Think back to when you were first pregnant. You didn’t glow. Your skin actually looked more of a greenish hue to match the queasiness you were feeling. You were exhausted AF. Your belly just looked like you ate a burrito for lunch (and breakfast) and, if you’re like me, you told no one the news yet because you were waiting for the magical and less worrisome second trimester to arrive to feel more secure about your pregnancy.
The above-mentioned situation makes for a really shitty (and lonely) daily existence. When you tack on trying to live life as you were before your body started growing a human (and no one knowing the secret mission you’re on), it’s pretty hard to manage the day to day. Commuting, for example, becomes a nightmare. You used to dislike it. Now you straight up hate that B. The smells, the standing, the motion sickness. It all makes you cringe and no one surrounding you has an ounce of empathy because to them you look like you did six weeks ago, not pregnant, healthy and totally capable of balancing your bag and your body on a moving device while answering emails and listening to your favorite podcast.
I’ve been pregnant and commuted more than once. I’ve done long drives to work. I’ve done public transportation to work. I’ve even worked from home while pregnant. The last was by far the easiest but comes with its own set of challenges. For example, don’t plan to watch an Excel webinar on your bed while working from home pregnant. You will surely fall asleep. I did.
Here’s what I’ve learned when it comes to commuting and pregnancy early on, during your first (and loneliest) trimester.
First, you’re not entitled, you’re pregnant. Stop caring what anyone else thinks and sit down if you don’t feel well. Sit in the disabled seats. You are pregnant, after all—whether you look it or not. This stage might be the time you need to sit there the most. One day, I sat in this seat and some asshole man tapped me on the shoulder and told me to get up for a woman probably the same age as my mom. Now, I am all about respecting my elders, but my mom isn’t old. My mom (and this woman) appear pretty damn healthy. I told him, “I’m pregnant.” His response? He shook his head and smirked. I don’t wish evil on anyone. I really don’t. But I did hope that day that this man would contract the norovirus, so he would know what morning sickness felt like for 24 hours.
Second, as much of an oxymoron as this might sound, you need to eat before you start your commute. Preferably, you need something with protein. Eating some toast with peanut butter or cream cheese works. The less I ate before commuting, the more I dry heaved on that train or in that car. Eat something substantial. It will help you a lot.
Third, go on Amazon right now and buy Gin-Gins, the yellow kind. These are hard candy made from real ginger. I popped these one after the other during my commutes and they instantly settled my stomach. They’re slightly spicy (they’re ginger after all), but they’re an amazing natural remedy for an upset stomach. If you’re prone to motion sickness not pregnant, you’ll feel it tenfold when you are pregnant. These are safe, natural and will surely make you feel (slightly) better.
Fourth, pee before you leave. When I commuted by car, I always made sure I peed before I left. Nevertheless, when you’re driving from NJ to NY, you never know the traffic you’ll find yourself in. You’ll want to avoid having to find a semi-clean restroom if you can. Sometimes you can’t. Hence the time I stopped at McDonald’s in the middle of the Bronx and had to get some chicken nuggets so I didn’t feel unethical using the bathroom. Blame the nugget purchase on that, I know.
Fifth, and lastly, for God sakes, lady, take a sick day every now and then. You probably have them and feel guilty for taking them. I know I do. Give yourself a break and let yourself stay home and feel sick and pregnant. Let someone else take care of you. Or if that’s not an option, order some Door Dash and watch some Netflix and don’t change out of your PJs. It’s just one day. You’re allowed. You’re pregnant, secret or not.
Hope these tips resonate with you if you’re a working mama who hasn’t stopped working it, internally and externally. Being pregnant is a pretty big job. Your daily life is already a pretty big job. When you combine those two, it can be pretty damn hard to keep going at the pace you used to. Give yourself some pregnant grace and just take it one commute at a time.