Unfortunately, I've had to do the first trimester of pregnancy twice, so I can honestly and quite knowledgeably say: it's the worst. For me, the first trimester feels like having a terrible, three-month long hangover, plus extra nausea and fatigue, without the benefit of having partied first. It's totally unfair. There were certain things I did for myself during my first trimester, to make pregnant life bearable enough to make it through to the other two trimesters (and, eventually, meet the tiny and adorable prize at the end).
While I wasn't necessarily great at self-care before pregnancy, my first trimester became a crash-course in putting my health and wellbeing first. Honestly, I didn't have any other choice. I was so tired I could barely move at times, and if I didn't nap frequently my brain just would not work at all. And while I've always had a pretty astute sense of smell, pregnancy kicked that into hyperdrive, which meant life in a city was quite nauseating. (At least, until the best barbecue place in town opened up around the corner. That was a truly wonderful day. Sincerest gratitude to all the pigs who gave their lives to make my neighborhood smell like ribs instead of garbage and drunk-dude pee.) So as much as possible, I holed up in my apartment; an island of pleasant odors, easy-to-eat snacks, mint tea, and purring cat.
Every person and every pregnancy is a little different, so if you're new to the first trimester club, definitely figure out the combination of stuff that makes these next few weeks livable for you. For me, the following were absolute musts until I made it to the energetic second trimester promised land:
I Napped Whenever I Could…
I have never, ever felt as fatigued as I did during my first trimester of pregnancy. There were moments where I could honestly have fallen asleep standing up. As a result, I was never more glad to have lived in a place with lots of public transportation as I was then, because me behind the wheel of a car would have been a truly scary proposition. Clearly my body needed to rest, so I rested whenever possible.
...And Cuddled Our Cat As Much As Possible
Something about a purring kitty just puts my soul at ease. My cat is always a friendly girl, but she got extra cuddly and protective of me as soon as I got pregnant. Feeling her purr against my belly while I rested was so amazing.
I Made My Bedroom Cozy AF
Giant body pillows? Check. Warm, fluffy blankets? Check. Adjustable lighting? Check. Slightly less aggravated expecting mama? Check.
I Got A Lap Desk
Fortunately for me, I worked from home during my pregnancy. So whenever I didn’t absolutely have to be somewhere else for a meeting or anything like that, I’d set up my laptop on my lap desk, gather all the things I’d need for the day, and work in bed.
I Ate Lots Of Little Meals...
For those of us fortunate enough to have normal first trimester nausea (as opposed to hyperemesis gravidarum), the whole “never let your stomach get empty” trick to ward off nausea actually does work. Not that I ever need extra reasons to eat basically all the time, pregnant or not.
...And Lived On Mint Tea
Giant cups of mint tea, or mint and ginger brewed together, was my lifeline. That plus the little meals made it possible for me to not feel like puking the whole day.
I Wore Comfy Clothes As Much As Possible
Even though I wasn't showing yet, I was bloated. And cranky. And exhausted. All fantastic reasons to wear soft, stretchy clothes that can be napped in at a moment’s notice.
I Indulged My Cravings
I mean, if my body says it wants cardamom gelato, it must have its reasons. I don't question these things.
...And Avoided New Food Aversions
The tomatillo salsa I used to love under normal circumstances got tossed, along with the way-too-tempting raw milk cheese I'd gotten at the farmer’s market right before my positive pregnancy test. The things we sacrifice for our children, right?
I Gave The House A Smell Makeover
I couldn't control what the rest of the world smelled like, but I could at least make sure my own home was a olfactory sanctuary. Whenever I had any energy at all, I made sure our apartment was spotless. I also strategically placed nice-smelling plants and candles everywhere, and changed our sheets and blankets very frequently.
I Gave All The Gross Chores To My Partner
Scooping the cat box, taking out the trash, and dealing with the dishwasher all became overwhelmingly nauseating once I became pregnant. So I bumped those chores off my list ASAP, to spare one or both of us the added responsibility of cleaning up puke. Gotta do what you gotta do (or not do, in this case).