Selection Bias

Kelsey Breseman
4 min readJun 19, 2024

There's this phrase that goes around, "second trimester energy," that sounds like a superpower pregnant people get. It does feel like that when it happens, but it's a matter of perspective.

The first trimester was so rough, for so long, that it was extraordinary just to not feel nauseous. It's miraculous like pain stopping, like breathing easily through a whole night when you've been congested for weeks.

And now I seem to be fine. I'm going places, seeing people: second trimester energy. As far as they know, I've been normal the whole time.

I think this is why I found pregnancy symptoms so astonishingly harsh. Lots of people do pregnancy! You see them walking around! You will see a pregnant person waddling, or holding their back or belly, but that's about the extent of it.

But of course, that's selection bias— and now that I'm feeling better, I'm a part of it. It's hard to remember that when you actually see a pregnant person out in the world— or people with depression or chronic illness— you are probably seeing them on one of their better days. And even then, we put on a good face in company.

I was diagnosed with depression some years ago. I found the diagnosis surprising because I was experiencing life circumstances that made me very sad; I had thought of depression as more of a reasonless sadness. But in fact…