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Image / Editorial

Turns out the first trimester feels exactly like a three month hangover


by Dominique McMullan
04th Mar 2019
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Dominique McMullan is due her first child in April 2019. Since week 10 she has been keeping a diary. Here, at week 15, she looks back at the first trimester


I am finally reaching that mythical time called the second trimester. The previous three months have not been easy. Naively I had imagined a glorious time telling all my friends and family, potentially accompanied by some cute morning sickness. I envisioned a small heave or two in the morning, a weary sigh and pat around the mouth, followed by an inward smile, a pat on the belly, and then off on my day I would go. I would wave around my pee stick, smiling and laughing smile and laugh at how wonderful the world was, and we would speak of nothing but baby names and cute, tiny shoes.

I thought that you were either Kate Middleton sick, or you were grand. But instead, I was graced with what felt like the world’s longest running hangover.

Let me defend my complete naivety; this was all I knew. Unless someone very close to you has been pregnant you may, like me, simply have no idea what is coming. Even people that are pregnant don’t seem to volunteer this information. This is, of course, a mass conspiracy to ensure the survival of the human race.

Related:  ‘It’s finally time to start telling people’

I thought that you were either Kate Middleton sick, or you were grand. But instead, I was graced with what felt like the world’s longest running hangover. For three months, I went to bed every night at eight, dry-mouthed, with a headache and nauseous. I wasn’t sick enough to not go to work, but I was sick enough to feel like crap.

Ugly crying

One particular Sam Smith song had me ugly crying in the car for at least 20 minutes because “people get their hearts broken everyday”

In work I sometimes lay on the bathroom floor, just for a rest. I broke out in spots, sweat and hairs which started growing from unmentionable places. I was out of breath just speaking to colleagues. I cried a lot. One particular Sam Smith song had me ugly crying in the car for at least 20 minutes because “people get their hearts broken everyday”.

 Food held a very real power over me. I rang my husband, panicked because I couldn’t find anything I wanted to eat. Once I sat on the road outside a shop, crying while he came to get me with a homemade cheese sandwich.

Related: ‘I’m pregnant and suffering from pregnancy imposter syndrome’

Smells were like ninjas, hiding around every corner. In Marks and Spencer a well-meaning attendant dropped a Tikka Masala ready meal onto my suede boot at the beginning of a particularly busy day. The pungent remnants folded into the boots crevasses and followed me around for the next 12 hours, prompting small but intense wretches every half hour or so. I managed these wretches while on stage in front of 50 odd people that evening.

Chips, cheese sandwiches and soda bread

I could only eat chips, cheese sandwiches and soda bread, and I needed a constant, bewildering supply of all three

I read about how expectant mothers often lost a bit of weight around this time. I could only eat chips, cheese sandwiches and soda bread, and I needed a constant, bewildering supply of all three, often simultaneously. Every so often I would attempt ‘healthy’ food, but couldn’t manage to even look at a green juice, never mind keep it down.

I realized what heartburn was REALLY all about, now anything that wasn’t beige – caused it. The headaches, dry mouth, low level nausea and fatigue (oh the fatigue) weren’t even the worst bit, it was the fact that I couldn’t even complain about them to anyone other than my husband. My poor long-suffering husband, who had to listen to nearly four months of every type of complaint under the sun.

So if not for myself, but for him, thank god I can see a light on the first trimester horizon.

Photograph: Kieran Harnett