The Lows and Almost-Highs of Early Pregnancy

This probably won’t be the cheeriest post you’ve read today, but for some people pregnancy isn’t all that cheerful. It’s ‘supposed’ to be, which I think can be unhelpful, unsupportive and dismissive of people’s very real physical ailments. One of my least favourite phrases is ‘you’re not ill, you’re pregnant’. Ok, that can be true but pregnancy can make you very ill indeed with complications and conditions that make my experience look like a walk in the park. To deny that fact is belittling to all pregnant women.

I have now experienced two first trimesters and they have both been unmitigatedly awful. The first was perhaps the worst of the two, but to be honest the jury’s out. The first was defined by constant, all-day, unrelenting nausea and frightening patches where I couldn’t stop being sick. It puttered along with anti-sickness medication and bed rest and was wholly miserable.

The second I am just emerging from. I think my body and I had an exchange (that I wasn’t party to): less actual sickness (although more than enough) in exchange for more nausea, more aches, shortness of breath, crippling exhaustion and a daily flu-like feeling that rendered me useless from mid-afternoon.

In a bid to purge myself of the memories of all these things and also in an attempt to add one more voice to those that are saying ‘you may have chosen this, but you don’t have to enjoy it’, I have decided to reflect on the lows and (almost) highs of this period. I am talking to myself in this post but perhaps I’m talking to you too, I really hope not for your sake but if I am, hello, I’m sorry – but at least you’re not alone!

The Lows

Waking up each day to the sad mental body scan that confirms you haven’t magically improved overnight

Taking your bullet sized pregnancy vitamin and pulling a muscle in your neck from the ensuing gagging

Worrying about losing all your friends as you make up another flimsy excuse for missing the long (and getting longer) overdue catch ups

Having to have a daily think about food you can stomach and mentally ‘testing’ it for vomit-inducing properties

Having to parent a toddler and hold it together (barely)

Thrusting a dry, plain pitta and an Ella’s kitchen vegetable pouch to said toddler and calling this offering ‘lunch’

Having your toddler ask ‘why are you coughing mummy?’ at the bathroom door and you responding perhaps a little unnecessarily truthfully (and shoutily): ‘I’m not bloody coughing I’m being sick!’

Telling a lot more people than you would like to before 12 weeks because you are no longer a human-being, just a blob of exhaustion, sickness, aches and depression and you need help

Thinking that everyone understands how bad it can be and then trawling through internet pages of ‘advice for morning sickness’ and realising that they don’t. Exercise? Ginger? Peppermint tea? Distract yourself? Is this a joke?

Knowing other people who are clearly also in the early pregnancy stage and feeling both resentful and ashamed that you must not be ‘not coping’ as well as they are

Trying to do something about the feeling of inadequacy so walk/stumble 100 yards down the road before submitting to tears of exhaustion, sure that the moment to meet your maker has arrived

Feeling nauseous throughout your entire body, from your legs up to your head, and, when are you are physically sick, have the fleeting thought that you might be about to vomit up the new life inside you…and then worrying that you can’t be sure that this isn’t actually a thing

Reaching the first signs of what must be the holy grail of ‘improvement’ and feeling so excited that you bounce off the walls, do too much and spend the next four days veering between the bed and the toilet.

And then there are some moments that can’t quite be classed as high points but are not as low as the lows…

The ‘almost-highs’:

Reacquainting yourself with the healing powers of ice lollies

Sending a hormonal, ranty, unreasonable text message about everything that annoys you about life to your overseas husband and him starting his response with those three powerful little words that, in that moment, make everything alright: ‘I completely agree’

Seeing a gorgeous side to your toddler when he brings toys and books to the bathroom to keep you company when you’re being sick; when you crawl from the toilet into bed and he runs to get his duvet to cover you; when, in response to the frequent explanations of ‘mummy’s not feeling too well’, he strokes your cheek and says ‘don’t worry mummy, my here with you. I’ll keep you safe’

Getting an unexpected tiny flutter of relative excitement because you did hope and choose for this pregnancy to happen and there’s a tiny person actually inside you

Eventually finding articles like this amazing one from Eat the Damn Cake that give you the confidence to know you are coping as well as you can with the hand you’ve been dealt. To assume people are feeling the same things but coping better is ridiculous and a lie. The simple truth is that the people who look like they are sailing through it are feeling different things and this doesn’t make you a lesser person, just maybe a bit more unlucky in that moment

And finally remembering how inexplicably awful it was with pregnancy number one, and then remembering how you went on and completely rocked the next three years.

 

And, while I wait for this to completely pass, I’ll be continuing to manage my life according to my Lessons in Lazy Parenting!

I’ve decided to go with the flow and enter into the BiBs and MAD blog awards. It’s a lovely opportunity for people to show pride in their own blogs and adimiration for others they like. You can read my arguments for and against nominating my blog here.

This post is linked with Momsterslink

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42 thoughts on “The Lows and Almost-Highs of Early Pregnancy

  1. Yep, the first trimester is terrible. I wasn’t sick but I expect I would have felt much better if I had been. All over Christmas I did little more than lie on the sofa wondering if this was it for the next 9 months – and praying it wasn’t. As for exercise, there was no way I’d have dragged myself to anything and I’m usually pretty active. I don’t know how I’d have got through it with a toddler as well, so hats off to you (I guess I have that to look forward to next time round).
    And – why do they make pregnancy vitamins so large?They still make me gag and I’ve switched to Pregnacare which also taste like vitamin c when it gets stuck (or at least what the drops I had to give my guinea pig smelled like), making it even worse.
    Luckily just before 12 weeks I started feeling better and I’ve found new levels of productivity that are going some way towards making up for the months of useless. I really feel for those people who don’t experience any let up.

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    1. Me too, some people are dealt a terrible hand. Like you with my first pregnancy I was worried about it lasting the whole time. The first was completely awful and I remember clinging on to news stories about Kate Middleton actually going OUT so maybe there was hope after all!
      Vitamin makers should completely rethink the size and texture, just awful.
      You made me remember to add a link to another post about ‘lazy’ parenting I wrote a little while ago…some of those things helped me cope with a toddler so thank you!
      Glad to hear you are finding things have improved for you now and thank you for commenting xx

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  2. Oh dear, I do hope you’re feeling better soon. How bad my morning sickness was is actually a reason I’ve been putting off trying for another baby. I can’t imagine trying to care for a toddler while lying on the bathroom floor unable to move. I also had the unable to stop vomiting thing. One day it left me so weak and shaky we actually went to the hospital where they were marvellous, let me lie in a quiet, dark room and put me on a drip. That was the first time I’d felt human for weeks!

    I’m so glad to hear your toddler has been trying to look after you while you are unwell. That’s lovely 🙂 I have to say, for all my worrying, I’m pretty sure my son would be fine. A couple of times when I’ve been unwell and explained I needed to lie down, he’s brought me a blanket and given me a hug 🙂

    The other terrible thing about the constant vomiting, particularly if it’s your first child and you’re fairly clueless about the whole thing, was that I was terrified I was going to lose the baby. I’ve since been reassured that there’s little chance of one thing leading to the other… but at the time it’s really frightening as well as generally unpleasant.

    Anyway… in sum, I hope you’re getting closer to the happiest trimestre! 🙂

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    1. Oh Claire, I completely understand that. The thing I was most worried about was feeling so bad again at this stage. I found the newborn bit incredibly difficult(for different reasons obviously) but I remember clearly thinking ‘well at least it’s not as bad as the first trimester’. It’s just awful.
      And now I’m thinking more about the frightening constant vomiting the jury is probably not out, the first pregnancy was worst. I was a wreck and I lost so much weight that I didn’t have on me to lose.
      BUT it sounds like your toddler would be lovely. CBeebies is a lifesaver and have you family near by? My husband has also had to take some time off work/rearrange work, he may not be ill but someone had to look after our son.
      And despite knowing that it’s unrelated (I think) I completely agree with your last point…and still this time I worried about it when sick. Vomiting is such a physical assault that you can’t imagine anything being ok while it’s going on.
      Ok, so i don’t think I’ve been much help but I just wanted to say I do understand. And the relief I feel being (almost) at the other side is quite great. Things pass. And if this baby sticks around (which I hope with all my heart it does) I will NEVER be doing it again!! Xxx

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  3. Oh this has brought back the many lows of my pregnancy. I always seemed to be surrounded by glowing pregnant ladies who oozed glamour and general loveliness with their neat bump. I on the other hand had to carry a sick bag around as I couldn’t keep anything down, looked like a fat casper the ghost, was spotty and was so big that I waddled everywhere! 🙂 Never mind the end products were worth it 🙂 #fabfridaypost

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  4. Pingback: MAD for a BiB |
  5. I’m so sorry to hear you’re having such an awful time of it, I don’t envy you.

    But, for balance, I met up with my best friend yesterday so she could tell me that her best chances of conceiving are IVF.

    I don’t say this to undermine your very real suffering, but just to serve as a reminder of how worth it all that dreadful illness is. My friend would swap places with you in a heartbeat.

    I hope you feel better soon x
    #KCACOLS

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    1. I completely understand that and I have a few friends for whom, as you say, any of this would be more than welcome. It was something I really thought about before writing this post but, as you say, nobody’s experience undermines anyone else’s. We are all facing different things in life that add to the intensity of any situation we find ourself in.
      And for people I know who felt like this in early pregnancy (or who didn’t enjoy the newborn bit) after long struggles to conceive/multiple miscarriages/IVF it only adds to the feeling of ‘I should be grateful’ which isn’t fair for them at all… you feel what you feel in that moment.

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      1. I hadn’t even considered that, of course you’re right and I don’t even know your personal history either! I really hope I didn’t offend you, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been on my mind too such a degree if I’d not received the news literally yesterday.

        All the best x

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      2. You’re very sweet and I really appreciate both your comments. I perhaps should have said more on it all in the introduction to my post but it was getting longer by the second! I hope your friend finds a way through.

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  6. Oh I hated pregnancy full stop, but early pregnancy was horrific. I worried constantly about miscarrying again, struggled with the nausea and the need to eat everything in sight and nodded off every time I sat down! It does get easier, and it is totally worth it! That’s what we have to remember! #KCACOLS

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    1. Definitely…it’s starting to get easier and already those little windows of normality feel amazing! The worry can be overwhelming at times. I know you’ve written about that before and that must have been such a hard additional element particularly in your later pregnancies. It just feels such a delicate process. But, yes as you say, all those horrible pregnancy bits are worth it in the end! Thank you for commenting xx

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  7. Your son getting his duvet and looking after you made my heart melt! How lovely. Sorry you have such rubbish first trimesters, I was lucky on the sick front but couldn’t believe how exhausted I was! #KCACOLS

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    1. Yes, the exhaustion is something else isn’t it!? So weird.
      Ha, children can be gorgeous can’t they? Thank you. Of course, I’ve left out all the times he’s bashed me over the head with his toy hammer because I’m not giving him enough attention! Swings and roundabouts x

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  8. Oh what a caring son you have! He sounds so caring bless him! I had two awful pregnancies although the sickness had past by 14-15 weeks. I think my second pregnancy was worse as i has bruised both internally and externally around my tummy from where my girl kicked me so hard all the time, I had actual bruise marks! I often felt faint and washed out too so i was petty useless! I had two very easy labours though so i can’t moan too much! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

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  9. Yes, I hate being pregnant, and it is one of the reasons I would not consider having lots of kids – the kids I can handle, but not the pregnancies, & I would feel like I was missing a lot with my kids if I was pregnant often. I had HG with my pregnancies, and it was awful. The 2nd was actually slightly better, which I was pleased about, as usually you are told it is likely to be worse. I was okay from 5-6 months with that one & not sick quite so frequently, but sick all through the day until nearly 8 months with first. But then, as you say, you have another little one to care for with second so that makes it harder. I agree – a lot of the advice is nonsense. Bloody ginger!

    Love how sweet your husband and son were being though, and I also always just tried to remember how great it all turns out! #KCACOLS

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    1. Oh that sounds dreadful.Even with it so far only being the first few months (although still lingering annoyingly) I feel I have missed time with E. Yes 6 – 8 months regularly would be just awful. Definitely worth remembering the end result, thanks for commenting x

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  10. you are having it tough! My first trimester was terrible too, all I could do was lie outside with a bucket! That went for 16 weeks. But the 2nd trimester I was actually good one the nausea left town. I felt vibrant (sorry), the last trimester I was so tired and uncomfortable, my hips ached and I just wanted bubba out (healthy of course). Good luck honey, hope it improves and as they all say it will be worth it! #momsterlink linked after you xx

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    1. I’m so sorry, I seem to have missed this comment first time round. I am more sorry, however, that you had such a rubbish first trimester too. Interesting that it lasted for 16 weeks…I’m coming up to that and it’s lingering…I’ll start looking forward to 17 weeks onwards! I felt good the rest of my first pregnancy so here’s hoping for this one, but everything feels a bit different with this one so who knows!? Thank you so much for commenting…agree it will be worth it! X

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  11. Oh wow, I can’t believe you’re going through such a horrid time! This is a brilliantly written post, and brings to lite the fact that pregnancy isn’t all rainbows and sparkles! Really hope your 3rd trimester is much smoother. Good on your husband for saying the right thing at the exact right time! And your little one so cute looking after you in the best way you can ❤️❤️ #TribalChat xxx

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    1. Thank you so much. Yes it’s not easy for everyone. The last few days have been amazing though, not glowing yet (ha!) but I do feel like a new person. I feel so sorry for people that feel dreadful all the way through. Thank you for commenting lovely x

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  12. My sister suffered terribly all through both her pregnancies, she was sick almost every day for most of the nine months each time. I would often have a go at anyone who implied she was ‘just’ pregnant. My wife isn’t doing too badly, off and on luckily but she is definitely not ‘just’ pregnant. I think people fail to realise the changes your body goes through in terms of bones growing and organs moving and entire new organs being created if it’s your first one. No wonder if takes such a toll.
    You are doing amazingly and I hope the second trimester is a little easier on you.

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    1. Gosh your poor sister, I feel so much for people who suffer all the way through – it must feel just awful. Glad to hear your wife is having a better ride of it than your sister did but, absolutely, the ‘just’ pregnant idea is a bit barking…the way you put it is so true (and a little overwhelming, our bodies make an actual entire person, you sure!?). Thank you for your kind thoughts, the last few days have been completely different…I feel as though a great weight has been lifted. X

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  13. Oh no, I know what you mean!! The first trimester was awful for me too for both my pregnancies but I was lucky to not be actually sick. But I felt terribly ill and I had a very strong head ache all the time. I really feel for you and I hope your second trimester is better and you start enjoying your pregnancy more. I love your highs. They are just priceless. Your toddler coming to the toilet to give you company and your hubby with that perfect message reply is just the best. It is really a miracle to be pregnant and it feels amazing to be able to bring another human being to this world but I do agree that it is bloody hard!! I hope all goes well. I’ll be looking forward to read all your updates. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS.

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    1. Thanks lovely, yep so hard but you’re right it is amazing and it’s no mean feat either so why should it be easy. Aw poor you, illness and headaches are horrible…I don’t know whether it’s actually better to be (moderately) sick or not. There can be a brief, fleeting moment of relief from the nausea!
      My toddler has been gorgeous and now I feel quite a bit better, he keeps checking and is very happy! Husband fab…I love being agreed with by him!
      Thanks for hosting, hope you had a happy Easter…see you again Sunday! X

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  14. I luckily never had any nausea with any 3 of my pregnancies. But the mood swings and gestational diabetes with all 3 was certainly no fun. My first was a boy and the emotions that went from one spectrum to the other were almost unbearable. I hope you feel better and kudos to your toddler for trying to help mommy feel better. So sweet. Thank you for linking and sharing with #momsterslink.

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    1. Oh no, mood swings can be awful…I am in full mood swing glory, my husband has left home (he says he had work, but I think he’s just left for a bit!). Glad you had no nausea at least, but sorry about the GD, what a palava this pregnant thing can be. Thank you for hosting…and have a fabby holiday away! X

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