It’s not new that the first 12 weeks can be hard on new mums. If you’re finding it tough, you’re not alone. Here are some of the reasons why the first/silent trimester can be tricky.
Not being able to talk to anyone at work/friends –
Most mums wait until after their 12 week scan before sharing their great news with extended family, friends and work colleagues. This is understandable as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, with 80% of those happening in the first 12 weeks. The down side is that you are constantly keeping a secret from those around you. You feel like you’re lying (in fact sometimes you probably are! See my next point) and while some of us might not have any problems with holding back on such exciting news, most of us would love to take our family and friends along for the ride but we don’t. This is why not sharing this news can be so awkward. You feel like you’re pushing people away, and in turn, you feel so isolated.
Not drinking/eating something/doing something that you normally would –
“Yes, I’d love a… oh wait, no actually I’m… um… I forgot! I’m already full.” Or some similar excuse to avoid eating something that a month ago you loved. Now you have to convince everyone you hate the foods you used to love without arousing suspicion. I was rubbish at it, I hope you’re better. At a time when you don’t look particularly pregnant you start to make the transition from ‘normal me’ to ‘pregnant me’. I can’t count the amount of times I had to google the list of foods to avoid so that if I was caught on the spot I didn’t have to quickly google it there and then. I tried to make my reasons for omission genuine but I’m a terrible liar. They were usually followed by a weird silence and then hopefully someone would change the subject away from food or booze. During my first pregnancy, I was rather publicly questioned about my choice of non-alchoholic beverage while at the pub. My excuse – “I’m on antibiotics for a throat infection.” (I had this down so much that if you had asked me why I wasn’t drinking in my sleep, my delivery would have been perfect.) The reply – “Really? Sure you’re not pregnant and just trying to cover it up?” Could have died when 10 pairs of eyes suddenly shifted their gaze to me. I brushed it off and I ended up having a miscarriage. This event still touches a sore nerve, two kids later. I hope no one is as in your face to you.
Worried about bleeding/spotting/discharge –
Again with my first pregnancy, I was completely paranoid about the slightest bit of spotting in the first 12 weeks. In fact, spotting/bleeding and discharge are VERY common in pregnancy, but particularly in the first trimester. There are loads of reasons why you might see a bit of blood. A lot of it has to do with the about of moving and growing your body is doing to make the perfect environment for your new baby to grow. Your cervix, uterus and womb are all changing radically. It doesn’t necessarily mean a miscarriage. I think most new mums fear missing the signs of a miscarriage and not getting a second opinion. Sadly not all bleeding means a miscarriage (this is a good and a bad thing – see my next point).
The risk of miscarriage –
It’s like a huge black cloud hanging over you and your new little baby. Like I had already written, the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester is huge. When I had my miscarriage I later found out that my mum, mother-in-law, two sisters and niece had also had a miscarriage (yes, I come from a big family). I had no idea how common it was and although everyone says, “Miscarriage is SO common.” It’s only when you start sharing with the people in your immediate family and friends that it becomes real. And you usually only start sharing once you’ve been through the experience and come out the other side. Unfortunately, miscarriage doesn’t always happen as you think. What everyone thinks is slightly different too. Check out my other blog on bouncing back from miscarriage to find out some other women’s experiences of miscarriage.
Body changes –
Some of us feel/get nothing, others feel/get everything. Bloating that lasts for ever, pains, cramps, exploding boobs, needing to go for a wee (constantly), heartburn, constipation, lightheaded/dizziness. Tell me the name of anyone that would like this cocktail of fun – I’ll call them a fibber!
Morning (anytime) sickness –
Grim. There’s a spectrum that runs from nausea to puking and sometimes to all the time. Really grim. Nothing more to add.
Emotional changes –
I got away with no morning sickness or physical symptoms of pregnancy in the first trimester but I got slammed with emotional changes. I would cry at the drop of a hat, took everything personally and couldn’t seem to keep a handle on the little voice in my head telling me the worse case scenarios all the time… about everything. It was similar to PMT… just way worse!
Hormonal changes –
The cause of morning sickness and emotional changes… and also pimples. Brilliant.
Sounds innocent enough and in comparison to later on in pregnancy and even motherhood sleep is far more of a myth. However, the first trimester gives us the first real taste of no sleep and it’s not pretty. Combine that with the fact that most of the people around you don’t know why you’re tired and it makes you feel even more miserable.
Although the first trimester can be harsh on new mums, let’s not forget why all of this is happening… your baby is growing and changing just as fast as you are. It’s a clique, I know, but it does pass and there will be times when you will revel in your pregnancy – body, mind and soul. Once the news it out, you also will have a whole bunch of people on your side throughout this amazing journey. Enjoy!