Congratulations on your pregnancy! As your body works to double its blood volume, you may find you are more fatigued than usual, especially when it comes to handling Reneé from Partnerships talking about her yoga teacher training. Should you choose to wait until 12 weeks to announce your pregnancy, it will be the longest you’ve held a private thought since the creation of Twitter. Enjoy this strange twilight in which the future birth of a baby is a secret between you, your partner, and the man who saw you retch into your fist at Pret a Manger.
As your fetus goes from pea-sized to cauliflower-sized, you’ll go from hoping desperately for a bump to show to wondering how you have already managed to blow past the maximum recommended weight-gain signpost with 14 weeks remaining.
You’ll finally feel actually pregnant as you spend more and more time sitting pantsless on disposable paper sheeting at checkups, imagining the magical day you will spend 35 hours without pants on, waiting for a baby to show up.
Any illusions about the Zen-like form you planned to take in late-pregnancy linen shifts will be ruined faster than an Eileen Fisher shift in a tumble dryer as you and your durian-shaped abdominal mass discover linen has no give. Instead, you will pursue cheap polyester knits that signal, Why yes, I would like a subway seat.
Having started earnestly in on kick counts with gentle sessions reclined on a sofa, your hand there to divine the faintest of movements, you’ll now push on your unborn baby’s bum multiple times a day just to make sure they’re not sneaking into the breech position.
Common wisdom holds that human babies are born somewhat immaturely, because if they were to develop further and come out capable of unfolding their legs and galloping about later on their birthdays in the manner of a baby giraffe, their heads would be too big to fit through your cervix or pelvis. To this, you might remark, “ARE YOU SAYING HIS HEAD WAS NOT BIG?”
The nuts and bolts of the “fourth trimester” are that your baby needs round-the-clock feeding and care, leaving you with approximately two minutes a day to squirt water on your perineal stitches and curate your Instagram. This one is hard on everyone.
The getting-your-period-back trimester is a summer blockbuster with way too many characters that goes on far too long. (Remember: breastfeeding is not birth control!!!)
Now that you have established a loose nap schedule, have a baby who is sleeping through the night (it turns out sleeping through to 2 AM is considered “through the night”), and have seen your baby from those early days through chrysalis to a smiling, gratifying conversational partner, you won’t get to enjoy it because your FMLA ran out and you have to get your butt back to work before Jayson, the 22-year-old intern, man-powers his way into your job by quoting strategy from the Google doc you left him.
Sometimes called “the first trimester you actually remember with any clarity,” this is the magical trimester in which you will have both a perfect baby who suckles placidly in your arms and also a small mammal with free will, teeth, and sharp nails, who is named preposterously for your father-in-law. The act of edging one of the most sensitive parts of your body into a tiny, incisor-lined cave while carrying on a conversation about Fleabag should be proof eternal that women have already transcended our mortal bodies and are hanging around on a higher spiritual plane, somewhere just above our nipples.
The seventh trimester is when you realize getting misty-eyed over every Microsoft Surface ad is a permanent limbic change. You celebrate one year of life for your child, but are also celebrating your first year of feeling like you were truly alive to the powers of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and other melancholy-lite pop fare that allows you to indulge your new powers of feeling. Coldplay is so profound — how come no one told you this before?
As you ponder whether it’s too late to try a postpartum belly band (it… it is), you’ll find that lactation cookies and hoppy microbrews help fuel your days as a busy mother, even though you long since gave up lactation. Must be the chocolate chips!
This is a sacred time for buying Class Passes then never using them, becoming a seat warrior for pregnant women standing on the subway, and wondering why your pelvis still screeches like a rusty gate every time you go for a jog. It’s time to reclaim your identity as a woman first, mom second. Unless you’d rather not.
In which you take up sprouting your own grains, then decide it’s fine if your child lives on cheddar bunnies. This trimester, which rounds out two years of child-having, atop nine months of pregnancy, will see you, the parent who once inscribed her baby shower invitations with “no presents, or up-cycled, green presents if you must,” surrounded by gleaming towers of yellow, pink, and fire-truck red plastic that bleat “la-la, la la la LA LA LA,” over and over.
You will finally find you can be bothered to have sex — OH HEY, GUESS WHAT YOU’RE PREGNANT AGAIN. Congratulations, and welcome to the first tri.