrong. I don’t think you really take any of it in until it’s already too late, plus I have a suspicion that every pregnancy is completely different… but just in case anyone wants to attempt to prepare or to reminisce, here are ten things I have learned about the first trimester of being pregnant.
Keeping it a secret is a challenge
You’re not supposed to tell anyone you are pregnant before 12 weeks because early pregnancy is really high risk. For me this was a bit of a nightmare. Trying to explain to people why I felt awful without spilling the beans did not come naturally. I wanted to be able to ask for support to at least have people understand why I was sitting in meetings breathing through my nose and staring into space. Needless to say as I got closer to the 12 weeks I just started telling people because it was easier. For those who managed to keep it completely quiet for a whole 12 weeks… well done.
It is perfectly possible to be so nauseous you might vomit at any time and so hungry you might eat a camel… simultaneously
My “morning” sickness kicked in at about six and a half weeks on my birthday. As if Little O knew that I had the day off and was hoping to have a fun and enjoyable day with Mr O and family. He/she is already asserting his/her authority. Since then I have felt really nauseous for large parts of almost every day. At the same time my appetite has sky rocketed. I am always hungry… even when I feel sick. I woke up at 3am the other day and seriously contemplated making a chicken pie from scratch.
Your hair and nails grow faster
All the hair. Everywhere. EVERY. WHERE.
The fear is real and relentless
Before I fell pregnant I lived in fear that it would never ever happen and there was something terrible wrong with me. The minute I found out I was pregnant that fear flipped over into a new fear of losing the baby that never goes away. Every cramp, twinge or sneeze is accompanied by a sense of dread that this is it… this is the end. When I went for my 12 week scan a large part of me was absolutely sure the sonographer was going to tell me there was nothing in there. I get the distinct feeling that after Little O is born this will just become an ever present fear that something terrible is going to happen to him/her.
Nobody gives two shits about your “Baby on board” badge
For those who don’t know in London you can get a badge from the Transport authority that says “Baby on board” on it. This is so when you are traveling on public transport other passengers know that it would be kind to offer you their seat and helps to prevent scenarios of confusion where people fear accidentally offending someone who isn’t pregnant. I have one of these badges because although I am not sporting much of a bump yet I feel sick, dizzy and exhausted almost all the time. I also would like people on the train to push me just a little bit less. Unfortunately the badge has very little effect on anyone. People look me straight in the eye, look at the badge and then look the other way. About once a week some kind person does actually give me their seat and it means the world to me. For those who look at the badge and think, she’s not even showing, what does she need a seat for… one day I am going to vomit on you and it will be your own fault.
Accepting your physical limitations is hard. Really hard.
Before I got pregnant I trained like a machine five days a week. I did really high intensity classes with heavy weights and I was really strong. I haven’t stopped working out but things are very different to how they were two months ago. I now see a personal trainer twice a week and on his advice I do one or two light cardio sessions on my own on top of that. And I struggle in a way that I haven’t done since I started lifting over two years ago. My trainer has to put down one of those yoga balls for me so that I can sit down between my sets. And some days I feel so weak that I have to tap out and rearrange my session. I hate it. I miss being strong. I miss being able to push myself. It has been harder to accept than almost any of the other changes.
The first trimester is like one very long prelude to a period
One of the first things I thought when I found out I was pregnant was, “Yay! No periods for nine months.” Unfortunately the first trimester for me has been like one long prelude to a period that never comes. Not only is there the endless boob ache (now accompanied by boobs the size of footballs) but there’s also the cramps that apparently are caused by your uterus expanding from the size of a pear to the size of a grapefruit. (Everything in pregnancy is measured in fruit. Little O is currently the size of a lime apparently.).
Crying is no longer just for when you watch Moulin Rouge and sometimes you will wonder if you should be sectioned
I am not a big crier. Well I didn’t used to be. Now I cry for no apparent reason all the time. I also take everything personally and blow the smallest incidents up into ridiculous dramas. I also have moments where I genuinely think I am going completely insane as the most bizarre, random and intense thoughts enter my head and won’t leave. As someone who is generally very emotionally balanced and not a great at showing vulnerability being an emotional wreck is a new experience that is taking some getting used o.
Sometimes you feel like a magic being
While getting pregnant isn’t some kind of earth shattering super power – I mean people have been doing it for millennia and many people do it completely unexpectedly and by accident – it can be a long hard journey to get there and one that some women (and no men) don’t get to experience even if they want to. But then there’s the fact that you are growing an entire motherfucking HUMAN BEING inside your body and when it goes from the size of a pea to the size of a lime in only six weeks it’s okay to feel a little bit like a wizard as long as you don’t become some kind of insufferable earth mother. Also there is no feeling that can replicate what it is like to see your baby inside you, moving around.
There is loads of stuff you can’t eat. Inevitably it will be everything you really like.
Why doesn’t the list of things you are not supposed to eat while you are pregnant have things like Brussel sprouts on it? Instead it’s all rare steak, stilton and sushi.