Emotional Isolation and the Struggle of the First Trimester

I decided to announce my pregnancy with baby number 3 at only ten weeks pregnant, prompting more than a few people to ask me whether I thought that was an altogether wise decision. My answer, of course, is “yes!” It was the right decision for me, and not one that I made arbitrarily.

I know that everyone is different and many women value their privacy. Perhaps I’m at risk of being labeled an over-sharer but I learned, painstakingly over the course of my twenties, just who I was and how I operate and I’ve come to know that sharing is just who I am. Personally I find speaking about my experiences therapeutic. I’m not a very private person because finding commonality with others makes me feel like I’m part of a community and one of my biggest fears is emotional isolation. Feeling like we’re the only one going through something hard can be incredibly difficult and I’m grateful for the platforms we have in 2020 to speak about our experiences and easily find others who are feeling the same way (this ability to surround ourselves with only others who think the way we do comes with obvious dangers as well, but that’s a discussion for another time).

FeelingĀ so bad in the first trimester but not being “allowed” to tell others or talk about it always feels a little tortuous to me. Since 2020 started I’ve missed appointments, cancelled plans, barely left the house, and completely dropped the ball on all parenting-related responsibilities without being able to give anyone any explanation. Sometimes it feels as if the hardest parts in pregnancy and motherhood are the ones that are also considered too private to talk about. The majority of pregnant women feel nausea during their first trimester and it often lasts all day (that morning sickness label is exceedingly false for many!). There’s also a pervasive fatigue, like a cant-keep-your-eyes-open, exhausted-down-to-your-very-bones kind of tiredness, the likes of which challenges even that postpartum fatigue once baby arrives and decides not to sleep for the first six months if it’s life. I described the First Trimester to Tom as waking up with one of the worst hangovers of your life, but every day for weeks. You don’t have the appetite for any food but know you have to eat something to feel better and you wake up and wistfully dream about bedtime before you’ve even gotten out of bed to start your day. This is what the First Trimester is like for most of us so why should we have to suffer through it in silence?

There are some super exciting moments in these early days as well, like peeing on a stick in the sleepy hours of the morning and then sharing the happy results with your partner (or your hetero life partner/cousin, in my case), telling family and friends, and going to your first ultrasound appointment to see that tiny blob in your growing uterus and hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time. There’s nothing quite like those exciting and anxiety-ridden first few months of pregnancy and we try our best to enjoy it with gratitude and hope, even through the nausea and food aversions.

As in all things, what’s right for me may not be right for you – maybe you’re the type to keep silent and maybe you, like me, are prone to sharing and commiserating with others. Whatever feels right for you, do it! But know that you’re not alone – the first trimester is a tough time for all of us.

Wells turns One-and-a-Half!

Happy Half Birthday to our Baby Boy!

Things We Want to Remember about Wells at 18 months:

  • his obsession for bananas! His first word in the morning is “nana!” and he runs to the counter and points to the fruit basket, stomping his feet and crying until he gets one. He asks for one multiple times a day and we buy about 5 bunches per week.
  • the way he sings into a microphone saying “yaa yaaa yaaaaa” and plays the piano carefully, not bashing the keys but picking out one little sound at a time
  • he says “hiiiiiiiiiiii” as he’s giggling when he’s being tickled
  • he loves going outside! Every day he grabs his shoes and stands by the door asking to go out like a puppy who needs a walk
  • how well he can kick and throw balls, and from such a young age! Natural athlete.
  • how much he looooves to get a piggyback ride from mum and will grin so big (and throw a tantrum when he is refused); whenever I sit on the floor he constantly tries to climb on my back like a little monkey and it’s surprisingly hard to shake him off so I usually have to give in
  • we love how cuddly and shy he gets in large groups of people – it’s one of the only times we get cuddles from him anymore and Tom and I fight over who gets to hold him at noisy family functions
  • how he climbs up onto the windowsill – climbs up onto anythings he can – every chance he gets. This is something his sister never did and still doesn’t really do. He is fearless but cautious.
  • how easy it is to put him down for a nap or bedtime – we just lay him down in the crib, put a pacifier in each hand, and walk out the door (ps we worked very hard to achieve this; all hail sleep training!)
  • how sweet it is that he’s Hennie’s little shadow and wants to do everything she does. Once in a while he’ll run off for some alone time and hang out independently in our playroom for an hour but generally he is wherever Hennie is, doing whatever Hennie’s doing. He lights up when she comes home from preschool
  • how he scrunches up his face when he is displeased (usually when someone has food that they’re not sharing with him)
  • Favourite Words (other than “nana” of course): “football!” “more!” “Paw Po” (Paw Patrol), “yay!”, “hi!”, “nigh-nigh”, “kitty”, and hooting like an owl, obviously.

We love parenting this adventurous boy! He favours his mama but only just, seeking out cuddles with daddy as often as he can and giving us loud kisses on the mouth (“mmmmmwaa!”). He is a perfect piece of our little family and we can’t wait to watch him continue to grow and learn. Love you, Wellsy Boy!