Medically, your first trimester of pregnancy is weeks 1-12, and second trimester is weeks 13-28, but I consider my second trimester starting at 20 weeks due to my experiences in First Trimester. I continued to feel the extreme fatigue, hormonal hardship, and a month of depression due to the overwhelming lack of control I had over my body, mind and energy. But suddenly around 20 weeks pregnant I felt a huge shift. Suddenly I felt like I had more energy to enjoy the things I love doing (like exercise and socializing), I started to crave healthier food choices such as vegetables and fruit (instead of just bread and cheese, which is great occasionally but not for every meal every day!), and I started to feel like more my happy self again.
I had spent the final month of my extended first trimester feeling intense guilt. Guilt for not helping my husband with house/life chores because I was so exhausted. Guilt for not cooking us dinner but instead ordering take-out/delivery because I was too tired to cook. Guilt for eating poorly. Guilt for not exercising. Guilt for not loving being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I never for a moment regretted pregnancy, I was so excited at all times for our future baby! But I wasn’t enjoying the actual experience of pregnancy. I just wanted it to be over so I could move forward with our beautiful babe. But this guilt hurt the most because pregnancy is often painted as this beautiful image of love, happiness, femininity, and rainbows. Unfortunately I was not feeling the rainbows. I was beyond grateful for the opportunity of fertility and pregnancy, but the day to day of first trimester just felt terrible.
So when the week 20 shift happened and suddenly I felt more like myself, I felt the guilt fade as well. While it is more than ok if you don’t feel the rainbows for an entire pregnancy (as I’m sure there are women out there that feel terrible the whole time), I still so badly wanted to feel the joys of pregnancy. And that wish was finally fulfilled around 5 months pregnant. I started to crave going to yoga again, and my body felt so good to be moving. My belly finally started to pop a bit around 22 weeks (before that I had just looked bloated, another pregnancy experience I had not been enjoying), and with that pop came a rounder belly that made me happy! Baby also started to kick around 24 weeks, which again made me smile and feel joy every time a movement happened. We also had been assigned additional ultrasound screenings due to a small placenta and concern over baby’s growth, but so far the 3 additional ultrasounds have shown that baby is growing healthy. So relief over the second trimester tests and screenings with healthy results has also lifted a weight off my shoulders.
While at first I disliked all the comments I would get from others during my 13-20 weeks saying “oh you must be feeling so much better since you’re in second trimester!” now I understand what they meant! Yes my first trimester symptoms lasted much longer than expected, but I did eventually get that second trimester boost of energy that everyone talks about, and I am grateful I got to experience that for the weeks I did! We tend to always be too hard on ourselves, and make something seem much worse than it is, because when we get out of that tough place, we look back and realize we were strong enough to make it through. And without those tough moments in life, we wouldn’t feel the incredible joy and love of all the great moments in life as strongly as we do. I appreciate the journey of this pregnancy thus far and look forward to the final stretch!