When you’re in the trenches surviving the first trimester of pregnancy, life can be a bit, erm, miserable at times. We’re currently in week six over here, and it is rough. My first trimesters have never been pleasant, but adding an active and strong-willed toddler to the mix doesn’t help matters. I also decided it would be a good idea to start attempting potty training.
Say what? Yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Now I wouldn’t say I’d look to me as an expert of muscling through the first trimester, but I have gone through it a few times so I know a couple of things. Commence the advice-giving:
1. Give Yo’self a Break, Mama
Seriously. That floor that hasn’t been mopped in a couple of weeks? Keep spot cleaning it for a while. Your family will survive less than pristine floors. Cross my heart.
That toddler who hasn’t been bathed in…? He’ll be ok. He’s fed. He’s playing. He’s getting rest. He doesn’t overtly stink…you’ll get to it. 😉
2. If Someone Offers to Take Your Toddler for the Night, say YES
I never would’ve asked and I felt ALL of the mom guilt about this one, but our little guy had a sleepover at his cousins’ earlier this week, and it was mah-velous. I got to lay in bed until 9 am. 9 AM PEOPLE. Our typical wake time these days has been between 5-6, so that was tear-provoking all on its own.
Accept help when it’s offered. And don’t be afraid to ask for it—it doesn’t make you weak, it makes you real.
And don’t let yourself feel guilty like I did. I mean, do your best here. The emotional upheaval of pregnancy is no joke, so a few tears are expected, but once you get that out of your system put your feet up and enjoy the solitude. Take a long shower. Leave your coffee mug sitting on the end table where the tot would normally snatch it. Get all kinds of crazy.
3. Control What You Can
Not only are you battling nausea, preg-somnia (it’s a real thing—a real, evil, thing), headaches, and all sorts of other strange bodily changes, but the first trimester is when most miscarriages happen. For those of us who’ve lost babies, this is an added stressor to an already difficult season.
Right now, I’m doing my best to realize that there’s nothing I can do to change the course of this pregnancy. I can eat healthy, exercise, give up coffee, and take my prenatal vitamins and I could still miscarry.
But you know what? It makes me feel a little better to do what I can. Controlling the little things helps me to feel like I’m giving this pregnancy it’s very best shot. The rest is in God’s hands, and there’s no better place for a life to be, am I right?
4. Be Prepared to Say No
As moms, we often have this mentality that we have to say yes to everything. There are limitless activities and events to attend and be a part of, but guess what? There will always be things going on. We live in a busy culture with high expectations and when we say “no” we fear being seen as lazy, non-committal, or uninvolved.
Ya know what? They’ll get over it. Whoever you’re worried about disappointing or letting down, realize that the people who matter will understand.
Not that there are people who don’t matter—but there are people that you aren’t required to explain yourself to and please at all times. Know what I mean? Family, close friends, those people are the “mattering” folks. Others? Don’t let them ruffle your hormonal feathers. Not worth it, my friend. REST.
Also, pregnancy is an excellent excuse for saying no if you need one. So there’s that.
5. Celebrate the Milestones
At this point, each week feels like a milestone for me. With losses in the back of my mind, it’s a struggle to really embrace this until we have our 8-week ultrasound, but I know how futile that thinking is. When you consider all that could go wrong in a pregnancy (don’t do that—it’s not uplifting), it’s really quite miraculous that the majority of them come to fruition. Focus on that. This baby has the odds in his or her favor!
So six weeks, eight weeks, ten weeks, YAY! Have a little mini-celebration. Even if it’s silently in your own heart, or a vigorous dance sesh in the shower, or a delicious cupcake or three. Don’t ignore them and wish time away—time is precious, life is precious. Don’t miss it by burying your head in the sand to avoid feeling.
6. Lower Your Expectations
This is so big, you guys. Yes, you can normally get in a workout, an in-depth study of the minor prophets, a shower, and stellar hair and makeup by 7:30 am. You’re a rockstar. NOT ANYMORE, SISTER. If you’re still cranking that out in your first trimester, then I will buy you a cape because dang. I’m lucky if both of my contacts are in by noon these days.
Here’s a good tip for exercise in pregnancy (or lack thereof when you just cannot even): Do your best to stay in shape outside of pregnancy so that you can take a short hiatus if you need to. Getting back at in when you’re feeling better won’t be as difficult.
Some people really love being pregnant. Some abhor it and just want the baby. I think I fall somewhere in between. But during the “survive the first-trimester” mode, I definitely fall closer to the latter category.
Growing a baby takes some incredible energy and throws some mean curves at you, even if you’re a veteran mama. So take my advice and go easy on yourself. The best way to take care of that baby is to take great care of you. And remember, the odds are in your favor.