The First Trimester, The Worst Trimester - alone, sick and full of emotions.
Finding out- shock, joy & excitement...
Whether you've been trying or whether it came as complete surprise when those two pink lines appear you are met with an overwhelming feeling of shock - is this really happening?, I'm so excited, Holy sh*t I'm scared, OMG I'm going to be a Mum (again), finally it's happened for us, am I ever going to get a full nights sleep again?, or just plain old F*CK are a few of or all of the things that run through your head!
Once the initial shock wears off (i think a little bit of the shock stays with you forever) you may feel an huge sense of excitment, gratitude, happiness and also fear - fear of the unknown, whether you're already a Mum or not pregnancy and motherhood is always a great unknown.
You tell your partner or husband and you both are so excited looking forward to the future and imagining what your life is going to look like.
Sickness, isolation, emotions & questions..
Then it hits - the sickness - all day or maybe just the morning or evening or maybe not at all, the emotional roller coaster, the hormones, the exhaustion, the painful boobs, the cramping, the spotting, the insomnia, the anxiety and tightness in your chest.
No one told you about this? You thought it was all #blessedlife and gratitude.
And then you start questioning and over analyzing everything.
What if somethings wrong?
What if I misscarry?
Why am I so sick and living off toast but Sally next door is sipping green juices and doing pilates everyday and she's pregnant?
I thought you only got morning sickness in the morning?
Is this spotting normal?
Why am I getting these pains?
I can't eat, I cant keep anything down. I hope Im not harming my baby.
I can't look after my other child/ren.
I feel guilty for not being able to be an attentive wife and/or mother.
I'm not performing at work. Will my boss notice? Will I lose my job?
I feel so crappy, I cant exercise.
Why are all these other pregnant women so happy and doing so much more than me?
When does the glowing start?
But I cant tell anyone because I'm not in the "safe zone."
The 12 week "rule"...
For some reason we have developed this rule that we must keep our pregnancy to ourselves until 12 weeks. Of course you might not want to shout it from the roof tops but why have we put this expectations on ourselves to keep this to ourselves, to suffer in silence with our emotions, exhaustion and sickness until we are in the "safe zone."
For many weeks on end with both my pregnancies I sheltered myself, hid myself from my friends, my family and the community of women who support me day in and day out.
This pregnancy I stopped engaging on my social media as I normally do because I felt like I was lying to everyone with whom are always so honest with me and to be completely honest I started to feel a sense of jealousy of everyone who looked so happy and healthy doing all the things I couldn't. I couldn't leave the house (or bed some days) and I began to feel so isolated and started questioning myself and my decisions.
Being so incredibly sick with HG, spending days in hospital, weeks in bed, taking truck loads of medication that pretty much do nothing and not being able to care for my young daughter (Millie) definitely triggers my anxiety and depression. Luckily, I am aware of my mental health and have ways to cope but during my first time pregnancy this wasn’t the case and seriously struggled to pull myself out of it and survive. For many women who are not aware of their emotions and mental well being I believe these first 12 weeks / few months could be laying the foundations for how you feel the rest of your pregnancy and beyond if you don't seek the help you need.
If you're feeling unstable, depressed or anxious in any way open up, tell some friends, seek some professional help - I seriously encourage you to. With the help of my psychologist and psychiatrist I developed a plan to help myself cope and manage through my first pregnancy but it took me way longer than it should have to seek that help.
It takes a village...
At about 8-10 weeks I started to tell a couple of my closest friends and some of my family which took some of the pressure off but I still felt quite alone and isolated. It really wasn't until I shared with my wider friendship groups, other mums I know and my online community and started to feel supported and was able to ask for advice that I realised that I am not alone and a huge weight felt like it was lifted.
They say it takes a village, so why not tell our village so they can support us through what I believe and what many others have told me is the hardest part of their pregnancy and one of the most important and transitional phases in a woman's life. You're not only trying to function through incredible sickness and exhaustion but your emotions are seriously out of whack - one minute you're happy and overjoyed and the next you're sad and scared, you feel guilty for not feeling #blessed 24/7. You have one million questions you want answered and probably someone within your community that could help answer them if they knew instead of relying on doctor google who will convince you every time of the worst.
In these times wouldn't it be best to have your village to offer support, to help you with your other children, to listen to, to comfort you, to ask their advice if you know they've been through the same and to support you through these days?
Once my family and friends knew I was pregnant and knew I was sick they are forever texting me, calling me and offering support and help.
In those first few months many women are sick and exhausted, they aren't able to physically or mentally function at the same capacity as they normally would so telling your employer, your workmates, your fitness instructors/personal trainer and anyone else that can help to take some of the pressure off you and help you to manage your workload & safely cope through these first few months could only be a positive.
Like I said at the start its not about shouting it from the roof tops (you can if you choose) but we need to start opening up more to more of our village and stop expecting ourselves to take all of this on ourselves with out help, encouragement and support. The worst that could happen is if the absolute worst thing happens and we are unfortunate to lose the pregnancy in the first trimester then you will have to tell those people but these should and probably would be the people who you would need the most at that point also so you wouldn't have to carry that burden alone.
I can honestly say now that I wont ever be pregnant again but if I was I now see that opening up to more people, to my village and asking for more help in the first trimester would be the best choice if I was to ever be in this position again.
Women are strong and amazing and we are even stronger and more amazing when we come together to support one another.
If you need an ear to listen my inbox is always open because I am always here for you and you are never alone.
If you are feeling alone, isolated, struggling with your emotions always speak up and ask for help whether it's from a friend or a professional. Never feel ashamed that you're not feeling OK even during time where you are "meant" to be feeling happiness and gratitude what I've learnt is in some weird way you can actually feel both at the same time. I truly hate that there is expectations for women to feel a certain way when they are dealing with so many mixed emotions, hormones and things beyond their control in pregnancy.
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