Today my little one is 7 weeks old and I had my postpartum follow-up and everything is A-OK so that’s great! I also will be going in to work tomorrow for the first time (only for an afternoon) for a leadership training so I feel like maternity leave is starting to wind down even though I have 4.5 weeks left. I don’t think any amount of time with my girl would be enough but I am looking forward to slowly getting back into things at work- it’s a weird feeling to explain. BUT today we are not going to talk about my maternity leave or feelings about returning to work- I’m going to travel back in time and talk a little bit about what no one tells you about the first trimester of pregnancy.
Everyone prepares you for things like morning sickness and mood swings in your first trimester- and I had plenty of both- but what I wasn’t prepared for was the constant worry. In retrospect, it should have been something I expected because I worry pretty regularly when not with child, but it took me by surprise. What was there to worry about? Everything. I have friends and family who have experienced miscarriage and I checked miscarriage statistics multiple times a week. I worried about finances and how we would pay for childcare. I worried about what I was eating and whether it contained any ingredients that could hurt my baby. I worried that my child may be bullied for having two moms. I worried that my child may be bullied for any number of other arbitrary reasons. I worried that I’d be in a car accident and it would hurt the baby. I worried about work and worried about taking a break from work during maternity leave. I worried about what people would think when they found out I was pregnant. I worried that people would suspect I was pregnant before I was ready to announce. I worried I was worrying too much and looking back- this level and amount of worry may have been slightly unhealthy but I’ve learned to manage my worry a little better now that she’s here (because believe me once you get through one hurdle you’re on to worrying about the next thing!) I think the best way I’ve learned to manage my worry is to try to educate myself as much as possible on topics that may be causing worry, prepare and organize as much as possible for the “to-do” type things that cause worry, and then to cognitively talk myself off the ledge so to speak when I find myself worrying about things that are beyond my control.
Beware: Advice is Coming!
I think the other major thing you should prepare yourself for in the first trimester is the beginning of the never-ending advice. I had a lot of trouble with this one and I’m still struggling with it which is why this post has come so many days after earlier posts in the series. For me, I have a hard time with advice because I process it as criticism. Blame it on my type-A desire to be a perfectionist and being independent- but it has been the most difficult thing for me to deal with throughout my pregnancy and time as a mom. For me, I had to literally practice with Jess how I would handle taking advice from well-meaning friends and family (I’m lucky, my wife is a saint and liked by most and MUCH better at talking to and handling people than I am and she has helped me so much through this struggle). As my pregnancy went on I realized that often the advice I received was really helpful- and that in our internet age you find SO MUCH online that it’s overwhelming and sometimes it’s nice to have an opportunity to learn from the experiences of someone you know. Many times the advice I’ve received has been repetitive- and in that situation its OK to act like its something you’ve never heard (although if I hear sleep when the baby sleeps one more time! 🙂 ) and keep it rolling! Many times the advice you receive is uninvited- it’s perfectly OK to thank someone for their input and it’s perfectly OK to tell someone you’re glad something worked for them but you’ve found that something else works better for your family (for the pushy/you’re doing it wrong advice-givers out there). Overall, when given advice, try not to be an asshole and try to accept advice graciously. Same goes for advice-givers- don’t be a jerk. And finally, the thing to remember is that everyone typically means well so don’t take it personally.
The Less-Heavy Stuff No One Told Me About
I am the epitome of Teeny in Now & Then and I always wanted boobs. I had NO IDEA that almost immediately after becoming pregnant your boobs get bigger- I thought I’d have to wait until the third trimester. It was like Christmas morning. A moment I had been waiting for my entire life. I told Jess we would have started trying way earlier had I known. I was kidding. Sort of. Sorry again, Dad.
Coming up next I’ll talk a little bit about what no one told me about the Second and Third Trimesters… I look forward to sharing more of my story with you!