Being in my third trimester, everything is starting to set in. If there is one thing I’ve learned about my son, it is that he has excellent timing. He came into our lives at the perfect time. We could announce the pregnancy to family that was out of town over the holidays, in person, with everyone there. He will be born right in between my brother’s graduation and school starting back up. I’ll be very pregnant, but I won’t be so pregnant that I can’t make the trip across two states to go to the graduation. Pregnancy itself even has been very punctual. I’ve been tracking things on this app and every milestone, every growth spurt, every movement has been right on time.
My first trimester was, of course, difficult. I felt emotionally drained, I was definitely physically drained, and completely unmotivated. My mind felt numb while racing a million miles an hour every hour of the day. All I wanted to talk about was the fact that I was having a baby. Yet, I didn’t know enough to have anything to say. The idea that there was a human growing inside of me hadn’t really set in. When people would talk to me about my excitement, I of course was the generic, “a stick that I peed on and a weird ultrasound of a bean looking thing told me there’s a baby inside of me so I guess that’s happening” excited, but it didn’t feel real quite yet.
It didn’t feel right talking to him, I didn’t know him. I didn’t even know he was a he yet. He didn’t have a name and I couldn’t feel the presence of a person. Then, the waves of guilt for not feeling his realness would set in. It was a wonderful cycle of stress: Trying to do my best for someone I could barely tell was there, then feeling guilty for not being able to tell he was there. I think the first trimester is hard because you can’t see or feel your baby and no one can tell your pregnant. You feel the physical and emotional drain but get none of the breaks because if people can’t physically see you need help, they don’t often offer it, even if you ask.
In so many ways I think the first trimester is the hardest. It’s hard to relate to anyone around you, you have so many questions with some how not enough answers and it feels like you’re constantly having to relearn how to take care of yourself because every week brings a new set of symptoms and necessities. It’s a little lonely and frustrating having such a huge thing happening to you that you can’t really talk about. There were even times when I felt like Ian didn’t understand. Obviously, he was having a baby too, but the thing was INSIDE me. Every single move I made, every thought I had was based around this new presence in my life and not a single person could understand.
I don’t want it to sound all bad though. Honestly, some of my favorite moments have been in my first trimester. I was settling into the idea of having a buddy with me at all times and in the times I felt alone it was kind of okay because I got to feel like it was just me and my baby and no one could come between that. Just know, you will get through it and you’ll start to feel your tiny human soon and then, it’ll all become real.
My second trimester was a whole new rollercoaster in and of itself. But this rollercoaster was less scary and way more fun. My stomach started growing! Though only Ian and I could tell I was getting bigger. Over time other people started noticing and shyly asking if I was expecting. Then, one day, I was finally big enough for maternity pants and that’s when motherhood really set in. I don’t know why it was the maternity pants that made me settle into my almost mom title, but that was it.
Slowly, as I watched my belly grow, I started feeling the smallest movements.
The best way I can describe what a baby’s first kicks feels like is gas… with bones? Like someone is ever so gently poking your uterus with the very very tip of their finger. I knew it was him, but I wasn’t really sure. Then, the movements started getting bigger. From tiny finger tip pokes to the harder, “pay attention to me!” stabs. And then the tiny little hills start showing up and the kicks were so big you could see them!
Ian started feeling them around 24 weeks. Sometimes I went a little crazy in anticipation for the next feeling of kicks. They were so unpredictable and so far apart. I spent half my time focusing on feeling kicks because I liked them and the other half thinking of all of the terrible reasons why he wouldn’t be kicking. But then he’d kick again and I’ve got to say, it’s just about my favorite thing. Things really move quickly in the second trimester but if you’re anything like me, every week and every miles stone will feel like it’s ages apart. By this time, I was so excited to start to get to know my little guy that I was practically counting down the minutes till I got another little glimpse of what he may be like.
Now that I’m in my third trimester I’m really feeling those aches. You get about a month of bliss where you can feel and see your human growing. Then, the bigness sets in. Even if you’re like me and don’t look big, you still feel big. Your back feels like it’s going to snap with most movements, your feet ache, and your stomach starts to feel like it’s growing faster than the skin around it. It’s a mess, you’re a mess. The one thing that people often avoid talking about during pregnancy is the fact that pregnant ladies are gross. Everything about your body feels gross.
You really get a layer of insecurity. You know you’re magical and the big belly is just a baby, but you still kind of feel fat. No matter what anyone says or thinks or tries to convince me of, I feel like an insecure high schooler who has to walk around school in an ugly Christmas sweater (bad analogy because ugly Christmas sweaters are amazing… you get my point though). I’m sure I’m not alone and for anyone who may be feeling this way right about now, you’re not alone either. It just comes with the territory of sharing your body with another human.
The good thing is, this is when your baby really starts to know and use their body. They kick more and you get to feel their little feet. Sometimes they’ll even push their body to the surface of your stomach and you get to put your hands around them as if you’re holding them. Then, all your brain has room for anymore is thinking about your baby and who they will be.
Now, I sing to the baby and talk to the baby. I give him all of my wisdom even though he probably only hears “blub blub blub.” We live for the moments we can see him kicking, creating bigger and bigger hills on my stomach as he learns to use that new body of his.
So we’re having a boy. His name will be Oliver.
It’s hard to tell what I’m making up in my head and what is really his essence that I’m sensing. Either way, I think this boy is going to be a peace maker. He’s going to be his father. The calmness he’s given me feels like his presence alone has convinced me that everything is okay and will all work out. Of course the arrival of your first child doesn’t come without it’s stress and worry. I’m still me, I still stress out when I see a rude driver or have to do things someone else’s way, but slowly overtime I’ve learned that none of that truly matters.
In his short time in existence, he has shown me how capable I am in ways that I never knew possible. I’m calmer and more caring and maybe a little more protective of my clan. I’m more daring, more willing to take risks. Happiness has never been more important to maintain but my definition of happiness has changed drastically.
If there’s one thing my tiny human has taught me, it’s that I have to be happy in order to be a good parent. When I’m stressed, he feels it. If I don’t eat because the idea of having a salad over cake sounds horrible, he suffers. I’m not giving anything up or sacrificing my freedom. If anything, I feel more inspired to make my life what I want it to be because that’s what he needs me to be. Happy, available, and inspired.
Photo by Four Corners Photography