The First Trimester Is Great, Even Though You Feel Like Crap

The first trimester is the hardest part of a pregnancy. You haven’t started showing yet, but you are exhausted, sick and emotional. Thank God this “pregnancy glow” thing is real. There has to be some reward for getting through the first trimester and all of the weird shit your body is starting to do and feel.

It’s funny when you feel like all hell, but everyone you have ever known and even strangers are telling you how “gorgeous” you look.  And not just people who know you are pregnant and are trying to make you feel better. Wow, you are really glowing! When I do bother to look in the mirror, I actually am thinking that I look pretty damn radiant. My cheeks have a constant flush and my eyes haven’t looked this bright since I did a two-month juice cleanse.

Apparently, I have a major increase in blood flow to thank for my “perma-flushed” look. I would be happy for that, if I knew it wasn’t also what I had to thank for my gums bleeding every time I floss and the occasional nosebleed. Yes, I am just gorgeous!

Another weird yet glamorous side effect of my pregnancy is that the hair on my head has completely stopped shedding. I know this because my husband has a habit of passive-aggressively sticking the clump of hair that gathers around the drain to the wall of the shower. It’s his way of saying, “this is disgusting – please don’t forget it here.” I totally agree, yet inevitably always forget to pull it from the drain. Lately – nothing. The hair on my head is full and glorious. I have the pregnancy hormones to thank for this, too. They reduce hair fall during pregnancy. But don’t be alarmed when a few months after you give birth you start shedding like a Labrador in the summer. Mother nature giveth, and she taketh away.

See, there are some positive side-effects of the first trimester. But everything else you go through is pretty much weird and/or kind of awful. Case in point – the nausea.

I don’t know why it’s called morning sickness. I never experienced it in the morning, but I think all women are different. I also never actually threw up in either of my pregnancies. But holy-mother-of-unbearable-nausea. It starts around noon and increasingly gets worse as the day goes on. I can barely eat anything past five o’clock. Unless it’s a Kit-Kat. Somehow, I can always manage to get one of those down.

I have never been so disgusted by my refrigerator and the contents of it before. Everything has taken on a strange, unpleasant odor. Life has become an endless stream of turn-offs. That banana muffin you used to love? Gross. Garlic? Gross. Rice? Gross. Eggplant? Un-fucking-believably gross.

I work in a Mediterranean restaurant that has become my own personal torture chamber. The smells that float around me of all of the food I used to love are now making my want to cry. What is the deal with the super sense of smell you acquire in pregnancy? I guess it had some purpose back in the days when we were foraging our own food in nature. But now? I don’t want to be acutely aware of nuances that are seemingly undetectable to anyone else. Breathe, perfume, body odor – I’m like a police dog picking up on all things rank and gross.

I shouldn’t be complaining too much, because many of you are probably bent over a toilet right now. If you are – sorry. My mother has a little Greek wives tale/trick that she claims works instantly for this type of crippling nauseau. Carry around a whole lemon and give it a sniff every time nausea strikes. The freshness of the rind should help. Unless your pregnancy has left you disgusted with lemons, in which case – I got nothing.

If the nausea doesn’t kill you, the exhaustion will. I feel like I’m existing on three hours of sleep a night. That’s how I feel, but in reality I am getting about eight, so this makes no sense. Making a person takes a lot of energy and you will feel yours totally zapped in the first trimester. Your body is doing something pretty amazing. You’re making a whole human. Cut yourself some slack and take some naps.

The good news is the first trimester does come to an end. Even though you may feel like you are never going to be the same – you will.  The second trimester is pretty great.  That’s not just a lie that women tell you to give you the will to live through the first. For most women the nausea comes to an end. I am 15 weeks pregnant now, and it is pretty much gone. Still exhausted, but even that is getting better. The best part is that the glow is still here and now probably everyone you know finally knows you’re pregnant.

Enjoy the next few months. The second trimester is the most glorious part of pregnancy. You start to show but you aren’t huge yet. The nausea is (hopefully) gone, and you are becoming the full-on adorable pregnant lady that people love so much. Doors will be opened. Seats will be offered. Strangers will smile at you.

Relish this time of being the cute pregnant lady that everyone loves. Soon you will be the lady with the stroller who everyone hates.

(photo: yingthun/ Shutterstock)

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