I have so many lovely things to say about being pregnant. But this isn't a post about that.
Oh and I feel like I should preface this with the following caveat: This is a blog about my life, and life lately has been a lot of me thinking about being pregnant, feeling pregnant, and dreaming of being a parent. And so it is written.
Without further ado, here are some uncollected and undigested first thoughts on being pregnant:
1. Our Culture is Pregnancy Obsessed.
Seriously. As if being pregnant and giving up your body and life wasn’t enough to ask of a pregnant mother, but hello! You also have the weight of the unborn world put upon your shoulders. Because it’s 2014 don’t you know! And they’ve done EVERY possible study under the sun to prove to you how one wrong move and you could harm, developmentally delay or even you lose your baby. Being pregnant is the most precious gift. I get it. But Google is not your friend when you’re pregnant. And the annoying voices of people of the internet are not your friend when they make you question your ability to conceive, birth and or raise a child. This is obviously a problem because I like the internet, and would quite like to continue my relationship with it. I’ve just had to limit and block myself from questions like “Can I eat feta cheese?” Because guess what, they’re gonna tell you you can’t, but the stress of chasing back the product line to possible sources of remotely unpasturized milk it ain’t worth it. Eat the damn cheese.
2. The Internet is Not Your Friend.
Tied closely to number one; websites like “Baby Centre” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” will be the bane of my existence come next June. Unfortunately, they seem to be the internet source’s most likely search engine hit when it comes “pregnancy and…” For example, naive unknowing me clicked on a prompter email earlier this Fall. It was called “Weight Gain and Pregnancy.” Did you know according to Baby Centre, you’re only supposed to have gained 3 lbs in 8 weeks. Um… 3 lbs? 3 lbs?! I’m more than POSITIVE I gained 3 lbs in EACH BOOB ALONE during this timeframe. Unless I’m considered morbidly obese and endangering myself with a ridiculously unhealthy diet, please do not tell me what a “typical” person should gain while she’s pregnant. News flash: none of us are typical. And my body is going to do what it’s going to do while it’s growing another human being, thanks very much.
3. Everyone Has an Opinion About Your Choices.
Also closely related to #1 and #2: pregnant women in comment sections can be mean. If you’re doubting me and you want like 2 hours of entertainment, take a look at this thread here - these girls get absolutely nasty when it comes to one woman’s statement (I'm paraphrasing) “I’m from France and we actually don’t see anything wrong with a drink of wine every now and again when pregnant.” Comments quickly spiral from “ALCOHOLIC” to “YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PREGNANT.” I wish I was exaggerating. (I couldn't help myself.... sometimes comments sections are like a train wreck and you can't look away.)
4. Awkward Conversations with Your Boss.
Talking with your boss about being pregnant is the most awkward it has to get. (Well actually my actual bosses were lovely about it, the awkwardness happened with my boss’ boss). She tried to be nice but started with “Emily…. (pregnant pause) I know” And I’m going.. “What? You know what? That I stole post-its? That I shopped on Amazon at work? What do you know?”) And just before I blurted out all my secrets as a good little guilty girl might be won’t to do in a situation of power imbalance, she says “I can tell you’re pregnant by the way you’re carrying yourself.” Lucky for her, it wasn’t just the extra hamburgers type of baby, it was the actual baby-baby.
5. Bedside Manner is Important to a Sensitive, First-Time Mother.
It’s annoying to talk to a General Practioner about being pregnant. This isn’t a generalization because I”m sure there are GP’s out there who are fabulously lovely and embrace fully the role of providing antenatal care to women. I’m just speaking to my own experience when I say I’ve had lacklustre health care in the past when it comes to reproductive health, and when I went into the doctor to “confirm my pregnancy” (seriously that’s what they call the appointment), I can’t say it changed my mind on this point. The doctor literally entered the room with this question “So. Was this a planned pregnancy?” (His hand was literally on the door still and it was half-way open, and I’ve seen this guy a total of 3 times and he’s introduced himself a total of 3 times.) I found it completely offensive that he would assume one way or another that this was the most important element of the conversation to get out there, and not conducive to creating an environment of trust (no matter what my answer would have been.) The whole appointment went downhill from there - he stuffed my hands with offensive public health pamphlets that said obvious things and other documentation that was equally as incomprehensible (Integrated Prenatal Screening and Why You Should Consider It!) The appointment ended with him stating, “Well. I don’t make a big deal about these things until about 12 weeks.” He handed me a requisition should I want to get the IPS screening (considering I didn’t even know or understand what it was, it could have been greek and I had little idea of what to do with it) and I left feeling like the most precious gift I’d been given in life was commonplace and felt completely intimidated about having any follow-up questions, because they don’t matter in the first 12 weeks ("if you make it that long, then I’ll care!”) In short. I’m just trying to say how grateful I am to have found a mid-wife. Because that's been awesome so far.
6. "The Announcement" Makes People Stare At You.
Announcing to a room full of people that you’re pregnant can be completely mortifying - all of a sudden your co-workers or extended family are all staring at you after they overhear you casually trying to slide into the conversation that you're pregnant with an ice breaker “Man, yea, that was a rough few months. I threw up in front of a string of commuters yesterday.” And then before you know it, people around the room or table start to go quiet and they’re like “What! You’re pregnant!?” They’re obviously acting so happy for you and acting incredibly kind but all you’re thinking is, please stop looking me and asking things like “How did this happen!?” And “When?!” because then I’m thinking about The Act and I really don’t want you to be able to read my thoughts right now. I guess I'm just not a "make a personal announcement to a room full of people" sort of gal.
7. She May Be Mighty, But She Can't Move Mountains.
That Old Grey Mare just ain’t what she used to be: I’m finally feeling like exercising again (and yes I realize that I'm comparing myself to livestock. When you are pregnant you are allowed to refer to yourself as such. When you are not, you may not make such jokes in the vicinity of a pregnant person). I went for a run the other night - I’ve been able to run about a total of 4 times since September because this has not been the smoothest of first trimesters - and let me tell you that run, it was pure bliss. And then I was like “Emily! You’re back’s been hurting you! You should do lunges!!” So I stopped my run and did 50 lunges. Because I have to WIN. All the time. Even if it’s just me on a sidewalk, I have to act like a super hero. And then enter today, me doing the full waddle, because well, 50 lunges as it turns out is about 40 too many for a girl who’s been sitting on the couch since the beginning of October. I get home and I’m like… “Mike. Do you think it was too many and I injured the baby?” Because it's really easy to feel guilty or worried when you're pregnant.
Luckily Mike's a rational guy in my moments of self-doubt.
“No but maybe next time you should just ease into it Emily.” Indeed. Indeed I will heed this advice next time dear husband.
But had I not, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here in this chair licking my out-of-shape wounds and rant-writing this post to the internet so guess what?! The internet wins!!