Congratulations! Whether you planned to become pregnant or you’re surprised to find yourself a few days late, that moment when you see the second pink line show up on a pregnancy test is very emotional. Your whole life is about to change.
The first trimester can be especially overwhelming and lonely when you need the support of others, but aren’t prepared yet to tell them your big news.
Here was my experience, and some things I wish I would have known going into my first trimester:
Symptoms may not be what you expect
Pregnancy symptoms can be your typical sore boobs and morning sickness. Or they might be non-existant. Nothing is normal, and everything is normal.
My experience: My best friend, Steph, told me about the intense dreams pregnancy can bring on. After I stopped taking birth control, my cycles were pretty long. So for the second month in a row, my period was late. I didn’t think much of it.
One night I had a crazy intense dream that I was on a cruise ship that was flooding and I was drowning. Weird, right? The next day at work I was in a meeting and BOOM! I remembered Steph’s words and I thought…is it possible? It was. That was the day I found out.
My symptoms after that? Nothing. Some food aversions, a lot of foods just didn’t taste good. MAYYYBBEE my stomach felt a little upset if I ate breakfast too late. I didn’t feel good when the weather got cold. But they were all things that weren’t totally out of the ordinary for me.
I spent so much of my first trimester worried that something was wrong because I couldn’t relate to what other pregnant women were going through. I even longed to feel terrible like they did. At one point I went so far as to take another pregnancy test at 7 weeks just to make sure I didn’t imagine it. And guess what? THE TEST WAS NEGATIVE! I obviously lost my mind and called the doctor immediately. Turns out it’s just some phenomenon that happens sometimes when you’re a few weeks in.
Two first-trimester doctor appointments and my little baby was developing right on track.
Some people just don’t experience a lot of symptoms.
We have so much information at our disposal
You can find out anything you want to about your growing baby. Insomnia got you up at night? I always searched different hashtags on Instagram to see how my bump compares to others that are just as far along.
It is so cool to learn about how quickly your little embryo is developing, especially when you can’t see or feel it yet.
Information also comes with a large dose of reality. You will learn about the alarmingly high rate of first trimester miscarriages, birth defects, and everything else that can go wrong.
You have to know when to put down the laptop and just have faith that everything is going well in your body.
My experience: I’m a researcher. So from the instant I found out I was pregnant I was constantly scouring the internet, or flipping through the pages of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. A lot of what I found was scary, but I couldn’t get enough information.
I also joined a private Facebook group of other women due around the same time. Believe it or not, that group was by far what has caused me the most stress in this pregnancy. It was about 160 women, and all too often they were posting about bleeding, miscarriages, going to the doctor and not finding a heartbeat. These were all things I head read about on the internet, but putting a face to the stories made it very real. I spent far too much time worrying that their terrible stories would happen to me.
Joining the group was really eye-opening for me. I didn’t realize how common miscarriage is and how blessed we have been to have a hassle-free pregnancy. But seeing the posts was so anxiety-inducing that I actually wished I hadn’t joined at all. It wasn’t until I was at about 15 weeks that I started to find the group helpful. There were other first-time moms who would ask questions I wanted to know the answers to, and plenty of experienced mothers who could provide sage advice.
Each person has different needs, but if I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t have joined that group until my second trimester. Pregnancy is stressful enough.
The human body is incredible
Pregnancy really is a miracle. I was and am continually amazed at how quickly a baby grows in utero.
A pregnant body is making so many changes to accommodate that little being and giving it everything it needs in order to thrive.
For as often as we complain about sickness or fatigue, they are minor symptoms compared to the miracle that is happening inside.
My favorite first trimester moments: My first two doctor’s appointments were unforgettable. The first appointment was at just seven weeks and the instant that I saw that little heart beating on the screen I started crying. It was so surreal seeing a living being inside of me.
Just four weeks later, at 11 weeks, the ultrasound clearly showed my baby’s arms and legs. The difference in just a month was amazing.
Those two appointments made the pregnancy so much more real for me.
I wish you a smooth and stress-free pregnancy and so much patience as you wait until you’re comfortable telling the rest of the world about your little one!