A few weeks before I knew I was pregnant, something felt different. I avoided soft cheese when offered, just in case. And I continued to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, there might be a special little life growing inside of me.
When I did take the at-home pregnancy test, my husband and I both cried and laughed with joy. We were parents! After seeing a doctor the next day to confirm, we orchestrated a set-up for our families to come over the following week and kept our mouths shut until announcing the news then. Who would have known that this “bunch of cells” inside of me could cause so much jumping and shouting and so many happy tears?
On the other hand, who knew that this tiny thing could also change my body and my life so much? I guess I had never before paid proper attention to pregnant mothers in their first trimesters, but as it turns out, babies make an impact long before they’re born. I couldn’t eat what I normally liked and lost my appetite a lot of the time, I was absolutely exhausted, being on the go for too long made me queasy, I could smell anything whether it was a mile away or cooked in my house a week before, scents I used to like now horrified me, and there was a constant metallic taste in my mouth. But would I change any of it? Not for the world – it’s all so worth it!
I also grew in a feeling of responsibility towards our tiny person – everything I do at the moment can affect it. What I eat, how I sleep, what activities I partake in, how I’m feeling. It’s probably a small taste of the responsibility I’ll feel when our child is born – the duty to bring it up to be healthy, happy and a good person.
We may have only been married for a few months now but my first-trimester symptoms proved to me even more that I had chosen a good husband. I was sick and worn out but I didn’t have to worry about my share of the household duties – his already protective nature ramped up and he’s been looking after me, making me rest and cooking for me (after his full day of work and post-work activities, even when it was I who generally gets home first). And although this was so tiring for him, I’m so impressed that he’s still willing to stick to our dreams of a big family.
We experienced our first ultrasound at nine weeks, and we just couldn’t believe what we were seeing. How can anyone say that a fetus isn’t a human being until it leaves the womb? We could already see our little one’s arms and legs moving around, the tiny heart beating, and could even see the way it rested in a holiday-esque style with its arms behind its head. What a little miracle!
I look at my mother, after nine pregnancies, with new and admiring eyes. My mother-in-law, my aunties, my friends – even mothers and pregnant women I see on the street: I applaud them all. How impressive for women to carry on, working, living, loving, while dealing with the often uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy.
But even amongst all the “weakness” of the symptoms I’m experiencing, I feel strong. I feel in awe that my body can support the growth of a child and will know how to nourish it once it’s born. Sure, my body might never be the same again, the worry will set in and I might never have another good night’s sleep – but for now my skin’s glowing, I get to carry my child around with me all the time, and life is full of the excitement of wondering what our baby will be like. How cool is that?!