Today I am officially 20 weeks pregnant, and although I am only halfway through, it is amazing how far I have come. I first wrote this post around the end of January when I was about 9 weeks along. These emotions are definitely in-the-moment and real, but I am so glad I wrote them down and was honest about how I was feeling. Now looking back and remembering that time, I realize just how hard those first weeks were for me. When your whole world is changing it can be so scary, especially when you have ‘control freak’ tendencies. Pregnancy has really forced me outside my comfort zone into a place where ‘simply surviving and not thriving’ is sometimes the only option. It has taught me that I can push through even some of the hardest days while coming out even better and stronger on the other side. It has also shown to me how easy it is to put your baby first even from the get-go. It’s amazing how such a tiny being can make you both so nauseated and exhausted, but also how he or she can become your entire world in just a matter of moments. Like I say in the passage below, being pregnant is one of the most unselfish things you could ever do, and to all you mamas out there: YOU are amazing!!
I remember back before I was pregnant, I would make bold proclamations (mostly just to my husband) such as:
- I am only going to eat healthy when pregnant
- The weight I put on will only be ‘good’ weight, and not just pounds for no reason
- I am not going to let a little morning sickness keep me down
- I am still going to exercise everyday
- There is no way food aversions will keep me from enjoying my favorite healthy foods
Oh the thoughts that enter your head pre-pregnancy. Week 5 was a bit rough and filled with pure exhaustion, and this was before I even knew I was pregnant. The week I did find out I was pregnant though, (week 6) I had so much energy and felt amazing! I was getting my vegetable and fruit servings in, I was running and taking Tebow on walks and being active at the gym, I had no food aversions and was all-in-all really happy with pregnancy so far.
This all changed though into week 7 when the exhaustion from week 5 crept back in, and by week 8 I was dealing with nausea almost 24 hours a day. Saltine crackers became the main food group of my diet. I began eating what sounded good and not necessarily what would give my body the best nutrition. I expressed my concerns to my doctor, and he made a great point that has stayed with me throughout this pregnancy so far. He said the first trimester is all about simply surviving, not thriving, and I was beginning to understand exactly what he meant by that advice.
Cereal and dry toast became my morning and snack staples. Plain bagels sounded absolutely amazing while my usual breakfast of yogurt or peanut butter sounded awful. Coffee, my beloved coffee, made me cringe just thinking about taking a sip. Fruit sounded terrible, and I could only sneak veggies in if there was a lot of salt sprinkled on top or a plenty of ranch for dipping. I even lost my love of chocolate, and drinking water felt terrible on my already sensitive stomach.
When I did find myself hungry though, man-oh-man was I hungry and needed food! Two days into week 8, Chipotle sounded just so amazing and after a day filled with nausea and saltines, suddenly being hungry and wanting food was the best thing ever. Guys, I ate a whole burrito by myself! I have never been able to do that before, and suddenly I couldn’t get the food into my body fast enough.
Exercise went down hill during weeks 7 and 8 as well. I was tired and nauseous, and honestly just wanted to go to sleep every day after work. This was a very hard time for me. All the promises I made pre-pregnancy about being healthy for myself and my baby began to fade. I was simply ‘surviving’ just like my doctor said. He encouraged that usually in the 2nd trimester women took a turn for the better and that is kind of the ‘honeymoon’ period of the pregnancy for most. Although I didn’t want to rush through my pregnancy, I caught myself hoping and wishing to just get to that next phase; that next trimester.
I am sharing these feelings not looking for sympathy, I know how blessed and incredibly thankful I am to be having a baby. I simply want to encourage all of you mamas-to-be out there. You are not alone! Pregnancy is really, really hard, and I don’t think you can necessarily understand it until you are actually pregnant. I know I sure couldn’t relate until right this moment. I always imagined I would be superwoman, but it turns out that I needed to give myself a little grace and self-love. I could only do the best I could and I knew deep down this time wouldn’t last forever. I want to do what is best for my baby, and that also includes just surviving as his or her mom and doing all I can to take care of myself in each moment.
Pregnancy is one of the most unselfish things you can ever do, and this is coming from someone who knows she has her selfish moments! I am growing so much as a person by giving up what’s comfortable, safe and expected to bring my sweet baby into the world. After 26 years of only worrying about myself and doing what I want to do when I want to do it, it is good to be knocked down a bit and realize not everything is in my control, not everything will be perfect, and not everything is always about me! Sometime the best you can do really is, truly, enough.
- Moms and Moms-To-Be: What about pregnancy was different than you expected? Were there pre-pregnancy ideas you had to relinquish once you found yourself in the midst of that first trimester?
- If you aren’t yet a mom, what parts of pregnancy are you most nervous about experiencing?
- If you have been pregnant, what part of pregnancy was the hardest in your opinion? Did you suffer from morning sickness, etc. during the first trimester as well? When did you start to feel better? (Please, please don’t tell me not until after the baby was born! 🙂 )