By Ashley Robinson
Look people, I’m not the first woman to give birth on this planet, so I don’t pretend to be special in my experience. But here are some tips for the millions of ladies who will join the club at some point, tips they don’t tell you in “What To Expect When You’re Expecting.” Caveat: Everyone is different, so I don’t want to see any comments along the lines of, “You didn’t include this …” or “That didn’t happen to me.” I know. We’re not all the same.
Also, I’m not even in my third trimester, so just wait to hear about the horrors of labor. MUAHAHA. (Actually, that would be a boring blog post, don’t wait around for that one.)
And if you get tired of my bitching, just see the last two graphs and warm your heart. So there.
Nine Months Free of What Again?
Just because you are pregnant does not mean you won’t have menstrual-like symptoms. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was like, “Oh yay! No monthly mood swings, bloating, and discomfort.” HAH! Ha ha ha ha! How naïve I was!
Mood swings last weeks, not hours. And they are so insane, so manic that the next time I have PMS, someday in the future, I’m going to just laugh about any guilt I may feel for being unpredictable. (My poor husband.) And the bloating, that drove me to start wearing maternity clothes before I was even actually showing. And the discomfort, I won’t even get into that right now. Let’s just say you get cramps. They never go away.
This is Not a Good Look for Me
Speaking of showing, it doesn’t happen right away, like I thought it would? (I clearly did not pay attention in my “family education” classes.) But looking like you had a heavy weekend of beer drinking or participated in donut eating contests happens pretty quickly; at least it did for me. My clothes didn’t look right and I began to feel bad about every snarky thing I ever said about girls with beer bellies. Maybe they were just in the early stages of pregnancy? (Probably not.)
Harder to Give Up Than You Think
Also things you live without for nine months: the booze and the coffee and the sushi … While each doctor and book has a different stance on what you can ingest and should refuse, I’ve had to give up the coffee (due to blood pressure complications) which I think may be harder to go without than a glass of wine at the end of the day.
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I would stomp around the house at night frustrated I couldn’t indulge in some red wine – perhaps a sign of alcoholism, maybe. But that wore off pretty quickly, and was replaced by frustration in not drinking coffee to stave off the constant fatigue I continually face. I’m tired all the time. I just want to nap and nap and nap. And from this POV, the utility of coffee is far greater than anything a glass of wine could provide. You have to live it to know it.
Um, This Dress is How Much?
Maternity clothes are crazy expensive! Pea in the Pod should be called “Money in the Cash Register” because every time I walk out of that place, I immediately regret how much money I spent on a stretchy collared shirt and what are basically spandex jeggings. I know people say Target has an affordable maternity clothing line, but I’ve been in the market to replace nice work wear, not more t-shirts and sweaters. I’m good on casual wear. (I found ASOS has a really affordable line of cute cocktail and work dresses.) Oh yea, and don’t forget: you aren’t wearing this dress for the long-term.
I’m Not Drunk, I’m Pregnant
I’m no Kate Middleton, but I was not prepared for the morning sickness. I thought, with my years of living through some horrible hangovers that I could manage a couple of mornings of nausea. HAH! Ha ha ha ha! My friends, a burrito bowl from Chipotle does not cure what ails me. It happens without notice. It happens while brushing teeth, while washing hair, while sitting at a restaurant with friends, while walking down the street. Every time I’ve been forced to retch in public, I immediately stand up and shout, “I’m pregnant! I’m not drunk!” It’s embarrassing.
I Don’t Wanna!
You do a lot of blood work and urine samples, and not as many fun ultrasounds. For some reason, in my rom-com adled brain, I thought I would be doing ultrasounds like every two weeks. I don’t know why. But you don’t. You go months between seeing that little amoeba-shaped thing in your uterus. But you get to do a lot of blood work and urine samples … yay … I can’t decide which I’ve liked more: the 24-hour urine sample that had to be stored in a cooler or the glucose tolerance blood test that makes you drink what is basically a bottle of Children’s Tylenol.
I Feel Like Crap, and You?
People ask you this a lot, “How are you feeling?” Well, I don’t know what normal, less-dramatic people respond with, but I always say, “Not great” – which makes the questioner immediately uncomfortable. Whatever, you asked. I guess other women out there have easy pregnancies in which they don’t feel the ongoing symptoms of pregnancy, but that woman is not me. On top of being overly dramatic, I am constantly uncomfortable, kicked in the ribs, nauseous, and hot, so hot and sweaty. I can’t even dribble out this lie, “Oh, I’m just swell!”
Where are the P.L.Us? (People Like Us)
The people I see in the waiting room of my Ob/Gyn who are about to be parents make me concerned for the future of our planet. Maybe I’m at the wrong hospital, but just like getting a drivers license, there needs to be a test on whether you are qualified to be a parent. And I don’t exclude myself from that pool of applicants. I’ve never even held a baby. I was in the market for a puppy when this blessing was dropped on me. I am not the world’s biggest fan of children and all the noise they make. So, I would not be the first person on any list to reproduce.
I’m Actually Really Excited about this Baby
What has surprised me the most is that after the initial shock of finding out I was pregnant (a shock that included hysterical crying in the doctor’s office), I am actually really excited. I wasn’t planning on introducing a little person into the world just yet, but now that I’m here in this phase, I can’t wait for her to make her debut. Whose smile will she have? What color will her hair be? What will the sound of her laughter be like? All these feelings, the eagerness, the love that’s already fostered for this person I don’t know yet, are not something I ever could have anticipated.
And despite the discomfort and bitching, I’m reveling in watching my belly grow because it means her curtain time is nearing, and I can’t wait.