What to Expect

Kelsey Breseman
4 min readMay 31, 2024
Photo by Eileen Breseman

I think my pregnancy symptoms are pretty middle-of-the-road, so I am puzzled to find them surprising. It's the difficult stuff, but it was also a surprise to get an ultrasound at 13 weeks and see a face in there: I didn't think it would have one yet.

Pregnancy seems to be culturally secret; there are many things I feel should be common knowledge, but only learned about reading pregnancy books. For instance: "X weeks pregnant" counts from about two weeks *before* conception, since it is easier to know the date your last period started. But should this not be part of the current American conversation? I didn't find out I was pregnant until late in my fifth week. Some people test negative far longer.

I've learned a lot as an incidental consequence of hosting "gals' nights," during which time some of the gals have had kids. TikTok seems to give a more realistic and reliable picture of the experience than any of the books I've read. Cliches like "every pregnancy is different" and "morning sickness" as a term are unhelpful in fairly glaring ways. "Some people are constantly nauseous the whole pregnancy and others are fine," while vague, is still more helpful.

You hear about the bump and the glow, but not so much about the constant fatigue. Lately, I've been feeling lucky: though online sources say nausea tends to let up after the first trimester, most people I've talked…