When it comes to pregnancy I've heard it said that the first trimester is "all about you (the woman)." I can understand where this saying comes from, considering those first 12 weeks are such a crucial time in a baby's development. This means not only is it important, but it's expected for a mother to take care of herself and listen to her body - whether it's with food, avoiding smells, working out, getting a different face wash and/or shampoo, resting far more than usual, or anything else that will help the woman do her best to be healthy. Once a woman is able to get past all these initial hurdles, then it usually becomes the time when she can better focus on the baby and figuring out plans for her future family (like tackling what kind of car seat to get).
While I do think a lot of self care and attention are certainly needed that first trimester (and possibly beyond, depending on how ill you've been and what your risk is for complications), I think there is also an important factor to not lose sight of in all of this: the husband.
One of the things I struggled with internally throughout the first trimester were slight feelings of guilt. Never before has there been so much focus on me in our relationship nor have I previously ever had so many "demands" or requirements. In short, I sort of felt high maintenance. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't being selfish when I quickly established that there could be no Korean food whatsoever in our apartment without consulting Michael...because the reality is that he wouldn't have wanted to deal with the aftermath of that situation anyway, so clearly he would be on board with such a decision. Certainly in a healthy relationship the husband is supportive of his pregnant wife and doesn't make her feel guilty for things that are truly beyond her control.
Because of this, I think it's about time I highlighted some of my husband's shining moments and publicly recognize how supportive he has been. A lot of what he has done has been incredibly simple (in fact he may even be unaware that I appreciated some of these things), but when it comes down to it, the smallest acts of kindness and self-sacrifice are often times the most loving and meaningful. These small acts of kindness are things that were done purely to be kind, helpful, and caring without any expectations or desire for public recognition...which is precisely why I think Michael deserves this. So here we go (in random order):
The Top 6 Little Ways Michael Has Been Amazingly Supportive Behind the Scenes
- He has put up with my zero tolerance Korean food policy and hot and cold feelings towards certain Chinese or Thai dishes with little to no mention of it (I recognize this is a big deal coming from a man who was raised eating Asian foods nearly 24/7 and comes from an entire family of Chinese or Asian fusion restaurant owners). He has also let me eat all the crab rangoon because he knows how much I like it.
- He never makes fun of me when I suddenly get hungry and have to eat and doesn't joke about my new caloric intake - instead, he congratulates me and tells me what a good job I'm doing and how proud he is of me.
- He still tells me how nice I look even though I may feel bloated, queasy, be struggling with indigestion, or feel uncomfortable in every outfit I try on that day (I have a feeling this one will be especially important later on when I'm actually big and don't just feel big).
- He has voluntarily gone out of the way to pick up food I'm craving without me even asking for it. To highlight this, I must share this endearing anecdote: one night we were on our way home from the gym and didn't have our wallets but we had a small amount of cash on us. Michael mentioned the KFC down the road and instantly I wanted nothing more than to be eating their mashed potatoes & gravy...and he began craving Chinese food from a place nearby. We agreed to splurge and get the food even though we had planned on cooking at home so we pulled into the Chinese place. A couple minutes later he came back without any food. It turns out the dish was more expensive than before and if he had used the cash to get it, we wouldn't have had enough for me to get my mashed potatoes & gravy. He sacrificed his beloved Chinese dinner for me to eat something I wanted that wasn't even an entire meal. This story still melts my heart.
"Our bedroom on a Sunday afternoon"
- Even though I'm pretty well beyond the fatigue of the first trimester, I occasionally still experience random waves of extreme tiredness like I did yesterday. We had a great afternoon out at a local museum, got bubble tea, and came home to beautiful sunlight piercing our newly re-arranged bedroom furniture (which I insisted on us moving the night before so I can get out of bed more easily). I loved the new arrangement so much I wanted to lay on our all-too-comfortable bed and enjoy the new view. The combination of it all left me sleepy and I had to fall asleep for a few minutes even though we were soon headed to the store. Michael woke me up when it was time to go and I could not get up...but I did say that decaf coffee sounded sooo good. Without saying a word he brewed me decaf coffee and brought it to me in bed to help me get up.
- He doesn't snap back at me or get defensive when my hormones take over and I suddenly sound short or exasperated for no reason. Instead, he has started this new thing where he just smiles at me (in a loving - not obnoxious - way) and shakes his head or asks if everything is okay. This helps me come back to earth and calm down.
Likewise, sometimes we spend so much time around another person that we may not even recognize all of the little things they do for us on a daily basis...yet these small acts are the very reflection of the kind of love God has for us. While this pregnancy has certainly shined a spotlight on me and the many needs I've had, I want to make sure my husband knows that I do not take him for granted and pray that I never will.
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."
-Blessed Mother Teresa