So you've taken your test, you've (hopefully) celebrated with your partner, maybe you've told your parents but that's about it. So how now do you go about keeping something so big a secret for several weeks? Depending on when you found out you could be looking at nearly 9 weeks of keeping shtum which, at a time when you feel at your worst, is no mean feat.
As I've mentioned in previous posts about the early days, I am a big drinker, so for me it wasn't so much hiding the nausea, it was hiding the lack of alcohol being consumed. Here are my top tips on dealing with that because your friends aren't suddenly just going to buy that you're on antibiotics when you were fine when they saw you yesterday.
1. Buy dark coloured bottles of beer/cider and ask the bar staff to tip away the contents (painful I know!) and refill with water/lemonade etc. Drink from the bottle and just make sure the bar staff don't take it away. This way you only need to pay for one alcoholic drink and as long as you aren't sharing it looks convincing enough.
2. Ask the barstaff to make a drink look more alcoholic. Order a cranberry juice and ask them to make it in a short glass and chuck in a lime wedge. Bar staff have heard it all before and are more than happy to get involved in the subterfuge.
3. If you are drinking in a home environment, try buying cans, tipping the contents down the sink in the bathroom and then refilling with water. Also works for filling clear spirit bottles with water.
4. 'You had a heavy one the night before and your liver needs a rest.'
5. 'You've just come from a work/friend event and are feeling quite drunk so need a water to try and sober up'. You need to act a little drunk with this one though so just talk at a louder volume and be a bit more outspoken than normal.
6. If you are getting cocktails, discreetly view the virgin cocktail menu and when ordering ask what the alcoholic equivalent is so you can lie when people ask what you are drinking.
7. Go to the bar last/first. It is a lot easier to indicate what you need if there aren't lots of your friends standing around the bar.
8. Say that you're trying for a baby and need to cut down on alcohol. A little controversial perhaps but when I eventually did tell my friends they said I should have just used this excuse as they wouldn't have queried it then.
Now that’s hiding your drinking habit covered you might also be finding that you feel sick pretty much all of the time. I was fortunate enough to (if that’s the right word) only feel queasy and not actually be physically sick but it was still hard hiding how I felt in the office particularly as it’s open plan and there are only 7 of us. As I mentioned in my First Trimester Essentials post early this month the two things that really got me through were ginger and lemon. I also found the following to help battle the ‘morning’ sickness and hide your new secret.
1. Lots of sleep. I was getting about 10 hours a night and it was the only way that I could make it through the work day. If I got any less than 9 hours I was an absolute wreck the next day and the exhaustion/nausea got worse through the day. Sleeping lots meant I was perkier and able to hide better.
2. Tell someone you trust. I told my work colleague quite early on as I knew she would be able to cover for me if I did have to flee my desk. Also as we sit next to each other I was concerned that she would think I was just on a weight gaining mission with all the ginger nut biscuits I ate.
3. Have a drawer filled with snacks. I had to keep my stomach at a permanent 50% filled rate because too empty I’d feel sick and too full – you guessed it – would also make me feel sick. I went for lots of beige easy bits, like pretzels, oranges, hula hoops, rich tea biscuits. I felt guilty about all of the beige for a day and then I realised that it didn’t matter what I was eating as long as I was keeping food down and stopped beating myself up.
4. Eating out at restaurants is a bloody faff in the first trimester because if you are anything like me all food makes you feel slightly ill. Avoid if you can, and if you can’t make sure you have a look at the menu before you arrive so you can find the most inoffensive thing on there.
5. Cancel as many plans as you can and be deliberately vague about when you can see people. It’s easier to do this than have to lie for a whole day/evening. People might think you are being a bit aloof but you can always explain to them, when you finally do announce your news, the reason for your AWOL status over the last couple of months.
I hope this list helps you, the first trimester feels like the longest because of the symptoms and the secrets but it does get easier especially once everyone knows. Failing the above, just do what I did, get overexcited and tell loads of people anyway. That way you don’t have to hide a thing!