Monday, January 19, 2009

The first 3 months - the real story

The first thing I said to Feather Nester after I told her I was pregnant was "Why didn't you tell me how messed up the first three months are?!!" And maybe they aren't for everyone, but they definitely were for me and with so many pregnant friends and mom friends, I was surprised that no one had ever let me in on the secret before. And I think her guess is probably right that by the time you're out of that first trimester there are so many other fun things to talk about and plan for that no one bothers looking backwards, but yikes... So in feeling an obligation to all of the future moms out there, I feel the need to pass on my experience.

If you're one of the unlucky 70% to experience some form of pregnancy sickness, that contributes to a large part of the first trimester suckiness. I never threw up, but I felt nauseous all day long with the worst of it coming at night. I'm lucky enough to not have a job right now, so I spent absolutely embarrassing amounts of time on the couch watching TV. But feeling sick all the time leads to a whole other host of things - basically you turn into a relatively gross person. If you have no intention of leaving the house, showers and dressing become irrelevant, you barely brush your teeth since it brings you to the verge of puking every time, and the cleanliness of the house really takes a hit.

As you can imagine, B really loved all this as much as I did. He worked nine hours a day at a job he hates, and then came home to no dinner, no grocery shopping, and a dirty house. Oh, and a useless wife. It was rough there for a while.

Additionally - and this one really surprised me - we weren't that excited about the pregnancy until a few months in. In fact, we were incredibly neutral. Don't get me wrong, the pregnancy was very much planned and anticipated, but once it happened I think a combination of things occurred. First of all, it doesn't feel real at first because no one knows, you have no visible bump, you're sick all the time, and it's still so new. Basically, you just feel like you have a secret flu. We even talked to the doctor about it and she said that it's a very very common feeling.

But somehow that didn't make me feel any better. I started to feel a little panicked that we had made a mistake or that I wasn't really meant for this. In retrospect though, I think it was just the gravity of the situation that was sinking in - and that's a good thing. Whether you have any intention of becoming a parent or not, everyone can agree that it is not something to be taken lightly and obviously far too many people do. I would even venture to say that if it doesn't ever give you pause, maybe you should think about it more.

But in this day and age pregnancy and the frenzy that surrounds it has gotten as out of hand as the frenzy that surrounds weddings. It's all become too big and too much and too hyped and too out of control. Because of all of the hype it feels like you should be ecstatic and bonded and ready and jumping out of your skin the second the test turns blue. And I didn't realize that that pressure was invisibly out there, but after having gone through it, I really think it is. I talked to both of my parents about it and they had very similar experiences. My dad said that when they first found out, he felt very logical and not emotional about the whole thing and that it took a while for it to sink in. My mom said that while she felt completely bonded and excited the moment I was born, she wasn't that excited during the actual pregnancy. So clearly what we went through is not uncommon - we just didn't know that.

And I'm sure this also isn't something that anyone talks about because it's not very socially acceptable to tell people "Baby? Yeah... I guess it's OK... we'll just see how it goes..." And now, we're both super excited and starting to plan and B talks to the mini-bump every day, but for anyone who comes after me I wanted to put this out there and debunk some of the myths so no one feels bad about needing some time to adjust and needing some time for the whole thing to sink in. I wish we had known that going in and then it wouldn't have been as stressful.

4 comments:

Ouiser said...

Wow...and I thought I'd made my utter distaste for the first half of my pregnancy completely known. So sorry to have let you down. I promise not to leave out any details that I remember. One: at around the beginning of my third trimester, I started having a lot of trouble breathing. Having a baby sit on your lungs and suck all your oxygen is disconcerting but normal.

Strongmama said...

And don't forget the constant need to pee. And the round ligament pain, which I am finding out is much worse the second time around. Do you have the book The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy? If not let me know and I'll send you my copy. It's great because of the realistic picture it paints about pregnancy. I also just saw two books at B/N this weekend called Pregnancy Sucks and Pregnancy Sucks for Men. I didn't buy either, but they made me laugh because someone is catching on that it's not all fun all the time.
As far as not having anything for B, I recommend both of you making a whole bunch of food one weekend that you can freeze for days when you are feeling like garbage. Then you can just defrost and put it in the oven and things will stay a little more sane.

feather nester said...

Like Ouiser, I thought you were LISTENING all the times I told you how hard pregnancy was! Just kidding. :) Your memory's the first to go when you're pregnant anyway.

I had forgotten about the difficulty breathing thing. Definitely true. And the reflux, you know about that, right?

Don't worry, sweetie, with the number of mommy friends you have, one of us is bound to have been through most things you'll encounter.

Big hugs! Glad you're feeling a bit better.

danielle denardo said...

I was the queen of morning sickness. Last pregnancy i barely threw up but was nauseated adn felt like throwing up 24-7 for 5 months straight. My first pregnancy 3 months straight. It was awful, so i hear you!! I remember my Dr. telling me it was good to hear i was feeling so sick, meaning the baby is growing healthy. I agree, once you actually see a little bump it hits you more and becomes so real. The first trimester was so rough!!! I wish you all the best...you are going to be such a wonderful mom. I'm happy to always have mommy talk with you and compare notes :) Hope you are feeling all better! Oh and as a mom, i have days where my husband walks in the door and no dinner ready, and i'm feeling like passing out from being exhausted with the kids...it's all about being a woman, a mom! So don't ever be hard on yourself...us women are amazing for carrying babies!!! Feel great and enjoy this time, morning sickness, back pain and acid reflux...you forget all that the second you see your baby.:-) xoxo
ps LORI- i love the girlfriend's guide to pregnancy! it's an awesome book!!!

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