“The willingness to struggle opens great windows of opportunity”-Marcandangel.com
One of the most important abilities you can develop in life is the willingness to accept and grow through times of difficulty and discomfort. Because the best things are often hard to come by, at least initially. And if you shy away from difficulty and discomfort, you’ll miss out on them entirely. Mastering a new skill is hard. Building a business is hard. Writing a book is hard. A marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Staying healthy is hard. But all are amazing and worth every bit of effort…”-marcandangel.com
Some very real and honest feedback about my initial pregnancy post was the fear that many women have about become pregnant and the discomforts and change that come along with not only becoming pregnant but having a child after. I am not sure if there is anything more I enjoy than naked honesty. Getting pregnant, being pregnant, holding a newborn. Every single bit of it is terrifying. And every single bit of it is awe-inspiring and wonderful. I cannot take away the overwhelming feelings you will have or the discomfort that comes with growing a human being inside you or how incredibly scary it is to be a parent but I can offer you the tools I used while pregnant with Lucas and currently pregnant with our second son. There is so much gratitude and magic that comes with the difficult times. There is strength gained that you never thought you ever had and there is a connection you will ignite in yourself and with your baby that will forever change your life. Yes, it is ALL hard. But every single step is important and valuable.
There is one more quote that I read this morning on the same blog that I will share before I offer my tips for the 1st trimester.
“A tiny part of your life is decided by completely uncontrollable circumstances, while the vast majority of your life is decided by how you actively respond to them”. -marcandangel.com
I wish that I had this quote at times during my first trimester with my current pregnancy because so much went on during those first 14 weeks. Now that I am sitting here and writing about it, it feels a bit surreal but the reality is, uncontrollable circumstances shake us up. Losing my father when I was 11 weeks pregnant was nothing I was even remotely prepared for. Those moments when my husband found me in our closet sobbing as I was looking at pictures of my Dad or when I locked the bathroom door and just needed a long shower to try and relieve all the pain and heartache or the feeling of holding my son and telling him about his grandfather and how amazingly strong and brilliant he was…those are the moments that were actually making me stronger as a mother and wife even though I felt rather weak at the time.
As women and men, as mother’s and father’s, as daughter’s and son’s, as leader’s and teachers….we can do HARD things. And we can do them well and lovingly.
If you ask any women about her first trimester, whether it be her only child or her 4th child, every single response will be different. Some women have no morning sickness at all and barely feel they are even pregnant, some women have the completely opposite extreme and need the support of other’s to keep food down and stay hydrated. And most of us fall somewhere in between. As I mentioned in my previous post regarding nutrition during pregnancy, a little preparation goes a long way. With Lucas I was not prepared for how intense my morning sickness would be but I did not have another child at the time so there was a little wiggle room to adjust accordingly. And there is no guarantee you will have it with your second just because you had morning sickness with your first but the chances are higher.
So, I just assumed I would. I assumed right:) When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought it would be a good idea to do a bigger grocery shopping trip to stock up on foods because grocery shopping is REALLY challenging with morning sickness. What I ended up doing was getting some items for Lucas and Eric that would last such as some frozen veggies and pantry items but other than that I did not stock up. This turned out to be a good idea because what I normally enjoy in my diet was not necessarily what I enjoyed during my first trimester. My taste buds were different, my nausea took over most of my hunger feelings anyway and every day I wanted something totally different from the day before. My husband would be laughing reading this previous statement because it is sooooo true. One day I would want a vegetarian sandwich with a side of fruit and the next day I would not even be able to stare at a piece of bread or fruit. I would not say that I actually had any true cravings because 99 percent of the time, food sounded not great. That being said, below is a list of food items that helped me keep my food down and less nauseous. But before you read the list, I want to mention a couple more things:
-Please try not to worry if you are not able to get in your normal amount of nutrition. I could not handle any type of raw veggie my entire first trimester. As a salad lover, that is a bit frustrating but I did ok with steamed veggies and that was PERFECTLY ok. Our bodies go through phases for a reason. My body did not want raw vegetables in the beginning because my digestion system was adjusting to a growing baby and the extra pregnancy hormones (relaxin) cause digestion to be very sensitive. Listen to your body and please do not force anything down even if you fear not getting enough nutrients in. The majority of women start feeling immensely better around week 12 and I was feeling a million times better by week 14 and can eat my raw veggies again:)
-Try to eat more in the morning and afternoons. I was extremely exhausted by 5pm and sometimes wanted nothing to eat. So, if I was able to eat more during the day, having just a piece of toast and fruit at night was perfect. If I waited till I was too tired or my stomach was too empty, my dinner ended up not staying in me.
-If you have bouts of high energy in the mornings or mid afternoon….try to conserve your energy. This is a difficult sentence for me to write and another one my husband would laugh at. The reason being, sometimes I would have energy around 10am in the morning and want to take advantage of it. So I would clean the floors, do a few loads of laundry, get outside with Lucas, do an errand and then literally CRASH 4 hours later. Our bodies are doing sooooooo much work to create a human being. In the beginning, your body is getting used to being pregnant, it has extra hormones, your likely eating differently and your energy levels are not the same. Remember, your energy will most likely return soon. Be ok with resting more. I am not always ok with this. I like to move and do things and so this was a life lesson for me in both pregnancies. Now that I am in my second trimester, it is much easier for me to write this because my energy is back and I feel so lucky to be able to run and play but it can be hard in the beginning and the resting part is REALLY important. Talk to your support group during these periods. It is valuable and offers perspective in the midst of the chaos.
-Stay hydrated with water. Add some lemon or orange for variety. A hydrated pregnancy is a happy pregnancy. It will help with morning sickness, keep your energy levels more stable and is incredibly essential for a growing baby.
-Last thing before I offer my list of foods. Make a list of activities and have on hand things you like to do that bring you joy, relax you, and rejuvenate you. This is especially important if you are a person that relies heavily on exercise as your main outlet for relieving stress and/or just passionate about moving. It is a special part of your pregnancy and for me, I could not run as far or swim as long or do as intense of a yoga practice. It is a season of slowing down and so I read much more, I colored (see pictures), I watched some great documentaries with my husband, I did slower yoga, slower hikes and spent more time just floating in the pool than actually swimming. Creative outlets are truly a blessing.
Snack-Meal ideas during the first trimester if feeling very nauseated and overall exhausted:
-Oatmeal in the mornings (I recommend something warm in the morning all the time but especially in pregnancy). Cold cereal is not good for me. I never truly feel satiated or calm after eating it. If you need something immediately which I often did, try a few crackers. Fruit first thing in the morning also did not work for me in the first trimester. You can also try another grain that works better for you. If possible, add a protein of some sort such as peanut butter. Protein really helped me. This was key to keeping my stomach somewhat at ease. Sometimes I spread out the oatmeal portion into two sittings. I would eat some at 7:30am and again later around 10 or 10:30am. You will learn what works for you.
-Some women have told me that a small cup of light green tea (try not to steep too long) helps with the nausea. I certainly enjoyed drinking something warm in the morning so did green tea every once in awhile. I did not notice if it helped with the morning sickness but it was definitely comforting on some level.
-Toast with butter and maybe a little honey.
-pineapple was my go to fruit during the first trimester. My normal love for bananas, apples, and oranges did not exist.
-lightly salted crackers or ricecakes with some type of protein (a little cheese or tahini or nut butter) If you normally enjoy eating sandwich/deli meats, it is something that is not recommended during pregnancy.
-baked tofu or tempeh with steamed rice and steamed spinach.
-soups often tasted good to me. Veggie soups with some diced potato. Or mushroom barley was another favorite. Barley is a very grounding grain for me.
-Sweet potatoes/yams happened more nights than not. I would cook them in veggie broth and then mash them and add a little butter or tahini with some veggies on the side. It was my go to dinner more times than I can count. I did not like olive oil or coconut oil in the first trimester but I did like butter so that it what I used (organic unsalted butter is my favorite).
-Some nights I would get really warm (body is working hard during pregnancy) and want something cold but did not want dairy icecream. I found some organic coconut and organic strawberry popsicles at Sprouts that were really nice. It was simple and perfect in the evenings and did not upset my stomach.
-My favorite steamed veggies included carrots, parsnip, and sweet potato. Interestingly enough, these are all root veggies and very grounding. My last post talked about the theme of grounding, savory and earthy. My body loves all these veggies and apparently the baby does too.
-If I wanted something sweet, I went for an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. My mom made quite a few batches during my first trimester which was such a gift and something I enjoyed tremendously mostly because it was from my mom and emotionally and mentally was exactly what I needed.
Ok, hopefully I have given you some tips to go off of. Again, I love the topic of pregnancy, nutrition, exercise and everything in between. I am always open to discussion and questions so feel free to direct message me or write on my blog. It is a journey….a challenging, loving, magical experience that is completely YOUR own. You will probably be able to relate to me on some things but also have so many of your own experiences that make it unique and fabulous. I look forward to hearing from you.