Things No One Told Me About the Second Trimester...
A Continuation of the First...
When I wrote my original article about my first trimester woes, I was so excited to be entering the second trimester, hoping to settle comfortably into the magic of pregnancy that I had heard so much about, but that didn’t happen. Although I am now very excited to meet my son, I’m starting to plan and nest. We have started buying baby things and the names list is getting more and more concise. There are still things that haven’t quite fit into this idyllic pregnancy scenario that I had painted up in my head since I was a kid. Everyone from my friends, to my midwife, to the internet had told me: Your second trimester is the best bit, you will have an energy burst, your sickness will go, your hormones will settle! It’s supposed to be the enjoyable bit before the gruelling third where you drag around a huge belly and can’t tie your own laces. Well, as I head swiftly toward my third trimester, here is what I have to say about my second.
I am still sick.
Yup. 26th week and still feeling like crap. From vomiting in the bin before teaching my Pilates classes, to nausea so intense the thought of moving is painful. I still have that. This is apparently not super common. Most women stop feeling sick somewhere around the 14th week… This didn’t happen for me, and surprisingly I have also met a lot of women that continue to feel sick through the entirety of their pregnancy. My Dysgeusia (remember that gross taste I constantly had in my mouth that I was told would disappear when my hormones settled in the second trimester?)—yep, it’s still there, going strong. I get through a bottle of mouthwash every few days and constantly chew gum, it helps a little. But only for a very short burst of time.
I am still tired.
I never got the illusive energy burst that everyone talked about. I have actually been MORE tired in my second trimester, my body has slowed down, and I’ve found mundane everyday things exhausting. Walking my dogs, walking upstairs, and talking whilst teaching my classes are all way harder than I ever imagined, and I’m not even that big yet. I nap pretty much every day and I go to bed around 9 PM each night. I find it hard to have the energy to see anyone or do anything. I just want to curl up and sleep until baby arrives.
Baby kicks are not always pleasant.
I started feeling my baby boy move around 19 weeks, which surprised me because I have an anterior placenta, which means my placenta is in front of the baby and would usually make it harder to feel him. At first it could be mistaken for gas or muscle twitches but now, as my pregnancy progresses, it is very definitely him. Whilst I love that I can feel him, it also creeps me out a bit. I know that’s not the "correct" thing to say, but when you’re making out with your significant other and you suddenly feel your human baby do somersaults in your stomach, it gets a little less sexy. Baby also likes to kick at night. I am sometimes woken up at 3 AM by random movements in my belly. My child LOVES to kick me in the bladder which gives me anxiety about going anywhere as I need to pee even more frequently than usual. It can also shock me or be uncomfortable and make me feel like I’m going to throw up. Of course I want my baby to move. We have already had one hospital scare after I couldn’t feel movement all day, but maybe he could chill on the bladder kicking and 3 AM back flips for now.
Welcome to worry town.
If you thought you worried in your first trimester, get ready to REALLY worry now. Every ache, every pain, every abnormal feeling leads to "is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with the baby?" As your body changes you wonder, should I be doing this? Should I be eating that? Why do I feel like this? Do I need to go to the hospital? As you start to feel the baby move, you will wonder if he is moving enough or too much. Everything is something to wonder and worry about. As if my anxiety didn't cripple me enough, I now have to worry if carrying all the food shopping home on my own could harm my child?! Gah.
Please stop touching my stomach.
This is a weird one for me. Before being pregnant I always went to touch my friends' pregnant bellies, like it was the done thing, the thing you are supposed to do. Now, I feel really bad that I ever did that. I will no longer touch my friends' bellies. It is awkward, uncomfortable, and a little weird. Don't get me wrong, my best and closest friends yes, but other people? Even my family. I love my partner touching my belly. That is his baby and I want him to feel as close to me and the baby as possible. When he touches my belly, I feel warm and happy but when others do, I feel awkward. I want to throw their hands off and ask them to stop. It is a weird thing. A pregnant woman's belly, it kind of becomes a public domain. Speaking from past experience, I think I always touched because I didn't know how else to react, and maybe that is the same for most people, but I think we should all be aware that we are touching someone's body without their permission. Being pregnant has definitely opened my eyes to that.
Coming to Terms with My Body Changes
The hardest part of pregnancy, for me, has been weight gain and watching my body change out of my control. Not feeling sexy or good about myself, I don't even want my partner to watch me get changed anymore. For someone that has always suffered with low self esteem and body issues, this has been incredibly crippling for me. When I look in the mirror, I don't see me anymore. It is way harder than I ever imagined.
Every pregnancy journey is different, but I strongly feel that the media portrays such a positive and beautiful image of being pregnant that those who struggle or don't enjoy it are almost seen as bad mothers. Don't ever let how you feel about your journey taint the fact that you want and deserve to be a mother. I have pretty much hated every minute of being pregnant but believe me, I have wanted this for so long. There is nothing wrong with hating the journey to motherhood. It is LONG, it is HARD, and don't let any jumped up mumsplainer tell you that YOU are doing it wrong or you SHOULD feel a certain way. There is no right or wrong way to feel during pregnancy. Do it your way.