Dear First Trimester Mama
To the First-Trimester-Fit-Mama-to-Be,
I see you, Mama. I see you peeling yourself out of bed in the morning, praying that the day goes by fast. I see you eyeing the Venti Mocha your co-worker sets on the corner of her desk, wishing desperately you could chug 20 ounces of pure caffeine. I see you sitting in your car during lunch break, sneaking in a power nap. I see you climbing onto the couch at 5:15 pm, ready to fall asleep. Last month, you would have started every morning at the gym. And right now, you’re sitting on the couch fighting to stay up for the 6 o’clock news and wishing you had more in you.
I see you curled up on the couch, fighting back the nausea. Beelining to the bathroom a few times a day. Surviving off saltines and applesauce, praying that prenatal vitamin is doing it’s job. “Come meet up for a run!” your friends say.
“Come join us for brunch.”
“Join in on our hike!”
“Want to grab a cocktail?”
But you’re too sick to move, to even think about food.
I see you sitting down for dinner, eyeing the chicken and veggies your husband made. And trust me, I see your stomach turn upside down before opting out, and heating up a frozen pizza. Or pulling into the drive-through for a fried chicken sandwich. Or wondering if the three oatmeal cookies you just finished constitute breakfast. You can’t help but feel ashamed. You’re a fruits-and-vegetables girl, but you can’t even look at a plate of mixed greens right now. If it’s not tan, fried, and cheesy, you have no desire to eat it.
You feel like a big failure. You’ve imagined this pregnancy for months…maybe years. You were going to be one of those bad ass moms who throws barbells around or does acrobatic yoga all the way to the hospital ward. You were going to be the healthiest, most conscientious eater, varying nutrients to support baby’s weekly development. You were going to gain just enough weight, and leave the hospital with a flat tummy. You were going to glow. You were going to do squats in the delivery room, and woo the hospital staff with your lithe dance moves. But here you are. Sweatpants. Potato chips. Bloated belly. And the most active thing you’ve done all week is walk from the car to your second-flood cubicle.
Well, Mama, there’s a few things I want to say to you:
First, congratulations! Between the exhaustion, nausea, food aversions, and never ending bathroom trips, you’re growing a baby! How freaking amazing is that? Your organs are shifting, your uterus is stretching, you heart is beating for two for the next nine months!
Second, stop. Just stop. Stop being so darn hard on your pregnant self. Do you realize what you’re doing right now? Sweet mama, during this first trimester that itty bitty ball of cells becomes a baby. In these 9 weeks from your positive test to your second trimester, that baby grows to nearly 75 times its original size. That’s 7,500% bigger than it started. Can you wrap your head around that for a second, please?
Someone once told me that the first trimester was roughly the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. I don’t know how true that is scientifically, but as a two-time first trimester survivor, I have no issue believing it. Your body is working SO HARD right now to make that baby grow. All the terrible symptoms your feeling…it’s your body’s way of slowing you down. Giving in isn’t shameful; giving in is smart.
Mama-to-Be, trust me on this one: there is SO MUCH time to run a few miles, to lift weights, to eat healthy food. These first few weeks may not be that time. That’s okay. Hopefully, you’ll feel more like yourself in a few weeks. Even if you don’t, please don’t be discouraged. What you’re doing is awesome. What you’re doing is important.
It doesn’t matter if that reality star only gained 15 pounds, or if the girl you follow on Instagram still has a 6-pack at 6 months pregnant. Forgot that 9 months pregnant Crossfitter you saw on the news. This is not the time to compare. This is not the time to feel bad about yourself. This is a time to love and appreciate your body. To take care of it the best way you can. To grow a sweet baby and start your journey as a mommy.
Fit-Mama-to-Be, what I’m saying is that it’s really, really hard right now. Don’t let it discourage you. You can—and you will—accomplish your goals. Your life is changing forever, in the best way possible. Give yourself some grace along to way.
A Veteran of the First Trimester
Written by Erin Williams (@raisinggrace_)