I want to start off this article by stating that I am NOT a pregnancy expert! I am just a woman 26 weeks pregnant (as I am writing this), sharing my personal experience adjusting to the first trimester of pregnancy.
To say it rocked my world would be an accurate description–was it horrible? No, but was it what I thought it would be? Also no. So I wanted to share some of the thoughts and feelings I had during that first trimester in hopes that they might resonate with other moms-to-be struggling with the same fears! The biggest question in my head was, am I always going to be like this? and I can confidently look back now and say no, you will go back to normal.
Here is a list of a few things I learned while adjusting to the first trimester of pregnancy:
- It’s OKAY to nap. I have always been a “doer,” if you will–I am always making my way through a to-do list, whether it’s for the design business I run during the week, for my personal chores on the weekend, or for our blog in my spare time. I am always doing something… that is, until I got pregnant! It hit me around seven weeks: extreme exhaustion! I would sit at my computer and struggle to keep my eyes open. I felt as if I was hungover. Normally, if I hadn’t been pregnant, I would have had a strong cup of coffee, but I cut my caffeine intake once I found out I was pregnant so that was off the table. The only solution was a nap. I started putting my phone on do-not-disturb and I would set the timer for an hour in fear I would sleep all day if I didn’t. Not pregnant, I have a hard time falling asleep and could never just sleep in the middle of the day, but pregnant in the first trimester I would conk out in two minutes and sleep so deeply it was hard to get up.
The hardest part for me was feeling like I was failing–I was now taking time away from my business to go to sleep for an hour. I felt like a lazy slacker. I had a hard time adjusting to being okay with my new schedule, and my biggest fear was that I would always be like this. I didn’t feel like my normal go-getter self at all, and it was weird! Luckily, now that I am almost in my third trimester, I can vouch that it does get better! I don’t need to take a nap every day anymore! While it is nice sometimes, it’s not nearly as bad as it was before, and I’m better able to make it through a workday or a to-do list! There is light at the end of the tunnel with this one!
2. Eat the bad food. While this probably sounds like horrible advice, it’s true… I went into my pregnancy reading Real Food for Pregnancy and had every intention of keeping up with my clean-eating, low-carb, high-protein diet–I was going to make the healthiest baby possible! Then the nausea set in… all of a sudden, just the thought of eating a salad made me want to throw up. Meats of all kinds could weird me out with a smell or a chewy bite, and I would gag my way through my morning protein shake after the gym.
What did sound good was bean and cheese burritos, grilled cheese, plain pasta, and pretty much anything basic that a five-year-old would want. I remember we were heading to Palm Springs for our anniversary and I had to make Micah pull over so I could get chicken nuggets from Carl’s Jr. I don’t think I have eaten from a chain fast food place in over eight years, yet there I was scarfing down my nuggets and fries like there was no tomorrow. I would get a wave of nausea and NEED to eat in the moment, and it was never anything healthy I wanted. It was always the bad stuff. This led to identity crisis number two… would I ever be able or want to eat my normal healthy diet again?! I had officially grossed myself out. I kept asking myself, who am I? But, good news! While my diet is not 100% back to what it was, I can stomach a salad now and can make better choices with my food. Nothing grosses me out, but sometimes it does sound better to have french toast for breakfast instead of a protein shake. But the fact that I am 70% back to my normal self makes me feel good! I am confident that after the baby I can go back to my normal diet!
I actually learned recently that craving carby foods is totally normal in the first trimester! It’s your body’s way of protecting the pregnancy… I know it seems weird to be protecting the pregnancy with bad food, but salads and leafy greens are often carriers of foodborne illnesses, which can terminate a pregnancy. Same with meat products. So, your body’s way of protecting the baby is by telling you, “eat the bread, it’s safest right now!” and as your pregnancy gets farther along and less at risk, your body lets you eat more of the healthy stuff.
3. Your body changes fast, even though no one notices. I noticed a change in my body just a few weeks after finding out I was pregnant. My boobs swelled up and my waistline inflated. I can remember looking at myself in the mirror at the gym thinking, “I look huge! My boobs are falling out the sides of my sports bra, WTF.” And when I talk about my boobs, it was not big in a sexy way–they got big in a sloshy way where I had to wear three bras if I wanted to go for a run.
I started looking at photos of myself from right before my wedding when I was in good shape and it was hard not to compare. Normally if I felt bloated or puffy, I would clean up my diet, go for a good run or two, and I would feel trim again. All of a sudden, I had to adjust to the fact that I was only going to get bigger! I felt like it was so obvious that I was pregnant and that everyone would be questioning my changing body. I now realize that is a really narcissistic thing to think… newsflash Jordie, your gym friends are not noticing your slightly swollen boobs or not-so-trim waistline under your workout tank.
I am now six months pregnant and I feel like a cow and like I obviously look pregnant, yet I still have people say, “you don’t even look pregnant.” I have to try hard not to get offended… do they think this belly has always been there? I am up fifteen pounds and only fit in my maternity pants, yet some people still can’t tell I am pregnant. I want to wear a shirt that says, “this is not a beer belly,” but I won’t go that far.
One thing I am still struggling with is adjusting to this new body and being okay with it. I see friends of mine posting about their progress with their latest diets or waist-trimming workouts and I am jealous. I miss that feeling. Or if I see someone with a great figure and slim waist, I long for the days when I felt like that. Instead, I have to adjust to my belly getting in the way of a sit-up and the feeling of my belly hitting my legs when I sit in a chair. That is a weird one for me! I feel like I am already plotting and planning how I am going to get fit again as soon as the baby is out! I know this is probably just a dream and after the baby I am going to be tasked with a whole new set of issues, but right now my dreams of long runs with a baby jogger make me feel like it’s going to be okay. And I WILL fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans again. I am a big believer in positive thinking, and I don’t want to think any other way. I will report back on losing the baby weight after the baby is born!
All in all, your first pregnancy is a beautiful thing.
It’s a time for learning, growing, and accepting change. I know it’s all good stuff and everything I talked about is for a good cause, but it’s still a mental struggle to adjust to the new “pregnant you” and holding onto the hope that you will feel like yourself again. However, I am not too sure if you can ever go back to your old self 100%. After the baby, you have a new title under your belt–Mom–and that one never goes away!
If you have felt any of these feelings or struggled through another pregnancy issue, please comment below and share your thoughts and story!
Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, navigating through that was a process as well! Give this a read if that is something that interests you.