18 Weeks

Well, the cat’s out of the bag; Joe and I are expecting a sweet baby in early October! To celebrate being 18 weeks along, I wanted to post the first installment of a segment I’m calling “Extremely Informative and Incredibly Subjective Views on Pregnancy.” It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Today is a shoutout to the first trimester, with which I am now officially donezo!

The first trimester is strange. For several weeks you may not even know you’re pregnant. Then, one way or another, you discover the news, and you share that news with people close to you. Everyone celebrates and you celebrate and everyone’s happy and you’re happy. Then, let’s say 12 hours later, you begin to feel different. And you continue to feel different, day after day, for the next six to eight weeks.

First comes the fatigue. It’s not the kind of fatigue that whispers, “Hey, you may want to sit down in the next 10-15 minutes and take a load off.” It’s the kind that shouts, “Yo! I know it’s short notice, but in seven seconds you’re gonna pass out while sitting at your desk. Yes, you will drool. Yes, all of your coworkers will see you.”

Next comes nausea. While your normal stomach is a real team player, allowing you to fill your belly with anything your taste buds desire, your pregnant stomach is drastically different. Now vindictive and finicky, it teams up with your olfactory system to tell the foods you love,

It’s really sad, and if you weren’t too busy throwing up—or desperately trying not to—you might cry about your long-lost food friends. But you don’t. You try not to cry about anything, because crying makes you feel sick, along with: hot showers, cold showers, shampoo, cooked food, campfires, perfume, flowers, broccoli, dogs, water, light, computer screens, music, your smartphone, your own voice, and gum.

So you don’t cry. You eat lemon slices and saltine crackers and sit in a dark corner of your home, noting how akin you seem to a modern-day depiction of a vampire during the daytime.

This kind of nausea leads people to frequently ask, “Are you feeling alright?” with a genuine concern for your health and safety, and possibly for their own, because you look like your body is playing host to at least one terrifying, incurable disease. Since, at this point, you have not shared with many people that you’re pregnant, you must either fake feeling well (aaaaaaaaaand that’s impossible), or tell half-truths about why you feel so awful.

This leads me to my final notable symptom of the first trimester, grumpiness. Essentially, fatigue and nausea create a sort of snowball effect. You aren’t feeling well. You understand you are still responsible for performing certain tasks—like working and remaining a part of your community and not throwing up on your friends’ shoes—and this seems overwhelming and, frankly, unfair. So you become grumpy, which makes you feel worse, thrusting you into the cycle yet again.

But the good news is three-fold. One, you’re growing a human! And the human is getting bigger and stronger and sooner-or-later you and the human will find a mutual space where everyone feels better and is genuinely happy. Two, your friends are still your friends and they still love you even when you’re a punk. And three, soon the first trimester will end, and the 21st Century vampire version of your pregnant self will come out of hiding to be genuinely accepted by others and handed a cheeseburger that, she finds, really hits the spot.