What to do When You Find Out You're Pregnant
This post was originally published on our old blog Born to be a Bride as "You're Pregnant: What Now?"
When Josh and I got engaged, the first thing I did (after spending three days frolicking around Southern California staring at my new sparkler and smooching my man between sips of champagne) was buy an issue of Brides. Within a couple of weeks, I had picked up a 2-inch pink binder and started stashing it with everything from inspirational mood photos and gorgeous gowns to post-it notes with the names of Brooklyn-based photogs and so on. We wanted to shout the news from the rooftops, and I held nothing back when it came to a Facebook album full of pictures, throwing parties, and, of course, starting this blog.
But, when I found out I was pregnant, it was another story. I had wanted this for so long and I was so excited, but we were months out from feeling comfortable sharing our news publicly, I obviously didn’t look pregnant, and I was a ways off from buying maternity clothes. I knew I was at the start of a fun and exciting journey but didn’t really have a way to mark the beginning weeks with anything other than anxiety-filled ramblings in a journal. After we had our official confirmation at the doctor and I found out my due date, I was still at a loss. I had a tote bag filled with prenatal vitamin samples and some printouts on diet and best practices, and that was it.
It took me a few weeks but I figured out some fun ways to start feeling connected to my pregnancy long before those first kicks or expandable-waist jeans. Here’s what I learned in my first trimester, and I hope you enjoy some of these ideas as well. Mamas who’ve been there, let me know what else you did to make the early months of pregnancy fun despite the nausea!
Even though we wouldn’t tell our family about the baby-to-be until 12 weeks, and friends/social media until 16, Josh and I started our “bump” pictures at 8 weeks/2 months. It’s absolutely hilarious to me now looking at this picture to remember thinking at the time that I already had a little tummy. BAH! But taking these pictures became a monthly tradition/mile marker and I’m so glad to have the evidence of even the ones that were not ready to be shared.
By the way, you can find tons of fun and creative signs to mark the weeks as they go by — friends have recently purchased blocks, printables, and stickers via Etsy to do just that. But I hope this photo serves as proof that you truly do not need to make a fuss. I was so tired and sick in the beginning of my pregnancy, and every day was tough. In order to pull my share of the bills but still have time to write, I was nannying three days a week and working a 12-hour day with a 45-minute commute tacked on at either end. I had to hide my pregnancy from my employer for many reasons, and taking care of a busy 15-month-old boy was more than exhausting. The most I could muster for this little eight-week sign was the back of an index card and a Sharpie — but I couldn’t love it more.
Do a tiny bit of shopping. I knew I wouldn’t need maternity clothes for a while, but I also intuited that there would a be a morning when I woke up and found my pants didn’t sit right. In order to avoid a meltdown on that fated day, I went onto ASOS.com and nabbed a pair of sleek maternity skinny jeans and some black leggings to set aside. Sure enough, when I eventually “popped” and couldn’t sneak around in my jeans anymore, having that pair at the ready really helped me to feel okay about it.
Don’t overspend as you won’t really know until you’ve got a bump what exactly it is that you need and want. But a little black maternity dress, that classic pair of jeans, or another season-less basic is definitely a good idea. Also put some cash aside to do a bit more spending once you have a better sense of your size and preferences after you’ve crossed over into official maternity territory.
And finally, get it together. No — I don’t mean stop weeping at Subaru commercials or losing your shit when you discover the freezer barren of ice cream when you need it most. Just get your papers together! I bought an old-school, spiral-bound month planner from Target as well as a binder with plastic sleeves to insert any and all papers related to the baby. This was a great way to satisfy my nesting itch without buying baby clothes or looking at cribs, as it was way too early to do that.
Divide your binder according to nutrition/logistics, ultrasound photos, to-do (like your flu vaccine, glucose test, and other scheduling bits and bobs), and inspiration (nursery schemes, baby names, etc.) I also went through the planner with a narrow Sharpie and wrote important dates and mile markers in a pretty font. Having something to look forward to, and tangible proof of how far along I was, made the endless trips to the bathroom and pervasive fatigue more manageable.
I know it sounds redundant because everyone is telling you this, but the other thing I strongly suggest is that you take naps. Yes, it’s hard when you’re working and you want to actually enjoy your weekends. But even lying down in a dimly lit room from 7 to 8 pm and ordering takeout or making a frozen dinner instead of fussing about the kitchen can help. I watched Dr. Phil every day that I was off from the nannying job, scheduling the time block into my writing responsibilities, business meetings, and doctor appointments. Having two hours a week that were built in for nothing but sparkling water and relaxation was so important, especially when it was too early to call friends to commiserate.
Soon, your announcement will be made and your story shared. Your wondrous bump will start to grow and people will hopefully open doors for you and not give you the hairy eyeball when you park your car in the Expectant Mother spot at the grocery store. But for now, your precious secret should be enjoyed as much as possible. Make the most of this time by taking care of someone very important — your baby’s mother.