First Trimester – When You Just Can’t
First trimester of pregnancy: what a blissful and wonderful feeling. It’s filled with all the love and anticipation and dreams for your future baby. But you know what else fills this period even more? Nausea and exhaustion. It takes up so much room in the day, that almost no space is left for anything else. The only way I can describe this is having a perma hangover. It sucks! Everyday tasks have become monumental accomplishments because they don’t even happen everyday. Any time I accomplish something, I’d like a celebratory dance and a trophy. That’s how hard it feels to get through the day currently.
I share these feelings with my husband frequently. He, unfortunately, has had to forgo functions and work outs in order to come home and help me tend to our son. The nausea is so ridiculous, that I can’t feed my son soup that I myself have prepared for him. I also can’t wash dishes with remnants of that said soup.
But through all of this, he keeps telling me that if I can’t do something, I simply shouldn’t.
I think he is sweet for telling me this, especially since due to his work schedule, he can’t actually help with most of the tasks and they just pile up. But I have a hard time implementing his advice. I think part of it is the fact that just because I can’t, those tasks don’t disappear. They just multiply and then there is more to do on a different day.
How to deal with the frustrations of the first trimester
So what’s an overachieving but incapacitated girl to do? Follow my husband’s advice, I guess. To be perfectly honest: It’s been rough. Every time I walk by the kitchen sink, I cringe. I see the piles of dishes sitting in there and start blaming myself and my first trimester body for being incapable of doing this simple task. But then, I walk away, make my way to the couch and settle in.
I turn on Netflix and try to forget that those dishes exist. I also take naps when my toddler is napping. Yes, it does mean that tasks that I used to accomplish during that time are no longer getting accomplished. It also means, that the progress I’ve been making on the blog has stalled. But on the plus side, I am accomplishing one goal that I set for myself during this pregnancy: self-care.
And I have succeeded at it, especially in comparison to my first time. I have to say, it was also easier to get support from my husband this time around. The first time, he only paid lip service to his advice. He genuinely believed in what he said but provided little support for me to be able to follow his advice.
But seeing how difficult it all was for me the first time around and seeing how much more difficult this pregnancy has been for me, spurred him into action. He has been a much greater support and allowed me to take time for the necessary self-care. The truth is, I wasn’t asking for much. I just needed to know that our son, animals and the household tasks were taken care of, so I could just nap or take a bath without worry.
I know that I can run myself into the ground and keep pushing (I did that with my last pregnancy), that’s not a challenge for me. What is a challenge is slowing down and giving myself what I need. And this time I need more rest in order to feel ok. I need more help and it’s ok. It’s ok that I can’t do it all and it’s ok that things will take longer to get accomplished. If I learned one thing with my first child is that there is no trophy for a mom who runs herself into the ground. It is not an accomplishment and no one will thank you for it. So if your first trimester knocked you on your ass, just accept it and make peace with your couch.
Now that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy, I am back in the same boat of inability to contribute. Even though the nausea has subsided (although not completely), my size prevents me from doing dishes and cooking. I can’t be on my feet for more than 10 minutes at a time. If I am, my back threatens to not support me anymore and my belly feels as if it’s ripping off of my body.
But there most definitely has been a shift in my attitude. I have come around to the idea that if I can’t do something, then I just don’t do it. I walk by a sink full of dishes with much more ease. And have no qualms reminding my husband that the sink is overflowing and he needs to take care of it. I feel no guilt about spending hours on the couch because I cannot move. I don’t fret about not being able to cook a full dinner by myself. After all, my husband is a fully capable human, who can not only help cook but engage our son while he’s at it. I feel no guilt about having my babysitter come more often because I physically cannot keep up with my son.
It took some time to get here mentally (my whole pregnancy, in fact) but I’m glad I did. I have been able to give myself grace I did not before. And overall this has made me happier and in turn my marriage better.
So the lesson here is:
“If you just can’t, then don’t”.