This post is neither educational nor interesting; it's also off-topic. I just wanted to get my thoughts down on "paper," as I've been reflecting a lot on this pregnancy.
I'm not the first woman to be pregnant, and I don't feel particularly special. What I do feel is bewildered. Bewildered and curious about how women over thousands of years handled the challenges of pregnancy. About how they endured pregnancy again, again, and again. And again. And how in spite of the challenges of pregnancy, they produced healthy, well-developed offspring.
I feel so nauseated, so disgusted, so lousy, so exhausted, and because of this, I think I actually am experiencing a touch of depression (and I consider myself a generally well-adjusted, content, and happy person; I've never been depressed before). I wonder if many pregnant women experience this, or if I'm among a "lucky" minority. I wonder if it's because I'm older (my first pregnancy, 5 years ago, wasn't this intense). I also wonder if feeling this way is a function of modern life; if women felt better when life was simpler -- small-town, little-house-on-the-prairie lifestyle. I wonder if being indoors so much, if dealing with the stresses of a career and modern life (on top of the usual responsibilities of mom and homemaker) explains why this pregnancy is kicking my butt to the moon.
I don't know. What I do know is that feeling this way makes it nearly impossible to work (I'm behind on all of my projects), impossible to clean the kitchen (the smells are overwhelming and just the sight of crumbs in the sink makes me gag), and I just want this to be over and done with already. I have about 26 more weeks to go.
I've been contemplating the ironies of pregnancy. How the most nutritious foods are often the least appealing. And how the junkiest foods are often irresistible. How I am sure that a glass of wine would relax me and make me feel better, but can't have it. How I'm getting a lot of help (thanks, family) but am still behind. How I feel utterly debilitated during one of the most critical periods of my life: I'm responsible for the healthy development of another human being (what is more important than that?), yet taking good care of myself is more difficult than ever. So why can't I catch a break?
Scientists don't really understand exactly why pregnancy causes these symptoms; it is known that nausea tends to increase with an increase in pregnancy hormones (though this is not the case for all pregnant women) but the mechanism remains a mystery. For me, it's a different kind of nausea than, say, motion sickness. I've been able to reverse motion sickness in seconds by eating a small piece of candied ginger; if I have ginger now, I just feel additionally nauseated.
For dinner tonight I had a bowl of cut up fresh fruit. And honestly it's all I could imagine keeping down. To have to actually plan to get enough protein is something I'm not at all used to; in general I love all sorts of healthful foods and get enough just as a function of getting enough calories from a variety of plant foods. These days, I can't read my own appetite at all (the thought of eating sends my stomach spinning, but often it's a sign that I need to eat something), again, ironic, considering that now more than ever, my appetite should dictate how much I need.
I know what to do: I know the nutritional guidelines for vegan pregnancy inside-out, and I've helped other women eat optimally throughout their vegan pregnancies. It's just particularly challenging to follow those guidelines.
I'm not worried about the baby. I got an ultrasound last week and all is well. In fact, according to my tests, my risk of carrying a baby with Down's is about 1 in 2300, while an untested 38-year-old has a risk of 1 in 114. I have not lost (or gained) any weight, and the baby's growth is right on track. So I'm not apprehensive about the pregnancy's outcome; I'm just sick of being sick, as they say.
Here's to hoping that as I become further immersed into the second trimester, these symptoms dwindle away so I can feel human again.