I’m not one of those girls who always dreamed of having babies (I’m not saying there is anything wrong with those girls and I’m not saying there isn’t) but I did want to marry this amazing guy with eyes the colour of Turquoise – resort postcard eyes, and the ability to make Hilary Clinton supporters laugh… So, I got married at the age of 23 and now 2 weeks before my 30th birthday I am fifteen weeks pregnant. Or, said in a pompous pregnant voice, “I’m in the second trimester”, and thank bloody goodness for that.

I liken the first trimester of pregnancy (in my own experience) to being much the same as Dante’s Inferno, in other words (for those of you who are illiterate) HELL! Dante is led through the 9 circles of hell by Virgil, 7 of these include the 7 deadly sins, but let me be extremely clear, none of the 9 circles of first trimester hell are a fraction as enjoyable as things like gluttony, vanity etc.

So, in the spirit of catharsis I have outlined for you dear reader, my own 9 circles of first trimester hell that you could be led through, more like kicked through, but ah, I digress…

  1. Nausea (with a side order of vomit)

I’m not talking a little queasy feeling. I’m talking all consuming, stomach churning hell that follows no pattern or time of day. It is unrelenting. I bit holes into my lip trying to keep sips of Energade down. It will make you question your own strength, pregnancy, and will to live. And no, vomiting does not bring relief.

  1. Super human sense of smell

‘Amazing’ I hear you say? Oh no! The smell of your strawberry shower gel will smell like concentrated artificial sweetener, your husband will smell like rancid chicken mayonnaise and all of these new delights will feed number 1 – your incessant need to vomit. Smell and vomit are unholy bedfellows.

  1. Exhaustion

You will sleep for 16 hours a day (at least), it will feel like the very life force is being sucked out of your soul.

  1. Mood swings

Things I cried about include but were not limited to my dog barking incessantly and baby penguins on the discovery channel. I would go from enraged to depressed to happy in the space of 5 minutes. Even if you are the most level headed person, you will not recognize yourself or the mentally unstable statements that come out of your mouth.

  1. Constipation

What more can I say other than – you can’t take anything to relieve it, so you will just have to sit this one out (pun intended).

  1. Faint lower back ache

The moment my daughter was conceived my lower back started aching. I’m told that this will not go away until she is born and let’s face it, pushing a watermelon out will probably follow you all the days of your life.

Apparently, this is due to increase blood flow and hormones, but if you have never experienced migraines before and are looking to fall pregnant, well you can tick one more thing off your bucket list then. Oh, yes and did I mention – you. can’t. take. anything!

  1. A metallic taste in your mouth

As in the taste of metal and blood in your mouth. It’s awful but don’t worry, some of the other symptoms outlined above should overshadow this.

  1. Sore boobs

So extremely sore that touching them will make you flinch. Your nipples will contort and change in ways that will frighten you. On the plus side, they do get better and I have been told by many people that they will be enjoyed a lot by you and your husband in the second trimester. It’s what I hear!

I realise that you may be thinking “this woman is a negative drama queen”. Whatever you may be thinking, know that I have already been punished enough. And let me tell you from someone now on the other side of the trenches, the other side is sunny and wonderful and worth it. As if a light bulb went on, just as I was resigned to lady Macbething myself, the symptoms started easing up. If you are going through this now, I promise that you will start feeling better even if it doesn’t feel like it, and as a very special friend told me, ‘through the worst suffering you get the best and most wonderful joy’… She’s right you know?!

by Olivia De Beer