It seemed like the minute I got pregnant everything I used to be evaporated into thin air. It’s a hard feeling to describe, that I’m assuming only other moms can relate to, but it felt like this weird cocktail of happiness and unsettledness. It was as if my body abandoned me overnight. Let me explain.
Imagine this scenario. You wake up on a Tuesday full of energy and ready for anything. You smile as you walk outside into the cool morning light and have a productive three mile run to kick start the day. When you return home, you take a hot, refreshing shower, skip breakfast (nothing sounds good first thing in the morning), drink some water, grab a banana and head out the door. On your way to work you stop for an oat milk latte – your favorite routine of the day. Around eleven, you pop outside for some fresh air and to pick up an avocado toast. You have a busy, accomplished day and around six you are ready for a block of cheese (or some other savory treat) and a glass (or two) of wine. You call up a friend, or maybe your partner, and you meet for happy hour before heading home where you enjoy several hours of your favorite Netflix show before falling asleep around eleven in preparation to do it all again the following day.
But tomorrow is different. Tomorrow you are pregnant.
On Wednesday morning you wake up early but the room is spinning. It feels like a hangover but you barely drank. Your mouth feels like the Sahara and you reach for a glass of water on your end table. You drink it as fast as you can and then immediately rush to the bathroom to throw it all up. Your head is pounding, but you don’t feel comfortable taking pain meds, and it feels like you didn’t sleep a wink. Working out is out of the question because walking is hard enough. You are winded from picking out clothes. You turn on the shower. Washing your hair takes double the time between “breaks” and gags. You force yourself to eat a piece of dry toast that you’ll likely throw up twenty minutes later. You skip the latte, even decaf, because the thought and smell of it sounds repulsive – and avocado? Forget about it! The day drags on and so does the weight of your eyelids pressing on your skin and by 6:01 you are on your way home. Nothing sounds appetizing, so you have another piece of toast and crawl into bed.
This feeling continues for the next eight weeks or so and with each passing day your excitement for the baby grows as your old self slowly slips away. The girl who found joy in working out, white wine and lavender lattes, gone. And you can’t help but start to wonder, who am I? Just a shell of the woman I once was?
Pregnancy is incredible. The fact that we as women can grow a fetus inside of us is absolutely mind blowing. Nothing short of a miracle.
But let’s be honest and agree that pregnancy is also a confusing time.
A time where our bodies are doing so much that even our brains can’t quite keep up. I know that I’m not the first (and won’t be the last) pregnant woman to lie in bed at night and occasionally wonder, what the f*ck is happening to me?
My only real advice, having recently survived the desired and dreadful first trimester, is to take it day by day. No one can fully prepare you or fully understand what you’re going through. I’ve had friends who were hardly sick at all, and others, like me, who could barely keep anything down. But regardless of the exact pregnancy symptoms felt, we all had the feelings of “wow, everything is changing” and “this is hard work.”
ADJUSTING TO PREGNANCY DAY BY DAY:
Do Listen to your body. You are creating a human after all. If you need to rest, rest. If you can only eat bagels for a month, eat the bagels. Early pregnancy is all about survival. There will be plenty of time to worry about nutrition later.
Don’t feel bad about how you’re feeling. I really struggled with this personally. Every day I would wake up with the intention of getting xyz done and to be productive one way or another, and then when I didn’t accomplish even one of those things, I would feel lazy and inadequate. No one but me was making me feel that way, and yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was a total waste of space. Which looking back and writing in words sounds CRAZY. I was (and am) creating new life. I’m sure we can all agree that’s a pretty big job.
Don’t compare yourself to her. “Her” – the woman who felt totally great the entire time! That’s amazing for that lucky lady, but she isn’t you, and you are no-less of a woman for having a hard time through this. In reality, you’ve always worked hard for everything you’ve achieved, so why should pregnancy be any different?
Do eat whatever you can. Both my fertility specialist and my OB advised me to eat what I could keep down in the moment. Their reassurance that my carb-heavy diet wasn’t going to hurt the baby, made it easier for me to muscle through those early weeks where food was repulsive and my cravings were that of a nine year old (I could never admit to you just how many Toaster Strudels and banana popsicles I consumed!)
Don’t research everything. I am an avid researcher. I like all the facts, all the time. This way of thinking isn’t always the best though, especially if you’re also a worrier by nature. I Googled “morning sickness by the day”. I Googled what was “normal” and what wasn’t – which is irrational in itself because “normal” is relative and everyone is different. All of this obsessive researching left me more confused and to be frank, more nervous about what I was already doing wrong and what could go wrong. Additionally, it made time crawl by keeping that strict of a log on my daily feelings. My suggestion? Keep the Googling to once a week.
And lastly, chill out mama – the very best that you can. You’ve got this, even when it doesn’t feel like it and like they say…this too shall pass.