Pregnancy. Three trimesters. 40 weeks. Lots of, um, changes.
After finding out I was pregnant and then deciding to share the news, I was quickly gifted a couple of thick books, one endorsed by the Mayo Clinic, about pregnancy. The material, covering all of these exotic changes, is validating, reassuring, informing and therefore helpful.
But, sorry Mayo Clinic, you have forgotten a few things.
Here are some necessary-to-share tidbits that no researching, writing MD told me about the first trimester. (Disclaimer: I am not an expert but have recently lived through those awkward first twelve weeks, so am therefore qualified to write an educational piece for soon-to-be-mothers. Thank you. Thank you. ** I am bowing **)
You will find yourself in the Chipotle parking lot five minutes after they open (wo)man handling an over-stuffed burrito in your car. You will eat it all, including the loose black beans that fall to your lap, and then consider getting back out of your car and back in line to purchase a second burrito to then carry in your purse at Target while you shop, knowing you’ll be hungry again in two hours.
This is normal behavior for a pregnant woman.
You will get to the conveyor belt at Hannaford and notice with an initial twinge of shame that your shopping cart has become a nesting ground for carbohydrates. Eggos, bagels, crackers, English muffins, cereal and boxes of mac n’ cheese will make up the majority of your diet.
Go with it. Shame doesn’t deserve a place in parenting. Learn that early. (Any woman who tells you she craved broccoli and avocado during the start of her pregnancy is a liar. De-friend her.)
You will speed through traffic after work to get in line for a burger and then sit and eat alone at Five Guys for a good hour until ever French fry in the brown paper bag is gone. You will proudly send your friends pictures of the meal. And though obese, sweaty men and stoned college students will be all that surrounds you, you will feel great.
Do things that make you feel great. Burgers and fries included.
You will be awake, nauseas and disoriented at 3am sharing saltines with your dog in bed. Your partner will roll over sleepily to come face to face with you and you will not smile, blink or acknowledge them… because you will not want to share the crackers.
This is healthy. BABY. NEEDS. ALL. THE. RESOURCES.
Bags of ginger chews will be stored in your purse, car, desk drawer, bedside table and “snack drawer.” You will have back-up bags in your pantry. You will turn around mid-road-trip to get them should you suddenly realize you’ve mindlessly forgotten them back at home.
Ginger will be a lifesaver. It will keep you from vomiting on your patients, friends and colleagues. And then you will never eat it again. You will divorce the ginger.
Lawyers aren’t necessary but I do suggest burning any leftover ginger once you’re safely into the second trimester.
You will go into meetings at work with crumbs stuck to your chin. No one will tell you because though they can sense that you’re kind of “off” lately, you haven’t yet told anyone you’re preggo so they will just assume that you’re either really hung-over, really over-tired or privately battling a binge eating disorder.
You will not care what they think. Crumbs on your chin is a typical pre-parenting phenomena.
You will begin to wear a fanny pack when you go on long runs to carry granola bars and mini-water bottles.
Your long, strong, peaceful runs through the neighborhood will transfer into mid-length jogs (mostly walks) on the treadmill after you have your first experience of peeing in the woods beside a stranger’s house. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll have this experience three or four times and then surrender and get on the treadmill after your husband offers unsolicited feedback about the choice to urinate on other people’s property.
I say pee where you need to pee. Damn it.
You will find yourself hypoglycemic on top of a mountain wondering if you can make it back down. You will consider steeling trail mix from an unknown fellow hiker’s backpack. If you are like me, you will steal it.
This is normal and healthy behavior for a developing mother.
You will sleep ten to twelve hours a night and wish you could sleep more. You will nap often. You will be angry when the neighbors are haying their field at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon during naptime. You will consider running the acreage to get to their house to tell them what your current needs are as a pregnant woman and ask for their respect in honoring these needs. Then you will fall asleep any way.
You will look at your belly in the mirror every day and enthusiastically tell the non-living items in your bedroom how you’re growing and expanding. Your partner will catch you doing this. You will cry when they do.
Crying is normal.
Crying when you see road kill, parent-child themed TV shows, and your dog displaying love towards your cat is also normal.
Crying because your husband ate the last Nutty Bar is natural too. This does not necessitate a call to your OB or midwife. Just buy three boxes of Nutty Bars next time and always keep two hidden from your asshole of a husband.
I don’t care what the Mayo Clinic says about “asking for patience while your moods fluctuate.” I say generously using name-calling, like asshole, for instance, will only strengthen the marital bond.
You will put the ketchup in the microwave, the ice cream in the cupboard and the cheese block in the dishwasher once or twice.
Again, very prevalent among our demographic. Oh well.
Lastly, you will feel a completely renewed sense of purpose in life. Relationships, work, your health, your values will all suddenly become much more meaningful. You will feel more bonded to your partner than you ever have and you will find your hands moving towards the place where the baby is often to reassure him/her that you’re right there and always will be. You will feel a gratefulness that is unexplainable.
Be present for it all. And keep eating the f*&#ing ginger chews.