Working Through Your First Trimester of Pregnancy

Working Through Your First Trimester of Pregnancy | Corporette2016 Update: I still stand by the advice in this post on working through your first trimester of pregnancy! Of course check out all our discussions about staying professional (and happy, and healthy, and stylish) throughout your pregnancy, both here and at CorporetteMoms!

This is a post about working through your first trimester of pregnancy, which can be particularly trying — extreme fatigue, nausea, and all while trying to keep your “situation” on the QT in case of miscarriage. (Pictured.)

But I suppose I should make a mini-announcement regarding some personal news in Katland. First, some hints: I’m on my third bra size since December. I haven’t enjoyed a martini, or deli meats, or zippers, in a long, long time. Lately, I’m having trouble falling asleep because someone keeps kicking me. The news, if you’re not with me yet: My husband and I are expecting our first child later this summer. Why yes, we are terrified; thanks for asking.

One of the things I’ve been dying to talk about since becoming pregnant is the first trimester,* and the complete, mind-blowing fatigue that most women suffer. I would have considered myself a trooper when it comes to energy and the job — I’ve worked through mono and two bouts of strep throat without missing more than a day of work. But apparently mono and strep can’t shake a stick at the whole “growing another human” thing. It became incredibly difficult to get up and out the door in the morning — and by 3 PM every day I needed a nap. And not a 20-minute power nap, oh no: we’re talking at least a full 90-minute sleep cycle. I kept thinking about that Sheryl Sandberg talk for TED about how women, upon getting pregnant, should ramp up their career and go 120 miles per hour. NOW??? I kept thinking. Is she CRAZY?

This fatigue caught me totally by surprise. After all, a lot of women don’t talk about their pregnancies in their first trimester — the chance for miscarriage is highest then, and there aren’t many external physical indicators of early pregnancy (most first-time moms don’t start to show until around week 20). A poll of my friends who have children or are pregnant confirmed it — everyone was exhausted during their first trimester, and every pregnancy book mentioned it. One friend, who was finishing up her final MBA year when she got pregnant, admitted that she slept 14 hours a day. A few friends told me their miscarriage stories, where after going through nearly a full trimester full of fatigue they lost the baby, and in addition to having to deal quietly with the mental and physical repercussions of losing a baby (including surgery, sometimes), they had to get the energy up to try again. (One friend noted that between her first pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage, and her second pregnancy, which she carried to term, her billable hours were shot for the year — and when she took her maternity leave they simply doubled the hours she had before she left. Ouch.) Another friend was cursed with such a bad case of nausea that she had to be medicated for it.

So I thought we’d talk about how to deal with the first trimester — keeping your energy up, rising to the occasion, and even maintaining your professional image through it all.

Before we get into the tips, though, here’s an interesting thing to ponder (and perhaps you ladies will weigh in): does it hurt us to talk about the hardships of pregnancy? By admitting that pregnancy affects our stamina and energy, is it simply justifying all those people who discriminate against women employees in their fertile years? I’m almost ashamed to say the thought hadn’t occurred to me — and I’ve even been joking (at work, yes, and yes, my face is beet red) about pregnancy brain. One boss/mentor/friend heard me and gave me a sound rebuke (and a lecture on what it was like to be pregnant in a male-dominated environment in the late ’70s), and I think the lesson here is right: pregnancy should never be an excuse for why you can’t get something done at the office, or why the ts aren’t crossed. But that may just mean you have to step up your OWN game even more — because while in the third trimester, when you’re showing and on your way out, people may cut you slack (whether they should or not): but in your first trimester it is largely a silent struggle.

For my own $.02, these are the things I wish I’d known:

  • Wean yourself off coffee and diet Coke way before you start trying to get pregnant. The latest thinking re: pregnancy is that you are allowed to drink coffee, but only about a cup of it a day. Artificial sweeteners aren’t recommended, so diet Coke is off the list also. Before I got pregnant, I only drank about 2 or 3 cups in the morning, and then a diet Coke around lunchtime for an afternoon jolt — but decreasing to 1 cup a day and no diet Coke meant I was going through caffeine withdrawal at the same time as first trimester fatigue. (I should also mention that your tastebuds may change, as mine did — all coffee tasted totally burnt to me for about 4 weeks, and regular Coke continues to gross me out.)
  • Stock up on orange juice, and cut your dependency on vitamin supplements. I kept reading that pregnant women should avoid vitamin supplements during this time (beyond your prenatals) and so I have avoided my beloved Emergen-C. Instead I kept buying OJ when I needed a jolt of energy.
  • Take your prenatals at night instead of in the morning. I’ve heard it’s the extra iron in the prenatals that makes you nauseous on an empty stomach — but whatever it was, I wish I’d stumbled on the advice to take them at night instead of in the morning long before I did.
  • Prepare your office for naps. Yes, seriously. Bring in whatever you need to make for a comfortable napping environment — pillows, blankets, etc., because you WILL need naps to make it even to 6pm (let alone 10 pm or whatever other quitting time is usual for you).
  • Eat frequently, and guzzle water. It took me a few weeks to realize that the nausea was so  much worse if I hadn’t eaten for a few hours — I also would get these whanging headaches if I hadn’t eaten.  Just a few unsalted Saltines and some cheese can help you function normally.

My final advice to women embarking on pregnancy is to time it well. The first trimester can be 6-8 weeks of feeling far, far less than your best, and I can think of a number of times in my own life when it would have been disastrous to be going through the first trimester: the first semester of law school, being a summer associate, crunchtime studying for the bar, and trial prep. So nail down your birth control methods during those time periods, ladies.

For those of you who’ve been pregnant, did your first trimester affect your energy, and how did you compensate for it at work? What tips do you have for the readers who hope to get pregnant some day — what’s your best advice on working through your first trimester of pregnancy?

* Oh, and some terminology for those not familiar with the joys of pregnancy: your pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period, not the day you conceive, which means that by the time most women find out they’re pregnant they’re already “4-6 weeks pregnant.” The first trimester ends around week 13 — so we’re really only talking about 6-8 weeks of extreme fatigue. Still: I’ve known careers to rise or fall in that time, so I think it is a relevant discussion for this blog.

Social media picture via Fotolia / vladimirfloyd

Working Through Your First Trimester of Pregnancy (Even If You're EXHAUSTED) | Corporette


  1. Ohhh! Readers totally called it a few weeks back, with you posting the various generously cut tops and the diaper bag. Congrats, Kat. We are all with you!

    • Congrats Kat. Love this comment.

    • Yeah, but I didn’t actually buy into the hype! Joke’s on me. Hooray for Kat!

      • Congrats to all,

        I just wanted to say that it’s not that easy to work with women too. I realized that people kept talking about how hard it is getting pregnant in a male envirolment but trust me I worked with women only and the experiency isn’t that different from the males one.

    • Wonderful news! Congratulations, Kat, and to all the readers who are expecting right now!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Congratulations Kat!

  2. Congratulations :)

  3. Congratulations! Wonderful news!

    On the topic at hand, though, I’ve never been pg, but I’ve noticed that when I’m tired, I cannot stay on task- I constantly think of things that I *have* to check, get distracted, stare off into space, decide to check Corporette for the tenth time an hour, etc. I assume that first trimester pregnancy would be like this times 10. Any tips for dealing with it?

    I’d also love to hear general tips about dealing with it and planning in a very small office (of the sort where duties can’t necessarily be re-distributed) and in a male dominated office (or an office where everyone else is in grandparent territory, age-wise).

  4. Anonymous :

    Hello, Kat! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and just wanted to say congratulations and thank you for the all the tips!

  5. Anonymous :

    Congrats! Such an exciting time!
    I have three children – the oldest is 4, so I know a little bit about being pregnant these days. The first tri is really tiring. Additionally, hormones can make you emotional. I found myself crying because I was tired and emotional. I’m not one who cries easily.
    I do not have anything to add about what I would have liked to have known. However, my best advice is to relax and try to enjoy it as much as possible. I don’t particularly enjoy being pregnant, but I loved feeling my babies moving. Also, try to let things go because, honestly, that is one of the challenges you are going to have to figure out once the baby comes. It is very difficult to balance it all unless you are willing to let some things go for a while. Good luck!

    • “Also, try to let things go because, honestly, that is one of the challenges you are going to have to figure out once the baby comes. It is very difficult to balance it all unless you are willing to let some things go for a while. ”

      Ditto this! Some of the best advice I received (actually before I was even considering pregnancy) was that if you choose to be a working mom, you have to accept that you’ll never be a perfect employee or a perfect mom. Seeme like odd advice until I was in the position.

  6. CONGRATS Kat! That’s so exciting and wonderful. We all wish you a very healthy and happy pregnancy!

  7. Congratulations! So exciting.

  8. North Shore :

    Congratulations, Kat! Great news.

  9. Congrats!!!

  10. Congrats Kat!!

  11. Congratulations!! What wonderful news!

    Selfishly, I hope you will think about sharing more about your pregnancy and even the reasons you decided to start having children now, if not too personal. I think one of the major issues for the younger corporette-ers are decisions about when to have a family. I’d love some advice from you or the community on this topic!

    • Agreed! Congratulations, Kat. We wish you all the best. I would really like to hear more about how to make choices like this to coincide well with your career. Someone recently told me your 5th year is the best time to have a baby — established enough in your career to have a good reputation and far enough away from being up for partner. Do you agree?

      Also, I can’t believe you were able to keep it a secret for so long!!! And I hope you write some extra blog posts that can go up while you are on maternity leave. I don’t think I could last that long without my daily Corporette fix! :)

      • I had my first during 5th year, but was canned when 8 months pregnant. This was in biglaw. I did get a settlement from them which allowed me to take a 6 months paid maternity leave.

    • I’d love to hear that, too- I know that it’s personal, but it’s something that I’ve always wished that more people talked openly about. Since it’s been on my mind a lot lately, I’ll share mine thoughts-

      I married young, while I was still in college, and there was certainly no hurry- we figured I’d finish school, we’d get to where we were in a good financial place, have a few years together just ourselves, and think about it in about five years or so. Well, those five years kept going- we celebrate our 10th aniversary next month. Oh, and, brilliant me decided that it would be a good idea to go to law school in between (as Kat alluded, I have no idea how a person could handle a pregnancy, or early childcare, during LS! I’m sure that I would have dropped out had I gotten so, at least in the first year.)

      Anyhow, now I’m 31 and 2 years out of school. As you may have heard, some sort of bad economic stuff happened a few years back, so my career has not been nearly as quick to develop as was anticipated. (On the plus side, the first of my years out was a clerkship, but that still held back actual career growth.) Hubby and I have always planned to have him be a stay at home dad, so we’ve been holding back while we try to get to where I can support us. (note- I know from prior experience that a lot of commenters don’t agree with this plan. I don’t really care and this is not the place to discuss it.)

      I just started a new job that I hope will earn the kind of money I’ve been seeking, so (here’s hoping), we’re starting to think about it again, depending on how things play out, money wise and when I feel like I’ve been at my job long enough. Another tough issue is that we’re pretty, I don’t know, each other dependant, so we’re hesitant to disturb that. We’ve discussed the idea of giving up our Saturdays sleeping in and hanging out, and it’s hard to think about. So, in other words, we’ll see how it plays out, but this is the thought process right now.

      • I had 2 kids during LS, and it was totally the right decision for me. My school was flexible, and let me take 4 years to complete, so I had lighter loads during the semesters that I was due. I also was able to use my school’s on-campus child care program (many large schools have subsidized day care for students and faculty – the waitlists are long, but worth getting on) which made the juggling much easier.

        I also think having young kids during LS is much easier than trying to do the same as an associate. If your kid’s sick and can’t be sent to daycare, it’s just a missed day of classes in LS, where basically no one notices, compared with angry bosses and resentful colleagues in a law firm. Plus, there was the bonus of having summer breaks for gestation (again, extending LS meant I was able to take a summer off from doing an internship).

      • I think kids can fit in at any point in a woman’s career trajectory; there are just different pros and cons at each stage. Having them early on can work well in that you have fewer responsibilities at work and others can more easily substitute for you than will be the case later. I was able to take a six month maternity leave almost undisturbed after my first child was born. Having them later can also work well in that there may be less risk of losing ground professionally once you are more firmly established, and you may be better able to afford the quality childcare you will need in order to keep working.

        The frustrating thing, too, is that you can’t wait forever. I had no problem getting pregnant at 30, but then couldn’t conceive when I wanted to 5 years later, miscarried, and ultimately used assisted methods to have a second child.

      • Anonymous :

        Lyssa, I don’t know who’s said your plan’s not good, but I disagree. If your career isn’t where you want it to be and you’re not making the $$ yet, I’d encourage you to lean even harder into that plan. Tighten everyone’s belt for a year or two, make sure hubby is taking all childcare and homemaker responsibilities whether he’s working or not, and go all out at work.

        This advice comes from the single mother of an 8-yr-old boy. I love him dearly, but have recently become more and more aware of how decisions when he was young that I thought were small and temporary have had lasting impacts on my career, including my earning potential.

        Kiss your babies every morning and evening, and in-between, knock yourself out. Figure out the sweetest part of your weekends and preserve that, but you might find some time to squeeze in work too. Just one anon stranger’s ideas of what might work.

      • You just described my situation, except married almost 6 years (right after college) and worked for a few years before law school and have been finished with law school for almost one year. And I am turning 30 this year. My internal clock is ticking, but I don’t think my career is in a place to have a child.

      • I know this is a late reply, but I want to add that when considering the option to add children to a family, people always focus on what they will give up. This is natural, and I did this as well. You have what you know, and parenthood presents a scary unkown. All you know is what you see your friends give up. However, I never knew all the things I would gain as a parent. Yes, you give up sleep. But, you gain some very precious times with your children in those early morning/late night hours. Yes, you give up exotic trips with your spouse. But, you gain the privilege of seeing everything through a child’s eye. The beach for the first time is magical. The first snow makes their month. I will also add, one of the most amazing things I have seen my husband do during our marriage is parent our little girl. We don’t have as much alone time together, certainly, but we still have plenty of alone time, and the time we share with our daughter is special in a bigger way than I ever thought possible.

        Being a parent is not for everyone, but don’t spend too much time focusing on the things in your life you will give up. They will be replaced with some pretty special times.

    • Anonymous :

      Obviously, the best time to have a child is a very personal choice. However, I will share my reasons. I met my husband when I was 25 and had 2 years of school left. We got married when I was 28 and had been working a year. I wanted to have kids soon. I worried about infertility and that was exacerbated by the fact that my husband’s older sister was struggling with it at the time (has since adopted). I also am impatient, and when I want something I don’t like to wait! We were also ready though. We were done with school, had decent jobs, and were financially in a good position. So, we had our first child days before my 30 birthday. I’m not yet 35, and we now have 3 children: 4, 2 and 1/2 year old!

      When I see some of my friends who have decided to wait, or are still waiting, I sometimes reflect on the benefits of waiting. Some of my friends travel a lot and go to these amazing, exotic places. While I did that before having kids, certainly we would have traveled to some more amazing places had we not had children. It would have been fun to enjoy more experiences and time to ourselves.

      Still, I don’t regret it for a second. I am looking forward to enjoying some amazing places with my children, and we already do (although not quite as exotic!) I actually really like not focusing on myself so much. It gives me a lot of perspective. I would like to sleep more, but that’s just a trade-off when you have children. Also, in a lot of ways having children hasn’t been as big a change for us as it is for others. My husband and I are homebodies. Our idea of a great weekend is cooking meals together and then working in our yard. We did have to give up our nightly walks once our oldest had a regular bed time (at about 6 mos for us), but we aren’t terribly social and we don’t mind being tied to the house. I see this as a major stress for other couples.

      As far as my career, I went part-time when I had my oldest. I’m an attorney at a large regional firm not on either coast. So, I work ~35-45 hours a week at part-time. My career has definitely taken a hit and the economy isn’t helping. Although I wish my career hadn’t been adversely affected, I wouldn’t make any different choices. I was ready to have children, so I had them, and I have made it work with my career. The people I work with day-to-day respect me, but the number crunchers…not so much, and the number crunchers are the ones who will decide whether I make partner. At this point, partner won’t happen unless I go full-time or the economy gets better. Honestly, I don’t know when I will go full-time, I don’t know how people do it (keep in mind that I’m up at least once a night and often twice, so my perspective may be skewed these days! My 6 mo. old is NOT a good sleeper!) Also, if I started having children now, I don’t think my firm would be receptive to a part-time schedule, but it works for me!

  12. First – congratulations, Kat!

    I’ve never been pregnant, but my immediate boss is very close to having her baby. I can’t imagine how tiring it must be, but I know from friends how exhausting it really is, which is why we were amazed by how energetic my boss remained. Not kidding- she exercised regularly (e.g. running and even pushups to a safe limit, of course), and I swear to you she was always the first person in the office and the last one out. I was more tired after our two hour meeting than she was after months of developing a human being! (Talk about a daily motivator to up my game!)

    Yes, she is unbelievable. Apparently, there’s hope for the rest of us…

    Really enjoyed this post!

  13. Congratulations! I’m not pregnant and don’t plan (or hope) to be for a few more years, but I love this blog, your posts, and this commenting community, so I’m really looking forward to being a observer to your pregnancy, so to speak!

    Also, is it weird that as a single woman with no kids and no loud ticking bio-clock some of my favorite blogs and websites are what would be deemed mommyblogs? Maybe I’m just storing away the info for future use/reference…

    • I must be weird too. I have no desire to actually have children myself but have been constantly reading mommy blogs and thinking about nursery designs.

      Congrats, Kat!

      • I’m exactly the same way. I think of it as research :) Though the idea of having kids still terrifies me, and actually doesn’t excite me in any way.

        • Johanna_D :

          Second that. I feel uncomfortable around children, but I don’t mind hearing stories or reading about raising children. I even enjoy watching Supernanny on TV; I think it is very eye opening.

          • Anonymous :

            Hi I am a clinical psychologist (go ahead and eye roll – it’s fine, I’m used to it ) but regardless of believing you don’t want kids, all of the above ladies, I hate to be the one to break it to you but you all in fact DO want kids. Actually I would venture to say you all REALLY want kids but are freaked out or in denial or pretty much defending yourself against the possibility that you might not be able to have kids for some reason or another (which is easier to tHink about if you convince yourself you never wanted any anyway). So whatever it is, money, men, childhood experiences, control issues, you name it- don’t let it get in the way of what you really want- even if you are terrified now, it’s not so terrifying once you are in it- just the same as every other challenge you have taken on and made it through. Good luck you can do it. Xo

          • Anonymous :

            P.s. I know my post is, oh about 3 years after these posts- but for future freaked out mommas (or if these ladies above happen to recheck old posts for some reason) maybe my words of wisdom will make a difference to someone out there. Xo

            ****peace and love and all that sh*t****

  14. Congrats!

    I was never even remotely tired my first trimester, and I think it’s because I didn’t change my caffeine routine at all. (I was even able to run the marathon I signed up to do — and PRed — around 7 weeks.) I talked it over with my doctor, and if you have a low-risk pregnancy, there’s really no need to change up the caffeine if it’s under 300 mg a day. I have not heard anything about artificial sweetners being a problem and probably would have been very unpleasant sans soda! So I was able to drink a huge cup of coffee (or two) in the morning and down a few diet cokes throughout the day to keep me awake and happy.

    What I will continue to do for my subsequent pregnancies is keep up and maybe even up the coffee/soda during the first trimester and beyond. I had a cake walk pregnancy — no fatigue, ran all the way through it, and had absolutely no morning sickness. These things are unpredictable, but I definitely think lots of caffeine and lots of exercise helped keep me awake.

    I also think that some books/blogs/websites tend to overreact about pregnancy recommendations. My brother is an OB and has said that there are not a lot of really great evidence-based studies regarding the caffeine during pregnancy He said there is one a lot of people point to, but it did not control for any risk factors and has been used as more of a scare tactic than really good clinical information. Obviously talk to your doctor and do what you want within your own comfort zone, but I felt very comfortable making minimal changes to my lifestyle and diet during pregnancy.

    • KOB – me too! I’ve never been a big caffeine consumer and so I just kept up w/ my routine through my 2 pregnancies. Since fatigue was my biggest biggest problem during my first trimesters, being able to have a little s’mthing-s’mthing at those moments was priceless.

    • I’m not sure that keeping up your caffeine intake is the only reason your energy level remained consistent. Everyone and each pregnancy are different, but I didn’t have caffeine for a good 6 months before getting pregnant (because I was trying to conceive) and I still was completely zapped during the first trimester of my first pregnancy (taking 1.5-2 hr naps when I got home from work around 5:30-6pm) and my second pregnancy energy levels for the 1st tri weren’t much better (out for the evening by 8:30pm).

      Anyway, CONGRATS KAT!!

      • I totally agree with you — but maybe you wouldn’t have been as tired if you had a few cups of coffee. Who knows. All I know is that I felt great after a good run and a cup of coffee during my entire pregnancy. I’m sure, however, that karma will bite me in the ass and I’ll be non-functionally exhausted no matter what if I ever get pregnant again. :)

        • While I agree with you that moderate caffeine is probably safe in pregnancy, I disagree that pregnancy-related fatigue is just an illusion caused by caffeine withdrawal. I’ve never been a caffeine user (I don’t care for the feeling) and was completely exhausted while pregnant. No like a “wow, I really could have used another hour or two last night” but “help me, I’ve been drugged.” One morning, my husband had to literally dress me because I was so limp. My grandmother, on the other hand, swore that she had MORE energy during her seven pregnancies than any other time. Go figure.

          PS – I do hope that you’d feel as well with your next, though!

    • sometimes I see all the things pregnant women aren’t supposed to do/eat/drink, reflect on what life has been like up until recent decades (I’m watching mad men recently and don’s wife is drinking and smoking while pregnant), and think it’s a wonder the human race has made it this far.

  15. TheOtherCoast :

    I was clerking when I got pregnant and so my job was not as taxing as it was when I was in BigLaw prior to that. I was still exhausted, though. I switched from coffee to tea, and had only one cup in the morning. It gave me some energy and had the bonus of not upsetting my stomach further. Another first-trimester problem that no one likes to talk about is bloat– I had some of the worst stomachaches EVER and there were times I thought I was going to die, but had to keep acting like I was enjoying my lunch and could stand up straight. I quickly learned to keep Gas-X on hand and to take it as soon as I felt a stomachache coming on. And I’m not talking about the passing of gas– I’m talking about the pressure build-up on your insides. It is killer. Fortunately that lessened in the second and third trimesters. Eating frequently also helped with the nausea. I was lucky in that I could go to bed early and didn’t have to bill 2300 hours a year. But even going to bed early doesn’t make you less exhausted– it just cures it for the time you are sleeping, kwim?

  16. SF Bay Associate :

    Congratulations, Kat and husband!

  17. Anonymous :

    Congratulations! I’m thrilled for you.

    Your post brought be back in time six years, when I was working during my first trimester carrying my daughter. As my pregnancy was an unplanned blessing (which I realized after sobbing for a week), and I’m a bit of a health nut, I cut out coffee cold turkey and it was HARD! Not only was I exhausted, but I had withdrawal headaches on top of morning sickness. Slowly weaning oneself off of coffee would be an excellent idea.

    One of the best things I did during my first trimester was to confide in my boss on a business trip. I was dizzy in addition to being exhausted, and I felt like she would have thought I was morbidly ill if I didn’t disclose my condition. Fortunately for me, she was gracious and being a mom herself, gave me some wonderful advice regarding morning sickness that I pass along as often as I can. It was that moment that brought our relationship from that of cordial boss and employee to friends. Years later, we still stay in touch and swap war stories about our field and parenthood.

    But the advice! Very important. She told me — and it’s true — that ginger is the best anti-nausea agent readily available. Sure, there’s ginger ale, but there are also more potent ginger brews (available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s), ginger candies, crystallized ginger, and even fresh ginger (great in a hot cup of water with honey). In fact, according to my former boss, ginger has been proven to be as effective for sea sickness as dramamine. This advice got me through my first trimester, helps the nausea I now experience with Crohn’s disease, and is even a good & safe remedy for my daughter’s upset bellies.

    Wishing you health for your final months of pregnancy & a peaceful and easy birth.

    • It’s old advice, but still true–keeping crackers by your bed to nibble before you get up can help combat nausea.

    • Diana Barry :

      I didn’t have much luck with ginger – real food helped me more than anything.

    • karenpadi :

      I’ve never been pregnant but I’ll second ginger as being incredible for nausea, motion sickness, and dizziness. Mythbusters did a show on motion sickness and found it was the best for “true” sufferers (but n=3 so it wasn’t horribly scientific).

      I like ginger tea (available at most grocery stores).

      • Also never been pregnant and I second ginger. I get terribly boat sick and powdered ginger drink mix plus ginger chew candies got me through the one hour speeding and ROUGH boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef feeling just great.

        The best ginger drink mixes I’ve found are in the Asian sections of your grocery store (or in an Asian grocery store) – I wasn’t worried about ingredients since I wasn’t pregnant at the time, but it might be worth it to find someone to double check the ingredient list for you if you can’t speak the language to make sure there aren’t any ingredients that are iffy for mamas-to-be.

  18. Not every woman reacts the same way to pregnancy, and not every pregnancy is the same. The first time I was pregnant, at 18, I was tired during the first trimester, but nowhere near the exhausted state I lived through when I was 36. I couldn’t tell anyone the second time around, and a colleague was really concerned when she caught me on the floor of my office, napping.

    I wish I had some advice, but all I can say is that my mom was right–saving up anything, or letting yourself get out of shape, because you can do it or work out more easily once you’re no longer with child is pure foolishness (unless you give the babe up for adoption, as I did at 18). Honestly, the tiredness you feel now (I hate to be the bearer of bad news) is just prep for the interrupted sleep/lack of REM tired that you will be in a few months. For me, the tiredness during the first few months, especially when he was doing a lot of nursing, felt like the kind of tired I’d get when I did very intense 60-90 min heavy weight-lifting routines in the gym with friends who competed as a bodybuilder and a bench-press lifter.

    But they’re right. It is the toughest job you’ll ever love. My little man (he’s 8) just interrupted me to show how he’d cleaned his whole room and made it into “Dance Zone”. Totally worth it!

    • Dance zone! Ha! I love it!

    • So true about the exhaustion during first tri versus the exhaustion after the baby is born. There is no comparison. It’s been 7 months now since my baby was born and I still haven’t gotten an 8 hour stretch of sleep. I think we just learn to live “tired” after a while, if that makes sense.

      • Related to Mel’s comment–I learned how to categorize work according to how tired I could be while doing it. Even exhausted, I could format citations, but any original thinking had to be done while I was as close to “fresh” as I could get.

      • This is very true. But one thing that has been helping me get through it the second time around (and this is true for the miserable pregnancy I had both times) is that “this too shall pass”

        The pregnancy and the sleeplessness (and all that other stuff) is such a short period of time in the grand scheme of things. But the amazing-ness (I know, not a word, but kids are just indescribable) that my kids bring to my life is so worth it.

  19. Hooray!! Congratulations Kat. Happy and healthy nine months!! (or four or whatever you have left :) )

  20. maine susan :

    Congrats, Kat. Was pregnant in the early 80’s, no morning sickness, could not stand the smell of coffee but the exhaustion was so overwhelming that I thought I had some kind of cancer and was dying. I’d never heard of exhaustion as a symptom of pregnancy and it started before I’d missed my first period. What a relief to discover it was pregnancy and would disappear in the second trimester.

    • Congratulations….

      • Dear Kate,

        This post has been amazing just being able to know what is happening to you is the most important. This was my second child after 14 years and to say the truth I had not experienced anything like this during my first pregnancy. I feel reassured and able to cope with the nausea sleep and all mixed feelings

  21. Diana Barry :

    Congrats, Kat!!!! :)

    I bought so many bras while I was pregnant. I have sizes from 34A up to 38F!

    I napped on my office floor. Not often, but a few times. I also went home early whenever I could, also not often.

    One thing – if you get sick to your stomach, you may not have time to run to the bathroom before you are sick. I kept extra plastic bags in my office for this, bagged it up, then took the trash out to the office kitchen or bathroom. Not great, but better than getting sick in the hall.

    I didn’t tell anyone at work before 13 weeks, but it was very hard. Had I been sicker, I would have told at least my boss. Don’t be afraid to press your dr for drugs – in retrospect I should have tried different anti-nausea drugs instead of just suffering through it!

  22. Related threadjack – Can anyone recommend websites/books about planning to have kids & finances? Thanks!

    • You might try NPR’s website. Driving home from work a couple of months ago I heard an interview they did with a man who wrote a book and/or gives lectures on that very topic.

  23. Congrats Kat!

    First tri is tough for sure. I had the extreme fatigue and crippling headache combo. I think the trick is just to try your best to act like you are fine when people are looking. Unless your work significantly suffers, no one will really notice if you take a few power naps in your office. Hopefully your co-workers are too busy to pay attention to everything you do.

    The toughest part for me were the clothes. I showed very early (whether it was baby or bloat didn’t really matter – the result was the same). Maternity clothes are too big in first tri but my normal clothes either would not fit or made it obvious something was up. I suggest a transition wardrobe with some loose fitting cardigans, some empire waist tops and dresses, and a bella band for your pants. You will want all of this stuff post-partum anyway, so it’s not as much of a waste of money as it seems.

    • Yes, I had a transition wardrobe too, and it’s useful for after baby comes too, when the maternity clothes might still fit (sad but true) but you’re sick to death of them, or the season’s changing.

      • With a now 5-month old, I wish I had bought more of a transition wardrobe for the first/early second trimester. I had to buy a whole wardrobe for coming back to work when the baby was 3 months, and I could have worn a lot of what I bought for post-pregnancy during that early pregnancy stage. Especially when you consider that both were about the same season. I am just now starting to be able to fit back into some of my old clothes, at least the bottoms and really loose tops, but since I’m nursing/pumping, I am still relegated only to the new tops I bought. If you lose weight easily and use formula, you could probably be back in most of your regular clothes by 3 months, but I don’t fit into either of those categories.

  24. Congratulations Kat!

  25. I felt pretty much fine throughout both of my two pregnancies — mild nausea and moodiness in the first trimester, but nothing that disrupted my routine. Some people do have severe symptoms (so it’s best to consider that possibility), but it’s not a given.

  26. Congrats Kat! Yes, those of us who’ve seen the pregnancy early-stage dance had you pegged last month. It’s so exciting though and a great time to take your blog business to the next level.

    I was pregnant in the early 90s and it was trickier then, as there was less business casual and fashion-wise harder to hide. I remember taking a busines trip to Oklahoma City and the guys all wanted to go to a steakhouse. For some reason, I was off red meat both times in the first trimester and wanted chicken or fish. But no… this place had nothing but beef and no vegatarian entrees. I ended up having a salad and french fries while ignoring the burger on my plate and turning green.

    Some tips: Nap in your car if you don’t have a sofa in your office. Some larger companies have lacation rooms that might do in a pinch.

    Eating several small meals helps. I would have snacks of string cheese and apple or peanut butter and apple at 10 a.m. and a protein bar at 3.

    I swam during both pregnancies and at the end the pool would be the only thing that would keep my ankles from swelling in a painful way: The water pressure helps force out the fluids. Swimming is a great pregnancy exercise.

    My oldest turned 20 today so memory is dimming…maybe I’ll think of more later.

  27. Congrats! I am now 34 weeks and am looking forward to baby boy #2 in July. I would offer a couple of suggestions:
    1. stay in your regular clothes as long as possible. bella bands, rubber bands, skirts and jackets that can help hide the “pooch” are good options. you will look “chubby” far longer than you will look pregnant.
    2. especially in your first trimester, eat before your feet hit the floor. i kept a stash of granola bars, saltines, and hard candy bedside. i avoided almost all morning sickness by eating before i got out of bed.
    3. adjust your schedule. if this means coming in at 9 instead of 7 and working later, do it. whatever it takes. once that baby gets here, your time is so much more precious.
    4. if you plan on nursing, buy those third trimester bras as nursing bras. get ones without wires and that you can still wear comfortably to work.

    Great post – looking forward to seeing more of your maternity advice!!

    • On point number 1 — just be careful — i wore some of my favorite suits and pants until there was no way to wear them anymore, and now they are stretched out :(

      Same with my most comfortable flats.

    • I disagree on the bras. The size I was wearing in the 3rd trimester may be similar in cup size to what I wear now for nursing, but my rib cage went back down in size dramatically. I bought one nursing bra right after I had the baby (used primarily nursing tanks while on maternity leave), and by the time the baby was about 2 months old that bra didn’t really fit any more because the band was way too big. No bras I wore while pregnant fit now.

  28. Kat, congratulations! Enjoy the ride.

  29. Francie Nolan :

    Congrats Kat!!!!

  30. Congratulations, first of all! May you and your husband enjoy the wee one that’s on the way, and may that wee one get here safely.

    Second: My mother didn’t quit caffeine. This was back in the 80s, and she also didn’t have any prenatal ultrasounds. I was either smallish-for-dates or slightly premature, depending on who counted correctly, but twenty-five years later that hasn’t left me nearly as damaged as what I’ve done to myself. Was I just lucky? Is this the big deal the Internet says it is?

  31. Congrats, Kat! The fatigue will come back in the last month or so of pregnancy. I’m 36 weeks and counting the days I have left of work (11 more days!).

    I also was exhausted in the first tri but felt like a million bucks until about 30 weeks. I could not look at coffee until about week 14 but have drank a cup or 2 in the morning since. Still, I’m slowing down with the extra weight and the heat.

    I am so looking forward to reading CorporetteMoms while I am on leave and having a place to discuss all of the issues that have been on my mind during the pregnancy (part-time v. full-time or not at all; childcare; career…).


  32. Congratulations!!!

    I’m not in law, but I have two kiddos. The first came when I was working in marketing. I had horrible morning sickness, but dragged myself into the office every day. I had no help and lots of big campaigns. I often came in early (6 a.m. when everyone started at 8) and left late (8 p.m. when people left at 5) because it took me that much longer to get work done. I was drained throughout my whole pregnancy, not able to take as good of care of myself as I should, etc. After baby came, I requested a change in position. I could have continued what I was doing, but I didn’t want to. I was much happier after the switch.

    With #2 I was in a different job. SO MUCH BETTER!!! Less m/s (although, whenever I’d hear someone cough I would gag), more energy even though I was chasing a toddler around. But, the job was also “easier” so I could come in and leave at normal times. I also “knew” what to expect, so I had snacks/drinks with me at all times. I knew my limits and what I was prepared to do or not do and I really didn’t care what others thought. I was healthier with the second pregnancy.

    For those thinking about children – there is no “good” time. Two months after my first was born, my husband lost his job. Seven days after my second was born, my company’s annual meeting was held in Las Vegas (I didn’t go but did do all the planning for it). If you wait for the perfect time, you’ll never have kids.

    Know your body or at least set limits to what you can do. Maybe you feel fine and can keep your similar hours. But, for your metal health draw a line and don’t work past XX time at least one day a week (be it Friday or whatever).

    ASK FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED!!! I didn’t do that with my first because I didn’t want to be seen as weak. I was miserable because of it. I also compared myself to other moms who did my job; that was a huge mistake. Everyone is different. I don’t care if you juggled twice the workload, had a 3 hour commute or whatever – this is me and I need help.

    • I think we should all apply JenM’s wisdom…

      “Everyone is different. I don’t care if you juggled twice the workload, had a 3 hour commute or whatever – this is me and I need help.”

      …to pretty much everything in life. Pregnancy, post-pregnancy, weight-loss, weight-gain, balancing family/work, balancing personal issues/work, just managing workload, etc. Asking for help plus knowing other people will be compassionate = awesome.

  33. Fashion Faux Pas :

    Congrats, Kat!

    On a clostely related topic, does anybody have any tips for dealing with fatigue caused by anemia during pregnancy? I’m almost six months pregnant and still suffering from killer fatigue and massive difficulty concentrating, which, according to my doctor, are due to my anemia. I’ve followed her iron supplementation instructions (78 mg per day, plus eating lots of iron-rich foods), including taking vitamin C with the iron, but the anemia hasn’t improved. I didn’t use caffeine before pregnancy, and haven’t started, have kept up with my daily workout routine, get 8 hours of sleep on most work nights and at least 10 hours on weekend nights, and eat well, but my energy level is positively pathetic and it’s killing my billables.

    • I still struggle with anemia. One small tip that actually helps is to use iron cooking vessels. Really. I can feel the difference. Otherwise, I wish I knew. I just want to curl up in a ball & sleep “for a little while” but it goes on all day, day after day. My heartrate is also too low. Don’t know if that’s related, but they occur together. I’d love to hear other peoples experiences/advice.

      • Fashion Faux Pas :

        Thanks– time for me to eat more stirfry since we have a cast iron wok.

    • Cecelia Celiac :

      Anyone with anemia that is not helped by supplements plus diet should be checked for celiac disease, the affects of which inhibit absorption of nutrients and vitamins by- specifically – the villi in the intestines.

      • My sister was dx’ed with Celiac last fall. Sounds like I should get checked too. Thanks for bringing it up!

        • Cecelia Celiac :

          Oh, yes! That goes double if a blood-relative has celiac as it is hereditary.

    • Many women have fatigue through the entire pregnancy, especially if you are over 30. I did for both my pregnancies. No cure that I’m aware of other that giving birth.

      • Taking iron supplements or eating iron rich foods with OJ, or other vitamin C foods helps increase absorption.

  34. workingmomma :

    Why can’t we live in a world where people DO “cut you some slack” for being pregnant? Let’s face it, part of womanhood is having babies. I could not operate at 100% in my first trimester — and I do not think that I should have. My billable hours decreased during that time, but I know that I do great work and am a valuable associate. Pregnancy is EPIC — it’s important to slow down and take care of yourself and your baby. I know this was not acceptable in previous decades, but now, let’s stop trying to act like men. Let’s recognize the value that women have in the workplace, and recognize that the entire community — including law firms and corporations — should embrace women as they are, and support all of us baby-makers while we’re making babies and taking care of babies. After all, there is no more important work. We can take care of ourselves and our families, and still do good work (and lots of it!) — we just need to be flexible and we need a workplace that is flexible.

    And we need to ask for what we need and want. For example, ask for more maternity leave if you want it! I took 6 months and it was the best decision I ever made. The work was there when I returned, and I did not get the crazy looks that I fully expected. Most people understand. Even men, they have been through it before with their wives. Babies are magical and they need our love and attention, in utero and afterwards!

    • Well said! I completely agree (although I’m nowhere near pregnant).

    • Anonamouse :

      Where’s the “Like” button?

    • Congrats Kat!

      I’m also sympathetic to this viewpoint. Does “gender equality” mean suffering in silence, or does it mean being individually supported, and not penalized, for bearing a child? Why pretend that everything’s all roses when your body is working against you at times? I’ve never been pregnant, though, so what do I know!

    • Anonymous :

      I disagree — especially if someone is forcing me to pick her her slack (she’s not pregnant with my baby!). Scaling back is scaling back, whatever the reason.

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        Thank you. I agree. Whatever the reason, if you slow down someone else picks up the slack. yes, we want “support” but we work at businesses. Businesses exist to make money. That is not gender discrimination.

        • workingmomma :

          Hi Amelia Bedelia, I am so glad businesses exist to make money and I love my paycheck. I was not claiming gender discrimination and am not sure why you brought this up. The reason for my comment was to encourage women to ask for what they need and want in the workplace, it’s all part of the negotiation between company and employee. I think sometimes women want different things than men, and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it, that’s all. My firm was fine without me for 6 months, and my coworkers were extremely supportive. I am also very “supportive” when partners ask me to work weekends and late nights. It’s all part of the cooperative teamwork that makes my job great. Your comment makes it seem like “support” = no money… why is that?

      • Anonymous Hippopotamus :

        We shouldn’t have to work in a world where having children and having a job are mutually exclusive. The company creates a system whereby the burden falls on other specific employees rather than temps. They can figure out a way to make it so that it works. Most working women will have children at some point in their career–this is not an abnormal, unforeseeable thing.

      • This. I too want to be supportive–but not when it means I have to bill 2400+ hours to make up for someone who is billing 1800. Just because I’m not pregnant or a Mom doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a life (or for that matter, enough time to date to find a husband!). If a mother-to-be wants to cut back and bill only part time, I fully 100% support that–but it may mean that she should leave biglaw and find a different job.

        • Well Same…Hope you don’t break a leg, develop a serious illness, or otherwise need people to cover your work at any point in the future…

          Unless of course you’ll immediately quit your job upon such an event occurring.

          The truth is, the person to blame here is the firm that doesn’t have enough staff, not necessarily the other associate. But maybe that’s just my humble take.

          • Covering short term is fine. Covering long term is not. And yes, a big responsibility lies with the firms to adequately staff to cover for a 6 month leave. But another aspect of the problem–as some posters have pointed out–is that some women use pregnancy/kids as an excuse to not . Having experienced it first hand, it is frustrating and unhealthy for coworkers to cover for extended periods of time…coworkers who feel this way are not “bitter,” jealous, or maladjusted.

        • workingmomma :

          Hi Same, why do you work 2400+ hours??? If you don’t want to work so much, why do you? Perhaps you should find a job that allows you to have a life, date, etc. That sounds like a lifestyle/discipline issue and not a physiological issue (during pregnancy your body physiologically forces you to slow down… it is unhealthy not to… and that’s all I was talking about! That’s what I thought this post was about.)

    • That was the part of Kat’s post that took me by surprise, as well — I was expecting the opposite advice. While I wouldn’t want to burden coworkers with every icky feeling of pregnancy (just as I wouldn’t try to slack if I had an annoying cold or slight fever), I disagree that you can’t be a valuable team member while admitting that you are liable to throw up at any given moment.

      • Anonymous :

        Agreed. Hopefully the mommy wars won’t break out here.

        “After all, there is no more important work.” Get over yourself. Seriously.

        • Anonymous Hippopotamus :

          Yeah, I agree–that’s a bit much.

        • This takes me back to the PMS wars of the 80s and 90s when we asked whether women could admit to having PMS without compromising all the advances we’d worked for. I always thought it was a shame I couldn’t talk about the amazing boost in productivity I experience in week 2 of my cycle – dependable as anything, and I get more done than anyone around me. Why can’t we admit – both with PMS and with pregnancy – that our output varies, depending on our hormones? I mean, at least women’s hormones are on a cycle, and thus relatively predictable – as compared, for example, with men’s bursts of testosterone.

          In pregnancy, I would highly recommend 3rd trimester hormones, which did amazing things for my libido and made me (and my partner) very, very happy. Not that this is a work benefit, alas, but there are others.

          Congrats, Kat – I’m so happy for you! I hope you get your energy back soon.

          • Haha. This reminds me of when I was running for middle school student council president. I had just recently started having periods and the election hit just at the worst part of my cycle. I was running against a male classmate. My mom’s advice was as follows: “work extra hard and be extra nice to everyone; just remember, your opponent doesn’t have pms.” I still won.

            Congrats, Kat!!!

        • workingmomma :

          Hi Anonymous & Anonymous Hippopotamus, well I didn’t expect that line to offend anyone… have you ever seen that Chris Rock skit where he asks his pregnant wife “What did you do today?” and she’s like “I made fingernails! What did YOU do today?” LOL. I was just talking about the miracle of life thing, when your baby looks at you you’re the most important thing in their world feeling, I didn’t mean to upset you or imply that other people don’t do important things. So I’m sorry to have offended you. I really was trying to be supportive of other women, not start mommy wars. Honestly, a lot of these negative comments have really surprised me.

    • I’ve struggled with this myself. Part of the issue is that I’ve seen women handle the challenges of pregnancy in different ways. There are the women who make a genuine effort to keep moving forward while acknowledging their limitations – and there are the women who use pregnancy as excuse to fulfill their every selfish or lazy desire. Pregnant or not, the workplace is not an appropriate place to be selfish or lazy. That’s really the part that people don’t like. It’s not the pregnancy. Those women really peeve me, because they build a bad rep for the rest of us.

      Pregnancy is a part of life. I’ve cut coworkers slack while they go through a difficult divorce, bereavement, health issues, etc. They can do the same for me when I’m pregnant.

      This is one reason I value my family-friendly employer. Most of my coworkers have kids, so they understand. It does become a challenge if your office/team is largely childless.

      • Are they slacking, or having tougher pregnancies than others, or less willing to put their own and their child’s health at risk by overworking themselves?

        • Anne Shirley :

          Seemed pretty clear Erin thinks (and I agree) that some women slack when they are pregnant. Considering there are plenty of lazy non-pregnant women, it really doesn’t seem terribly shocking to me that some women do take advantage of pregnancy.

        • Unfortunately I’ve known women who actually did take advantage of their pregnancy. I’m sure they were legitimately sick, tired, etc, but instead of making an effort, they demanded that everyone work around them **beyond what was necessary**. These were all women who were normally difficult, whiny, and/or lazy. It’s not a matter of overworking vs not, but the attitude. I’m just thinking that the negativity being voiced about pregnancies in the workplace might be caused by people only having experience with these types of women.

          To be clear, I think that there should be an appropriate level of accommodation for pregnant women, but that the mother also has a responsibility to appreciate the leniency and not expect more than she needs. The vast majority of pregnant women understand this.

    • MaggieLizer :

      I’m shocked that so many women think that we should just keep our heads down and suffer through a pregnancy as if it doesn’t affect us. It’s not healthy for a pregnant woman to work the same hours she worked before she was pregnant. I work in midlaw and I am expected to work late (after midnight) and pull all nighters (with no down time to nap) on a fairly regular basis. Working these types of hours is potentially dangerous for the mother and child. It is totally unacceptable and unreasonable for any employer to expect a person to endanger the health and safety of her child for the sake of work, especially when that work can be performed by any cog in the big/midlaw machine.

      It’s ridiculous that firms are so hostile to the idea of providing reasonable accomodations for pregnancy and child care, and it’s disheartening to hear echoes of that hostility from some of the brilliant, successful women on this site. Allowing pregnant women to work more normal hours for a few months should not be a controversial concept.

      • The hostile women are the ones who’ve likely been forced to cover for their co-workers who felt a sense of entitlement and arrogance during their pregnancy.

        Everyone has lives and issues. Forcing them on your coworkers is unacceptable. Being responsible for your actions and their consequences is the minimum acceptable professional standard.

        Slacking off + entitlement + arrogance = resentment.

        • what a horrible attitude you have. being pregnant and working is not considered slacking off. its a shame that you feel that way.

          • But it is not my kid–why should another woman’s choices dictate my life and work/life balance while she is pregnant/on maternity leave/on parttime schedule/needs to leave early for the kids? I have had to do the work of two people (small team/group) because my co-worker came in every day at 9 a.m., left every day at 4 p.m., didn’t work weekends, etc., due to pregnancy/kids. In that case, she wasn’t able to do the job of a biglaw associate…so she should have left to find a new gig and allowed the firm to find someone else who could pull his/her own share. Instead, however, she took advantage of the generous maternity leave and part time policies…and I did her work. In the end, I was the one who left the firm first, utterly burnt out and resentful that I had spent two years of my life doing the work of two for the salary of one.

          • To Same, above me:

            I did the work of two when a colleague’s wife was so ill that he was away from work most of the time and useless when he was there. This happens in more situations than pregnancy, and no, my company wasn’t willing to replace him for the duration, either. I was also training a new hire despite my own newness. Situations crop up. What were we supposed to do, ask for the man whose wife did eventually die to be sacked?

          • Anonymous :

            You’re right, working while pregnant is not slacking off.

            Announcing your pregnancy and then assuming that everyone else will just have to deal with it and work around you is selfish and unprofessional.

            If you’re causing a disruption, accept that fact and don’t pretend that it isn’t a pain for everyone left to deal with the fallout you’ve created.

        • “Being responsible for your actions and their consequences is the minimum acceptable professional standard.”

          I totally agree. So, let’s say, a woman hasn’t been able to find a partner, get married, have children, etc. She should DEFINITELY keep that resentment – at what she has not been able to achieve, that other women have – out of the workplace. It’s really not anyone else’s problem, that that woman remains single and childless and bitter about it. Wouldn’t you agree?

          • Ballerina Girl :

            Wow that was unnecessarily snarky. And actually pretty sexist. Who says all women want to have children? Pregnancy does not, by definition, equal success. Nor does marriage or being in a relationship. I know plenty of people who are in crappy relationships–I’d prefer to be single than in their relationships. I don’t agree with the original comment, but I also think this is very nasty and really ridiculous.

          • Anonymous :

            Interesting that Anon assumes all single women ant to be married or have kids and are resentful of those who do. How is 1950?

            Twit. Go boss your husband about and wonder why he’s sleeping with his assistant.

          • Your own bitterness is adorable.

            (Full credit to the previous poster for this great response.)

          • Anonymous :

            What a well written, eloquent and thoughtful passage. Hope you’re on the opposite side of my arguments more often.

    • Alanna of Trebond (formerly 2L NYC) :

      I don’t have kids — but I think this is an important message. But not because someone else should necessarily have to pick up the slack, but because everyone (all American workers, and likely some workers from other countries) need to let themselves relax and have others allow this as normal. I think that work can be wonderful, and rewarding and fun — but that even exciting work does not need to be one’s entire life. Because of this, we should make sure that women are able to have kids, to take breaks and so forth with the support of others.

      Also — we should all be nice to each other as women and stick up for mothers even if we do not think that we will have kids ourselves — because creating a culture where working mothers are treated badly is the same culture that supports seeing every woman as a potential future incubator, and therefore, less worthy of advancement than her male counterpart.

      • Second that and AMEN.

      • I <3 the Tamora Pierce reference name. Maybe we should all have screen names from favorite books. Hmmm, I'm going to have to ponder this…

      • YES! We need to support families — whether they’re mothers-to-be, dads who take time out of their careers to be full-time parents, or people caring for aging parents. Life has seasons, and the workplace should be capable of adapting to the other aspects of our lives. Being tolerant and supportive of others as coworkers, employees, and bosses is a huge part of that.

      • Holler! Well said!

      • YES!! So well said.

      • workingmomma :

        Yes, Alanna of Trebond (formerly 2L NYC), that’s totally what my comment was about originally!

    • Anonymous :

      Absolutley agree with you. We are not men. Your body is telling you to conserve your energy and not push yourself past your limits. You shouldnt have to “up the ante” to prove that you are a super woman that can work full-time, take care of your daily responsibilites (especially if you have other children) and push through your pregnancy ill’s. 1st off that is dangerous for you and your baby. I also dislike the phrase “If your not in a secure position in your life then you shouldnt have babies”, if everyone thought that way and there would be no people in this world. No one is ever truly preparred.

  35. Congrats! What wonderful news. I had a very easy baby, but for me pregnancy was far harder than parenting a newborn (though, of course, every experience is different). So the worse days may actually be behind you!

    (I can’t resist asking, though — “most moms don’t show till 20 weeks”?! This isn’t true for ANYONE I know. You and your friends are fortunate!)

    • I got pg over winter break (early Jan). When I gave a talk in June, most of the dept didn’t know, although when one of the guys told everyone else, a woman in her 50s nodded knowingly and said yes, I had been with child. I didn’t fit into the suit I’d worn for a job interview just a couple weeks earlier, but “showing” depends on the knowledge level of who ever is looking!

    • I didn’t look pregnant until I was at least 6 months, even though I started wearing maternity clothing at 14 weeks. I just looked a bit chubby, with a muffin top. Coworkers and strangers didn’t start to comment until I was at least 7 months along.

    • I think it’s true for first time mums like Kat…I didn’t show for close to 5 months with my son. I also found that the slimmer one is pre preg, the earlier they tended to show…less place for baby to hide I guess?

      • I agree, and will add that if you are on the less-slim side pre-preg, it is more likely that family/friends/colleagues will simply assume you’ve put on a few pounds, rather than assuming you are pregnant. Fair? No, but I’ve seen it play out this way too many times to discount it.

  36. Anonforreal :

    Hey ladies,

    This post seems as good as any to ask a somewhat personal question that I’d LOVE some anonymous (and hopefully therefore honest) opinions about.

    The last couple of months I’ve been thinking a lot about pregnancy. Specifically, whether I should try to get pregnant or should focus on adoption right away. Without going into details, it is going to be difficult for me to be pregnant. I could probably do it (maybe) but it would be painful and risky. There would be a significant chance of early miscarriages and later in the pregnancy, there could be complications for me. But, I could do it (its not like infertility where I straight up couldn’t) its just questionable if I should.

    Now I’m struggling with whether my husband and I should just forge ahead and go straight to adoption (I know it can take awhile — so I don’t want to wait too long — and I know its not a “sure thing” and can be extremely difficult — so who knows if it’ll even be a definite option). But…I feel almost guilty not trying to have a baby; but I also feel like if I do try and have a miscarriage that it would be incredibly, incredibly traumatic for me.

    Anyway — I know all of this is extremely personal, but if people would be willing to share their experiences with adoption or not-adoption or whatever, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!

    Anyway, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this, either

    • Accountress :

      I don’t know how large your neck of the woods is, but have you looked into any support groups or organizations that might have people who can talk to you about their experiences? If you’re spiritual, maybe a counselor at your religious center? If you’re not, maybe the library has anthologies of couples making tough decisions?

      I’m neutral to adoption and pregnancy, because while I was my parents’ last shot at pregnancy, my best friend was adopted when her parents decided to not have one last go. If they’d had a child, my bff might be who knows where, and I’d still feel like I was missing a piece of me. Well, I guess that makes me pro- both.

    • Why not go for both at once? As far as I know, you can withdraw adoption applis at any stage in the process.

    • markymark :

      I would just do both. If you get pregnant and carry to term, you can always pull the adoption application. and if you cannot carry a full term pregnancy, then the adopted child will come your way. Or maybe you will have a baby and 2 years later adopt a second.

      There are plenty of babies that need good homes, so starting the adoption process now will keep that as a viable option for you.

    • I’m a little surprised by the “go for it” comments in response to this post. Deciding to carry a pregnancy in this situation is not something to take lightly. Anonforreal, do you feel that you know enough about these health risks? Is there an OB you feel comfortable talking with about this? I would suggest going that route first, and maybe seeking counseling (genetic counseling would be perfect, if it applies to your situation) to help you work through this decision. Your post also said that *you’ve* been thinking a lot about this issue–if your husband hasn’t been very involved yet it would probably be helpful to bring him into the process.

    • It’s really your decision and no one can give you advice without knowing you personally.

      I will say, though, that adoption can take a long, long time and be as capricious as trying to get pregnant can be. If you really want a baby and you think you could live with it if you ended up with two kids, I’d start the process of trying to adopt at the same time you start trying to conceive. I do know one mom who did this, and it ended up that she realized she was pregnant around the same time she finalized the adoption, so she has 2 kids who are less than one year apart. But for many people, it can take years to get pregnant or to have a successful pregnancy, and it can also take years to finalize an adoption.

    • I have severe endometriosis and 10 years ago I had emergency surgery which resulted in 1 ovary being removed, a cyst being removed off the other ovary, and my endometrial lining effectively being suctioned down to a reasonable level.

      I never really believed I could be get pregnant. I just turned 30 and started trying for a baby around 4 months ago. I’m now 5 weeks pregnant and (being a neurotic lawyer) I’ve already had an ultrasound to ensure that the embryo emplanted correctly (it has). Ironically, I got pregnant the one month that I was so flat out at work I never bothered to track cycles/ovulation/etc.

      So, moral of the story is, don’t underestimate what your body is built to do! And, as hard as this is, try not to worry too much.

  37. Congrats Kat! What wonderful news!

    I agree with your post. Such crippling exhaustion in the first trimester, like nothing I’d ever experienced (and nobody had warned me to expect it). Once, I was hanging out with my then 1.5-year old while pregnant with my second, and woke up on the couch to find that I had been sleeping soundly for over an hour and my toddler and had climbed up onto the dining table and couldn’t get down. Second trimester I was hungry ALL the time, and put on 10 lbs in one month. And in the 3rd trimester I just couldn’t get comfortable, couldn’t sleep at night.

    Best bras when I was pregnant: the bra-lellujah by Spanx or cheap non-underwire bras that can be replaced frequently.

  38. Congratulations, Kat! Wishing you all the best.
    I’m in the midst of my first trimester and the fatigue is a killer — particularly since I’m 45 and already completely exhausted from having a 2-1/2-year-old at home who didn’t sleep through the night until he was 2. Still, I can’t imagine napping in my office — too busy! As the only in-house attorney for a mid-sized nonprofit, I’m able to be relatively flexible with my hours, but napping on the job? Nope. Just have to soldier through.

    My main concern now is how my job will get done while I’m on maternity leave. Would love to hear from others who took leave in similar high-responsibility positions when there were no co-workers to jump in while you were away.

    PS, for those of us who have undergone fertility treatments, planning one’s pregnancy isn’t quite so simple as taking or not taking birth control. When the clock is about to stop ticking (because one was too busy with one’s career to meet any decent guys until one turned 40), every minute counts, and the timing will never be “right”.

    • As a 32 year old single woman, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Did you have trouble getting pregnant? Any complications? I really hope to have children some day–be it through adoption or having them myself–and it can be scary to wonder if you’ll be able to because of something as random as who you meet and when.

      • I was able to get pregnant 3 times, but lost them all. Old eggs, sigh! Anyone who tells you about their friend/sister/cousin who “easily” got pregnant after 38 or so is talking about a very lucky woman. Every older first-time mom I know went through the infertility treadmill. Many adopted. We adopted our first child, and my current pregnancy is from a donated embryo. Because the genetic mother was in her early 20s, the pregnancy is low risk, despite my age. But my body is still 45, and wow am I tired. I always tell my younger friends that if you really really want kids, and you can make it work financially/logistically, then have them! Don’t wait for Mr. Right to come along. Best of luck to you.

        • I started trying to get pregnant in my early thirties, and had two miscarriages, but also two healthy babies (by age 37). Honestly, I was surprised that I had such difficulties, I thought that getting pregnant/staying pregnant wasn’t an issue for most people in their thirties. However, although most of my friends who started trying at the same age wound up with the amount of kids they wanted, nearly all of them had at least one miscarriage. Miscarriages are much more difficult to deal with emotionally than I would have predicted, even when they happen early. I don’t think I would have done things differently, but I do wish I had known more about how common fertility issues are among women in their thirties beforehand so that I could have been better emotionally prepared.

  39. How wonderful! Congrats to you, Kat! A couple of thoughts that I haven’t seen anyone else note:

    For nausea: cinnamon gum or candy (like red hots) helped me; ginger helped to a degree but not as much as cinnamon. Some people suggested lemon drops and that helped for a little while. Also, I used those sea bands you put around your wrists (only when I wore long sleeves and could hide them – I was pregnant before biz casual when we still wore suits/dresses in BigLaw). It may have totally been a placebo effect, but it worked, and I didn’t care! I also tended to get sick more at night than in the morning for some reason, although sometimes brushing my teeth in the morning would trigger it too.

    On caffeine and other prohibitions: First, I will say that you have to do what makes you comfortable, but try to keep it in perspective. I was (am) a total coffee addict pre-pregnancy. But during the first trimester, the thought of coffee made me ill. So that was easier to give up than I thought it would be. I would have a Diet Coke a day — an M.D. told me the studies at that time they based the proscription on gave the subjects so much Diet Coke that it would be like filling your whole body full of it! Also, we didn’t have the edicts against deli meats OR tuna/fish. I recall a period where I ate tuna salad pretty much every meal b/c that’s all that sounded good to me. I also craved vodka-soaked olives, so I would make my friends order martinis and get tons of olives. and my daughter turned out JUST FINE! :)

    On timing: there will never be a perfect time to have a child. I had my daughter (now 14) when I was a 6th year associate. I returned full-time after maternity leave, but in about 6 months, took a reduced-hours position elsewhere (it is never “part-time” in the legal world!). I worked reduced hours for about 6 years, even becoming a partner while doing so. I then went back to full-time. I was no less committed when I worked less. It is all about the “seasons” of your life, as Sandra Day O’Connor stated — some are more focused on family; some on career. You can have it all – just not necessarily all at the same time!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your journey. It will be worth it, even when you are dead tired, have been puked on, and can’t stand to hear “mommy” one more time!

  40. What a great post. I love it when women are honest about the trying parts of pregnancy. I’ve not been preggers yet, but am planning for the near future. Can you ballpark when the fatigue set in for you?

    • almost immediately. I’m normally a 6 hours of sleep a night girl, but when that didn’t cut it, that was one of my first clues.

    • It was immediate for me too. With my last baby we were on vacation and I just could not wake up in the morning. My husband ended up taking the older two out to a playground and I slept until about 10am, which is very unusual for me. (Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping in, but I usually wake up with no problem.) But I just couldn’t keep my eyes open! When we got back home, I realized my period was late and tested….and it was positive!

  41. Congrats, Kat! I was SOoooOOooo exhausted with baby 1 and exhausted & sickly with baby 2. I slept 14 hours a day too – yes ma’am: slept from 7pm to 7am one day after work. Hubby checked on me around 10pm, asking: “Honey, I’m worried; do you want to eat dinner?” I was like: “No, just SLEEEEPPPPP. ZZZZzzzzz.” LOL. Here’s my take on it (unPC & un-Sheryl Sandberg): Yes, my career suffered along with my work; yes I tried to hide it during the 1st trie, and no, I couldn’t always. Even when I was visibly pregnant, some colleagues were understanding, others were bitterly complaining behind my back. And yes, the work pressure and expectations only intensified when I came back from maternity leave, sleep deprived with boobs dripping milk :(

    • Gosh, writing this made me re-read my earlier postback in January (see bel0w) on a similar topic. I thought I was such a wet blanket amongst the chorus of Super Women like Sheryl Sandberg who could power through pregnancy no problem. Did it resonate then, Kat? ;-)

      1 Lawgirl 01/13/2011 at 3:10 pm
      Group hug as we start this topic. (Deep breath). Excuse short, direct sentences as I blurt this out. On “don’t leave before you leave” — Tough pregnancies, difficulties trying to conceive, and a host of other problems sometimes force you to downshift before you go on maternity leave. Co-workers and bosses are patient (sorta) during your preggo time, and then you leave for maternity leave. And then you come back. After 3-6 months, with other folks doing your work (begrudgingly, most of the time). And….when set foot back in that door, you’re swimming upstream to create a reputation that you can work just as hard (or harder) than when you had a baby. Which is impossible for most women. JMHO.

      Read more:

  42. Congrats Kat! I’m psyched for CorporetteMom.

    With my first pregnancy I was exhausted in the first tri (in weeks 6-8 I basically went to bed right after dinner, and sometimes had trouble staying awake during dinner) and definitely took a few disco naps under my desk. Thank god this wasn’t during a busy period at work or I’m not sure how I would have managed.

    I’m 18 weeks with no. 2 now and have had the good fortune to feel basically normal the whole time, although if I don’t sleep 8 hours a night I am very, very tired. I just told work, and it has been relatively easy to camouflage the belly (in my mind at least) with blousy shirts tucked into larger-size pants and longish open cardigans. What’s harder for me to hide than the fatigue and the growing belly is not drinking alcohol!

    FWIW I haven’t cut out caffeine or Coke Zero but I try to limit to no more than one a day.

    On the timing, I agree with others that there is no perfect time, although I sort of wish I’d been more realistic before I started trying to get pregnant with my first about the fact that it might not happen right away, since as an “achiever” type I found it frustrating that we couldn’t just get it done by trying really hard!

  43. Congrats Kat!

  44. South of Houston :

    Congrats Kat, wonderful news!

  45. Congrats!

  46. Mpls Lawyer :

    Congratulations, Kat! So happy for you.

    I echo the commenter above that there is no great time to have a baby. As advice for making it through, I’d add to your list something like Deploy your Resources: accept that you need the sleep and the slack and ask for the help that you can – even if you are not telling folks at work, from your husband/partner and friends, and by hiring out cleaning, ordering groceries, etc. This is good practice for when the baby comes, too: both times, you just can’t do as much as you are used to doing.

  47. Congrats, Kat!!!!

    How did everyone who has had kids know they were pregnant????

    • I couldn’t figure out why I was so hungry And then my brests were really sore, like nothing I ever experienced pre-period.

    • This is funny! I was not trying to get pregnant and got pregnant accidentally ( was engaged and we were planning kids so not a huge deal, though a huge surprise!)

      I was doing a long case with a slow surgeon with loupes on (those funny magnifying glasses surgeons wear). By the end of the case I was so nauseated and feeling terrible I had to sit down before I passed out. I must have looked terrible because the whole OR ground to a halt , nurse getting me a cold cloth and juice, anesthesia finding me a chair, etc.

      Anyways, the surgeon (who is lovely) said “did you eat lunch” which I had, and the nurse said “are you pregnant?” I sat on the chair, catching my breath, ticking off the series of symptoms I had attributed to the crush of being a surgical resident, (fatigue, nausea) and added it to the breast pain and tried to think of the last time I’d had a period….

      Also, late to the game, but a few things I found. I was a third and fourth year surgical resident and had from a physiologic standpoint I had an easy pregnancy, though pregnancy working 80 hours a week was not easy. I reviewed the literature on caffeine and found it very non compelling. I did cut back to a shot of espresso in the AM and one in the PM as a middle ground.

      I didn’t have as much fatigue as some have…when I was working 30 hours shifts in a level one trauma center I had to lay down between 3:30 and 430 in the morning, but otherwise did fine. I felt like fluids and small snacks kept me going.

      Also, there isn’t really much data to support the idea that work load has any outcome on pregnancy. My OB and I had many talks about this, as there was no way for me to cut back during pregnancy — either I was working 80 hours a week, or I was on disability. She and I reviewed the literature, and there are small but statistically insignificant data that suggest that female residents (working 60-80 hours a week) may trend toward preterm labor but it wasn’t particularly impressive.

      For me, pregnancy was the first stage of figuring out how to prioritize differently. In some situations, we do rounds where we stand in front of patients rooms for three or more hours. When I was pregnant, I sat. And I decided that if someone thought less of me, I was okay with that.

    • Peeing all the time. gross. i know. but you did ask!

  48. Anonymous :

    Congrats, Kat. Hope the pregnancy is smooth and the baby is happy and healthy.

    On a selfish note, CRAP! Please, please, please don’t let this wonderful blog become a blog for Mothers who happen to work. Corporette serves a great purpose for professional women that can’t be easily replaced.

    • This. (Glad someone said it.)

    • As a full time mom, full time surgeon, I agree. I love the clothes and professional end of things here, though it might be nice to have a small adjacent space to discuss the clothes, professionalism and balance that comes with motherhood. But I love that people are in many phases of their lives here, and want it to remain true to the community here.

    • I’m unmarried and childless, and I didn’t read anything in this post implying that Corporette is in danger of becoming “a blog for mothers who happen to work.”

      Considering 1) the daily posts are focused mainly on clothing, as opposed to the “lifestyle” component of the site, 2) the comments/threadjacks (which i love) cover just about every topic imaginable, and 3) Kat is rolling out a separate mom newsletter for these topics, I don’t see that being an issue.

      Then again, as someone mentioned earlier, I am one of those people who enjoys reading about others’ lives/experiences, including topics such as pregnancy and working mom-hood, even if they don’t pertain to my particular life at the moment.

  49. Congratulations! Those who are expecting will likely find a “breastfeeding while working” post to be helpful. Breastfeeding isn’t the completely “natural” process it’s often made out to be–some babies pick it up right away (think motor skills, like riding a bike) and others take much longer. My son took 8 weeks to learn how to latch, and my daughter took 3 weeks. Still, though, completely worth it–as my kids were sick much less than other kids, resulting in less time off work. Plus, I got an incredible amount of work done in my closed-door office, thanks to hands-free breastpumping. You can even pump while you’re driving a car (with a blanket strategically draped around you, of course!). Just in case it takes your baby a while to pick it up, I recommend the following:

    –Vet your hospital’s lactation consultants in advance. What are they going to recommend if your baby doesn’t latch? Do they have experience working with these cases? If the answer is, “Just keep trying to latch,” then go find your own consultant, just in case, and pick someone who bases their recommendations on clinical research. Often, insurance will cover their services. Just because someone is “certified” or “licensed” doesn’t mean they are able to help with these tough cases, unfortunately.
    –Identify a pediatric chiropractor who can do cranio-sacral therapies. After one visit to the chiropractor, my daughter was latching like a champ. :)
    –If in any doubt about whether baby is latching successfully post-birth, insist that a hospital-grade, rental-quality breastpump be brought to your room. The colostrum must be removed (by baby or the pump) within six hours of delivery to maintain milk supply. It’s much easier to figure out a breastpump right after delivery and deal with latch problems later than it is to try to force a baby to latch who doesn’t want to cooperate, or worse yet, to have to fix milk supply issues at a later time. The pumps you buy at Babies R Us are ok for cases where there are not latching problems, but the rental pumps have stronger motors–which is essential when your baby isn’t latching.
    –Don’t believe the hype about “nipple confusion.” If proper bottle techniques are used as taught by a knowledgeable lactation consultant, your baby can have breastmilk (or formula, if necessary) from a bottle while you’re working through the latch process.
    Kat, since you are in NYC, you probably have access to much more knowledgeable staff than I had in my area, and many babies happily latch with no problem. Still, I’ve met so many moms who felt like they had to “give up” on breastfeeding when their efforts were hampered by not having good information and knowledgeable assistance. I totally support the choice to breastfeed and/or formula-feed, but my sincere hope for all mothers is that our choices are based on everyone having access to accurate information about breastfeeding and the barriers that can crop up.

  50. I am VERY happy for Kat! I would like to have A BABY, too, but I don’t even have a Boyfriend, yet.

    I am very hopeful I will have a boyfriend this summer, get engaged by Thanksgiving (or Christmas at the latest), and get married by next JUNE. Then I can also have a baby!

    • Anne Shirley :

      ha. never have I agreed with Ellen/Alan more.

    • Oh ELLEN, don’t you realize you should be working OUT at the gym instead of reading blogs on the world wide Web? That will make you much more attractive to a wealthey Man who is looking for a NEW wife. Maybe if you start now you can look hot ENOUGH to meet a man this Summer.

  51. I was incredibly ill for the first 4.5 months and the fatigue never truely cleared. It definitely affected my work. I ended up telling my boss before my family or friends, because I needed to give some explanation. She was so relieved to find out why I’d been such a mess!

    Finding a place to nap was very important, as I shared an office and rode transit (no car). My solution was to use a large, quiet lobby in the building next door. Not ideal, but sufficient.

    It’s important to portray the fact that you are still a professional, albeit an ill professional. Be clear that you’re still engaged in your job, even if you have less energy to put towards it. Take your nap, but don’t spend your awake time browsing crib bedding online. I also found it useful to be honest about what I could and could not take on. Some of that was reminding coworkers about my upcoming maternity leave, and some was knowing that I needed longer deadlines, etc. It’s better to be upfront about needing more time than to come up short.

    Planning a pregnancy is very important, too. We’ve postponed getting pregnant for our second until I meet two big deadlines at work (next month, actually!) because I knew completing the tasks would take all my focus, but that I’d have some goodwill to spend after it was done. But I am also in the “there’s not good time to have kids” camp. There’s always something. Both my husband and I got laid off after I became pregnant with #1. And I was recently selected for our company’s leadership development group, but decided that I’ll just be pregnant with #2 for it and that’s that.

    My other advice is to read “The Female Brain.” There’s a chapter on pregnancy and it made me feel so much better about pregnancy brain and the intense fatigue.

  52. Congrats, kat! Any recommendations for good maternity suits that aren’t crazy expensive? Sadly the blazer on your post is sold out in small and medium……

  53. Ballerina Girl :

    Congratulations, Kat! Very exciting news! I’m looking forward to your posts on this even though I’m not at that point of my life yet!

  54. I’ve been pregnant five times, delivered three live babies and now have two living children. I’m glad you metioned your friends that had miscarriages. I think we are all programmed to think that pregnancy is a breeze, while it’s in reality a bit of a gamble.

    That being said, pregnancy is not an illness and it is not rare, or even unusual. It’s in fact quite usual, but for each of us, it only happens a few times, if at all, so it’s natural to be comsumed with it. I totally was, every time.

    The thing to remember is, everyone else around you isn’t necessarily consumed with your pregnancy. So that’s my big piece of advice. Do not make yourself All About Being Pregnant during your pregnancy(ies). At least, not in the workplace.

    Coworkers will chat with you and tell you about their kids and tell you all the awful things that happened to them or people they know during pregnancy or childbirth (like I did in the first paragraph here) but, really, they’re wondering if you’re going to come back to work. Or if they’re going to have to take on your workload while you’re on leave. Or if you’re going to stretch out your leave and leave everyone hanging. Or if you’re going to start slacking right now.

    So yes, I know those first trimester ickies. I do. I was exhausted and nauseous and prone to tears and gaining weight WAY before I wanted anyone to know. But if there’s ever a time in your career you need to buck up, this is it.

    I recommend ginger ale, saltines, and letting go of all your committments outside of work. And working your ass off as much as you can while at work.

  55. Congratulations!!!! I am an attorney at a big Bank and I had my first child last fall. My advice for getting through the first trimester (and beyond) is to stay active. Excercising regularly helped to keep my energy up during the day. Also, go to bed EARLY. This was difficult for me becuase I was a night owl. Even though going to bed at 9:30 seems nerdy, it will be much easier to get through the day. It doesn’t get any easier once the little one gets here….but I still try to exercise and get some extra sleep when I can :)

  56. Wow at all the negative comments about “picking up slack.” If a co-worker had some other kind of medical condition, would you complain about that? Anyway, more on topic, I have loved this blog for pregnancy-related fashion: She does a great job of finding stylish maternity wear.

    • This!! My colleague was hospitalised for 3 mths (infection) and everyone rushed to pick up slack. I was out for the same time (m-leave) – with 5 mths advance notice/smooth handover to replacement etc – and boy did my boss grumble!

  57. Congratulations Kat! I’m happy for you. Don’t hesitate to sneak down here into the comments if you need some support or hugs, even if it’s anonymously :)

  58. Congratulations, Kat. I think it is WONDERFUL for you and your family!

    One day I also hope to become a loving mother to my children. I made some bad choices with Alan so far, but I hope to IMPROVE. Best of luck! We will be cheering you on!

  59. Congratulations, Kat! I just entered my second trimester and my energy levels really haven’t gotten that much better. I now fall asleep on the couch at 11 instead of 10:15 or 10:30! Fortunately, I work mostly from home, so If I really need a nap, I take one.

  60. FinanceGal :

    Congratulations, Kat! I hope the rest of your pregnancy is easier, and I look forward to hearing more about CorporetteMom.

  61. Congratulations, Kat! Wishing you and your family all the best.

  62. Skippy pea :

    Congrats Kat! This is great news! Hopefully you will stop feeling so exhausted soon and get back your energy.

    Now we know the reason behind the job change. :)

  63. Congratulations! I’d strongly recommend “The girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy” by Vicki Iovine if you haven’t read it…a fun read even if you weren’t preggers….

  64. Housecounsel :

    Kat, I am thrilled for you. I wish the best for you, your husband and Baby Kat. I hope you find a wonderful balance between work and family and that you are all healthy and happy.

    I don’t know if I recommend this course of action to others, but here is my story:

    I was a fifth-year associate during my first pregnancy. Not by choice, I was also the top billing associate in a hundred-lawyer firm. I was assigned to a huge, very public trial and stepping aside just didn’t seem like an option (this was twelve years ago). I would literally break down sobbing at night from sheer exhaustion, and didn’t gain an ounce the first four months of my pregnancy (lest you think this is some kind of boast, let me assure you I made up for lost time and gained almost 50 pounds). I would think about my daughter-t0-be and convinced myself she would end up being some kind of tough warrior princess because she had lived through such a trying time. My boss expressed concern about my and the baby’s health, but his boss didn’t even seem to notice and he was calling the shots.

    I am so glad I did all that, because here’s the thing: for the next eight years, before I left to go in-house, I was The Girl Who Worked Her Tail Off While She Was Pregnant. Shortly after the trial, I asked to go to a part-time schedule when I returned from leave (nobody else was PT at the time) and my request was accepted. I worked three or four days a week the entire rest of my time at the firm and had another baby, and nobody ever questioned my work ethic for a second. Is this fair? Should I have had to do all that? Maybe not, and I hope it’s better now, but it worked out for me.

    The Warrior Princess is now twelve, and she doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects from the work schedule or the single can of Diet Coke I drank every day while pregnant with her.

    • Yeah, unfortunately, there is a benefit if you can be “The Girl Who Worked Her Tail Off While She was Pregnant.” I was the “Resident who Did an 8 Hr Case the Day she Delivered” and that added a little bit of cred to my life. It eased my last 18 months of residency, when I definitely was struggling to balance a new baby and the demands of the job. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it does have an up side. And I agree my 2 year old shows no ill effects of my punishing schedule during pregnancy.

  65. Housecounsel :

    Second the recommendation on the Vicki Iovine book (and all of her Girlfriend’s Guides).

  66. Formerly Pregnant Lawyer :

    I am going to pipe in here because I was one of the “slackers” during my pregnancy. I was so sick for five months (until I went on medication) that I frequently could not stand up. I was barred from any court appearance after I had to run out of a court hearing to throw up (and had the clerk following me into the bathroom to be sure I was ok) . I offered to go on disability, but my boss really did not want me to do that (for reasons too complicated to go into here). I dumped a lot on my co-workers and I am sure they did a certain amount of private grumbling.

    Fast forward a few years. One of those co-workers had the weddding from hell (honestly she could have written a book). Then her Dad died suddenly and she was a wreck. Guess who covered for her? Another co-worker had her own baby – who was born with massive health issues. Guess who covered for her? Life happens and sometimes it interfers with work.

    My best advice for preparing for having a baby if you have a demanding job? Tell your co-workers “no problem – I’ll cover for you” when life throws them a curve ball. I am not talking about people who can’t prioritize or who got drunk Thursday night and can’t make it to their 8 am hearing. But whether it is that you just broke up with your significant other, your dog died, you really need that day off, or something more serious, I made it clear to my co-workers that they could call me. Those people saved my hide (and vice versa) many times.

    Oh – and for me lemon drops were better than ginger.

    • Here here

    • MaggieLizer :

      I’m curious whether anyone covered for her colleagues like you suggest before getting pregnant and whether people remembered it when she was pregnant.

      Additionally, did you (or anyone else) find that the people who helped you during your pregnancy held it over your head long after the “debt” had been repaid? How long did it take for you to work off any backlash from being sick and unable to work as hard during your pregnancy?

      • Formerly Pregnant Lawyer :

        I am not sure whether people remembered or not, but I will say that I did not encounter a single person who gave me grief (whatever they may have been saying behind my back). I am a firm believer that you can’t wait until you need a favor to offer to do a favor. And no, none of them held it over my head afterwards. On the other hand, I was not keep close score. If you really needed my help, I would give it. It you really want my help (i.e. you really want to take a couple of days, but something just came up and you need help), I am happy to do that too – occasionally. If you ruin three of my weekends in six weeks because you can’t prioritize and I got stuck with your undone work, I am likely to not answer my cell when you call and/or rat you out to the partner in charge.

  67. Seattle Lawyer Mom :

    Gestating another human can be extremely physically taxing, or perhaps debilitating. It is a continuum. I think we all agree that if a pregnant woman is order on bedrest by her doctor, her employer should provide the same medical leave they would for any other medical condition that requires a worker to leave work. By the same token, if a pregnant woman is suffering extreme nauseau (sp?) or other physical conditions (like fatigue) that do not require bedrest but do require physical slowing down, it may not be an option to just tough it out. All non-pregnant workers too may at some point have a physical reason to cool it at bit at work for 6-8 weeks — maybe a spate of migraines, or mono, or whatever.

    Not sure why some posters have such hostility toward those with physical concerns caused by pregnancy. Maybe the hostility comes from different types of work places than mine? I’m in big law and was an associate for both my pregnancies. There are tons of fungible associates in big law. If someone asked me to do a project and I said “I’m sorry, I am running at capacity right now,” they would not know why or care — they would just ask someone else to do the work, who would probably have no idea I’d been asked and refused. No one has to “cover” for another. (For context, I slowed down to minimum billables or just below during pregnancies, as compared to huge numbers in other years — over the course of my career, I am giving the firm way more than the minimum, so I have zero regrets about just hitting average when pregnant.)

    By the way, HIGHLY recommend having babies while a junior associate, BEFORE 5th year. You can turn off your work completely then for maternity leave. If you wait until you’re in the final grind to partnership, maternity leaves will slow down your partnership, and you will have client relationships that you don’t want to hand off to someone else and lose completely. Even tougher after you make partner. And, it’s easy to think it will all work out before you get there, but infertility can creep up on you — everyone they say about declines in fertility being dramatic each year of your 30s is true. Not trying to be alarmist, just share the truth. Everyone woman I know at my firm has a story about miscarriage or other difficulties.

    • Thanks very much for this comment. I had first kid right after graduation and delayed my BigLaw start date until after the February bar, in large part because I figured that as a junior associate that I was fungible. Thankfully this was correct, and after arriving at the firm when No. 1 was 8 months old I noticed that all the women who had kids while mid-level or senior associates, or who were partners, went part time when they returned from maternity leave. Except one junior partner, who had a child soon after making partner, and was dying. I mean, the poor woman had lost about 30 pounds from her pre-pregnancy self because she was killing herself trying to make her bones as a junior partner and balance that with parenthood (no such thing, apparently, as a part-time junior partner). I feel like that old sense that you should wait until making partner to have kids is sort of crazy, and her example only confirmed it for me. Plus, I think people expect some job-hopping at the start of a career, and time off is less detrimental.

      I think anything I’d say has already been covered, so I’ll only add that there are really no good times for having a baby but there are better bad times. While I was lucky to have had easy pregnancies, don’t get fixated on that. It’s only the start of a long journey–life is infinitely more complicated (and rich, yes) with kids. Once I had the baby I realized that all the hype about pregnancy gets a bit ridiculous because in so many ways that’s the easy part. The real craziness starts once you have the kid. You might be tired now but try functioning after your kid was up all night after a tough day at the office, or when you just got a call at work that the baby is running a fever or is throwing up. Be kind to those around you who are going through pregnancy and parenthood, and hopefully they will repay the favor when you need some help.

  68. Congratulations Kat! I am so happy for you and can’t wait to hear more!

    As for me, I have to say I consider myself really lucky. I am in-house, and my original contract in Asia was due to wrap up in April 2010. As I was due in May 2010 it worked out perfectly.

    And even better, I got an offer to take over the legal department here at the European headquarters of the same company, and they agreed to wait to hire me full-time until October 2010, so I was able to be at home with my son for 4 months.

    And just this morning, after I had to leave work early to pick up my sick child from daycare yesterday, which meant postponing a meeting, I had an email from my boss, the CEO, who said (this is a direct quote) “No problem at all. You are mother of Henry, it must be No1 priority. See you tomorrow.”

    But I have to say – now that DH is also working full time – even with this amazing support at work (and a very supportive husband) being a working mom is hard.

    Oops, I think I am wandering. The topic was first trimester, which I got through by eating everything but the kitchen sink. Really helped with the nausea, not so much with the weight gain!

  69. I’m coming out of general lurk-dom to say congratulations!!
    And thank you so much for being so honest and straightforward about pregnancy and work. I really appreciate your point of view!

  70. Congrats Kat!! Third trimester is also tiring – but exciting since you are that much closer to having a baby to hold in your arms!

  71. Kat! Congrats!
    I am 11 weeks pregnant and here a few tips I have learned:

    1) Drink lots of water. It helps a bit with the fatigue.
    2) take your time and try not to stress about what you can’t get done. You’re only one person.
    3) Tell your immediate boss if you have one (my bosses know and know that’s the reason why my productivity has lowered.
    4) tackle the hard thinking work when you have the most energy. For me, this is in the morning. By 3pm I am drained.
    5) Take a walk at lunch. Just getting out in the fresh air seems to help (it’s not only healthy, but it clears your brain).
    6) Get your doc to check your iron. My fatigue has been cause by low iron as well as pregancy so I have to take a supplement on top of my prenatals.
    7) If you can put your feet up, do it. I’m not sure why this helps but it does for me (circulation maybe?).
    8)EAT! eat smaller meals and more frequently. I find that I have fruit in the morning, a light lunch and something crunchy (carrots, etc) in the afternoon, and a light supper.
    9) Make sure that you exercise (I don’t mean going to the gym). Go for walks, take a prenatal yoga or fitness class if they are offered.

    Enjoy it! Looking forward to the maternity posts. I need good office wear.

  72. Congratulations Kat! that’s wonderful.

    I’m at 9 weeks, and am praying that the nausea/tiredness really will only last another three or four weeks. Long before I got pregnant I was running 12-15 miles a week, and I’ve found that I feel better on days that I run now, so my first advice would be to stay active!

    Also, I would challenge the idea that we have to wait so long to tell our superiors at work. I went for my first drs appt at 7 weeks and had an ultrasound. At that point the heart beat was going strong and the dr. said we had a less than 5% chance of miscarriage. I told my boss the next week.

    Granted, I work in a very family-friendly environment. I also thought that if something terrible did/does happen, I don’t want to have to go through that in silence.

    • I agree with this completely. With my first pregnancy, I told my office at 8 weeks after we heard the heartbeat, and then let some of my other colleagues know around 12 weeks. Unfortunately, I fell into that unlucky 5% that miscarried after seeing a heartbeat, and was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage at 12.5 weeks in March of this year. The support that I received from my coworkers and other attorneys I work with (even several of my judges who had heard the news) was amazing. I was shocked by how many male attorneys came up to me afterwards to tell me that they had been through something similar with their wives. I ended up having to have a D&C and needed to take several days off of work, and was so grateful that my office knew what was going on and was sympathetic to my situation. I think it helped a lot that the people I work with understood already how excited I was about the pregnancy, and so could appreciate the depth of my grief over the loss. I cannot imagine having to try to suffer through something like that in silence.

      I am currently 5 weeks pregnant for the second time, and told my office yesterday, even though I don’t plan on telling friends and extended family for several more weeks. It was necessary because I am going to me have a lot more doctor’s appointments and blood draws already this time around and needed to explain my absences. If I do end up having another miscarriage, I won’t regret for a second having shared the news with them.

  73. I got pregnant with my son during my last semester of law school and took the bar exam 7 months pregnant. I had awful morning sickness, but was able to control it for the most part with lots of water, preggo pops from Motherhood Maternity, and crackers to eat during class. I was also exhausted and would spend most Sundays sleeping! The harder part was starting a brand new job with a brand new baby though.

    I had been at my job about 2 years when I got pregnant with my daughter. I was pretty tired then too and would sometimes rest during lunch in my office. I told my boss pretty early on, because we are a fairly close and family friendly office and I just wanted to get that part over with. I was lucky this time and did not have morning sickness, but towards the end it became very hard to sit all day and work.

    I just came back to work after my maternity leave and it has been easier this time. My co-workers did have to do some work in my cases while I was out, but no one seems very resentful. We have had four babies born in our office in the past 6 months, so everyone is pretty used to helping out.

  74. Congrats!

    It sounds like you’re a few weeks ahead of me! I found the best solution for the exhaustion was to let my supervisor know, as I started taking a lot of sick days. It was early to tell anyone-I hadn’t even told close friends yet, but I could tell it was effecting my work. My supervisor and I were able to arrange it so that I could work from home on days that I was really tired, so I could save sick days for my maternity leave. This way I can take naps in between projects!

    I was also told by HR that anytime I needed a nap to feel free to use the mother’s room, I’m in a cubicle so I can’t really hide out and nap in my office! I’m finding there are days when I am even more exhausted in the 2nd trimester, so this has been really great information to know.

  75. Congratulations! Wonderful news. I hope this means many more juggle-related threads – I find those terribly interesting these days.

    My first trimester – and beyond – was difficult. It was the height of the 2009 layoffs and I was so scared to let anyone know about my pregnancy for fear of being targeted that I kept it under wraps for six months (nobody realized, they just thought I was just putting on weight). I was vomiting into my office bin (lining) at least twice a day for many months – it came on so suddenly that there wasn’t even enough warning to run to the bathroom most times. Tough times. All worth it, though!

  76. TickingClock :

    Anyone have a child over age 40? Went to post-grad school late in life, and it’s finally “time” for us to have a child, but I am a little….scared.

    All my friends had kids (mostly “oops” babies) in their early 20s. I don’t know anyone who made this decision over age 30, let alone at my age.

    Advice appreciated!

    • Two cents :

      My sister had a beautiful baby boy when she was 38 and her husband was 49. She had no problems conceiving and had a perfectly normal delivery. There are so women over 40 having kids these days that it’s no longer even looked upon as a big deal. My sister tells me that she definitely has less energy running around with a 3 year old than she would have had 10 years ago, but the baby plan didn’t work out back then. Good luck!

    • My advice is to act now if you’re serious about having kids. We started when I was 40 — wasted a good year trying “on our own”, then wasted more time with my regular OB (whose first advice was “you should really try donor eggs”). By the time I got to a reproductive specialist at 42, he told me my chances were incredibly slim. And he was right. I spent an incredible amount of money and lost several early pregnancies, and that was it. We adopted our wonderful son and I can’t imagine life without him, but I also wish I’d started a lot earlier. Parenting a toddler at 45 is exhausting, particularly when you hold a demanding job. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Do I feel like I’m going to collapse sometimes? Yep. Best of luck!

  77. Mrs. Jones :

    I am a junior partner at a law firm and had my first baby in October 2010. My colleagues graciously covered my cases while I was gone, but honestly not much happened while I was on maternity leave for 10 1/2 weeks. I too was absolutely exhausted the first trimester; it was all I could to sit at my desk awake all day, much less get much done. One piece of advice: continue your exercise routine. Hot yoga, which I’ve loved for years, kept me sane and from gaining a lot of weight (31 pounds total). Despite the advice of doctor friends to avoid the heat, I had no complications with the pregnancy or the birth, even though I’m of “advanced maternal age.” (But I would NOT try hot yoga for the first time while pregnant; it’s hard to get used to even when you’re not pregnant.)

  78. Congratulations Kat!!!

    Can’t wait to see CorporetteMoms!

  79. operaghost :

    So after reading all these posts I have deduced one thing – if you want your life to suck, have a baby. Yikes!

  80. Kat, Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am 7 weeks into my first pregnancy and have not told anyone (except, of course, all of you on the internet?!)! I have a 14 hour a day job as a senior exec at a demanding company in New York and I am EXHAUSTED. I usually have boundless amounts of energy that keeps me moving/working/traveling seven days a week–and have been here for 13 years and love love love my job–but it is all I can do to drag myself out of bed in the morning. I had to roundtrip NY to LA this weekend for work and felt absolutely horrid all day yesterday. Morning sickness hits me like a ton of bricks first thing and then makes me feel like I am on a rolling ship for the rest of the day. It is incredibly challenging in meetings where feel like a) putting my head down for a nap b) throwing up into the nearest trashbin. Has anyone come across anything that can help with the afternoon slump? I had a meeting that started at noon yesterday and ended at 3:00 p.m. and did not have time to grab lunch–by the end I felt so dizzy/weak/ill that I thought I was going to pass out. The one thing that does help with the nausea is exercise but I am so bloody tired at the end of the day that it is difficult to make myself go to the gym–and in the morning the nausea is too bad to try! Okay–enough complaining–just needed the thoughts of other women who have been through this and had to keep it a secret from everyone at work. Please tell me it gets better. Please!

  81. Anonymous :

    I love this article! I’m currently 10 weeks pregnant and have been on sick leave for 5 weeks because I’m nauseous all day, exhausted, dry heaving, vomiting occasionally, and not eating much at all resulting in additional fatigue and low energy. I was so unprepared for this! My mother reports easy nausea-free pregnancies with myself and my siblings and I ignorantly thought this would apply to me as well. If only! I’m hoping to return to work next week since I’m out of sick leave pay and didn’t want to claim short term disability. I’m still very sick but slightly better since starting Diclectin and Zantac for the nausea. I’m still not eating much but need to return to work. I’m a therapist who spends an hour at a time in an office with clients which is why being nauseous at my work just doesn’t fly. I’ve never heard of the degree of illness I experienced in pregnancy until I started looking online for others going through this. I want to applaud the author for starting this discussion. It is difficult to struggle in silence for fear of people knowing in the event of miscarriage. I’m now experiencing anxiety regarding what to tell coworkers when I return. Might be a nice topic for a future article!

  82. anonymous :

    Thanks for this post, I really needed to hear it! I’m about 6 weeks now and am having a hard time keeping up with the non-stop schedule I had myself on prior to getting pregnant. I am used to getting a million things done, running 2 businesses, so now that I have to slow down because if I don’t I’ll just stare at the computer screen getting nothing done, I feel guilty about doing so. Additionally, everything feels like an emergency – I’m dying of thirst, gotta get to the bathroom asap, extremely tired all of a sudden, and I’m not used to any of this at all. It’s my first, and I haven’t told anyone yet and don’t intend to until I’ve gotten past the first trimester. It is nice to hear that I’m not the only working girl struggling, and that power naps are ok :) and that eventually, you do get back to feeling like yourself again.

  83. This is really good site.and its looking so nice.its very helpful. pregnancy symptoms before missed period

  84. I disagree with your statement about the fatigue of first trimester being a “silent struggle”. Im 8wks and im not keeping it,because it doesn’t fit my lifestyle right now…and the worst part is neing at work where i do heavy lifting and 8-10hrs a day without break intense labor.i also work with all men and of course im not telling anyone im pregnant since im not keeping it. They all keep asking why im so tired and making jokes about being preggo. I just want to scream at thm and say “imfreaking exhasted because im pregnant!!!!!!!” Instead of all the lame excuses i have to come up with. No pregnant woman should suffer in silence and YES you can and should use it as an excuse! Its exhausting!!!

  85. This has been a very interesting thread. I am a doctor and I am in the middle of my first trimester (second child). I have had extreme nausea and exhaustion but I haven’t missed a day of work (yet). It’s has been far from easy. When I come home, I collapse. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband and a three year old who is good at entertaining himself with his trains/cars/legos. Seems to me that the main problem is that some women are unable to say no. There are appropriate ways to politely “say no” if you are asked to unfairly carry someone elses burden. If you are unable to learn this skill, you will have an unhappy career and you will likely be burned out very soon. Regardless of whether you have children or not. Women should strive to find a good work/life balance at EVERY stage of life, not just during pregnancy. Your life will be much happier for it!

  86. I came across this article while searching for what else can I do to keep a sane mind during my first you rightly said.,it is a silent battle.I have been super energetic at work at all times but with the pregnency all the miserable symptoms have attacked me..starting with severe nausea , headace, acidity and I am 11 weeks and it doesn’t look like subsiding at all.I feel angry annoyed at my condition..and I feel may be I am strong enough to take it..millions of women are out there working in this condition but I just can’t do anything right..I look miserable.lost 8 pounds .and hate to go to office or even interact with people.I dunno what can help..

  87. Thank you for this article. I just found out that I am 7 weeks pregnant and I have never felt so overwhelmed with body irregularities in my life! Nobody knows except my S.O., and we are trying to keep it a secret, but I know that people at work are wondering what’s going on. My (male) boss asked me if I am allergic to something since I have so much nausea! I thought I was strong, working through mono, jet lag, and other ailments, but this has completely overwhelmed me. I’m glad to know that I’m “normal”–that was my biggest fear.

  88. I am in my second trimester. My first was EXAUSTING to say the least. I got my energy from b-complex vitamins (b-6 counteracts nausea, b-9 is folic acid which baby needed anyway and b-12 which gave me a jolt of energy. It helped a lot!

  89. Exmeltery helpful article, please write more.

  90. Congrats, and welcome to mommyhood.. thee best club on this earth.

    I am now 6.5 weeks pregnant for the second time, and my oldest is now 6 years old.
    Nauseousness occurs every morning for me, during the afternoons, and even in the evenings. Certain smells trigger the feeling, and certain foods calms it. Ginger Ale does a great job to soothe my stomach, and saltine crackers or Ritz crackers are phenomenal too. Drinking water helps, but drinking too much makes me feel like I’m bobbing out in the sea.

    My last pregnancy I was so sick for at least the first 7 months. Thats way into the 3rd trimester. So everyone is different. I too took my vitamins at night, but this time I’m taking them during the day. I’ve prepared snacks, and small meals for through out the day eating. And I’m seriously on a veggie kick!! Yum, can’t get enough..

    I am exhausted.. I can’t get enough sleep during the day! I sleep when I get home, sleep in the mornings, take naps at work etc. I’m a Paraprofessional, so I am expected to have full energy, but I don’t. So now I’m looking for some foods that can supply my energy, and not make me nauseous in the same bite!!

    Hope my experience helps. Good luck and best wishes to all of you.

  91. Hi! I’m currently pregnant with number 2 and with my first pregnancy I had to stop working from the nausea. However, this time, I have an office job and am struggling to keep my eyes open past 9 AM. I asked my boss if I could take small naps when I needed to, as long as I was caught up on work, and she said no. Apparently they can’t pay me for random hours each day…? Any recommendations? As soon as I miss my 9 AM nap (which is not normal for me) I start getting hit with extreme nausea and struggle through the rest of the day. If I sleep for about an hour, I make it through the day just fine.

  92. Diet coke is fine in pregnancy. I don’t drink any fizzy drinks but after a diabetic appointment last week with a dietician at the hospital she said artificial sweetness are absolutely fine to consume thus making diet coke perfectly fine to have. There are enough restrictions without adding ones that are ok to have.

  93. dayana sanabria :

    Thank you for this post, is awesome. I am actually in my first trimester and I am falling at sleep at work I can’t help it…

  94. I know I’m coming late to this, but I was searching online for any information about getting through the first trimester at work. I have to say I was very shocked at your idea of women having to work harder during pregnancy so as not to face discrimination. True equality comes from structural change that doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, religion, and yes, whether or not you are pregnant. This means creating workplaces that are accepting of pregnant women, aware of some of the issues associated with working while pregnant, and making accommodations. Think what you will about women needing to act a certain way to be equal, but please do not cloak it as empowering for women. I’d like to think having a public voice like you do you should be trying to be part of the solution, and not the problem.
    If you’re going to have a voice on issues like this, please try to do some research first.