I know I said that my last blog post was my favorite post to write thus far, but this one of course takes the cake! I am so excited to share with you my experience so far.
First off, this pregnancy was intended and is the biggest blessing. I have been ready for babies since the day I said “I do” and have been doing all my Googling, research, and social media since LOL. We had been trying for a while, which I did NOT expect to be the case, particularly because Greg and I are super healthy. I truly thought it would happen immediately and was frustrated when it didn’t.
When we experienced a miscarriage last fall, the word “devastated” doesn’t even begin to cover it. I felt so incredibly hollow and depressed with grief that I couldn’t shake. I have been in a really good place with my body for most of my 20s: I have run half marathons, I have lifted super heavy amounts of weight, I can do pull-ups, I learned how to rock climb, and a lot of other things, but the one thing I needed my body to do, it didn’t do. I knew rationally that if something wasn’t forming well on a chromosomal level, then the result was just the natural effect, but that did nothing for me emotionally. I have experienced death before (e.g., friends, family, pets, etc.), but nothing prepares you for experiencing death inside of you, and there being nothing you can do to stop it.
For me, sentiments like “at least you know you can get pregnant” made me want to scream. I could recognize that those closest to me wanted to say something positive, but there is no “at least” in walking through a miscarriage. There was no way to know if I could actually get pregnant again. Also, hearing “at least it happened early” only minimized the grief I felt.
If someone in your life is walking through a miscarriage, the best thing you can do is be present. Let them know you’re thinking of them. A small handful of friends sent me texts on Mother’s Day this year and my gosh… I’m tearing up now thinking about it again, how meaningful that was. I think sometimes people get scared to send things like that, like maybe it’s the wrong thing to do. I can tell you, though, they are thinking about it already on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, first Christmas afterward, due date, etc., so to know that they aren’t alone is the best gift that you can give them.
To anyone reading this who has also experienced miscarriage, is experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, or is facing infertility, I can’t give you empty promises and I won’t give you empty sentiments, but what I can tell you is that YOU will be okay. Regardless of if there is a baby on the other side of this season you are in or not, YOU will get through it, you will learn to be okay, and you will be able to experience consistent joy in your days again.
Sending you a big hug.
Okay so, finding out I was pregnant – an exciting time, literally the most sacred and special moment with Greg, and the most peaceful and special 3 months following. I definitely faced some fear that I would experience pregnancy loss again, but chose to keep my focus on that every day that I got to have this baby with a gift, no matter how long, and I’m very grateful that this baby is still with us today.
I felt really great up until weeks 8 or 9, and then it was a rough couple of weeks with low energy. I actually got stronger in the gym in those first few months and felt pretty normal, almost too good to be true.
I experienced some nausea but learned really quickly that as long as I had food in my stomach, I was good. It was a big adjustment as I learned to shift from my three solid meals plus a snack a day to eating up to six times a day in small increments.
I haven’t experienced any pregnancy cravings yet, so I’m waiting to see if that happens later on!
Food aversions though, that’s a different story.
I don’t really consume dairy, but cheese is the love of my soul. During my first trimester, I couldn’t even look at it, or any other kind of dairy. Every type of meat seemed disgusting to me, and I would almost vomit if chicken thighs or fish were mentioned. As you can imagine, this made it a bit challenging to prioritize my protein intake. Despite the dairy aversion, the one thing that I could stomach was chocolate milk. I love the Fairlife brand because it is low in sugar and high in protein, and I drank that daily. I ate nut butters and used a vanilla plant protein in smoothies too to keep my protein intake as high as I could.
I found that if I could get something in my stomach before I prepared my desired meal, then I could stomach the foods that I previously didn’t want. For example, I’ll never forget the look on Greg’s face when he was encouraging me to eat meat + veggies for lunch and I told him it looked too gross to eat, but if I ate a brownie first, then I could. He thought I was crazy, but it worked LOL. The brownie on the counter looked great, it curbed my nausea, and made the chicken breast and green beans seem more appealing.
One other thing that got me through the nausea was electrolytes. There is some research that suggests that prioritizing magnesium intake can decrease the amount of nausea that you experience during pregnancy, and I certainly found that to be true. There were a few weeks that I was disgusted by plain water, so I would either add a squeeze of lemon or turn to electrolytes.
The brand I usually use is Ultima. It has a decent amount of magnesium in it, it tasted good to me, and was perfect to have at any point in the day. I also used Liquid IV, which also has 11g of carbohydrates, which was great during my workouts for that extra little energy boost to get me through my workout.
I felt at least 90% great through the whole trimester, but weeks 9-12 (when the baby is doubling in size and women tend to experience the most fatigue and morning sickness) kicked my butt a bit. I listened to my body in the gym, stayed at my normal weight ranges when I felt great, and decreased my weights when I didn’t. It was important to me to continue reinforcing the habit of going to the gym, even if I didn’t feel great and had to do a strong pivot in my workout when I got there.
And now, my experience with body image through the first trimester.
I had already been letting my body chill out once we moved to Kansas City in the spring. I was a lean bean in Boston from being on my feet all day with personal training sessions, easily walking 10k+ daily steps on my commutes, and also getting in workouts. My meals were decent but a bit hit or miss because of my busy schedule.
I became a bit more sedentary once I got to Kansas City (not as walkable of a city), I focused more on strength in my workouts, and I rested a LOT more. This was partially because I needed a physical break and partially because I was intentionally trying to let my body balance out to increase my chances of getting pregnant, so when the number on the scale started changing and my clothes started fitting a bit differently, I wasn’t surprised or upset.
As my weight increases beyond that previous weight gain as I progress through pregnancy and experience the body changes that come with it (hello boobs!), I’m keeping my thoughts neutral. For me, it helps me mentally that I found out I was pregnant around my 30th birthday, so I can look back at my body throughout my 20s and be proud of how strong it was and also look forward to the rest of my 30s and hopefully future pregnancies and just see how I’m in a different season now. A fresh start to a new era.
I’m not relearning my body, I’m learning to live in a new one and learning to appreciate it.
For example, yes it’s different to see myself carrying more weight than normal in my hips and thighs, but did you know that your body creates energy specifically from your hips and butt to create breast milk? So interesting, and it helps to know that my hips are going to keep shifting as I approach and enter postpartum.
When I lead my thought life with appreciation and gratitude for this body, I find that any negative thoughts or negative body image are basically completely curbed. It took work to get to this place, but it’s worth doing.
I’m excited to finish out this pregnancy and to experience it all – here’s to the start of a new season, my mama era. ✨💪