I’m officially back in action and feeling like myself again! If you didn’t hear the news of the century (pretty egotistical to call it that, BUT I’m elated enough about our big news that I’m refusing to delete what I just wrote) because I am PREGNANT! Wohooo sista! Yup, yup, there’s officially two of us behind this computer right now. One of us doesn’t even have fingerprints yet, so they won’t get any credit for this article, but the stark truth is, I’m baking a mini addition to our #catacrew and we’re pretty overjoyed.
I won’t go into details right now, but it hasn’t been the easiest road to finally announce a healthy pregnancy and to all those couples struggling out there to conceive: I hear you, understand you, and send lots of French bisous your way to get through those rough times. <3
Since most of the women in Paris have babies in their mid to late 30’s (quite a bit later than my midwestern compatriots in the USA), my previous knowledge of pregnancy was about as BASIC beeyatch as you can get. I would have summed pregnancy up in 4 main points:
- Women get to eat whatever they want for 9 months since packing on the pounds is encouraged – pizza for breakfast anyone?
- Say hello to white pants any day because Aunt Flow won’t be arriving unannounced anytime soon!
- Feeling and often looking like a whale by the end of the journey is completely normal, so embrace those new cankles with gusto.
- Labor is rough, but at the end, you get a mini monster that smells better than fresh, baked, apple pie and who is so enchanting people start talking to them like they’ve lost 75 IQ points in two seconds flat.
Some of my naive impressions were pretty spot on (aunt flow does disappear) while other’s… not so much. Eating whatever you want? Try using that excuse with a French doctor when you’re two pounds heavier than they would have liked.
I think it’s safe to say I was going into that first trimester of pregnancy completely blind. So, I did what every living person under the age of 75 in 2019 does when I got that positive symbol on the test. I took to the internet and obsessively researched the crap out pregnancy until I felt prepared enough to self diagnosis any pregnancy related pain, at at any given time, for any given person.
But even with extensive research, it didn’t really matter that I could list the top 45 most common symptoms of pregnancy during the first trimester because #SPOILERALERT, people aren’t always so truthful on the internet. I quickly learned that even the 5 most common symptoms of pregnancy have a dark side that no one wants to expose. So please, everyone, proceed with caution while I enlighten you.
This is probably the most well known symptom of pregnancy, but the name itself is a deceiving little nugget. This symptom should be renamed all day, horrific, pregnancy sickness. The nausea, and at times vomiting, doesn’t just visit in the morning… this little gremlin visits whenever the hell it feels like destroying your day. It can be the morning, the afternoon, the night, when you’re in work meeting, when you’re hanging with friends, when you’re going for your 15th pee of the day. It strikes with no consideration to the morning whatsoever. So whatever heathen gave it the name, “morning sickness” clearly wanted to screw with the already hormonal minds of “rational” pregnant women.
2. Weight Gain
I thought gaining weight was ALWAYS seen as a positive thing when pregnant. And obviously, to an extent, it is completely normal and encouraged. But indulging in McDonalds, Five Guys and polishing off a pizza in the same day, is a huge no no. Take it from me ladies, this does not earn you a badge of honor from the doctor. “Eating for two” is NOT recommended since you technically only need a bit of extra calories to cook that babe and not normally until the 2nd or 3rd trimester. #SAYWHAT!
But the worst is if we go back to that all day, horrific, pregnancy sickness, how do you think one fights the nausea battle? By eating, my dear friends. BY EATING. If you are constantly nauseous, that means you are probably constantly eating to feel better. Since most things sound repulsive when you’re nauseous, you’re probably reaching for your favorite, carb friendly, treats. AS YOU SHOULD. And if you are one of the lucky ones, you aren’t actually vomiting and therefore you can keep all that extra food down.
But the draw back being, because there is actually a drawback to being on the winning team when pregnant, is that you start gaining extra, non-pregnancy weight, because you are “eating for two” in order to just function. Ladies, this circle is one of the most vicious I’ve ever encountered, so don’t just watch your back. Watch your front, watch your sides, watch your damn corners. This is def. a tricky one.
3. Tender Breasts
Yes, they tell you that your breasts will be sore when you are pregnant, but tender is the understatement of the year. As a women with a generous chest pre-pregnancy, it can be pretty torturous when your breasts double in size in what seems like a week and start bouncing all over the place. They hurt in a bra because they are smashed together, they hurt when they aren’t in a bra because they jump around smacking each other and they ITCH LIKE CRAZY. All that stretched out skin is on fire and no amount of lotion or oil really calms them down. My advice? Invest in larger bras the same day you announce to your other half that you’re knocked up. And friendly tip, try not to get into the habit of itching in public. It’s mortifying when your colleagues catch you with your hands down your shirt going to town and you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
4. Mood Swings
Ohhh the mood swings. I thought mood swings meant being a bit more emotional. Like crying harder at stranger’s weddings on Youtube, because you guys know I already live for that stuff. Well I’ve come to understand that mood swings are a bit more extreme than that and can liken your emotional control to that of a toddler in seconds.
I had a real meltdown two weeks ago when I brought home THE PERFECT vase for a plant I took from a friend who was throwing it out. A plant that my better half already finds “grossly unattractive,” but to top it off, he mentioned that the vase I had picked out was “not his favorite.” Well this comment resulted in a meltdown that would shame even my former two year-old self. I sobbed about “his clear lack of style” and his audacity to criticize what I had just then decided was my MOST precious plant in the house. In all honestly this plant is basic AF, but I was so out of control I couldn’t even rationalize with myself. You’d have think I birthed the plant after nine months, I was putting up such a fuss. So then between the sobs, I took it one step further. I questioned if we should even be having a child together. “Because clearly if our decoration tastes are so vastly different, then how will we ever educate a child together?” Thankfully Robin was actually at a loss for words (this rarely happens) so he just patted my back, told me the vase could stay and offered to order me a pizza as I hiccuped my way through the storm. The vase eventually got returned when I calmed down, but the back patting ritual when I freak out, has stuck.
New parents chuckle when people without kids complain about being tired. Apparently when someone depends on you for life, it’s quite exhausting. But since that’s not, nor has it ever been, my reality, I compare my current pregnancy exhaustion to my previous state of “I just turned 31 and can’t possible be expected to go out on both Friday night and Saturday night,” tiredness.
Well, getting pregnant showed me how energised the old Kate was. That Kate would have a long week of work and therefore prefer a book and a bed on a Friday night so that she could get a good 8 hours of sleep in and wake up to make brunch on Saturday. This new Kate, this “fatigued” Kate, can’t even fathom dragging herself out of bed 5 minutes earlier than necessary even if it meant crunchy bacon and fluffy pancakes. 15 hour nights followed by 4 hour naps became the new norm and let’s not pretend I woke up feeling fresh to death. I felt tired, cranky, nauseous, bloated, angry (for no reason), horribly hungry and I just looked like a truck ran me over… Every. Single.Time.
And while your doctor tells you it’s absolutely normal and reassures you that “no, you don’t have mono, you’re just building a placenta and it’s exhausting for your body,” it still doesn’t stop you from tearing up and wondering if this is how the next 9 whole months will be? NEWS FLASH: for most women, it goes away around 13 weeks. For those unlucky ones where fatigue hangs around, or those mommas that can’t get extra sleep because they already have little critters to take care of during their pregnancy, serious props for killing it. You’re an absolute warrior.
Being pregnant for the first time has not only been the most thrilling, exciting, cool adventure that I’ve ever jumped on board to, it’s also been a time of immense change which leads to questions, self-doubt and a real craving for reassurance and information. So huge thanks to all those websites, blogs, accounts, communities, doctors, friends and fabulous mommas for sharing all their best trips and tricks. I’ll be raising my bubbly apple juice to you all tonight.
And here’s to hoping that by shedding some light on my first trimester pregnancy symptoms, that I’m helping decode pregnancy for another first time future momma. Or at least giving you a good laugh to go along with that all day, horrific, pregnancy sickness!