I sincerely expected in my first trimester to throw up a few times, think a few food items were unappetizing, smell e v e r y t h i n g as if I had a new superpower, a headache here and there… but mostly, this unnerving joy that I am carrying life, life will never be the same, I’m a powerful strong human incubator, and just bask in that unending fulfilling joy that is my first journey as a mother.
I was SO wrong.
Like I told you guys here. I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks. It was NIRVANA. I was excited, elated, a little anxious, but mostly just 100% happy. How many times have you been able to say, “I have been 100% happy” and meant it! I finally could say I did. I felt like I was on track to experience everything that pregnancy promised me it would be, you know… via Instagram, Pinterest, celebrities, other friends of mine who I now consider kissed by an angel, but I think I only experienced that nirvana for about a week and a half. Fast forward to week 7 of my pregnancy and I am in a sweaty, fetal position balled up in my bed praying it all. just. stops.
I was never diagnosed with HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) and, as hard as my first trimester was, I really don’t think I had it. My heart goes out to ALL the women who have experienced HG – a severe form of all-day sickness that causes you to lose at least 10% of your pre-pregnancy weight and leads to severe dehydration. My sickness was an all-day nausea with a few (3-4) bouts of vomiting (*smiles proudly for the TMI*). I would wake up with nausea, go to sleep with nausea, I wanted to eat NOTHING. Water was even sometimes too much, as was my pre-natal. As much as it took a severe physical toll on me, I much more grieve the emotional toll it took on me. Why is pregnancy not fulfilling right now? Why can’t I enjoy this life and my first journey as a mother properly? Will I always feel this way and want to wish my pregnancy away (not the baby, just the pregnancy)? What if I am never the same and continue to feel nauseous even after the baby is born? What if I never gain weight and can’t keep any quality food down and end up hurting the baby? This is just not what it was supposed to be, damn it.
Ultrasound Video, Baby at 8 weeks.
I felt really lonely and, at times, depressed, because I couldn’t live up to what I saw on social media. I didn’t (hardly ever) feel butterflies at the thought of my first trimester. I wasn’t *excited*, per say. I was sometimes barely even happy. I felt like it was all just a struggle. A struggle to eat, a struggle to keep it down, a struggle to drink and take my vitamins. Some days, I would try really hard to not even move my head so that I didn’t throw up. It was just so harsh and so unexpected. Coming from someone who has powered through the flu and not allowed it to slow me down (even a little bit), I often judged myself for letting this affect me so much. Why can’t you just be strong and push through this? You’re a mom now, don’t you think you need to try a *little* harder? I mean – just a lot of emotional ups and downs.
I am so grateful for the few moments here and there in some of my weeks when I would get to experience stillness. The nausea would subside, like a wave rolling back, and I’d get to try and fit all of the happiness and excitement inside that little gap. I’d take all the pictures and I’d go feverishly write in my baby book, and I’d just sit there and cradle my non-existent bump and think about this little life. For those little whiles I felt the way I thought I was “supposed” to and it helped me regain some confidence in myself and in this journey… that is, until the nausea came back.
I chose to make the hard decision to share about my pregnancy from week 8. I would’ve shared my pregnancy as soon as we found out, but we wanted to make sure family knew first so week 8 was when I finally announced to all of you. It was important for me to share from the very beginning because I wanted to share about a REAL-LIFE first trimester. The ups, the downs, the not-so-magical moments, and the anxiety of whether or not this little life would keep growing and developing. Thankfully, it did and we are now on week 16! We made it through the scary, and as I dramatically like to put it, monstrous first trimester. All of us, intact.
I have now realized that not a lot of women know how *hard* it can be. We usually announce a pregnancy at week 12 or week 14, you know, the safe zone. I think that decision is a very personal one and I am proud of whatever any woman and family choose to do, but with pregnancies not being announced until then… most people are out of the “monstrous” phase and so people like me who have never gone through a pregnancy before can be left feeling duped and insecure. “So and so didn’t feel this way, at least I didn’t hear of them feeling so miserable. It must be just me.” That is so far from the truth. Being able to share my first trimester on instagram was both vulnerable and comforting. I got sooo many DM’s and e-mails from women that expressed how similar their first trimester was and how they survived it. It helped me feel less alone and I also felt proud that I could share something different, something real with anyone looking to conceive in the near or far future. It’s not always mild and a wee bit uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s deeply scarring and emotionally exhausting. You never know what you’re going to get, but there are several realities out there, and I think I shed a little light on at least one of them.
At 16 weeks and looking back, my first trimester was it’s own kind of beautiful. It was definitely challenging and hard to earn, but it was SURVIVABLE, just like they all are. I still got to carry this little life inside of me. I got to nourish it (as much as I humanely could). I got to love on it and anticipate it. I still do. Emotionally speaking, some things were gifted and some things were earned, but I got everything I needed in it’s due time and that’s largely due to God, Adam, my super-naturally loving husband, family, friends, midwives, all of you guys,… it does take a village but we got there!
Even now, at 4 months along, I still have the occasional really bad day. It’s SO discouraging because I whine and say, “why me” but I try not to compare myself to those instagrams, celebrities, super blessed friends of mine, and I try to remember that we all have a journey carved out for us. A path that is only ours and it has it’s own level of hardship and blessing and beauty. I’ve learned to embrace it and welcome it and own it. I think those are the times we are led to 100% happiness, like I mentioned above. Being you and loving you and trying your hardest… whatever that means for you own life. That is where we find our 100% happy… if that even exists 😉