This Saturday marks the 16th week of my pregnancy. To think that just a few weeks ago I was dry heaving on my drive home from work!
Ah the first trimester! What an uncomfortable point of pregnancy. My experience was not the worst case scenario. Sure, there was some puking, lots of napping, and a fun mix of crying and raging for no particular reason, but all in all, it could have been far worse. I count my blessings that after 9 ½ weeks my symptoms faded and I started feeling like my normal self again.
The nausea started slowly, about half way through week 5, I felt as though I had eaten something bad. By the following week I would wake up feeling queasy, power through my day with the fear of vomiting in the back of my head, and head to sleep with a bucket beside my bed, just in case. It was incessant. Lucky for me, I only had one bad day of throwing up. And as weird as this sound, it actually felt like a relief. Nausea 24/7 is exhausting. Dry heaving is a tease. You think you’ll get some momentary relief, and then nothing. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I tried to make light of the situation. After all, morning sickness was a good sign! It meant the baby was still inside me.
My optimistic ways were certainly challenged during this time. Not only was constantly feeling like shit getting me down, but pregnancy hormones kicked into high gear. I went from feeling happy and content to raging like a maniac over the smallest of inconveniences at less than a moment’s notice. I will devote an entire blog post to my mood swings, because there’s simply too many funny/kind of horrible stories to digress to!
Not only was the nausea leaving me incapacitated, but the fatigue… Oh the fatigue! Never in my life have I been so tired. Imagine having the worst jet-lag for weeks on end. Two in the afternoon would hit, and my eyelids felt like cement. Normally a very active person, I could barely move during these few weeks. A leisurely walk would leave me winded.
Not only was I feeling lazier than a sloth hanging off a Eucalyptus tree, my food aversions and cravings left me wondering if my unborn baby would end up malnourished. All I could stomach were sweet, sugary, simple carbs. Vegan donuts, white bread with jam, and ginger ale were my top cravings. Even the thought of a green smoothie, or kale salad left me holding back the urge to dry heave. Taking my prenatal vitamins was a challenge, but I forced them down as best as I could. The only healthy foods I couldn’t get enough of were all things citrus. Lemon in particular. I remember one night when I actually cut up an entire lemon and ate it like an orange… To be honest, I ate one and a half of them. Even to this day, I can’t seem to get enough oranges and mandarins!
Never have I ever been more out of control of my own body. I am normally that person who drinks blended greens with herbs and hemp hearts. I go on epic hikes, and love working up a serious sweat in the gym! But during that first trimester, I was the exact opposite. It was hard not to get inside my head about it all. I kept reminding myself that I am growing a human, and it takes a lot of work, and it’s not about me right now, it’s about the baby. But I’ll be honest, it was hard some days. I’d cry out of frustration while taking a shower. Feeling guilty for feeling bad about my body and wishing that I could just have one day to feel normal again. To drink a green smoothie without wanting to throw up at the sight of it, and to actually want to work out.
And then one day, at about 9 ½ weeks, I woke up and I craved kale! My energy had returned, my food aversions faded, and I felt normal again!
To the women who are currently in the midst of it, take it day by day. Be as kind to your body as you will be to your sweet baby. To the women who have gone through this and have had it even worse, you are so strong and amazing. The emotional and physical sacrifice we go through is so individual. Some of us love pregnancy. We welcome the changes with open arms. We feel like goddess giving life to a new being. Some of us are hesitant. We have struggled with our body images our whole lives. The changes bring us feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and maybe even shame for feeling so selfish during this special time. I will admit that I am somewhere in the middle. I have days where I struggle with the changes, but just as often I have days when I can’t wait for my belly to grow bigger. If you have a pregnant woman in your life, be it your partner, your sister, or your friend, just remind her she is loved, and she looks beautiful in her ever changing body.
(Do NOT comment on how big her stomach is getting.)