Anna Maria Locke

5 tips for surviving the first trimester when you feel like a blob

2019Anna Locke
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Now that I’m heading into the home stretch of this pregnancy, I finally feel like I’m getting used to being preggo. Or at least getting used to the fact that my body feels different literally every single day!

One of my favorite parts of being so open about my journey is being able to connect with other women at a similar season of life, whether they are navigating miscarriage, trying to conceive, newly pregnant and haven’t even told friends and family yet (perks of being a stranger on the internet!), it’s such a gift to remind each other that we aren’t alone.

I love getting messages like this:


“I'm 7 weeks pregnant and having horrible morning sickness and food aversions! Pregnancy has been such a roller coaster of emotions! I feel like I'm losing myself because I haven't been able to eat or exercise or do the things I want due to feeling poorly! For instance my body craves carbs and salt right now so I eat what help me get food in my stomach but i'd love to be eating healthy but when I try some days it'll make me gag! Also lots of nights in so exhausted there's no way exercising or walking is an option and this makes me feel worse about myself! And all this stuff no one tells u! They act like as soon as you get positive test you will love baby and be excited and fit and beautiful 24-7 n reality is it just feels like I'm getting over a cold and a leach is inside me sucking all of my strength energy and motivation and I don’t see it feel it or hear it so I don’t have major connections to it yet. And pregnancy for me hasn’t been beautiful and charming its been bloat and hormonal acne and and clothes not fitting lol.

This is an exciting stage in my life how do I embrace it and make the best of it?”


Ohhhh girl. This sums up first trimester so perfectly, doesn’t it?

It’s freaking hard to go from feeling on top of your life, career, workouts, social life… to literally overnight feeling like there is a parasitic alien possessing your body and turning you into an exhausted, moody, bloated, nauseous blob. Not to mention the expectations and internal pressure to be the radiant glowing joyful goddess depicted by society and the media.

When we experience anything less than pure happiness and health, we start to second guess our experiences or feel shame and self judgment for not being more grateful, excited, or energetic.

In doing so, we diminish and discredit the profoundly ENORMOUS transition we’re experiencing physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally as our bodies and entire identities shift into a new role - motherhood.

Any type of growth and change — even if it’s welcomed and positive — is bound to be uncomfortable and overwhelming as we shed old layers of identity and step out into the unknown.

(Also, two words: HORMONE ROLLERCOASTER)

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Here are some of my personal tips for surviving the first few rocky months of pregnancy.

Please keep in mind these opinions are coming from my limited experience as a first time mom, so take or leave anything I say with a grain of salt and always consult your doctor first! My personal advice is geared towards first time moms who are in a supportive relationship and are having relatively uncomplicated, healthy pregnancies and not suffering from complications such as hyperemesis gravidarum. Make sure you’re seeking the level of support you need for your unique situation.

1. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO EMBRACE YOUR NEW BLOB STATUS

Your body has been possessed! Give yourself grace and do what you can, but the first trimester is about rest and self care and adjusting, and it does usually get better!

Your body is putting on weight and fat stores now to fuel your baby as it grows, which is tough because while your fetus or embryo is still tiny you just feel bloated and gross... but it all balances out! View the first 12-14 weeks as survival mode. Embrace being lazy but explore gentle movement to see if it helps your nausea and fatigue. One of the only things that helped me feel better was getting outside in the cold winter air for a walk. It never sounded like a good idea, but it always felt good to move my body and get fresh air. My personal mantra was “it TAKES energy to MAKE energy.”

If you’re dealing with nausea, vomiting, feeling constantly motion sick or jet lagged, don’t beat yourself up about not being able to eat healthy foods. Try your best to figure out what you can tolerate, try to eat plenty of protein and healthy fats, and trust your prenatal vitamin will fill the gaps. I discovered that smoothies were tolerable, and used them to sneak in fruit and veggies. My favorite combo is a scoop of Vegan Chocolate Shakeology (full of superfoods, whole food nutrients, and pre/probiotics that helped settle my stomach) with half a frozen banana, almond milk, a handful of spinach, peanut butter, and ice.

One crazy factoid: our blood volume increases 40-50 percent during pregnancy, so that is partly why your heart works overtime and you will feel constantly out of breath. It doesn’t mean you’re suddenly out of shape or lazy, it just means your body has a lot of internal demands.

You will get the fitness back eventually, but in the meantime your body is working overtime on the inside! Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not happening.

If you do feel well enough to squeeze in a short workout with your doctor’s approval, it’s totally safe to continue doing what you were doing before pregnancy. I will be sharing my personal tips and favorite resources for prenatal health and fitness in a future post!

Sleep as much as you can, and practice delegating more chores to your partner.

Affirmation: “I’m not lazy, I’m pregnant.”

2. IT’S OK TO NOT FEEL EXCITED AND HAPPY 24/7 (or at all)

I went into pregnancy fully prepared for all the physical discomforts like nausea, fatigue, the random stuff your body does (hello bloody noses, flaky scalp, clogged toilets), but you can’t really prepare for the mental and emotional rollercoaster until you’re in it.

Pregnancy is hard because you are literally losing yourself, or the version of yourself you’ve known up until now. Your entire life as you know it is about to change, in obvious ways like gaining weight, stretch marks, and being responsible for an infant, but you’re also losing a lot of freedom along the way. No more last minute brunch dates with your girlfriends, sleeping in as long as you want, hopping on a plane for a long weekend getaway without any extra preparation, being able to focus on work or your business.

However, you’re also gaining a new version of yourself and your life, and I like to remind myself to focus on what I’m GAINING versus what’s being lost.

But along the way, whatever you are feeling is valid. Even the seemingly selfish feelings of grief for losing your old way of life.

Some typical first trimester emotional triggers:

  • Navigating the unknown

  • Miscarriage anxiety

  • Money stress

  • Overwhelm of adjusting to new reality

  • Feel like you are strapped on a rollercoaster and can’t get off

  • Feeling isolated or alone, especially at the beginning before you share the news, or if you don’t have anyone in your inner circle to relate with

  • If you experienced miscarriage, fertility struggles, or challenges in trying to conceive (or a close friend or family member is going through challenges), you might feel a broad mix of emotions or feel guilty for feeling anything other than gratitude and excitement

It’s ok to feel all the feels. We have the capacity to feel sadness, grief, overwhelm, fear AND love and joy and gratitude all at the same time.

You don’t have to rationalize your emotions. They aren’t supposed to make sense.

There is no one way you "should" feel and no one is happy and excited all day every day. That is completely unrealistic to expect of yourself while pregnant, especially when you’re also dealing with the hormonal hijacking, exhaustion, nausea, and all the other ups and downs of life. You might also be dealing with complicated family relationships, processing anything traumatic you’ve experienced to get to this point, maybe your own mom isn’t around anymore and you’re facing that loss again in a brand new way.

Emotions might be a rollercoaster but you WILL have exciting and joyful moments along the way, like seeing your little gummy bear on an ultrasound for the first time, hearing a heartbeat, watching your partner get excited too.

it definitely gets easier once your bump starts to grow and people know you’re pregnant, and you can get excited about preparing for an actual baby vs. just feeling like shit. But until then, it’s ok to feel like shit.

Fortunately, we have 9 months to feel the feels, come to terms with all the changes, and prepare for becoming a mother, which might not feel like enough but it is a lot of time, so try not to rush through to “get to the other side.” Meet yourself where you’re at even when it is hard.

3. SET BOUNDARIES TO MANAGE OVERWHELM

I almost said “to avoid overwhelm” and then laughed because that’s going to be impossible. You WILL feel overwhelmed. It’s ok. It’s part of the process of expanding into a new identity and role, and being swamped with brand new experiences and changes.

Welcome the overwhelm and understand it’s just part of the growth process.

I’m obsessed with reading and learning everything I can get my hands on, but my doula told me to avoid anything that triggers fear or anxiety, and to get outside for a walk when the weather is nice instead of obsessing about my pregnancy or getting sucked into the baby development/registry/Google vortex. Great advice.

Speaking of advice, you’ll soon discover that everyone and their mother - literally - is chock full of “advice” and opinions when you’re pregnant. Practice the art of the “smile and thank you,” and remember that you get to decide who you listen to, and what advice you take into consideration. It might help to make a mental list of whose input you value (e.g. your doctor, mom, sister, BFF, etc), and then allow everyone else’s input to slide right off, no matter how well intentioned they may be.

Get used to asking for what you need, and receiving help!

4. CHOOSE TO EMBRACE THE JOURNEY

I recently started reading the book What No One Tells You: a guide to your emotions from pregnancy to motherhood, written by two psychiatrists who offer the perspective that pregnancy isn’t just some medical condition, or a means to a baby, but rather a bigger transition or initiatory stage of life called “matrescense,” or becoming a mother.

They compare it to adolescence, which is a culturally recognized phase we’re taught about in school when our hormones go nuts and we grow from a little kid into a pre-young-adult.

Matrescence involves a similarly massive shift in identity, hormones, body changes, and mental and emotional upheaval, yet we don’t ever really acknowledge it.

Our society focuses on the baby but it’s important to focus on the mother, too.

it's a journey for sure! But you will be fine and you WILL do what is best for your body and baby, learning how to trust in your body and your intuition is one of the most amazing parts of these 9 months.

Try not to get caught up in the future or wanting to get to the next phase, and practice mindfulness and being present in the moment, even when you feel crappy.

5. REMEMBER IT’S ALL TEMPORARY!

You probably feel different every single day, which is a reminder that your body is literally constantly changing. The days might feel long, but the weeks and months will fly by, and eventually this too shall pass. I try to remember that this is the only time in my life I’ll experience my first pregnancy, and it helps give me perspective and feel extra grateful and present in the moment.

Enjoy the learning journey, take things day by day, and practice tons of self compassion and grace. The self care you establish now will serve you well in the future once baby is here and life is turned upside down.

But until then, it’s not upside down yet!

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Pregnancy has humbled and challenged me in so many ways. I think the first trimester is such a SHOCK to the system because we need to be literally forced into a new reality, as we transition into motherhood.

Everyday is different. Roll with it.

I’m learning how to adjust my expectations, set priorities, and give myself so much grace along the way.

Will I ever feel like myself again?? Or do I just need to suck it up for the next 18 years?

I guess the answer is: I’m still myself. Just changing.

xo Anna

Common Fears to Expect While Growing Your Business

2019Anna Locke
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It takes what I call COURAGEOUS AUTHENTICITY to build a heart centered business that's an expression of who you are, because it forces us to (A) figure out who we are in the first place and (B) get super vulnerable and bare our souls to the internet and world !!

In my 5 years of online business I've realized that we all deal with pretty much the exact same fears: fear of rejection, judgment, failure, success, no one signing up for our stuff, not ever finishing what we start...

There’s a difference between what I consider legit fear (e.g. danger or harm coming to you or someone you care about) versus irrational fear (what our ego or crazybrain considers danger, but won’t actually put us in harms way).

The way we evolved, our instinctual brain can’t tell the difference between being chased by a knife wielding stranger down a dark alley, and going out of our comfort zone to do something we’ve never done before. Our fear instinct sends DANGER warnings to our nervous system in either case, and we react accordingly.

In the second scenario, whenever we go out of our comfort zone we’re placing ourselves at risk of failure, judgment, increased visibility, which are uncomfortable to our ego that just wants us to fit in and play small.

So are you going to run or hide? Or is your adult, logical, rational truth brain going to override your instincts and remind you that you are indeed safe, even if personal growth is uncomfortable?

Almost all of our “irrational” fears can be traced back to one of two core fears:

  1. Fear of not being loved/accepted

  2. Fear of not being enough

For me, the former manifests in trying not to rock the boat, trying to be strong and not show emotions, taking care of everyone but feeling guilty for having my own needs and desires. A sense of isolation and being separate or different.

The second manifests in crippling perfectionism and overwhelm paralysis, feeling like I will never be able to fulfill my potential. Like I’m always failing to reach my own expectations. A sense of anxiety and lack.

I sent a poll out to my Courageously Authentic Women in Biz community and they responded with similar fears too, which I could easily trace back to the core two fears of not being loved, not being enough, or a little of both.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

I AM NOT LOVED (fear of rejection) … this could also be the flip of not enough: being TOO MUCH.

  • What people will think?

  • I’ll fail and push people away.

  • Being open and vulnerable will lead to being misunderstood or judged.

  • What if no one else will want to join me?

  • Fear of judgment or rejection.

  • Fear of success!

I AM NOT ENOUGH

  • I will never attract paying clients.

  • I feel incapable and unworthy.

  • I’m afraid of failing.

  • I’m afraid of not being enough.

  • I don’t have a unique experience to connect with others.

  • Who am I to be a (insert your type of business here)?

  • I’ll never be successful because I’m not a high performer.

  • If I put time and effort into something and fail, I’ll have wasted that time and energy.

  • I’m not cool/popular/extroverted enough to really build this into a sustainable, flourishing business or put the effort in to keep it there

  • If I need to take time to recharge and unplug for a few days, people will lose interest so I just have to push through even when my body/soul are screaming for rest.

  • I am afraid of not having enough time to achieve everything I want, both in business and in life. I have all these great things I want to do, but I don’t have the time to get to them and in turn I won’t be as successful as I feel I can be...

  • Fear of not finishing what I started and dreamed of.

  • Not having enough time to build a business while raising children, and having to sacrifice time with kids and partner. Will it all be worth it?

The crazy thing is that we are all the same. We all struggle with different flavors of the same fundamental “stuff” of being human.

When we get out of our heads, and realize that we aren’t alone, the fear starts to dissipate!

This is why I freaking LOVE being a life coach.

Because you can do all the personal development. Go to all the motivational seminars.

But sometimes we need someone else to guide us through the actual work of processing and releasing our fears and doubts, to guide us back to our truth and reflect back what we can’t yet see in ourselves - how powerful and whole and lovable we really are already.

This is why I’ve created a new 3 part mindset training, jamming on some of the most common fears that limit female entrepreneurs from reaching our full potential, as well as a secret to “manifesting” our dreams that I haven’t seen anyone else in the world talk about yet.

I’m calling it LET IT HAPPEN - get out of your head and create an inspired business.

Let’s stop trying to force or push through... and surrender to what feels easy.

We are going deep, we are doing the work, we are going to make some major shifts together!

xo Anna



First Trimester Recap and Recommendations!

2019Anna Locke
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Happy March! I’m writing this from my cozy home office on a gloomy rainy Thursday but the days are noticeably getting longer, the birds are starting to chirp, my energy is slowly starting to come back, and I’m feeling little tiny pops inside my belly. If you’re reading this you probably follow me on social media and know that yes, I’m pregnant and due in August!

It’s been quite the journey to get to this moment… the word “journey” always sounds cliche but it’s really the best word.

I’m sharing my daily pregnancy related updates over on my wellness Instagram account @annainspiresjoy, so follow me there if you want more, but also wanted to write an official first trimester recap. As of today I’m 19 weeks, almost half way ! and every single day is a new learning curve. I know this is just the beginning.

So let’s take it back to the start…

Ben and I decided to officially start trying to grow our family back in October 2017.

We went through all the phases of trying to conceive (TTC):

  1. The initial excited “let’s stop NOT trying” and ditch birth control for a few months.

  2. Realizing that even though I track my period and phases of my cycle, I should probably start tuning into my fertility aka if and when I am ovulating. By now I’ve learned that women are only fertile a few days every month (despite everything we learn in high school health class and the fear of pregnancy we constantly live with throughout our 20’s).

  3. Chart my basal body temperature (I used the Kindara app), pay a bit of attention to my cervical fluid (egg white discharge = sperm highway), start to use ovulation predictor strips, basically turn my body into a science experiment!

  4. Start wondering how we had so much energy for sex back in our 20’s. Ahhh youth is wasted on the young.

  5. April 2018, find out I am pregnant!!

  6. May 2018, lose the embryo at about 9 or 10 weeks

  7. Summer of 2018: all the grief, all the healing, all the margaritas (do you know tequila is the only alcohol that is not a depressant??)

  8. August 2018: repeat from step 3.

  9. Learn the hard way that even when you are healthy and “fertile", there is only a 30% chance of conception at any perfectly timed time. Insert ALL THE VARIABLES. (Again, why do we spend so much emotional energy freaking out about avoiding pregnancy in our 20’s?? This shit is hard.)

  10. December 2018: feel all the signs, pee on a stick, here we go again!

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How I found out:

A day or two before I was due to start my period, I went to my friend Juliana’s apartment downtown for a girls night. I was drinking straight kombucha and water instead of wine, so the girls were technically the first to know. My energy felt a little woozy and dreamy, just like it usually does right before my period, but I also felt different. I had a suspicion I was pregnant because it was the same type of jet lag//sore breasts feeling I had when I confirmed my first pregnancy, but I didn’t want to feel too paranoid just in case I was wrong, since I’d been hyperfocused on my body for the past 3 months and every time I got my period again it felt more and more emotionally draining. When you’re actively trying to get pregnant, it’s almost impossible not to obsess during the two week wait aka the time between ovulation and when you get your period.

I waited a few more days to see what would happen (still no period) so on December 5 I woke up early and went straight to the bathroom, and sure enough, line!

Ben was still sleeping but I ran back to bed and told him the news, and we were both a mixture of excitment, disbelief, and “here we go again.”

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Sharing the news

That next weekend I took the train down to central Illinois to visit my family and see my little sister perform in her high school Madrigals, and immediately told my mom the news because i knew no matter what happened, I wanted her support. I somehow made it through the rest of the weekend without telling the rest of my family, but ended up spilling the news to my dad over Christmas after I refused his offer of wine for the 3rd time (very unlike me, lol).

I wasn’t able to schedule my first doctor’s appointment until after New Year’s when I would be about 9 weeks pregnant, which stressed me out a bit because that was around the time I had my miscarriage, and I was anxious to know that everything was developing ok. The first few weeks of pregnancy (they actually start counting “week 1” as the first day of your last period, so by the time you get a positive test you’re at least 4 weeks along) are so fragile and early miscarriage is way more common than we really know. Sometimes the embryo doesn’t start growing, sometimes it doesn’t have the right chromosome combination, sometimes something random goes wrong. There’s nothing we can really do about it, and early pregnancy loss is NOT. YOUR. FAULT. Your body is simply doing its job.

But still, even knowing all that, it’s impossible not to get emotionally attached to this little lentil. The hormone surge is pretty intense right off the bat as well.

Keeping the secret was honestly easier than I expected. After my miscarriage I assumed I’d want to share right away if I got pregnant again, but once it finally happened I wanted to keep the news close to my heart. The hardest part was keeping the secret from my health and wellness accountability groups and coaching team, and also having to stop sharing my cycle updates on Instagram haha. I’m normally such an open book on social media and hate not being able to be honest.

Also, while sharing the news with friends and family is exciting, it also is a lot of work and takes a bit of time to get hold of everyone! Once we had told our immediate family and closest friends, Ben finally with many eye rolls let me post our “baby Benanna” reveal on social media :) I was overwhelmed by all the support we received and it put me on a high for several days!

My best friend the couch - where I spent most of my time from December through February.

My best friend the couch - where I spent most of my time from December through February.

Frequently Asked Questions

-did you do anything differently the month you conceived?

Not really! It took us 4 months to conceive this pregnancy, and this is when I had a clockwork regular ovulation and “timed” sex just right (the days before and during ovulation). I read that there is only a 30% chance of conception at any given time even if the timing is perfect, it just depends on the sperm and egg, lol. And if I think about my friends who have gotten pregnant, probably 30% of them made it on the first or second try.

-did you feel “pressured” to get pregnant again, since I was sharing my journey so publicly?

Not at all! I love sharing menstrual cycle awareness and teaching women how to tune into the energetic and creative shifts we experience throughout the month, and I am very open about sharing what’s up with my own body. I didn’t feel external pressure to get pregnant right away because I didn’t share the specifics or details of when we were trying again. Honestly the hardest part was NOT sharing details about my cycle or period during the first trimester, before we spilled the news, and pretending everything was normal. I’m sure a few people who watch all my IG stories guessed what was up :)

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-what pregnancy tests did you use?

When we first started trying to conceive 18 months ago, my best friend recommended this Costco sized giant box of ovulation predictor and pregnancy tests. You get 50 OPK and 20 pregnancy tests for $16.50 on Amazon Prime, they lasted me the entire time and I still have some left! They’re super basic, but seem to be pretty sensitive and accurate. If you want the fancy test that says “pregnant” go for it, but I would rather spend my money on cute baby stuff or pregnancy books.

-what are your favorite pregnancy books?

I have always been a bookworm and obsessed with learning and collecting knowledge about things I’m going through, so it has been a fine balance between learning and not wanting to overwhelm myself with other people’s opinions. I want to make sure I’m tuning into MY body and intuition at all times.

However, here are a few of my fave books I’d recommend for holistically minded mamas!

-are you still working out?

I’m so grateful I’ve been able to stay active all throughout my pregnancy. I was working out 6-7 days/week before I got pregnant so my doctor said it was fine to continue what I was doing.

I’ve had to scale back intensity and make some modifications simply because my body won’t let me push myself as hard as I used to. As long as nothing is wrong, I don’t think we need to worry about pushing too hard or doing something to harm the baby during exercise because our bodies have their natural limits… just make sure you listen to what feels good.

I’m a huge fan of home workouts because the mere thought of going to a gym or studio right now makes me feel exhausted. I can only handle 20-30 minutes at a time, and being able to roll out of bed, eat breakfast (because I am ravenous and blood sugar crashes more easily), then get my workout in at home has been so convenient.

I was so exhausted and fatigued that I tried to get out for a walk a few times a week, but since it’s been so cold and icy outside I’ve mainly been hanging out at home, and feel like my 20-30 minute workout is plenty.

I’m still running health and fitness accountability groups and am about to open a special community for pregnant or new moms! If you’d like more info, click here to apply to join us!

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-what food aversions and cravings have you had?

I know that cravings are a huge stereotype of being pregnant, but I’ve had more aversions than actual cravings. Everyone knows what it’s like to have a craving even if you’ve never been pregnant before, but I don’t even know how to describe the weirdness that is a food aversion. Even now I’m out of the first trimester, my body physically rejects meat and veggies. If I force myself to eat something that I don’t want, it tastes gross and I feel nauseous.

I couldn’t stand the thought of meal planning, cooking, or eating leftovers. My strategy was to wander the aisles of Aldi and see what looked tolerable, because the aversions and tolerances shift on a daily and weekly basis.

Overall I’ve felt like my palate has reverted back to my 8 year old self, which Ben thinks is hilarious. All I really want are sugary processed kid comfort foods, basically the 180 of my usual non-preggo health nut.

Actual cravings:

  • Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza and breadsticks

  • margaritas (SADNESS)

  • tortilla chips and bean dip

  • cocoa krispies

  • raisin bran

  • muffins

  • smoothies! SO HAPPY I’ve been able to keep drinking my vegan superfood smoothie, which has probiotics, fiber, and lots of plant based nutrients.

Tolerable foods:

  • citrus fruit and pineapple

  • yogurt and granola

  • pancakes

  • smoothies

  • veggie or cooked sushi

  • tacos

  • pasta

Aversions:

  • chicken or pork

  • pretty much any vegetable, especially cooked veggies

  • most regular “dinner foods”

  • curry or tomato based foods

-how have you been feeling? Any symptoms?

PHYSICAL

I am so incredibly grateful I never threw up! However, I experienced the most annoying nausea ever. Imagine feeling a combination of extreme jet lag, plus bad motion sickness. Eating food only made the nausea worse. That was my 24/7 reality for the majority of my first trimester, and it gave me so much empathy for people with chronic health conditions.

Weird changes in the first trimester:

  • feeling bloated

  • digestive muscles slow down, so feel full super quickly (overeating triggers more nausea)

  • hormonal breakouts

  • luscious hair

  • constipation, alternated with Poos of Epic Proportions (keep a plunger handy!)

  • boobs! Went from 34B to 36C. nipples are doing weird things.

  • feeling like I needed tons of personal space and didn’t want my husband to touch me (sorry Ben)

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL

I was prepared to handle all the weird physical changes, but didn’t really consider the mental and emotional challenges of being newly pregnant.

First of all, physically feeling like crap is a downer and I’ve always been a wimp about feeling sick. Add to the fact you’re probably keeping a secret and need to suck it up and pretend everything is normal! I usually deal with a bit of seasonal depression in the winter, but combined with all the changes happening in my body, December through February were extremely challenging months.

I’m going through a crash course in learning how to slow down, being ok with having a limited capacity for productivity (humbling my ego!), prioritizing self care over achievement, working slower but smarter in business, honing in on what is actually important, saying no and setting boundaries, letting go of control, and not to mention the mental component to embracing the physical change!

Emotionally I’ve definitely gone through some major mood swings, and cry a lot. But crying is how I’ve always expressed strong emotions. I feel like my heart has cracked wide open, I am so vulnerable because I have so much to lose, and I can’t even imagine what it will feel like once this baby is actually born.

Random things that have made me cry: singing We Three Kings at church (??), a lonely little Smart car parked outside our window, watching Cat Walk on Netflix, THE F&!*ING NEW DISNEY DUMBO MOVIE TRAILER JUST NO.

Energetically, the first trimester felt like my left brain decided to walk out. Lots of brain fog, memory lapses, can’t hold a train of thought, inability to focus or “get shit done” mode, kind of like how you feel the day before your period x10.

-are you finding out the baby’s sex?

Yup! We actually did the NIPT genetic testing that gives you sex via chromosomes of the mother’s blood so we already know what we’re having, which is surreal! Are we going to have a “gender reveal” party? HARD NO. Haven’t decided how or when to publicly spill the news. If you know me in real life and are dying to know, send me a text and I’ll tell ya :)

-are you using a doula/midwife/birthing center/epidural/etc etc etc?

We’re figuring things out as we go. I will share what feels comfortable along the way but I also want to keep some personal decisions private. Basically, I am keeping an open mind about everything and on a Crunchy Mama Scale of 1-10, would say I am probably a 7. I love traditional holistic wisdom, but also love science, and am grateful to live in a big city where I can find pretty much anything to have the birth experience I want and need.

First trimester bloat is REAL. 8pm vs 8am.

First trimester bloat is REAL. 8pm vs 8am.

Body Image Stuff

Even though first pregnancy bumps don’t start to officially show until you’re into the second trimester, during the first trimester your metabolism goes into an anabolic state…. Which means your body basically becomes a fat storing machine to stock up the energy you will need later on as you literally grow a human from scratch, an entire organ (the placenta) from scratch, and then give birth and potentially support new life with breastmilk.

What does this mean?

BLOAT CITY, BABY!

I didn’t gain more than a couple pounds during my first trimester, partly due to my appetite being really off, but I felt like a puffy blob thanks to all the bloat and a slower digestive system. I also started gaining curves and cellulite around my hips, waistline, my rib cage expanded, and I went up 1-2 cup sizes almost right away.

My best body image tip is to accept the changes, appreciate your body for what it’s doing, and most of all put away any clothes that start to feel a little tight! Investing in some larger stretchy yoga pants that actually fit your new expanded waistline so you can feel comfy in your skin and clothes is a huge confidence boost.

Fabletics Cashel Leggings great for early pregnancy.jpg

My fave leggings when you are in the “are you pregnant or have you just gained weight??” pre-maternity phase:

  • Note: I ordered a pair of Motherhood Maternity leggings with the front bump panel when they were on sale, but they are thin, feel itchy, and are not my personal fave.

9 weeks to 12 weeks. This blows my mind!!

9 weeks to 12 weeks. This blows my mind!!

-What is it like to be pregnant again after miscarriage?

I have SO many thoughts and feelings about trying to conceive and being pregnant after pregnancy loss. Everyone is different, but it’s so important to share our stories and the REAL reel, not just the highlight reel, so we can feel less alone and empower each other and ourselves through the ups and downs of being a woman, and this is why I’ve been so open about my experiences.

I honestly feel like my body needed the miscarriage to reset and heal my hormones. After coming off the pill in 2016 my cycles were longish and not super regular. After the m/c, they were CLOCKWORK. Ovulated on day 19, bled the first of every month. It was awesome!

Pregnancy loss doesn’t mean your body is failing you. It means it’s doing its job.

Emotionally, it was pretty rough. We waited 3 cycles to try again, and then it took us 4 more cycles to conceive despite clockwork cycles and my faith in a quick redemption story. This was hard yet cathartic since every bleed I would process/release more grief and deepen my intention to have a baby.

It was extra stressful that I couldn’t get to the doctor until 9 weeks, over a month after I had a positive test and also the same week I lost baby uno. And couldn’t drink my tequila happy juice to chill out, haha. Seeing a healthy 9w4d bean on the ultrasound was literally an otherworldly experience!

I will say that knowing what it’s like to have a miscarriage is a double edged sword. On one hand, I was LESS afraid because I knew what to expect and that I’d be able to get through it, but on the other hand it was literally the worst experience of my life, so I wish I DIDN’T know what it was like.

Tips for first time moms navigating early pregnancy

My biggest sanity tip is to find community with other women who are in a similar place as you. I’m lucky that several of my friends and family are either currently pregnant, going through miscarriage/TTC, or have just had a baby too so I’m leaning on them for camaraderie and wisdom! New mom friends are the best when you’re pregnant because they are so happy for you and will be super excited to hear all about the nitty gritty details of everything you’re going through, and will let you snuggle or babysit their baby for practice :) If you don’t have anyone in your inner circle, this is where social media can be incredible. Use hashtags, search for local Facebook groups, and also leverage your local network! I’m planning to start going to a prenatal yoga class and join some local meet-up groups for new moms. Your hospital might have a new moms group too!

Overall I’ve been focusing on self care and SOUL care, healing my inner crap and preparing myself energetically and spiritually to bring a new human into the world while at the same time letting go of control and surrendering my own timeline, trusting my body, my baby, and most of all God’s bigger vision.

Sometimes it seems like everyone either struggles with “infertility” or gets pregnant on the first try and has a textbook experience... I don’t think it’s easy for anyone but wanted to share my story of being somewhere in between.

No matter where you are on your own journey, you are never alone 💗

xo Anna

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13 weeks pregnant… is it bloat or bump?

13 weeks pregnant… is it bloat or bump?