becoming a mom · casting aside fear · cultivating gratitude · fighting overwhelm · from the trenches

Dealing With First Trimester Apathy and Anxiety

So I am officially PG and Baby #3 is on his/her way! 🙂 Hence the silence here on the blog. I’ve been too uninspired to even think of writing something that could be remotely considered post-worthy.

Eventually though I did begin searching through the pregnancy advice links I’d saved, particularly those in the spiritual and emotional health department because that’s what I usually need most in the first trimester (well, okay, throughout the entire pregnancy).

I am fortunate not to have great nausea but I think that most women, whether they admit it or not, just don’t feel that great during the first weeks of pregnancy.

There’s so many little symptoms in addition to nausea that one can have, ranging from the most minor to some that are completely debilitating and since many of us have a combination of symptoms, it’s not surprising that the first trimester can be a difficult time.

Here’s an excerpt from an email I recently wrote to some family and close friends with the intent to poke a little fun at myself:

“I am a repeat sufferer of first trimester apathy. It involves huge amounts of boredom, laziness, lack of energy and most especially lack of motivation.

In the past few weeks I’ve read more books than I may have in the past year. OK that might be a stretch but I definitely don’t remember reading this much at once in many long ages. If possible, I hardly stray from the couch. You would probably cry if you saw how desperately lazy I am. And especially if you saw the laundry piles, dirty dishes, filth and mayhem that blatantly litter the house from one end to the other.

I distinctly remember when I was expecting my first there came a time when all my pregnancy books had to go because just looking at them wanted to nauseate me. Now I find, to my horror, that the feeling has greatly intensified this time to include most of my house! Furniture, walls, decor and most especially the evening routine: how they torture me!! But alas, they are not so easily discarded as books. The very idea of loading laundry or dishes seems unbearably taxing. The unpleasant results of this seem like an unwelcome but necessary evil. Ah, the joys and sorrows of life!”

Turns out I may have exaggerated too much once again since I was soon receiving more sympathy than my real situation merited. (Yes, I’m slowly learning that while humor is sometimes the best approach, it’s probably wise to temper it with a dash of reality!)

Because the truth is that while apathy is a big pregnancy weakness of mine, it does come and go. Today, for example, I went on a most welcome and unexpected binge of cleaning and tidying.

All told, pregnancy symptoms are one of the most guaranteed illnesses to disappear with time and many times end with the happiest of results!

And for those who’ve lost babies, some say they’d do anything to suffer morning sickness again if it meant they had a baby to care for.

The importance of having the right perspective goes without saying. Some days, of course, that’s easier said than done. Which is exactly where these articles come in because they help remind, remind, remind me on the days when it’s easier to forget:

Pregnancy Limitations and Morning Sickness : There is a wealth of information here that covers housekeeping tips during pregnancy, morning sickness remedies and much more in addition to wise advice on keeping a good attitude throughout pregnancy.

God’s Grace Through the Pain of Pregnancy : Marlena Graves shares how God works through difficult pregnancies and what she’s learning from it. 

Choosing a Heart Attitude of Thankfulness : Angie Tolpin, a mom of six, shares thoughts on choosing gratitude in a letter to her younger sister. 

Taking Care of Yourself While Pregnant : While this post does not discuss heart attitudes so much, it’s a reminder to take care of ourselves properly. After all, if we don’t, it’s even harder to have a healthy outlook. 

I also stumbled across these verses in my Bible and they added to the thoughts I’d already been having:

“And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (II Chronicles 31:20-21 KJV)

Here was a man who did what was good and right and truth. And one who, in every work that he began, would seek God and he would do it with all his heart. And then he prospered because of it.

I thought of myself and this baby. And I knew that I wanted the same to be true for me. 

There are so many things about pregnancy and about new baby care that I dread, if I’m honest. Baby’s first year has been tough for me in the past. I don’t expect a bed of roses the third time around either.

But this time I am working harder to stop the negative thoughts that want to come.

One thing I’ve found that helps with this is the ‘faith versus fear’ chart that Nerida Walker shares in her wonderful book God’s Plan for Pregnancy. This simple comparison between faith and fear clearly illustrates the vast difference between the two.

{ FEAR has vision:  //  FAITH has vision: }

– Fear has a language (speaks) / Faith has a language (speaks)

– Fear links you to the natural / Faith links you to the supernatural .

– Fear sees you without the answer / Faith sees you with the answer

– Fear sees the worst result / Faith sees the desired result

Since reading this, I’ve realized that far too often I allow fear to rule. I envision myself without the answer and with the worst result instead of embracing faith.

My fear also links me to the natural (expected results) instead of the supernatural and God’s awesome power (and ability to transform and work the seemingly impossible in my life). 

So now when I find fear wanting to take over, I remember that faith sees an answer, faith sees the desired result and faith sees God’s all-powerful ways. And I choose faith.

Your turn! What has worked for you or inspired you when dealing with pregnancy difficulties?

(A note on the book God’s Plan for Pregnancy: It’s probably geared most toward someone struggling with infertility but what I’ve read so far applies to pretty much everyone: God’s promises, what faith is and how to pray in faith, etc. I highly recommend the book to any pregnant or hope-to-be pregnant persons but I certainly wouldn’t say it had to be limited to those in that condition!)

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