A Love(ish) Letter to my First Trimester


Dear First Trimester,

We need to talk.

No, it’s not me – it’s you.

You’re an unstable friend.

We’ve been down this road together three times now, so it seems we should be old pals. Yet I still don’t even know you. What mood are you in today? What unexpected surprises will you bring tomorrow? What will you even be like in five minutes?

You never call or text ahead to let me know you’re on the way, nor do you arrive on demand when I send an invitation. Instead, you come on your own timetable, slowly sneaking up on me, tip-toeing around, flashing that sly grin of yours, and waiting on me to notice you’ve arrived.

One day, I’m eating my vegetables and drinking an occasional glass of wine, and the next day I’m puking over anything green and buying a pregnancy test on my way to a wine bar. (By the way, it would have been nice for you to announce your arrival before I joked I would be coming to the party for the free drinks. I think everyone was confused when I showed up and merely ordered a pink lemonade.)

I realize you regularly take crap from a lot of women. But you must admit most of it is well-deserved; I truly wouldn’t be surprised if one day I saw you on TV, receiving an intervention from Dr. Phil himself. I think we can all agree that you’re just so shifty. Enigmatic. Hard to pin down.

Of course, every time you come around, I momentarily forget about all of the instability you will bring. I’m truly SO delighted to see you – whether I’ve been waiting eagerly for you or caught in a moment of surprise. I owe you for always kicking out a certain aunt (Flo, some call her) and filling our home with so much joy, excitement, and hopeful expectation.

But as soon as we’re getting settled in – you and me – you suddenly introduce the mom take-down trifecta: nausea, fatigue, and worry.

I can’t walk by a Costco sample table without feeling like I’m going to lose my lunch of saltines and ginger ale.

I can’t make it through ONE morning of playing with my toddler without falling asleep in the middle of the floor, my son periodically tapping me on the nose to see if he can get away with finishing his Picasso on the dining room wall. (I’m just thankful we’re all still alive.)

I can’t survive until noon without three coffees, yet you’re constantly whispering over my shoulder, “tsk, tsk, tsk — don’t drink too much caffeine. Not good for the baby.”

Inconvenient as they are, somehow I still find myself grateful for these things – these signs that something is happening inside me, that life is forming, that bones and ligaments are growing, that a heart is beating.

First Trimester, you’re unbelievably annoying … and yet somehow still so lovable.

After all, you have been witness to my best, most amazing secrets – the secrets that have grown inside of me, tucked away where no human, not even me, can see them. One of those former secrets now snuggles up to me each morning on the couch, his crazy curls smashed in my face, his morning breath flooding my ultra-sensitive nostrils as he says “hi, mama!” and gives me a kiss. A few years ago, when I was daily bathing my work computer in saltine crumbs and eagerly awaiting the moment I could stop feeling crummy, I could not have imagined how sweet of a secret I was carrying inside me. Now I know – and I’d never trade those weeks, not for anything.

For all the chaos you bring, I do hope you’ll stick around. I hope I’ll get to say good-bye to you properly – by welcoming your better friend, the Second Trimester – rather than saying farewell because you had to leave too soon. As much as I loathe to love you, you are incredibly precious to me. You’re the only trimester who has sheltered all of my babies – even the one I’ll never hold, or the one I have yet to hold. That’s something we’ll always have together.

As I write this, my husband has been relegated to the other room to finish a snack that smells like armpit, and I’m sitting on the couch with a large bowl of cereal wondering just how early is too early for bedtime? Such is the scene on an ordinary night these days. I blame you entirely for all of my strange behaviors. You bring out the worst in me.

At the same time, I’ll give you this: you do important, good work. You kick off a thousand changes that eventually usher in a whole lot of joy, and I’d be remiss not to thank you for that.

So, from the bottom of my heart and my churning stomach: thanks, First Trimester. No one owes you more than moms do … except, perhaps, the makers of Saltines and Ginger Ale.


Morning Sickness in Kansas City

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