getting ready to welcome
Baby Goosen • en route March 2020
It has certainly been a little quiet around these parts, and for good reason. I’ve learned that I’m not very good at keeping up-to-date on Better Happier, or on social media in general, when my head is in the toilet half the time, all while in the midst of a super busy summer work-wise. Turns out, I’m pregnant!
I didn’t believe it myself at first, my generally sharp intuition seemed to be taking a vacation at the time. My mother finally insisted that I take a pregnancy test, and it’s a good thing she did. I had dealt with a chemical pregnancy just before, and I was convinced my system was still “off”. The irony is that I read a pregnancy book (Expecting Better) and a parenting book (Simplicity Parenting) back to back, during the early weeks when I was sure my mother was crazy, and that there was no way in hell I was expecting so soon after our previous issue. The news was such a beautiful surprise, delivered just in time for Robert’s birthday. “Baby Goosen” (our favorite funny Guyette-Luessen mashup, *not the baby’s name!), or the Spicy Shrimp, as we’ve come to call them, is due to arrive in March of 2020. A popular time for births in our family, my sister and I are two days apart in March, but still managed to be separated by an entire astrological sign. This little one will be a Pisces, same as my sister. Lord knows we don’t need another Aries in our tiny house.
The first trimester hit me like a ton of bricks. Where is my pregnancy glow!? I asked myself every time I looked in the mirror to see a new landscape of hormonal breakouts along my chin and jawline, after losing my breakfast for the second time, feeling mostly like a narcoleptic alien. I learned quickly about the dichotomy of pregnancy. Feeling the sheer joy, the gratitude, the excitement, while simultaneously feeling utterly miserable, nauseous, and exhausted. Pinning all my nursery ideas was buttressed by the agonizing thought of how many more bagels could I possibly convince myself to eat in a single day. The ongoing text thread with my mother and sister was mostly updates on how my daily nausea was. Then one day, it was so bad, that I had to cancel my shoot for the day, and spent most of the time crying between throwing up my feeble attempts to drink water. It lasted from about 7 in the morning until late into the evening. I was booked on a two day photoshoot that weekend, and was panicking about how I would make it through. “How do people do this!?” I kept asking. Knowing that Robert was away on a shoot, and I was confined to the couch feeling utterly helpless, my sister sent a surprise Wegman’s delivery of watermelon and popsicles, immediately ensuing tears on my end. Hormones! They will get you every time.
There was no hiding it in the beginning. I started showing much earlier than I had anticipated, and couldn’t fit into any of my jeans by week 8. When you show up to a photoshoot and are terrified of when you’ll start throwing up, how many times you will, how many pretzels you need to keep squirreled away in your pocket, you might find it’s easier to lead with transparency. I learned that I found the “keep it quiet until week 12” advice to seem archaic, and restrictive. I decided that it felt better for me to be honest about what was happening to my body, rather than try to pretend I had a 5 week long stomach bug. With miscarriages common, and society still catching up with how to treat women during all stages of pregnancy- trying to conceive, loss, birth, and motherhood, I decided that being open and honest, for me personally, was the best policy. There was a lot of me saying “full disclosure- I’m pregnant” in the early weeks, which is really interesting to watch people react to. People’s reactions in general are something I find really fascinating. Overwhelmingly everyone has been excited, but some of my favorite responses include “is this a good thing? You look so young” and later on I got a “please don’t send us a Christmas card with your belly on it, you’re totally someone who would do that”, and that was maybe my favorite. Pregnancy I found, brings out this sort of inhibition in people to speak so freely you wonder where they’d been hiding these opinions before you were pregnant.
The first trimester as a whole has been overwhelmingly joyful, but from the beginning, I’ve been brutally honest about how rough this time was for me. Mostly because all-day nausea is really difficult, feeling like you’re going to fall asleep while standing up at 2 PM is difficult, continuing to meet your deadlines while puking your guts up all day is difficult, and I had no shame about communicating that. I felt an inner sense of relief when I came to terms with the fact that my body is currently growing a human, that takes a lot of work, and it’s okay if I can’t do it all with a smile on my face. These past nearly 14 weeks taught me so much so quickly, like how to navigate the conversations with friends who are struggling to get pregnant, and giving as much advice as I feel comfortable to other friends who ask for it. I think there’s a very real need for women to be sensitive to those who want to share in the celebration of this exciting transition, but it might not be the right or easiest time for them to do so.
It wasn’t until our trip to Maine last weekend that Robert said I seemed more like myself, and I was! Apart from entering the second trimester, I credit much of that to the crisp Maine air, time spent laughing with friends, and eating the first real meal that wasn’t a negotiation in nausea, a lobster roll. It was a truly magical feeling.