I managed to make it to my 40th birthday child-free, and part of me felt like I’d gamed the system. I was free to enjoy boozy-brunches with friends, uninterrupted Sunday Footballs games, middle of the day naps, holidays anytime of the year, not having to budget an expensive pair of shoes, and furniture that was most certainly NOT child-safe.
While parenthood often looked like running a very boring and laborious non-profit, I never really gave too much thought to the actual pregnancy, and I’m not going to lie, being pregnant has been an absolute shock to my entire being.
I blame the media. Celebrities will have you believe that pregnancy is all about drinking kale smoothies, taking prenatal yoga classes, and glowing skin. And maybe for them it was. So far, for me, it has been total bullshit.
Not a week after the pee stick turned positive, the “morning sickness” (a complete bullshit name, because this shit is non-stop 24/7), kicked in. I heard of morning sickness before, but all I could picture was a bit of puking before jumping in the shower and getting on with your day. How bad can it be? Chump that I am, I had no fucking clue. None.
For me, it wasn’t even like the nausea I known from my days of drinking a bit too much, or the hangover might-have-to-hurl type of nausea. No. this is way worse. The best way I can describe is as if I was hangover and jetlagged on a smelly fishing boat that never stops rocking back and forth. But way, way worse. And that pregnancy glow? Unless you count the clammy sweating from all the puking, then No.
My vision of feeding my unborn child with organic fruits and vegetables, and protein-rich meals has been replaced by the reality of eating anything that doesn’t make me want to heave, which consist of mainly 4 things: crackers, bread, string cheese and tortilla chips.
While I haven’t had any cravings, weird or otherwise, what I have experienced is strong aversions to smells. All smells; from food to even the mildest scented body washes and creams in my bathroom. Living in New York City has been a treat let me tell you. There is nothing more vomit-inducing than the smell of homeless, urine (likely from the homeless), garbage and that je ne sais quoi kind of smell that is unique to New York City. If you ever visited the city, or live here, you know what I’m talking about.
Oh, and then there is the mother-effing FATIGUE. Pregnancy fatigue is a beast on its own. The tiredness feels like an actual weight dragging you down. EVERYTHING just seems like a monumental undertaking. Taking a quick shower requires a 30 minutes nap afterwards. I haven’t had the energy to wash my hair for lord-knows how long because I physically lack the strength to do it—Never mind exercise the way I thought I would. Running along the east river, followed by a yoga class? Fuck-No! The tiredness is all consuming and unrelenting. it makes me want to cry.
The MF fatigue is compounded by the insomnia, which for me is caused by needing to use the loo every two hours during the night. Right now, my uterus sits squarely on my bladder, creating a never ending need to pee. Another factor contributing to my insomnia is the increased anxiety I have been experiencing the last few weeks. Being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst the worst economic recession in 100 years, all while trying to start a business has been, um, a little stressful to say the least.
Having to keep the pregnancy secret and unable to vent to anyone else other than the baby-daddy, who tries his best to keep my spirits up and my belly fed, has been hard. If talking me out of hormone-induced tantrums was a sport, the dude would be an Olympic gold-medalist.
Before the 12-weeks mark, you are advised to tell no one, due to the high risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. Which kinds of suck because you have all this shit going on and you can’t tell your family or friends about it. I mean, this is possibly the biggest thing that’s ever happened in your life and you have to keep your pie-hole shut. Getting a call from my mother gives me anxiety because I’m afraid I might blurt it out, and not being able to tell my friends makes me sad.
It also bothers me that women are made to feel they can’t share their happy news in case it has to be followed by not-so happy news—however, maybe if we talked more openly about pregnancy in those first three months, a lot of women who endure a miscarriage or a pregnancy that’s not so straightforward might not feel so alone.
But given the Covid situation, I decided to wait as long as possible to tell my parents to save them from being overly worried while NYC still shut down from the world—knowing that their pregnant daughter lives in the epicenter of the disease will likely cause my mother plenty of sleepless nights, so the later they know, the better.
So for many reasons, I’m looking forward to the third trimester, when I will immediately become mother earth and flowers shall spring up where I walk. I will only crave healthy foods and giving birth will be like mild indigestion followed by a sneeze and a pop…. HA! Just kidding.
If the first two trimesters have thought me anything is that when it comes to growing little humans, all you can do is surrender to what is happening. Not to say that I’m not hoping for nausea free days, exercising, better eating and restful sleep.
In the meantime, I continue to practice surrender and try to stay in the moment as much as possible. Some days are harder than others. The days that are harder, I give myself some grace and remind myself of my divinity and feel grateful for the life growing in inside me, grateful that I am healthy and capable of growing and carrying another soul and knowing that while there will be hard days, and even harder days ahead, it’s all part of the journey and that no matter what goes on in the outside world, all I’ll be able to control is how I react to it. So I lean on my mindfulness practice, my faith in the universe/god/source and above all, faith on myself. I GOT THIS!