I had this Rainbow Brite idea of pregnancy and how I would be when it happened to me. BP (before pregnancy) I was what most would consider a healthy eater: avocado toast in the morning, green smoothies in the afternoon and protein most nights (with the occasional thin crust Dominos pizza for good measure). I had been conditioning myself to drink tea, reduce my caffeine intake and was committed to continuing a workout regimen of four to five days a week. All in all, I felt like I was doing everything I could to provide a suitable house for our embaby.
The plan (in my head) was to continue this routine throughout pregnancy. I would be fit and nutritious, soaring through these next eight months like a pregnancy pro. So when we found out it was actually happening, that we were pregnant, I stepped up my health game right away. An extra dose of flaxseed, greens and chia seeds were on the menu daily. I was off to an Olympic start. Nothing could slow me down! Until…fast forward to five weeks and three days pregnant when I fell off the treadmill. And I fell HARD.
Not literally, but metaphorically, I flew right off feet flailing in the air. Nausea hit me like a freight train and debilitated my every move. Green smoothies made me sick and the thought of tea made me gag. Bagels were safe and for one whole week were the only thing I consumed between sips of water. The next week, I only ate Chicken In A Biskit crackers – about a box a day. Writing was non-existent, my creative mind complete mush, and my day-to-day worth felt more of that of a teenage boy than of a woman growing a baby.
This lack of health foods and unwarranted bed rest went on for six weeks. Overnight I was no longer the girl I knew. Lattes and avocado toast were suddenly repulsive. Keeping my eyes open was a struggle, so getting any additional exercise aside from walking the dogs or walking my bum to the toilet to throw-up was pretty much out of the question. I read all the articles I could find with common morning sickness remedies. Ginger everything, popsicles, eating every two hours, herbal teas, jolly ranchers – nothing worked, especially the ginger. The thought alone of it could send me to the porcelain.
During week six, my dad and his girlfriend were visiting. My husband ordered Chinese and with one whiff of lo mein, I spent the rest of dinner in the bathroom. At my eight week appointment, I told my concerns to my doctor who said not to worry about it at this point. She assured me that not eating much, or ANYTHING nutritious, would not be a problem right now. Even so, I couldn’t fight the guilt I felt when I reached for a toaster strudel instead of a greek yogurt, or when I ate handfuls of gummy bears and nothing else for dinner. The guilt I had on the days that were wasted in bed and the mornings I slugged around till afternoon.
The point here is, sometimes nothing works. Sometimes the only thing a new mom can do is survive the day. Sometimes plans are thrown out the window sooner than we think and without warning. Sometimes we have to accept that we’re doing our best with what we’ve been given.
Sometimes we are simply out of control.
Perhaps morning sickness is the ultimate preparation for becoming a mother. It’s the first real reminder that becoming a mother is as selfless an act as can be and that from here on out, we are here for our babies.
So if you’re suffering through the first trimester and all your good intentions have been chucked out the window, do me a favor. Take a deep breath, go back to bed and survive. Don’t overthink it. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t even question what you’re capable of, because like so many wonderful women reminded me along the way, you are doing something incredible!
Something more valuable than words can describe.
You are creating a life!
Your job is the hardest of them all in this moment.
It’s okay. It will all be okay.