What I Wish I’d Known About The First Trimester

2nd June 2017
first trimester

My stance on blogging about pregnancy is still as of yet undecided. I imagined when it happened for us I might make a new category on my blog. Or even start a whole new blog dedicated to it. What happened couldn’t be further from that though, I stopped blogging all together.

Now I’m in the second trimester, pregnancy feels a lot more like I imagined. Everyone knows and is excited. We’ve started buying things. I’ve had several scans and can listen to the baby’s heart beat at home.

I thought about ignoring the first trimester. Instead just posting the odd update about incidental things like the nursery. But I think that would be missing an opportunity. I know at times I felt quite lonely and would trawl the forums looking for someone else feeling the same (bad idea incidentally, but I’ll come onto that later). There’s a lot of information out there about how you might be feeling, but it’s not all relatable. This is my honest account of the first trimester and what I wish I had known before.

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It’s Ok To Freak Out

I assumed that as we had planned this baby, wanted it desperately and prepared -as much as anyone can- for it, that I would be elated to be pregnant. That was my reaction when I saw those two red lines (and the subsequent 6 which followed). It was my reaction when we went on holiday a day later, with our happy little secret. It was my reaction on the plane home and for the rest of the weekend. But then something changed. I started to freak out.

I woke up in the night and the magnitude of it all sort of hit me. Nothing would ever be the same again. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if I’m not cut out to be someone’s Mum?

More than anything else, I felt a complete lack of control. The train had left the station and now we were on a journey. A journey with a set end date. Suddenly 8 months didn’t feel like a long time!

Of course, not to patronise mine or anyone’s feelings but hormones play a big part in this. The start of this existential crisis coincided with rising hCG levels taking hold.

As with a number of these points, I changed my mood through talking about it. My Husband assured me he had the same concerns and my family pointed out everyone feels this way. Talking about how your feeling is so important, because there’s a lot going on. Possibly too much to make sense of on your own.

Although hormones in the first trimester are no picnic, as the weeks passed I began to feel so grateful for any hormonal side effect. Feeling particularly miserable, being sick, bloating, weird hairs growing out your face (yep). These are all signs that your body is doing it’s thing. That your baby is developing in there somewhere, no matter how alien a concept that is at first.

Morning Sickness Isn’t Just In The Morning

We’ve all heard about morning sickness. Pretty girls in films politely leaning over toilets and wondering if something might be up. Well let me tell you, that’s not quite how it happens.

At about 6 weeks I started dry retching a lot and by about 10 I regularly channeled the Exorcist. The name ‘morning sickness’ is totally misleading as whilst it is often worse in the morning, it can go on all day. During one particular incident, Aaron came upstairs to find the bathroom walls, floors, fixtures and fittings, plant pots etc … Covered in sick. With me stood in the middle weeping.

It’s not all bad though. It’s strange how fast this becomes the new normal. Starbucks cups double up as a handy vomit receptacle when out and about. A plastic bag can be found in all my handbags and I’m ok with the fact that most mornings I’m going to have to make a speedy race up the stairs.

The advice about eating little and often really works. I know that on the whole I’ve got off really lightly. Aaron and our bathroom, not so much.

Food Aversions Are Weird

I knew about cravings in pregnancy, but was in no way prepared for the food aversions. Seemingly overnight, food and drink you once loved is dead to you. I could throw up at just the mention of some of them. And it’s completely and utterly irrational.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but some of the biggest food aversions I’ve had:

  • Coffee (seriously WTF? My beloved coffee)
  • White bread
  • Sparkling water (I had to hide the bottles from my fridge as they were making me gag)
  • Quavers

Even stranger, is the fact that the biggest issue of all for me was preparing food. Even if an item wasn’t on the ‘bad’ list, preparing it, smelling it cooking, or even just seeing it in it’s packaging was enough to make me sick. The dishwasher was a nightmare. The food bin, unfathomable.

Far from eating conscientiously for the baby, it became a case of eating anything I could. Safe foods are bland and largely potato based. During the worst week of food aversions and morning sickness I ate nothing but cereal and micro chips. I realise it’s not the 1990s and I’m not 10, but micro chips appeal for the lack of preparation needed. Requirements for meals become very strange.

You Might Feel More Tired Than You Ever Have Before

The complete exhaustion was one of the hardest things to adjust to. I can’t nap in the day and I wake up between 6 and 7am, so our bedtime got down to about 8pm at one point. Obviously most people still don’t know you’re pregnant so work, seeing family and friends and generally living a normal life have to still go on.

My advice would be to give yourself some slack. I spent a few days on the sofa feeling sorry for myself and it helped a lot. Carrying on as if nothing is happening isn’t sustainable all the time.

It’s Normal To Worry, Constantly

As I left my first doctors appointment she said “I hope this works out”. It was said in a cheery way but it made my heart sink. I don’t think anyone pregnant needs extra reminders that there’s a chance things won’t. With hormones and low energy levels to contend with, it’s normal I imagine to feel extra anxious. Not being able to talk about it doesn’t help either. Every time I went to the bathroom, or felt so much as a prang I’d panic.

I had an early scan which helped put my mind at ease. Seeing the baby was even there at all was very reassuring.

Worrying constantly during those first few months -and I guess forever now- is normal. At times I wondered if I’d ever be able to relax, but I can say that having scans and hitting milestones really helps. It’s an incredible thing going on, which is often hard to comprehend. I remember reading in my pregnancy app that over the past week the brain had been forming. I panicked trying to recount what I had been doing. You almost feel as though you should be lying very still whilst all that goes on.

I still obviously worry a lot, but more frequently I just feel disbelief. We’re so lucky. I pinch myself constantly that this is happening. Whenever we have a scan or an appointment and I see everything is going along as it should, I’m eternally grateful.

Googling EVERYTHING Is Tempting

As mentioned earlier, pregnancy and especially those early months can feel a bit lonely. Whilst trying to conceive it’s really hard not to ‘symptom spot’ (my left eyeball just twitched, early pregnancy sign?). During that time I discovered the forums and took a lot of comfort in knowing thousands of other women had felt this way and were at that very moment. Throughout early pregnancy, when your midwife appointment feels like a year away and it’s all still a secret, it can be tempting to look on the forums for answers.

Whilst it’s sometimes comforting to hear what you feel is normal, there’s a downside. You read a lot of tragic stories. I’ve read so many sad stories I partially convinced myself we had no hope of getting to the stage we’re at now. The fact is that these forums are a huge support network, so those going through something bad are perhaps more likely to post. It can give a disproportionate view of things and also makes you dwell on the negatives.

I’ve banned myself from looking now. It’s not that I don’t sympathise, but that it’s not healthy to constantly look to the internet for medical advice. Now everyone knows I’m really enjoying being able to speak to friends and family about it, to reassure myself.

You Might Feel Depressed

I’ve left this one until last, because it’s the point I most dreaded writing about. Prenatal depression is less discussed than postnatal, but it’s actually pretty common. I personally hadn’t heard of it before, or given it any thought. Around the time I started freaking out, something strange happened. Cliche but it felt as though a literal black cloud had engulfed me. I didn’t enjoy doing anything I used to. I felt completely and utterly numb. Time dragged and I felt truly confused and helpless.

Everyone I’m sure feels crap when they’re shattered, sick and hormonal. But this was different and when you feel that way, it’s glaringly obvious something isn’t right. Thankfully it only lasted a month but it was a scary experience and one I hope I never encounter again.

Speaking about how you’re feeling is so important. Talking through it all helped exponentially until a time came when I could see the woods for the trees again. Don’t feel guilty or keep it to yourself. What I’ve realised is that moaning about the first trimester or feeling genuinely awful at times doesn’t impact how happy you are about your pregnancy. Or how much your baby means to you. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’re not going to be an amazing Mum.

I thought being pregnant would feel like one big period. But it really doesn’t. Whilst no two are the same, the symptoms can be extreme. At times the hormones can make you feel as though you’ve lost control of your body, mind and life.

But It Does All Get Better!

Despite reading it a thousand times, I was unconvinced my symptoms would disappear like Cinderella’s carriage on the strike of 12, on the 12th week. Turns out I was right, but what it’s fair to say is that in the weeks leading up to it, you’re gradually feeling better all the time. There’s no magic formula, some people have symptoms all the way through pregnancy and I think having expectations about when things should start or end can be problematic.

But, it really does all get better. The second trimester feels different. We’re finally celebrating our amazing news properly. I’m not obsessing about what might go wrong (quite as much) and I’m able to stay up until midnight again. The micro chips have long gone and my fridge is filled with healthy veggie food.

The morning sickness is down to a bi-weekly occurrence. And the hormones are better. Although in the interest of full disclosure, yesterday my Sim gave birth and I cried. Literally sobbed with happy tears as though I was privy to some magical moment.

People have said I’m ‘glowing’ but I’m confident that’s just them being polite and the fact I’m sweaty a lot of the time.

If you find yourself in the first trimester feeling like you can’t wait for it to end, hang in there! I promise that the stuff they say about it getting easier in the second is true and not just lies to help ensure the Human population continues.

I’m now counting down the days to meeting our little one and the first few months of pregnancy already feel like a distant memory.

In all honesty, there isn’t anything we wouldn’t go through for these tiny people. It starts now and lasts for a lifetime.

Edit May 2018 – Aurora is here! I have written a post on the first couple of months postpartum and the fact I had postnatal depression. It felt right to link to that here, as I glossed over it in this post but did have some signs of prenatal depression when the hormones were at their most intense in the first trimester. It’s so important to share if you’re feeling that way with your midwife. Mine was uninterested and I didn’t push it, as a result it wasn’t noted down that I was at risk for PND.

  • Rachel Stinson
    2nd June 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Awh waow this was so interesting to read even though I don’t ever plan on having a baby!! So happy you are able to talk about it lovely! The sickness sounds awful but so glad it’s all got better! Xoxo

    Rach |

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks Rach! The second trimester is definitely a lot easier.

  • Tori
    2nd June 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Very interesting read! Thanks for sharing your experience

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you Tori.

  • Yiotou_La
    2nd June 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Amy, useful information to use later on, if we finally make it happen!Lots of my friends who have kids say that there were many things they wish they knew before and nobody told them. Everyone talks about the ‘good’ things of a pregnancy and no one mentions all these things, so thank you for opening up. I am so glad you are feeling better and you will be able to enjoy the next months! x


    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks for reading Yiota. I’m sure it will happen, so exciting! Totally, I didn’t know to expect half of this stuff but it’s a constant learning curve. Thank you! I really appreciated your message a few months back too when I hadn’t been online a lot X

      • Yiotou_La
        5th June 2017 at 4:57 pm

        πŸ™‚ xx

  • leah and rachel
    2nd June 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Amy, first of all, a massive congratulations to you and your husband! I’m absolutely positive you’re going to make the best mum! I can imagine it being really nerve racking when you find out because you’re worried and doubting yourself but that’s completely normal. I think most women go through that. Alos, I think writing this blog post is going to help other mums-to-be! The morning sickness sounds absolutely terrible, I would of been weeping too! It’s good to hear it’s not all rainbows and unicorns – too many people make out they have the perfect life but it’s often not the case! x x x

    Cyber Mermaids | Alternative beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Thank you so much! Totally, I think we all must do as it’s such a big change. I hope so! I agree, I have loads of fun things to say about pregnancy so far but it didn’t feel genuine to gloss over some of the more serious stuff X

  • Natasha Todd
    2nd June 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Ahh Amy I had no idea you were pregnant until I saw this post, totally missed your instagram pic!! A huge congratulations to you, I can imagine it’s been a rollercoaster of an adventure with this first trimester. The morning (all day) sickness sounds not so fun! I wish you all the best for the rest of your pregnancy and can’t wait to see more updates!! xxx

    Tash |

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks Tash!! X

  • Ileana Druetta
    2nd June 2017 at 10:05 pm

    There is so much I did not know about pregnancy!!! I had Hyperemesis Gravidarium… and lost more than 22 pounds! Was sick all-day-long… and even had to get IVs. So far, this little one will be an only child! πŸ™‚
    Im glad you are now on the second trimester and feeling better!



    Novelstyle Blog

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Oh wow poor you!! I was very much aware that even though it was bad, it could have been so much worse. It sounds like you had a horrendous time of it but I know it’s all worth it in the end. X

  • TheStyleRawr
    3rd June 2017 at 9:47 am

    Awww, I’m so excited for you! Also, thanks for the heads up haha. I’d love kids one day but there are a fewthing t in this post I definitely didn’t know. Glad you’re feeling better now and are looking forward to meeting baby! X

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:28 pm

      It’s all such a learning curve! Thank you X

  • Elena
    3rd June 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks for this post Amy! So many things that I didn’t know at all and lots of useful advice. I’ll keep that one for when I might need it ;). I’m glad you’re feeling better now and enjoy pregnancy, they tell me there are many downs but so many ups too! x

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you! The ups definitely outweigh the downs for sure X

  • elizabeth
    3rd June 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Aw you go girl, it sounds like you are doing amazing!! The first trimester is one of the most difficult periods because you feel so ill and everything is uncertain, the food aversions suck so much! I was only sick once but I gagged at nearly everything, yankee candles and the colour forest green xD I admire you so much for still blogging about it! I regret not recording my pregnancy, I felt detached the whole time, out of fear perhaps, and still didn’t feel anything after the birth. I was so worried at the time but after developing such huge amount of love for him as he grew, I now know nothing happens normally in pregnancy, every story is so different and things happen in completely different order xD I am always here to talk if you need me! xx

    elizabeth β™‘ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth!! Totally, it wasn’t fun at times haha. The gagging is so weird and I can totally imagine what you mean about the candles and colours … The sight of the Halifax Thunderbirds advert was one of my weirder ones haha. I can relate to that, during the first trimester that’s exactly how I felt. I loved the post you shared last year about this! I think you’re spot on too, no two experiences are the same but we’re told how we should feel so it’s quite confusing at times. I’m so excited to meet them now although it feels like an eternity away. Thank you, I appreciate that! X

  • Charlotta Eve
    4th June 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Happy you’re feeling better now! This was a nice information package should I need it in the future. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to possibly read more about your pregnancy journey? πŸ˜‰

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks Charlotta! I’m hoping to share a few other posts about it but i’m not entirely sure yet haha. X

  • Vicky A
    5th June 2017 at 11:33 am

    This has just confirmed why I could never get pregnant. I’m emetophobic and even just hearing about your experience terrifies me.

    I hope you’re feeling better now and looking forward to your new arrival.

    V <3

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Aw please don’t let my post contribute to putting you off. That must be horrible so I’m sorry if this was difficult to read! There’s anti-sickness medicine which might help and midwifes are really good at making sure things are ok for your specific needs, but of course it’s such a personal decision!

      Thank you V x

      • Vicky A
        8th June 2017 at 11:26 pm

        Don’t worry, your post didn’t. Every time I read about someone’s experience with morning sickness it just confirms my decision. I could never risk it.
        I have so much respect for women who do it.

  • A Very Sweet Blog
    5th June 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I don’t have children, but I love that you keep it real and tells what really happens. There’s so much one goes through. This will definitely help others out.

    • Amy
      5th June 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Thank you! X

  • Jacquard Flower
    5th June 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Great post you have covered loads here. Hope you are feeling better now. Gemma x

    • Amy
      9th June 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Gemma X

  • Sophie
    6th June 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Loved this post! To be honest the thought of having a baby terrifies me a little bit – especially the sickness! But glad you’re feeling better now though – can’t wait to hear more about your little one! x


    • Amy
      9th June 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Sophie X

  • Rosy Ferry
    10th June 2017 at 8:25 am

    I can relate to this so much, especially the sickness, my food aversions took over, it took 4 years after birth to be able to smell coffee again without throwing up! Pregnancy is such a strange time but congratulations again and and I’m so glad you’re into the second trimester now πŸ™‚

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog
    My Instagram | Instagram

    • Amy
      12th June 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Oh wow! I’ve currently gone off chocolate which is just bizarre, I never thought I’d see the day haha. Thank you Rosy! x

  • Lauren
    19th June 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Lovely post it’s really nice to read stuff like this as a future nurse, I come across expectant mothers a lot and can’t really relate. I’m actually dreading the day I am expecting because I hate throwing up…

    Lauren x Huggled

    • Amy
      13th July 2017 at 10:55 am

      Thanks Lauren! I’m sure you’ll be an amazing nurse. It’s not the best aspect of it haha X

  • Nina
    19th June 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I never had ‘morning sickness’ during my pregnancy but I did feel lonely.

    Nina’s Style Blog

    • Amy
      13th July 2017 at 10:55 am

      It’s hard isn’t it? Thanks for your comment Nina X

  • Kiran
    20th June 2017 at 2:09 pm

    It must be so daunting especially with your first baby, my friend is pregnant now in her third trimester and I think I am freaking out more than she is. The whole process seems so terrifying, thank you for sharing x

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

    • Amy
      13th July 2017 at 10:56 am

      It really is! Although I’m more than half way through the second now and it does get a lot easier … Before it gets bad again in the 3rd haha x

  • Lippie 143
    21st June 2017 at 9:02 pm

    im not a mother or pregnant yet, but really enjoyed reading this post and learning something new.

    lippie x

    • Amy
      13th July 2017 at 10:56 am

      Thanks Lippie! X

  • Velvet Blush
    22nd June 2017 at 9:39 am

    It was interesting hearing your experiences because a lot of the things I knew were from movies too, so probably not the best representation. I can imagine how hard it is to not worry, because it is such a life changing moment. I’m glad that you’re feeling much better now, hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy πŸ™‚ x

    Velvet Blush

    • Amy
      13th July 2017 at 10:56 am

      It’s so hard not to worry but it gets easier for sure. It’s nothing like the films would have you believe haha. Thank you! X

  • Emerald Dove
    19th August 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Loved this post! The first trimester is mega difficult but it’s strange how it suddenly all gets 100x better once you hit 14 weeks. I lived off of buttered toast – I had it for almost every meal. Also I totally understand about not knowing how much of the pregnancy to blog about. I’m just incorporating it into my blog but still doing my usual posts too. I didn’t want to go full mummy blogger just yet haha.

    • Amy
      22nd August 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Totally haha! Toast has been life. It’s hard isn’t it? I plan to do the odd update whilst pregnant and then whilst she will be mentioned in future, not blog about her as such / put photos up of her face when she’s bigger. But we will see I guess, looking forward to checking out your pregnancy posts! My second trimester update is going up next week πŸ™‚ X