Dear mama, first-trimester fatigue is like nothing you’ve known before


Dear mama,

I know that first-trimester exhaustion can weigh on you like a heavy fog. Like you’re running on empty. Each day brings a new intense emotion—even if that emotion is numbness. Or fear. Or overwhelm. There are even moments where you forget that you’re pregnant, and then you remember all over again. I know sometimes the future looks so overwhelming, or exciting. Or both.

I know to others, it doesn’t look like much is going on, mama. It’s hard to feel like you have to keep a secret you might not want to keep. Like you want to share your joy but there is fear in saying it out loud or letting it go. Like once it’s out there, you can’t protect it any longer.

I know it’s hard to act like nothing has changed, but inside you feel like everything is changing. The exhaustion is real, and yet they can’t see it. It’s easy to doubt, it’s easy to question if you’re making it all up—looking for excuses to go easy on yourself for the first time—maybe the first time ever.

But it’s real. Your exhaustion is real. And you need the rest.

Your body is working so hard, mama. Did you know that right now your body is developing a beating heart, limbs, even toes? So much of that energy that you used to use for yourself, and your full life, your body is using it elsewhere now.

If it feels like you don’t have much else to give, it’s because you don’t.

So remember that when you start to feel guilty that you’re not doing enough—that you’re not exercising, that you haven’t responded to that email, that all you can muster is plain toast. Remember how hard you are working, just by living and breathing.

  • Trust yourself. No one needs to give you permission to rest and very few will. You know your body better than anyone else.
  • Start each day by acknowledging your incredible strength. If you use an app that shows you how your baby is developing from a seed to a blueberry, remember that this is the constant work of your body. Maybe you can’t see it, but imagine how much energy and strength it takes for your body to create life.
  • Forgive yourself if your experience of pregnancy isn’t aligning with the unrealistic fantasies of social media and pop culture.
  • Nourish your body with rest and whatever food your body can handle right now. This is a time to trust your biology, rather than judge it.
  • Know you’re not alone. It can feel scary to share your news, but if there is a friend that you can trust, a friend who understands the moment you are in, let them in.
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Today’s Parent is Canada’s #1 source for parenting content that informs, inspires and builds a sense of community. We help parents celebrate the happy chaos that comes with having a family and remind them that they are not alone. If you’re trying to conceive, pregnant or have children from newborn to ages 9+, you’ll get insightful information for all ages and stages on discipline, health, behaviour, education, plus easy and nutritious recipes and so much more.

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