Pregnancy is a very public event. It’s something that starts very private (well, typically) and then quickly becomes shared with all. One week you look like you ate a big lunch, the next you’ve clearly “popped” and no one’s afraid to ask you about your bulging belly. The first time during my pregnancy someone asked me “When are you due?” I was shocked to have a genuine answer. For the last 15 years that question has led to anger and sassy responses (and it’s happened every year) but now it’s just…the norm.
There are some benefits to this- I am not expected to carry anything, stand under any circumstance and people eagerly encourage me to seconds of dessert at parties. Now that I’m a bit larger, I mostly appreciate all of these pregnancy perks but initially they were hard to accept (not the dessert one though). Being constantly asked “How are you feeling?” and having even the lightest packages items out of my arms made me feel even weaker rather than cared for. When going out others would ask where I wanted to stand, if I was comfortable, and so on. I felt like a fragile teacup.
On one hand I was given an enormous amount of support and never given grief for going to bed early but on the other hand everyone seemed to be waiting for me to fall apart. That waiting gave me the feeling that it was only a matter of time. I was waiting for me to fall apart too. Instead of reassuring those around that I didn’t need the extra attention I stopped trusting whether I was okay. This at a time when I was questioning what changes this pregnancy would bring to my sense of identity…
I never ended up falling apart (except for the occasional big ol’ cry which I consider good for the soul and a part of normal maintenance). Crossing out of the first trimester is a gift for many reasons but one of which is it involves a lot less fatigue and a lot more clarity. Without feeling tired all the time I’ve regained most of my ability to say “I’ve got this” as well as become aware of what my limitations are. I will gladly call for Tyler to come carry things for me and I don’t feel obligated to stay at your party past 10pm. Sometimes I kick ass in my exercise class, sometimes I fall asleep on the couch. These things happen.
I know the second trimester is supposed to be when you’re riding high (as much as pregnant ladies do) and I’m about to hit the down turn but I’m hoping my new sense of self will help carry me through the rest of these weeks. In the meantime some fruit loop baby is clearly breakdancing over here.