What I know now about the first trimester

As I said with our big announcement... I am so, so, so grateful to be expecting our first child next spring. (And thank you for your support and interest!!!)

However, even just 16 weeks in, this pregnancy has already been very humbling and has had its challenges. I read every post I could about morning sickness cures and what to expect at 5 weeks or 8 or 10, but I still wasn't mentally prepared. I wanted to share my experience with you all--experienced moms, future moms, and even my future self for when I do this next time!!--as a thank-you to my body, an affirmation that perfection is probably impossible, and a reminder to focus on what's really important.

Also--I am brand new at this, so it is exciting to have more experience than I did before at this whole pregnancy thing, and I want to share!

Almost 16 weeks. Sunday morning walk in nature. I had a headache, felt pretty gross, and hadn't slept well... but being outside felt good.


What I know now about the first trimester: 5 lessons


I wish I could call this "how to handle the first trimester" or something more positive, but I don't think I mastered it, so I can't in good conscience. BUT I have learned a lot about myself, more than anything (since every pregnancy is different) and I hope it will help me through all of the challenges coming at me over the next (many) years!

So here are some notes to myself. May I remember this, and may there be a "next time."


1. Fatigue is a real thing.
It is very possible to be "too tired to work out," all the time. I used to not understand that. I can't believe how egotistical I was. I heard women, strong, healthy women, talk about how they kept working out in pregnancy, except not at all in the first trimester. Until about week 5-6, I had worked out 2-4 days/week for the past 3.5 years, only missing a week when I was sick a couple times and when we were redoing this place. I couldn't imagine what life without working out would be like. Would I worry about losing strength? Would I be less capable in other things? Would I have a hard time getting back into it? Answer... yes... but it doesn't really matter. I was too tired to work out. There was absolutely no way I could work out for weeks 5-12 or so. I felt disgusting all the time, and when I got home from work (my usual workout time), all I could do was lay on my bed most of the days. (I tried some prenatal yoga for morning sickness but it was extremely difficult to get myself to do and I don't think it helped.)

Lesson: humility. I am not a super person.

2. Morning sickness...
I'm pretty sure about 80% of people get morning sickness, so assume you will. I read statistics of 70-80%, 50-80%, etc. but in talking to my friends, it's almost all of them. 

I asked--when my mom said she "didn't have much morning sickness," that just meant she only felt it every day for part of the first trimester. I always figured that meant there we a couple days she had to eat some saltines before getting out of bed... but no, she meant she had normal morning sickness but never vomited, and then the second trimester was better. I know that doesn't sound that bad right now, but in the moment, like week 8 around my birthday when pretty much all I could eat was fruit but I had to eat all the time and still felt terrible... I couldn't imagine that "better" part. Now, I do feel better--not good, but better.

Lesson: patience. I am not exempt from common challenges, but they do pass.

3. Almost any food is better than the alternative. Feeling so icky, I have made some big compromises from the nutritious, balanced, local food, real food diet I used to eat. I wasn't able to eat much protein for a long time, and fat also sounded gross, so my carb intake dramatically increased. Ordinarily, coming from a bit of a control issues-around-eating background, this would have freaked me out, but I have learned to let go of a lot of that and just be grateful I was able to eat something, which I knew would keep me from feeling worse.

Lesson: gratitude. It is food and I can eat it. Win.

4. No bump, just bloat.
Pregnancy, for me, first-time mom, normal height, etc. has meant no baby bump up to week 16. You think of "pregnancy" as having a bump and being able to feel the baby, feel your belly changing... for me, it's been feeling like crap and having to eat all the time but looking the same. Now, looking the same except bloated. It's really very un-glamorous and so far it's not the magical fairy tale I always thought of. I guess I always pictured "pregnancy" as about 30 weeks in.
If you know what you're looking for, you may be able to spot my hair elastic buttonhole extender on these favorite comfy jeans.

Lesson: more humility. Things don't always go like I expect and I can't predict my path.

5. Other symptoms...?
Things you hear about but figure they can't be that bad, or that noticeable, or really attributed to the pregnancy...
  • Sleeping really poorly. I've always been a great sleeper and been able to go to sleep quickly and sleep through the night, but now... I wake up multiple times to Jason's snoring, or just being uncomfortable. And having to pee.
  • Peeing all the time. It starts almost right away. I've been waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom every. single. night. (Now, part of that could be because I'm going to bed 2-3 hours earlier, too. But it still affects me!)
  • Headaches. I hear they're caused by changing hormones, but man, no fun, and you can't really take much for them. 
  • Hiccuping. Like, just one or two, not like a whole round of them like when you "have" the hiccups. Just randomly, throughout the day. Burping, too.

Lesson: learning, gratitude. It could be so much worse. I am fine.

I hope this doesn't sound too negative. We are so happy and excited, and it took us a long time to get here. I am so beyond grateful. Still a little in disbelief, but grateful.

But, I am really hoping the rest of the second trimester gets to that awesome place I've heard about!

Thank you again for your support! I love every single comment I've received here and on Instagram from moms!

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