Confession: I used to be super-freaked out by the idea of gestating a baby. When friends would reveal their pregnancies to me, I would typically manage a hearty "congratulations!" and a few words of support, but inside I was thinking, “OK, I need to know everything and I'm too afraid to ask. Just how bad is the first trimester? Are you sick all the time? Does everything hurt? How scary is it? Is it weird to know there’s something swimming around inside you? Does it consume all your thoughts and feelings?”
I suppose, in some ways, I’m still kind of freaked out by the idea of being pregnant. I have a toddler now, and even considering another pregnancy while my little demands so much time and attention is a little overwhelming. I’m not sure he would understand that mama needs to be still for a while and finish her ginger ale and saltines before she can get up to play (and by "play," I mean lie on the floor and haphazardly push a truck around with my foot). I'm just fairly certain that anyone who manages to get through pregnanct while also parenting another child (or dear god, more than one?!) is a Grade A badass in a way that terrifies me.
In addition to the physical symptoms that so many women commonly experience during the first trimester of pregnancy, there is some extra crazy stuff happening with thoughts and feels, too. To any women out there currently going through it, I see you. In the name of unity, here’s a list of all the reasons why the first part of being knocked up is totally the worst part:
It’s Tough To Focus On Anything Else
I'm sorry, what? Were you saying something? I'm having flashbacks to the week I found out I was pregnant, and if I remember correctly, I was completely unable to think past my belly button. Focusing on the rest of the world was just...not a thing.
Sickness (In All Shapes And Sizes)
Please accept my Internet hugs if you're currently experiencing any of that first trimester discomfort (especially if it involves nausea, the bane of my existence). Please keep a fleece blanket, six-pack of your preferred clear soda, and TV remote close by.
For Many Of Us, It’s The Most Uncertain Time Of Pregnancy
Looking back, I probably would have benefited from, oh, I don’t know, mantras or yoga or some woo-woo tea or something designed to smooth nerves (had I not been afraid that it was bad for pregnancy, because nerves).
Every Twinge Or Symptom Is Unfamiliar
During my first trimester, I so often found myself thinking, "So this is what it feels like to be pregnant," followed by what I can only assume is some kind of meditation. Like, I would take inventory of my whole body and how it felt, noticing and wondering if it was a pregnancy thing, or like, just the fact that my posture needs work or that I had garlic for dinner. I had no way of knowing.
Not to brag, but I can rock a wicked mood swing even when I’m not pregnant, so you can imagine how well I handled the hormones of early pregnancy. My partner deserves a trophy. And not one of those phoned-in participation trophies that everyone gets; a serious one with a plaque that has his name on it and everything.
You Might Not Be Telling People You're Pregnant
Despite childhood dreams of becoming a spy, I’m actually not that awesome at keeping secrets, especially when said secret is one of the most significant happenings in an adult life. I struggled with hiding my pregnancy, and was so excited to finally share it with my co-workers that I brought donuts to celebrate. Also, because I wanted/needed to eat them too.
Your Due Date Feels Like An Eternity Away
It’s hard to flip through six or seven calendar pages and not feel slightly overwhelmed at what lies ahead.
So maybe not everyone has this problem, but I googled the weirdest stuff during my pregnancy, and as you can imagine, nearly all of it was horrifying and worrisome. If you can avoid falling down any and all pregnancy message board rabbit holes, you will be much better off.
The Fun Stuff (Probably) Hasn’t Started Yet
I mean, I did a teensy bit of shopping with my mom and got some gender neutral jammies and some maternity clothes for down the road. However, did those outings compare to the perks of the later trimesters, when people are throwing showers and parties in your honor, and you can think about fun stuff like names, and buying stuffed animals? No. No, they did not.
You Don’t Have The Rules Memorized Yet
Are you supposed to avoid all fish or just any that is potentially under cooked? What about soft cheese...when it's in a sauce? What did the last study on caffeine say? This seatbelt feels kinda tight — is that OK? I know roller coasters are bad, but what about ferris wheels? It's a lot to remember.
You Haven’t Seen Or Heard Much From Your Little One Yet
Unless you count the exhaustion and headaches as a greeting, that is.
Your Wardrobe Hasn’t Caught Up Yet
Late in the first trimester is when I was just starting to get uncomfortable in my regular clothes, but not quite ready to make the leap to maternity wear. I was still semi-trying to hide my growing bump, so it made for a complicated combination of factors that resulted in a number of bad fashion choices. Had it been for any other reason, I may have cared a little more than I did, but in the moment? I couldn’t be bothered to. I was pretty busy lying on the couch and gestating a baby (which, yes, feels like it takes up all of your energy when you're newly pregnant...and when you're very pregnant...and pretty much whenever you just feel like lying on the couch).