Regardless of how it came about – planned or a total surprise – pregnancy is a beautiful thing. Seeing your body swell with life as it houses another human being and feeling the flutters that turn into full-on kicks is absolute bliss.
However, getting through the first trimester can be a big challenge for some mothers, myself included. When we think about pregnancy we look on the bright side, which is great, but this can also mean that we’re less prepared for the not-so-bright side. For some, the first few months of pregnancy is a walk in the park, but for others it can be absolute hell. You can barely keep anything down; you’re tired and nauseous and … the list goes on. If you aren’t a first-time mom, add parenting duties to that pile of first trimester madness and you have a complete package of misery.
I still remember it like it was yesterday. The day I pee’d on that stick and saw two faint lines. Overcome with joy and excitement, I could barely wait to hold the little fresh-smelling newborn baby in my arms. I saw the end and the joy that came with it but had failed to remember just how difficult it can be to get through the first few weeks of pregnancy. It wasn’t long before it all came flooding back … and then reality kicked in. This is the part about being pregnant that I don’t like!
“AS A PERSON WHO’S USED TO PUSHING HERSELF BEYOND EXHAUSTION, THE WEIGHT OF THE MOM GUILT COUPLED WITH FIRST-TRIMESTER SICKNESS CRIPPLED ME ALMOST TO MY CORE.”
Some days were great and others were pretty much sent from I don’t even know where! I’d force myself to get out of bed in the morning and get ready for work, only to spend a few minutes hugging the toilet. I’d try my level best to smile and wave to get through the day, only to be grumpy by midday. Heck, I’d purposely organize activities to do with my daughter (4) to keep her entertained, only for me to pass out halfway through. Then, in the midst of all this, I carried a huge cross of mom guilt.
How could I be so excited to bring another life into this world when I was struggling to take care of the one I already had? How would I ever care for a newborn baby with a (by then) five-year-old demanding my attention? How could I feel so miserable when there was a life growing inside me? How could I wish for all this to be over when the process of growing a life is such a beautiful one? The questions kept rolling in!
While riding this first-trimester roller-coaster, the amount of guilt I felt had me totally convinced that I was doing it all wrong and that my daughter hated me. Although she smiled, played, joked around, bathed and went to bed like any other day, I still thought I was doing it all wrong. As a person who’s used to pushing herself beyond exhaustion, the weight of the mom guilt coupled with first-trimester sickness crippled me almost to my core.
A lot of the time I was tired, moody, grumpy and nauseous. I barely had energy to wash the dishes let alone play hide-and-seek for 20 minutes with my daughter. I cried and felt helpless – and hoped it would all go away soon. None of it made sense and perhaps it was never meant to! Somehow, I made it through but I still look back at those moments with teary eyes and a measure of mom guilt. I’m grateful to be carrying the life that is growing inside of me and I’m even more grateful to have a wonderful daughter, who will soon become the best big sister yet.
I don’t foresee it getting any easier. Granted, the first-trimester symptoms have subsided dramatically, but this is only the beginning. The fun and crazy times are still ahead but I don’t mind. I’m taking it one day at a time and that’s okay. I write all this to encourage any other mom out there who may be going through the same thing to keep your chin up. Do the best you can with what you have and allow yourself some time to rest. You are doing a great job and one day you will look back and see just that. But for now, take it easy and let that little life grow.
Here’s to bringing life into the world while battling mom guilt!
PS: This article was first published on the Baby YumYum website.