I forgot how lonely the first trimester is. It’s a silent suffering. Those first few weeks and months are exciting; there’s so much joy that you can’t share with anyone yet. It’s also some of the most uncomfortable months of pregnancy, and it’s even harder to suffer through that alone.
The first trimester is an exhausting time. All you want to do is complain and then take a nap. Deadlines and due dates are a struggle. Mustering up the motivation for household chores is almost non-existent. Forget about cooking dinner. Even if you can make it through the smell, there’s a lack of energy and motivation. And when you need the pick me up the most, your once close friend, coffee, is now limited if you can even stomach it.
These are the weeks and months when you need the understanding, the connection, and the support from friends and family the most, but you’re hesitant to let anyone in. The weeks drag by while you drag yourself out of bed and wonder if it’s “ok” to tell people this week. Maybe next? You practice a smile in the mirror. You’re not tired; you’re not nauseous; you tell yourself, you’re fine!
Meanwhile, there’s the constant orchestration of how you will hide your growing secret at a work happy hour and a family cookout. Everyone is suddenly very invested in why you’re not drinking. How will you mask the frequent bathroom trips? Why can’t you eat lunch with everyone (or stand the smell of the lunchroom)? Why are you so tired? Pretending, and planning how you will act, is exhausting as if you had any ounce of energy left to spare.
Home is a refuge where you don’t have to pretend, but it’s lonely and isolating. You find yourself turning down invitations from friends you would have jumped at the opportunity to join any other time. It’s much less stressful to stay away from inquiring minds.
For me, even home isn’t 100% safe. The first time I was pregnant, I could complain freely to my husband and nap whenever I wanted to. The second time around, there’s no rest for the weary, and secrets are certainly not safe. As if times weren’t stressful enough, I’m trying to remember there’s a nosy sibling around now who’s known for randomly dropping truth bombs at the extended family dinner table. No topic or word usage is safe, and this is no exception. My husband and I spell words back and forth as we discuss and begin to plan.
I pick up the phone to text an exhausted complaint to my best friend, but I remember I haven’t even told her yet. At a time when friends are family are needed the most, why is it normal to conceal and keep the pregnancy a secret for so long? Heck, there are dozens of articles listing ways to hide a pregnancy. I know it’s because for every person let in on the early joy, there’s a chance I’ll have to let them in on the sorrow as well, and that’s a reason I’m willing to suffer alone for a few more weeks.
For now, I’ll continue to nap strategically, and my husband will take the brunt of all of my complaints for a little longer. After all, the early suffering of pregnancy and the entire pregnancy, in general, is just another badge earned by supermoms.