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It’s OK to Feel Lousy During Your First Trimester

first trimester - Boston Moms Blog

During the 10th week of my third pregnancy, I was starting to feel really guilty. My two boys, ages 4 and 2, had spent most of their summer inside, watching television, while I lay on the couch and tried my best to keep the world from spinning. At this point, we had seen “Moana” about 20 times, “Sing” a dozen, and “Trolls” more times that I could count. I really felt as though I was ruining the remainder of their summer and rotting their brains, so I picked myself up off of the couch and trudged outside with my children to give them some fresh air and play time. 

Within minutes, I was out of breath and dizzy. My younger son insisted that I carry him, which only increased my fatigue. Very rapidly, I started to feel more and more nauseous. I put my child down, and then suddenly, I threw up in my backyard.  

Honestly, the entire scene was pretty comical. My 4-year-old was blissfully unaware that I was sick and just kept playing. My 2-year-old kept running up to me to check on me, but then ran to the opposite side of the yard as soon as I started heaving. And my sweet labrador retriever kept me company by nudging his head under my arm to comfort me and lying next to me as I recovered. Once I finished upchucking, I let my children play for 10 more minutes, and then we went back inside to watch “Trolls” for the umpteenth time.

I wish I could say I stopped feeling guilty after this incident. After all, I now had proof that it was more than OK for me to take it easy. But the guilt didn’t go away. I continued to feel like a bad mother, a bad wife, and a bad friend. I avoided any social gatherings after 5 p.m., thanks to my nightly nausea. My husband was not only working all day, he then had to come home and run our entire household because cooking made me nauseous and I didn’t have the energy to clean. I even fell behind on all my work, because the computer screen exacerbated my symptoms. And, of course, my children suffered the most when I couldn’t take them to parks, zoos, farms, or any of our other typical summer outings.

However, as much as I felt guilty for letting people down, I constantly reminded myself that there is one sweet person for whom I am doing the very best job — the newest little love in my life. The baby who needs Mommy to stop and rest, so he or she can grow big and strong.

The first trimester is such a delicate time during pregnancy, and I often think pregnancy hormones are nature’s way of forcing women to stay still and take care of themselves and their little babies. I will also admit that, as awful as vomiting is, every time I toss my cookies, I say, “Thank God, I’m still pregnant.” Because I can’t feel flutters and kicks just yet, nausea and vomiting are sometimes the only reminders I have that, yes, I am pregnant. So I will take it all (somewhat) gladly because I know it’s just a sign that my pregnancy is progressing well.

In truth, I’ve felt lousy for about eight weeks during this pregnancy. While these eight weeks are monumental for the fetus, they are a blip on the radar for my older children. I know they will barely remember the summer of Netflix and puke. Plus, we’ve still managed to have some incredibly sweet moments — staying in our pajamas until 3 p.m., playing video games while cuddling on the couch, napping together in Mommy’s bed. This may not be the summer I wanted them to have, but they’ll have many summers to come with their little brother or sister. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep the guilt at bay — because these eight weeks of feeling like garbage will pale in comparison to a lifetime of wonderful memories with my three children.

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3 Responses to It’s OK to Feel Lousy During Your First Trimester

  1. Sarah September 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    Great piece! No guilt needed. You sound like a gantastic mom. I’d only say that there is a bery slight implication (maybe I’m over-reading) here that women who feel well and are lucky enough to keep pushing, going to gym, etc., are maybe not been protective enough–when of course there is no evidence (actually, evidence is to contrary). I know that wasn’t your point, but just wanted ti clarify since it’s such a common misunderstanding.

    • Caitlin
      Caitlin September 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

      Thanks for your reply! I have actually been on both sides of the coin. My second pregnancy’s first trimester was AMAZING! No nausea, threw up only one time, and I could function fairly normally. I was anticipating this pregnancy being the same, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. I know that “the sicker you are, the healthier the pregnancy” is an old wives tale, and I didn’t mean to imply that if you’re feeling great, then you must not have a healthy pregnancy. I simply wanted to specifically encourage the moms who are struggling day-to-day and who feel like they are failing their kids that they’re actually doing a great job all around…and like just about everything in motherhood, this too shall pass. 🙂

  2. Sarah September 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    Fantastic not gantastic, Sorry!

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