The multitude of things expecting mothers are never told confounds the brain. It could just be that the experience for each pregnancy is distinctly different (true to a certain extent). You would think that after the centuries of having babies someone would have mentioned a heads up to her expecting sisters.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother and my mother in-law have been quick to offer advice when solicited. But in general, some of their solutions aren’t forthcoming unless I produce a new issue. Therefore, I’ve determined that I should describe my little nuanced pregnancy in hopes that future moms-in-waiting can glean some helpful tidbits.
To start with, I discovered I was pregnant while on set for my husbands first feature narrative “The Anniversary.” It was a pleasant little shocker because while we had been sort of trying we weren’t putting much effort into it… Well I should say we weren’t putting any conscience effort into getting pregnant. We were putting lots of physical effort into it. Lots and lots of effort. So when my husband began to suspect I was pregnant, I scoffed it off. “I’m not pregnant, Pshaw!”
About a week into filming, I’d noticed that I was gaining weight without really changing much in way of my diet or exercise. I hadn’t dipped into the liberal amounts of liquor at our cabin- though because I was convinced I wasn’t pregnant I did top off each night with a margarita- nor was I consuming an excess amounts of fats of sweets. My diet was relative to what I always eat. Lots of greens, a source of protein and a hearty morning espresso. Nothing out of the norm. I’d simply put on weight. And my boobs hurt like I’d been punched in them, as well as starting to swell to a size that was threatening to spill out of my perfectly fitted of a bra.
When I started feeling nauseous in the morning, my husband would follow it up with an immediate “You’re preggers” comment which would lead to my flat denial. I couldn’t be pregnant. He had a movie to make, dammit, and I was still recovering from a surgery. Then we decided to treat the crew to a fabulously delicious burger from Cascade Burgers in the heart of Concrete, WA where we were filming. They were the kind of burgers that you salivate for at summer barbeques, coupled with to order specialty milkshakes and a quaint dinner that wouldn’t have been out of place in Pleasantville. They even had options for my vegan and vegetarian! In short, these burgers were damn near perfect, rivaling the specialty of In ‘n Out Burger (which didn’t not agree with my tweet.)
I ate ½ of my burger and promptly returned it.
What. The. F%#k?
Clearly my tummy was upset. But it wasn’t a big deal. Maybe it was too much grease or something. I’ve always had a sensitive tummy for things other than spice. No. First thing the next morning again, barely a bite of apple and I’d returned it. Since I was in charge of cooking to help save a few pennies on this endeavor you can be sure there were a few raised eyebrows that the cook was running to the bathroom to toss her cookies.
After much deliberation and a Sunday supply run on our day off, we decided to pick up the little pink box and take a test. Turned out we had some news to share. Our cast and crew were the first to learn about it – no it’s not contagious – just in case they were wondering. But then of course there are a thousand questions and not a lot of people around that can answer them. Thank God for the internet.
BabyCenter.com became my new best friend. There was lots of helpful information because I had lots of questions like why wont my nose stop running? And what can’t I eat? This list of “don’t” however is double the size of “do” which I found super discouraging. We still hadn’t told our parents yet because we wanted it to be all of them at the same time… so I can’t ask my mom what to do. Thus my first taste of “figure it out on your own.”
In those first weeks, there’s a lot of that. Everyone seems to have an idea about it but not a lot of those people even have kids. They have friends with kids, sisters with kids, their mom told them once. Or they’re a dude. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is an EXCELLENT listener that would do anything for me, but he’s still got a penis. No matter how much he may tell me he’d carry the baby for me if he could… lets just remind ourselves there is a little agreement between God and Nature that says that’s just not happening. Ever.
So here are a few tips for your 1st Trimester
#1 ) Listen to Your Body First, Advisors Second.
Every woman will have similar symptoms, but every woman is different. My step-sister had morning sickness from day one until term. I on the other hand had it for about 3 weeks and figured out how to control it most of the time. I listened and my body said no beef, no pesto, and no bran muffins. Baby and body will tell you rather quickly when you’ve had something you shouldn’t, usually with a not so elegant return to sender demand. It will also cue you in when it’s time to rest. I had overwhelming urges to sleep mid day and if I didn’t I became very weak. Nothing would cure it unless I slept. Your body will tell you what it needs.
#2 ) I’m Pregnant, and That’s Beautiful
Say it with me: “I am pregnant, I am not getting fat.” This was and is one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I’m an actress for goodness sake! We take the whole woman-insecurity about body image to a whole new level. In addition, I didn’t look pregnant. I just looked like I was filling out. You want to tell everyone just in case they were about to accuse you of double dipping your Doritos’s in a cheese sauce that no really, you’re pregnant, and not fat. But make sure you tell yourself that same thing as often as possible. This is your body preparing for the next 9 months so accept that you are beautiful and will be glowing soon enough if you’re not already.
#3 You are NOT Eating for Two.
This common misconception goes along with #2, because there are some women who embrace this then who throw all restraint to the wind. The unfortunate side effect of that is they gain more weight than they could possibly hope to reverse with one small baby being born. Doctors tend to recommend no more than 400 additional calories a day to your NORMAL eating habits. That’s a piece of whole wheat toast and some peanut butter! So while you’re not getting fat and you absolutely should not be on a diet, make sure that what you are eating is proportionate to your normal meals, and if you’re not already make sure that they are nutrient rich so that you and baby can be as healthy as possible. It’s great to remember this when you’re at work and every secretary in the building wants to bake you cookies. Politely thank them and put them in the break room. You’re not eating for two, you’re eating for you and a little bit extra.
After that, you’ll figure it out. There are a thousand other mommy blogs with advice and a thousand more “authorities” who will offer you the “must haves” and the “yes/no” lists. But if you remember these three basics, the rest will start to fall in line.