THE SECRET DIARY OF A (NOT SO) YUMMY MUMMY
In her first column, our mum-to-be spills the beans on the unglamorous side of the first pregnancy trimester…
For most, finding out you’re pregnant is a blessing. An overwhelming moment in your life where you’re both excited and nervous. Nothing has really changed in that split second, and yet it somehow feels like already everything is different. The overriding feeling for me was elation, months of disappointment and longing instantly quashed in those two happy little blue lines. Wide awake in bed one night, counting the days in my cycle backwards and slowly realising I might be pregnant I took a test at some ungodly hour. I remember waking my husband up at 3am to tell him the good news, only to get a sleepy “that’s amazing” before he rolled over and resumed his snoring, whilst I did a merry jig around the bedroom.
However, this elation was soon overtaken by a different feeling…sickness. Constant sickness. All day, every day. Even at night it would wake me up. Working my nine to five office job during the first trimester has given me a newfound respect for any woman who has a physical or manual occupation and also suffers from morning sickness.
My tiredness and nausea at work made it increasingly difficult to concentrate; I’d find the simplest tasks took me twice as long as usual and I became exceedingly irritated by everyone around me. In fact when I announced my pregnancy one colleague said “ah, so that’s why you’ve been so cranky”. I refused to call in sick thinking everyone would guess – how many ‘tummy bugs’ lasted 8 weeks? So I powered through and spent many weeks looking green and grumpy, and rushing to the bathroom on a daily basis.
Now, it seems I have mainly moaned about how awful the first trimester is, which is not actually the point of my ramblings. I understand that all of these symptoms, both hormonal and physical, are necessary as you’re growing something amazing inside you – my main gripe is that nobody prepared me for how awful it can be. It’s astounding how little people talk about it. Had female friends and family members been a little more forthcoming about this less-than-fun period I might have been better prepared.
I appreciate not every mother I encounter will have suffered from morning sickness or any other symptoms – in fact I’ve had friends tell me they had no symptoms at all throughout the first 12 weeks. But many of those I’ve since mentioned this to (including my own mother, best friend and sister) have responded with ‘oh yes it’s awful, did nobody tell you?’ Obviously we’ve all heard the term ‘morning sickness’, but little did I know it could be crippling all day sickness, the morning being the least of my worries. We endure a whole host of other symptoms all day – cramps, spotting, bloating, exhaustion – you name it – and it might pop up in those first precious 12 weeks.
I found myself constantly asking a friend who had recently given birth, ‘is this symptom normal?’, ‘did you feel like this?’, ‘should I call the doctor?’
I’m far from a hypochondriac, but your body throws so much at you that you start to question every twinge and cramp. My poor husband had to put up with my constant googling and would leave the room to make a cup of tea only to return to me in floods of tears claiming the worst was inevitable.
So, in light of thankfully getting to the 12 week scan and everything being fine, now with my eyes wide open, this is my first step to ensuring I talk more openly about the positives AND the negatives of pregnancy. And I encourage everyone else to do so too – if anything just to save a newly pregnant woman’s sanity!