What they don’t tell you about pregnancy is what a shock to the system it can be, especially during the first few weeks or entire first trimester!
Once I’d told Darren I was indeed pregnant (yay!), I was surprised by how quickly the pregnancy symptoms hit me. My sense of smell heightened, my boobs hurt like hell, the fatigue was upsetting and the all-day nausea was pretty much unbearable!
All I wanted to do was sleep as that was the only time I felt any better!
I continued to teach my Barre and Pilates classes but had to cancel all of the new classes I had started as my energy levels were all over the place due to the pregnancy hormones taking over my body.
I also had to kiss goodbye to my usual eating habits as everything I ate tasted funny. Even drinking water was hard as I could actually smell it. Weird, I know!
I hadn’t eaten McDonald's fries in years but yet that’s all I craved, that and cheese. Wotsits became my new best friend-eek! Darren and my brother also had to take over the cooking as I couldn’t even bear to be in the kitchen. I was so glad that phase only lasted a couple of weeks...
I can honestly say this was not the pregnancy that I’d visualised for myself. I had ideas of continuing my daily role as normal, continuing to drink healthy green juices and exercising daily….boy was that the dream.
Instead of glowing with health and energy, I was an emotional mess. Thank goodness I had such a good support network and I’d already left my corporate role; the stress of having to continue to work in my previous environment would have been so difficult.
It got harder still when the early scan came around. We’d requested an early scan due to a previous miscarriage in 2017 (read more about this in my miscarriage post- coming soon!) to ensure the embryo was in the correct place. The sonographer was very reassuring which did help a bit, but it didn’t stop me from worrying. It’s hard to forget how it feels when you're told your baby hasn’t survived.
Leaving the hospital knowing that everything was ok so far was so surreal!
If all those other pregnancy symptoms weren’t enough to deal with by themselves, my hayfever kicked in once I reached about seven weeks. My eyes felt irritated and itchy and I felt very congested. I also started waking up several times per night to visit the toilet.
I didn’t want to take any medication so I just had to suffer through it.
I would usually turn to my box of essential oils but because of my sensitive nose, I couldn’t bear the smell of those either. The only thing that seemed to help was my frequent trips to my acupuncturist, thank goodness for him. I was determined to continue on with my treatments as they assisted with my fertility journey and helped me feel pampered and wonderful.
Don’t get me wrong. The first trimester wasn’t just about suffering, even if it felt like it at the time! It also taught me so much about my body, about the pregnancy journey, and about how to best take care of myself during this time.
Here’s what I learned, and what I’d recommend you do if you’re struggling like I was.
Surrender to your body’s needs
Previously I would have just pushed through the tiredness, sickness and fatigue the best way I knew how.
But in all honesty, I would be doing a massive disservice to myself and my unborn child if I did that whilst pregnant. Instead, I slept when I needed to, I ate whenever and whatever my body craved and I took as much help as was offered to get me through my first trimester.
My main focus was to rest my body so my baby had the best chance of surviving. Nothing else mattered to me.
Find a good prenatal multivitamin
Even though I hated the smell of my prenatal multivitamins, I continued to take them. They made me sick if I took them in the morning or afternoon so I switched to taking them at night which really seemed to help.
The brand I choose is Terranova after being recommended them in my local wholefood shop. I liked the fact that they had everything I needed and also included fruits and vegetables such as kale and blueberries. This gave me some comfort for the days where my appetite was nonexistent!
Sleep Sleep Sleep!
I wasn’t sleeping well at all during the early days so I was exhausted. What really helped was taking naps throughout the day. I found this really helped improve my energy levels, even if it was just 20-30 minutes. It really did make a difference.
I also found that going to bed earlier really helped me get at least 3-4 solid hours of sleep.
People kept on telling me that it’s the body’s way of making you adjust to parenthood and what's to come...I’m not very good without sleep so napping when the baby naps will definitely be my coping mechanism.
Don’t be hard on yourself
I am usually somebody who jumps from one thing to the next so having to stop my usual routine so abruptly was so alien to me and so challenging too. There were people who were depending on me and deadlines that I had set myself but I had to rapidly get used to the idea that I was no longer in control. Once I came to that conclusion, the anxiety lessened and I was able to slow down and give my newly pregnant body what it needed.
Don’t always listen to what other mothers say!
I only shared the exciting news of my pregnancy to a select set of friends and family early on, and I did that for a reason. I wanted to experience my pregnancy my way. I wanted to have my own experience and listen to my body, without interference from others.
I learnt that it’s always OK to ask for advice if you really need it, whilst recognising that everyone’s opinions may not be the same as yours. Remember, even when you strongly disagree with what they’re saying, it always comes from a place of love and you don’t have to listen!
If you’re unsure about anything, don’t use google as your medical doctor
In the early days of my pregnancy, I’d find myself on google, self-diagnosing the tiniest ache or pain I felt. It was hard because the shadow of my miscarriage and fertility problems were over me, and I felt understandably anxious.
Then one day I decided enough was enough. Googling my symptoms was leading me down a dangerous rabbit hole that left me feeling an emotional mess.
I also stopped going on the online forums that were connected to the pregnancy tracking apps because I wasn’t keen on them, and they just filled my mind with thoughts of all the negative things that may happen.
Instead, I read good news stories and continued to visualize what I thought my baby would be like. This really helped reduce my anxiety and enjoy the excitement of being pregnant.
Eat little and often
I found it really hard to eat a lot in my first trimester so I had to just encourage myself to eat whatever I could. My baby depended on me, and so did my energy levels.
Don’t become a slave to the scales
As I started sharing the news of my pregnancy, many people started to share their pregnancy stories with me, which was wonderful. But many of them told me that they’d put on over 4 stone (56 lb./25.4kg) whilst pregnant! That horrified me as I’m not very tall and I’m already curvy.
Luckily, we’ve not had a scale in the house for years so I didn’t have a way to weigh myself frequently. That has helped me to relax into the idea of putting on weight over my pregnancy and stop worrying about not being as active as I would normally be.
[I’m already working on an action plan to shift any excess weight in a sensible way that I can put into action on the other side...XD]
As a result of everything I learned along the way, I came through the first trimester feeling much more connected to my body, in tune with what I need and even more excited to meet my growing baby.
I hope that by sharing these lessons, you can also get through early pregnancy much more easily.
Remember you’re not alone in this journey. If you have any questions, you’re worried about anything or you just need some additional support, please contact me. I’m here to help.
Be the first to know about discounts, offers, news and more. (no spam, promise!)