One thing I did not realize before the fact was that you are actually put into training as a parent long before a baby physically presents itself to you in its own body. Sleepless nights begin during pregnancy!
In life, I am the cautiously optimistic type. I think through the worst case scenarios but hope for the best of the best. I get excited but I’m very aware of possible negatives at the same time. I don’t dig myself into a hole anticipating the world to fall apart but I also pack a few extra just-in-case items (who doesn’t need extra snacks!).
My 5 observations about the first trimester and pregnancy:
I trust you know what you are doing, Body.
So it’s no surprise that being pregnant is an interesting experience for me. The human body really is an amazing collection of matter. I’ve always marvelled at how we just breathe without ever thinking about it, how our immune system battles foreign bodies on its own (for better or for worse), how our digestive systems just kinda know how to extract things it needs from the food that we ingest. It’s definitely been even more WOW seeing how my body grows a baby. Imagine if someone handed you a sperm and egg and said “Good luck! YOU figure out how to turn that into a baby!” Where would you start!? Although my body knows what it’s doing, for long stretches, there is nothing that you can see to know that development is progressing well. There is a lot of trust and goodwill hope involved.
My mother had challenging pregnancies with severe vomiting – yes there were hospitalizations involved – and I was cognizant that I could end up in the same boat if and when I was pregnant. Luckily for me, although I had constant nausea during my first trimester, it stopped at nausea. Sleepless nights, however, came as a surprise to me. Wasn’t this supposed to start after the baby is born? I couldn’t sleep more than 1-2 hours for a few months, between having to go to the washroom to feeling nauseous to waking up absolutely starving (but only being able to have a few bites of a cracker). Then there was the constant fatigue. My mind was foggy. I wanted to nap every few hours. Phew.
Concept of time lapse
Whenever colleagues or friends were pregnant and I asked them how far along they were in their pregnancy, the response would always come back in x weeks. I had no clue what it meant to be 10 weeks, 20 weeks, 30 weeks. Now I have an appreciation for what each week means in terms of development. Still, sometimes I just respond to questions of how far along I am, in terms of months. It’s interesting how your concept of time lapse can shift.
Accommodating the pouch
My lower abdomen started to expand pretty early on (~9 weeks) to the point that I walked around work with my pants half done up for weeks, withholding myself from buying maternity wear so early on. Remember my cautiously optimistic side? I didn’t want to buy new clothes only to find out that something had gone wrong. Finally around 11 weeks, I went out and bought a pair of maternity jeans, shorts, and black slacks. I admit: I had a preconceived notion of what maternity clothes were and it was not positive. However, after trying on maternity clothes for the first time, I didn’t understand why everyone doesn’t wear maternity wear! The pants have stretchy waists and they’re pull ups! No zippers, buttons, hooks! How great is that!?
Where’s my personality?
I’m typically a fairly patient, organized person. I think somewhere at around 9-10 weeks, that person went into hiding. I had little patience when it came to certain things (there may have been a few mini tantrums when I had to hem the new maternity slacks I had bought so that I could wear them the next day to work) and I couldn’t seem to keep things straight in my head. I’m pretty sure it used to be easy for me to remember what I had scheduled in my calendar…not anymore! What did I just say? Wait, what was I just about to do?
…and now onto the second trimester! Wonder what that’ll bring!?