The goal of the Mental Health Mom Series is for Moms and Moms-to-be to share their stories to be used to help inspire, uplift and spread awareness about mental health and motherhood. Whether you suffer from depression, PPD, PTSD, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder or something else your story may help change the life of another mom reader and that’s important to me!
A submission by Alexandria Fairchild Oates of AlwaysUs
I’m Not Glowing (Tales of The First Trimester)
For both of my little babes, the first trimester was a roller coaster. The emotions, the hormones, the NAUSEA, the bloating. The first 3 months of each pregnancy were a hot mess (and I definitely was not glowing).
Baby Blues & Hormones
My husband and I had always planned on having at least two children, but timing wise I think it’s safe to say the plan was to wait a bit more than 8 months before starting up the ole baby maker again (after our first daughter was born). I felt like I was just starting to emerge from the baby blues and body changes, and finding out we were expecting again really knocked the wind out of me.
In terms of pregnancy news goes, my hubby has to be the best partner on the planet and for both of our pregnancies, he was elated enough for the both of us, giving me some time to get in touch with my feelings, check my emotions, and get excited in my own time. I can honestly say that having this time to feel my feelings and acknowledge them was the healthiest thing I could have done for myself, our marriage, and our growing family.
The hormones are still a kick in the ass, I am so incredibly excited to meet this little bundle of love and if I’m crying now, it’s probably because I want a PB&J and we ran out of jelly. Or it’s possible a puppy on TV was really just that cute.
What Helped Me
A Great Pregnancy App
Tracking our baby’s growth was a huge beacon of positivity for me and gave me something to look forward to every week. I love The Bump app.
Being able to share my true feelings, fears, and excitement has been a major must-have for me. Whether you’re able to open up with your partner, a friend, or a therapist, having that no-judgment reassurance is key.
If all of the new emotions and hormones and emotions of a new pregnancy weren’t enough to take me out, the self-consciousness about my changing body was here to finish the job! When I found out I was pregnant with Babe #2, I was still about 12lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight from my first pregnancy and had been really making progress on toning back up and shedding the baby weight.
I gained around 55lbs during my first pregnancy and have never been super comfortable in my own skin, to begin with, this was a big deal for me. As long as I can remember I’ve been either on a diet, about to start a diet, or just recently fallen off of a diet. I’ve always had to work out to stay in shape, and the first time around we was in the middle of a move overseas, and that wasn’t really an option.
I was/am really conscious about having a healthier pregnancy this time around, and have found both mental and physical strength from keeping a fitness routine (even when I’d rather eat oatmeal creampies on the couch).
What Helped Me
STEP AWAY FROM THE SCALE!
Nothing good can come of weighing yourself during the first trimester. If you’re taking care of yourself and not going HAM on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s per day, give yourself some grace. You are going to gain weight during pregnancy…and it’s not going to last forever!
Our bodies were made to create tiny humans, and part of that creation is going to change your body. Jennifer Garner has had babies and bounced back. Mila Kunis has had babies and bounced back. Your body WILL bounce back* (these are all things I tell myself daily…)
Getting over the initial hump of emotional surges and body changes is a challenge, but physically my body was changing too, and the preggo fatigue hit me hard. With the international move during my first pregnancy sleeping it off wasn’t really an option, and I remember being constantly tired (and crabby). I would take quick cat naps here and there but for the most part my only option was to just stick it out (and probably be a real joy to be with along the way — *sarcasm*).
Girl, I Am Tired!
Having a bit more flexibility to relax has made a world of difference this time around, and even with my little one on the go and more active than ever, I found that napping while she napped was absolutely key for me. Throughout my first trimester, Olivia was taking 2 naps at around 1.5-2.5 hours each, so I’d try to at the very least get a 30-minute tiger snooze after a quick hit on my to-do list and sleep until she woke up.
If I’m being honest, there have been many times during the first two trimesters that I’ve wished my beautiful baby girl came with a snooze button!
What Helped Me
Sleep whenever you can!
If you’re expecting your first babe, take that afternoon nap. If you already have a little one running around, nap when they nap or throw Frozen onto the TV and treat yo’self to 2 hours of rest. If at all possible, don’t burn the candle at both ends. Rest when you can, and don’t feel guilty about it.
If you’ve made it all the way here, you’re probably thinking “Man, this chick does NOT like being pregnant!” and if I’m being honest, it’s definitely not my favorite thing in the world. Some women glow and feel sexier than ever…I am not one of these women. I’m in it for the long game, and the newborn phase is my sweet spot.
I love the baby smell, I slept better after giving birth than I did my entire pregnancy, and I don’t really mind changing diapers (except for during the first trimester with Baby #2…baby poop smell is not a friend of morning sickness). Being pregnant gives me anxiety and Dr. Google…also, not a good friend.
If I’m being honest about the not-so-glam part of pregnancy, I also have to be honest about the amazing things. I’m creating a freaking human being! Motherhood is an absolute miracle, and I get to have this amazing head-start bond with our babies before they even take their first breath. Through all of the uncomfortable, undesirable, and sometimes gross parts of pregnancy, you get a beautiful gift at the end of it and for that, it’s all totally worth it.
Related: PTSD Is more than I Thought!
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All Mental Health Mom Stories can be found on this page.
Alex is a military spouse and soon to be mama of 2 under 2! At www.alwaysus.co she blogs about pregnancy, motherhood, and baby friendly travels throughout Europe during their time stationed overseas!