Month two Conquer your first trimester
What to do, what to stop doing: take a deep breath and plunge into the world of pregnancy, says Margot Bertelsmann
YOU’RE PREGNANT AND you’re feeling all the feelings, and we do mean All. The. Feelz – the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s true, along with the extreme joy you may also be feeling extreme confusion, extreme worry, extreme panic… and extremely ill, too. In many ways, these first three months are the most intense of your whole pregnancy. Your body changes very rapidly, and everything happening to you is new and possibly scary. Rest assured that you and your body will settle into this new state of being: it will just take some time. There’s an old saying about facing big challenges: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So apply these bite-sized chunks of expectant mothers’ wisdom to your life. You’ll soon be the boss of this pregnancy thing.
THE PHYSICAL STUFF NAUSEA AND VOMITING
This is the first-trimester biggie, and very few women manage to dodge this calamity entirely. Suddenly you go green at the thought of food. For most women, it’s worst in the mornings and can be improved by eating a ginger biscuit or drinking ginger tea. Your morning sickness will probably settle by 16 weeks of pregnancy, latest. It’s not pleasant, but you can be sure that it will pass eventually. If there’s a limited upside to this, it’s that you may not be interested in overeating, which can be helpful if you think you are going to struggle to stay within the recommended weight gain limits for your pregnancy. (These differ from person to person, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, so ask your doctor or clinic sister).
“Bone-tired” doesn’t begin to describe how you are feeling, right? Some women think there is something wrong with them, that’s how exhausted they are. You can literally fall asleep in the middle of your dinner. This is actually a wonderful pregnancy symptom: your body is showing you just how hard it is working at building a new person. It’s an incredibly complex task: you wouldn’t begin to know how to build a person in a factory, yet your body is capable of doing it, literally in your sleep. So grant yourself the rest. You really, really need it. Fatigue can work alongside nausea in forcing you to take it easy in these early months, so curl in on yourself, look inward, and treasure these few short weeks where your pregnancy belongs only to you. A period of enforced quiet also helps you get your brain around the idea of pregnancy, before your growing bump announces itself to the world. See how clever your body is?
ASSORTED PHYSICAL NIGGLES
Tender breasts can be one of the first signs of pregnancy. If you get any weird food cravings or aversions, or you become hypersensitive to smells and tastes, it’s another good sign of how hard your body is working to protect your growing baby from any dangers in the world – even if it overreacts just a tad (who ever said your favourite rib-eye steak, which you now can’t even stand the thought of, was a risk?) Thank your body for being the original protective mama bear.
THE EMOTIONAL STUFF
You don’t even have to have been surprised by an unexpected pregnancy to be feeling anxious – it’s completely normal to have days where you are bursting with joyful anticipation, and then days where you are terrified of what the future holds. One common worry is what kind of parent you and your partner will be, or how your relationship will change. And the only advice here is this: your relationship will change, because everybody’s relationship changes when they become parents. But it doesn’t have to be all bad. You can work together to let it evolve in a good way into a close, co-parenting sort of partnership. Will you be a good mom? Of course you will. You are already the best mother your little baby could ask for – because you are you. Keep looking after yourself and your baby in the next few months. Follow the checklist on the right for some practical starters. If you’re scared, get prepared. Use that little motto to help you plan fun – and less fun – tasks to keep you busy and help you through the emotional ups and downs of the first trimester. For instance, you might discuss how to tell your parents the news that they will be grandparents. Maybe you can plan a gender reveal party if you’d like to know the baby’s sex before he or she is born. Decide when you are going to tell your boss – preferably before you tell colleagues, and certainly before your pregnancy is obvious. Money is a major worry, and having children can be expensive, but you can also be clever about not spending more than you can afford. Plan ahead, buy a few baby goods every month, and start a savings account for your little one. If you don’t have a monthly budget, make one. Investigate second-hand items, and think about what baby goods you can do without (many are gimmicks). Keeping busy and good planning will help you take control back over a time that can feel full of free-ranging fears. Soon, you’ll have conquered that first trimester!