I know, I know, I said I wasn’t going to flood the place with baby talk, didn’t I?! But cut me some slack, it’s only just become public knowledge that I’m having my first baby, and to be frank, keeping this kind of major news a secret for such a long time has been all kinds of torturous for me! So I hope you can forgive me in needing to get some of these crazy thoughts that I’ve been keeping inside for the last three months off my chest! Starting with, of course, what an absolute mind bending confusion-fest those first few months can be! I should warn you it’s a long one, and it isn’t pretty, so buckle up…
I guess those of you who are already Mums probably know all this already, and I am sure are chuckling away into your tea at my silly naivety and wondering how on earth I’m going to cope with all the bits that come next, but here it is:
I was not prepared for pregnancy.
I mean, no-one is really, are they? Even those who have been wanting to get pregnant for a really long time. And we tell ourselves that we know that already. That it will be the biggest thing that’s ever happened to us. That our lives are going to change forever. Everybody tells us on a regular basis what a horrifying yet wondrous experience it is and that you will never understand until it happens to you, and like the rest I had already prepared myself for the fact that I was not going to have the slightest clue what was going on. But then it happened, and I SERIOUSLY DIDN’T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT WAS GOING ON, PEOPLE! And it shocked me! Despite all of my bluff that I was totally prepared because I knew I wasn’t at all prepared, I obviously had still somehow created some preconceived ideas as to what this whole experience would be like. And they were wrong. Dead wrong. Here are some of the things that surprised me the most…
You go a really long time before getting any definitive proof you are pregnant…
You know that advert for pregnancy tests? The one where the couple sit excitedly on the bathroom floor ready to look at their test only to realise they aren’t actually sure what it means? That was 100% me and Dan, so much so that I can’t help but smile every time it comes on. We knew what we were looking for, because we had read the instructions about a million times beforehand just to be sure, but when the big moment came, as if it isn’t already awkward enough sitting on the loo while your beloved tells you how you’re supposed to pee, we both had very different reactions. Mine was, ‘Oh….’ accompanied by a slightly disappointed but resigned face. His was ‘Oh!’ accompanied with a silly, happy face. Because I could not see a line, yet he most definitely could see a line, meaning we had to discuss it and study it for so long that we both started to go cross eyed and doubt ourselves, wondering if we were actually going slowly insane. We resorted to Google in the end, and despite my protestations that this was beyond stupid, because nobody is going to have written an article about whether or not a pregnancy test is positive or not on the Internet, it turns out lots of people actually have written about exactly that, along with photos, and eventually it was settled – I was pregnant. Definitely. Probably…
At least, I thought, I’d see a medical professional soon and they would ease all my worries away, right? Nope. When that first appointment letter arrived and we excitedly ripped it open to find out when we’d be seeing the midwife I can’t pretend it wasn’t a bit of an anti-climax to find it wouldn’t be for a few weeks yet. But when that came around she’d make me do a test, right? Nope. She just took my word for it and happily harvested what felt like a gallon of my blood to test for everything other than pregnancy, it felt. I even picked a hospital to give birth in at that appointment, which felt weird because how do I know which freakin’ hospital I’d like to give birth in? – I’ve never done this before!! – but no actual reassurance that I was, in fact, definitely pregnant. Then it turned out we had conveniently chosen to book a two and a half week trip away starting right around the time we would normally be due our 12 week scan, so I had yet more time to go before I would finally get what I’d been waiting for – the reassurance that I hadn’t imagined the whole thing. It wasn’t an easy time, and had we not been abroad I think we would definitely have booked a private scan just to stop me going crazy. I wish I was kidding when I said I would quite literally lie awake at night wondering if what I thought were pregnancy symptoms were actually the beginnings of some horrible illness, or how I would break it to the few friends and family we had told that I wasn’t really expecting at all, and to top it off was probably going to die any time soon. Dan and I both had this romantic vision that the first time we saw our little one wriggling around on the screen it would be a huge, momentous occasion, and of course it was in a way. But to be honest, I was just so relieved that what I saw was fetus shaped not tumour shaped, and that the Sonographer didn’t looked at me all confused and ask what on earth made me think I was with child in the first place, that I kind of forgot to feel anything at all!
You don’t feel like yourself…
Everyone knows you’re going to feel like crap for the first couple of months. In fact, some people seem to take utter pleasure in telling you just how crap you are going to feel. And all of that happened as expected. The nausea, the exhaustion, the constant need to pee, the heartburn, the chronic wind and digestive issues – I had them all, and yet still, given some of the horror stories I’d heard over the years, I feel as though physically I probably got off fairly lightly. Where I’ve really suffered though, and I didn’t expect this at all, is with my mental health. I suffer from social anxiety, specifically a very real fear of being judged by others, and it hadn’t crossed my mind that this was likely to be exacerbated by being pregnant, but turns out it’s probably the worst I’ve ever been! I’m not even sure why I didn’t foresee this because if there is one thing people love to have an opinion on it is how you should bring up your children – including those that haven’t even been born yet – and I suddenly found myself thrust into a situation where lots of people were going to want to tell me what to do with my life and my body and I didn’t cope well at all. This is one subject I’m going to be boring you about for quite some time to come I think, as I still have a long way to go and a lot of judgmental people to meet, but needless to say this is not an easy situation for someone who is already convinced everyone hates her to be in. I felt all too strongly the pressure to do ‘the right thing’ all the time, even though there quite often are very divided and conflicting ideas floating around about what ‘the right thing’ is, and I started to feel like I was barely even a human being any more, just a vessel that existed for the purposes of bearing this child. I’m absolutely obsessed with the thought that people might think I’m a bad Mum, and I’m not even a bonafide Mum yet. God help me.
It’s harder to tell people than you’d think…
I’ve never been a believer in the whole ‘keep it a secret until you’re at least 12 weeks’ thing. Miscarriage is an issue close to my heart and I think the unwritten rule that you shouldn’t tell anyone about your situation in case it all goes wrong is largely why we have such a problem talking about it openly, and this creates a terribly isolating and lonely situation for a woman (and men too of course) to be in. So while we certainly didn’t plan to shout it from the rooftops straight away, we decided fairly on that we would tell people when it felt right and not when society said we should. Except it wasn’t that easy, as it turns out. In fact, some of the first people who I told was pregnant were actually the most insignificant. A colleague I was working away with at the height of my morning sickness. My dentist. My driving instructor. A taxi driver that time I almost had an impromptu vomiting situation in the backseat of his cab…. For some reason though, when it came to telling our nearest and dearest I found it far harder than I was expecting to find the words. And then, and this is probably largely to do with my age, it seemed there was never a right time to go public. There were other pregnancy announcements or weddings, special birthdays or celebrations that we didn’t want to divert attention from. There were loved ones going through really hard times who would probably find our good news a little hard to hear. And then worst of all, sadly there are some amazing women in my life who have had their own struggles either getting or staying pregnant recently and knowing how to broach the news with them was super tough (they were all awesome, BTW!) – all this coupled with that major anxiety about my new image as a mother made making that announcement far tougher than I’d ever have imagined, and I’m so glad we finally got it out of the way!
It just hasn’t been that exciting…
I hate reading that back, because it makes me sound like the most ungrateful person in the world, but while we are OF COURSE over the moon, it is only now in the last couple of weeks that I’ve really felt able to relax and let myself feel excitement for what is to come. Up until this point I’ve actually found it mostly stressful and worrying. You see, as I’ve already said, it’s a while before you really get a one on one opportunity to speak to a medical professional in those early days if you’re a ‘straightforward’ case like me, and while you’re waiting for that appointment you get sent a lovely little pamphlet – or ‘the little book of fear’ as we affectionately named it – full of all the horrible diseases your little one might have to ponder over. Obviously I’m 100% convinced at least one of those is going to happen to me… And that is on top of the usual, ‘was that too much coffee I just drank/was that bath 2 degrees too warm?/does that bystander know this is a non-alcoholic beer I’m drinking?’ woes, so for a basket case like me that likes to overthink everything, it just hasn’t been the delightful time of celebration and happy anticipation I envisaged. Of course, there are medical professionals that I’m sure would have been more than happy to help me through some of these fears – everyone that has had the misfortune to be given me to deal with has been perfectly helpful and lovely I must add – but I’m the idiot that is scared to ask questions in case I’m deemed an unfit mother so…. Thankfully, one of the blessings of choosing to do this crazy thing relatively late in life is that I have lots of amazing friends around me who have been only too happy to tell me when I’m being a numpty and lay some of those concerns to rest, and for that I’m eternally grateful! Sadly I didn’t ask for their advice when I read in my first appointment letter that I should take a urine sample with me, otherwise I’d have known not to bother because they will always let you do it when you get there, and that way you won’t leak wee on the midwife….
So, in a not-so-nutshell, there is my experience of the first 12 weeks (not exclusively, I feel as though I could easily write at least another 2000 words on this subject, and I probably will at some point, but I felt as though you’d suffered enough for today…) Am I just completely mental or did any of you feel similar? (Please say yes…!)
12 thoughts on “Things That Surprised Me About The First Trimester”
Reblogged this on LIVING THE DREAM.
It seems like it’s been a tough time for you these last few months, but I’m sure things will settle down soon. It’s going to be interesting reading about your progress through your pregnancy. And I look forward to you keeping us updated.
Take care and all the best.
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Thanks Kelly! x
I love your honesty, I’m yet to try for children but your blog has been an interesting read!
My close friend also had a stressful first few weeks, for very similar reasons, so for that I say you’re not alone! ❤
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Good to know! It’s such a monumental thing to go through, I think I was pretty naive to think it would be all excitement and shopping for baby clothes, but still, I was surprised at just how much it affected me emotionally! It’s starting to feel a lot more fun now that things seem to be progressing nicely and there isn’t quite so much uncertainty! x
Congrats Steph! This is such an exciting news!!
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Thank you so much, we can’t wait! x
Awww really great and open post about what YOU are experiencing Steph! Everything is quite normal for a first time Mum to go through. You are doing great , I love the photo of you on the bed with the first photo of baby! Thanks for sharing Dear, Terri xo.
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Aw thank you Terri! x
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Oh my goodness, this is so exciting girly! I’m so happy for you!
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Thank you so much lovely! x
Aww, really an amazing information.Congratulation Steph!
Please try to share some experience of Second Trimester as well .
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