Thursday, September 23, 2010

10 Pregnancy Myths: Busted

1.  You're not that tired.
I have to admit that I would roll my eyes (or at least mentally roll my eyes) whenever the pregnant woman who has just announced her pregnancy is asked how she is feeling and (as long as she is one of the lucky ones who is not puking her guts out everyday) she inevitably says something like, "Oh, I feel good.  Just tired."  In my head, I was always thinking, "Yeah, sure.  We're all tired.  People get tired.  Guess what?  I had a long day too."  Pregnancy just seemed to offer a good excuse to complain about being tired while the rest of us just irritate people when we do it.

Busted!  You really are that tired.  I have never been tired like I was in the first semester.  There were nights in June when, by 8:30pm, my choices were:  (1) Go to sleep.  (2) Throw up and die.

I was seriously that tired.  The idea of staying awake literally made me feel ill.  The entire month of June, I taught my class on Banned Books and I slept.  That was really the extent of the first part of my summer.  That bone-aching, brain-melting tiredness faded away by mid-July and I'm still feeling something near my normal energy level (although that's relative because I kind of forget what is "normal" these days).  Still, I learned my lesson.  Embryos turning into fetuses suck the energy out of their life vessel.

2.  Your belly is the only thing that gets bigger.

Ha.  Ha ha ha.  If only that were true.  Does the phrase "D-cup" mean anything to you?  I also read recently that your rib cage will expand 2 to 3 inches over the course of the pregnancy but will return to normal size after delivery.  Insane!  But explains why some of my shirts are ill-fitting.  I haven't yet experienced much in terms of butt-and-hips spreading out, but some of my friends definitely felt like their hips got wider before their bellies got bigger.  And I hear that I can probably look forward to some butt-expansion.  Long before the belly gets big, all these other parts you had no intention of growing larger because they are most decidedly not housing your offspring are also going to balloon up.  So much for the cute basketball tummy.  I think I'm detecting upper-arm spread.

3.  Because all pregnant women look so cute, you feel cute all the time!

Surprise, surprise:  it takes a while to look pregnant.  In the meantime, you may feel (1) fat; (2) like a porn star with a beer belly; (3) bloated; (4) ugly; (5) like your forehead mistakenly things you are fourteen and therefore should break out in zits.  I kept fluctuating between wanting to look pregnant and wanting to wear things that made me not look pregnant.  It also makes me feel mortified for the celebrity magazines that post speculative "baby bump" photos.  Is it a baby bump?  Or just a fat day?  Either way, you do not feel cute all the time.

4.  You will crave pickles and ice cream.
 I have never liked pickles and pregnancy has not changed this.  I do, however, love sweet and sour combinations.  Any tart or tangy and sweet fruit (grapefruit, grapes, oranges, necterines) is a huge favorite.  Also those Mesquite BBQ potato chips.  So I get the idea of the pickles and ice cream combination.  It just hasn't been a particular desire of mine.  And since the first trimester has ended, I pretty much eat the same things I always did.  I think maybe I have more of a sweet tooth now, but that's the extent of my wacky cravings.  Oh--except for one day when I was just six or seven weeks pregnant and all I wanted in the world was a Long John Silver fish sandwich and a root beer.  I ate it and felt both gross and very satisfied.

5.  You will be an emotional roller coaster.
David confessed to me after I'd gone off the pill but before I got pregnant that he was kind of worried that "hormones" would make me "crazy."

And then I clawed off his face and told him he was a sexist pig who had no idea what he was talking about.

But seriously.  Overall, I think have felt much less in the way of mood swings and tearfests than I typically would while PMSing.  I've definitely been anxious before each ultrasound, but I'm not crying at Hallmark commercials or country music and I don't think I've been an evil banshee, either.  For the most part, I have felt pretty much on an even keel.  I hear this can shift dramatically after the bebe is born, so we'll see how the postpartum mood swings go.  But for now, I'm definitely more of the Lazy River than the American Plunge.

6.  Your skin will glow.

Sure it will.  It will glow a radiant light like a Pre-Raphaelite madonna and everyone around you will comment on how angelic you look.  This happens to me all the time.  By which I mean never.

I count myself fortunate that my skin has actually been pretty well behaved.  I've certainly seen both extremes--one of my friends said she was basically reliving the nightmare of seventh grade with acne that got so bad she couldn't even try to cover it up with make up.  Another friend who claims that she is never without at least one zit has had a nearly perfect complexion since she got pregnant.  I've been somewhere in the middle--my skin definitely got worse for a while in the first trimester (porn star boobs + zits = sexy) but things are pretty well back to normal now except for my forehead occasionally pretending that it is 1994 again.  I definitely don't feel glowy and perfect though.

Maybe I need a facial.

7.  Your husband will cater to your every whim.

Now, David has done lots of wonderful things for me since I got pregnant.  He feeds the dogs in the morning since the smell of dog food made me gag for a while.  He empties the compost bucket since the smell of compost made me gag for a while.  He asks what I'm in the mood for when he's making dinner and he lets me have a sip of his beer and nods sympathetically when I say that O'Douls just isn't quite the same.

But he has always been nice like that, so I definitely don't feel like I'm getting special treatment.  He still thinks I'm perfectly capable of running the vacuum and doing the laundry and making his lunch.  And, obviously, I am.  It's just...  I'm pregnant!  Where is my special treatment???

Come to think of it, I guess I'd rather have a considerate husband all the time rather than just 9 months out of my life, so I'll go ahead and keep him.

8.  You will become obsessed with all things baby.
Again, not so much.  I mean yes, I like to talk about babies and see babies.  But the registry and the books and everything...  Eh.  Kind of over it for the moment.  Would rather watch Say Yes to the Dress instead of A Baby Story.  (My obsession with the Duggar family totally proceeds the pregnancy so that show doesn't count.)  Baby stuff is still totally fun, but I also like talking about not baby stuff.  When I'm teaching, I totally forget that I'm pregnant and it's kind of... nice.  It's just good to remember that Baby Duck is a big and amazing part of my life but I do already have a life.

9.  You will have to buy lots of maternity clothes.

This one is both true and false.  I have bought some clothes, but I would say less than half of them are actually "maternity" clothes.  I finally found a couple pairs of maternity dress pants from the Gap that fit me that I can wear to teach in, which was a relief.  I could wear my regular pants, totally unbuttoned and unzipped, with a bella band to keep them up and smooth, but I definitely didn't feel comfortable standing in front of a class of college students knowing that one false move could have it all hanging out.  I want to buy more maternity clothes, but I also don't want to spend money on maternity clothes.  I feel like I have nothing to wear, and some clothes I thought I'd be able to wear actually don't fit because of the ribs/boobs issue.  I'm wearing more leggings than I ever have in my life.  I've been able to borrow some stuff from friends and I have some great winter stuff my mom bought me so I'm ready for the weather to cool off.

Fortunately, there are enough long, stretchy, tunic shirts out there, that buying maternity tops isn't totally necessary.  At least not so far.  I've made some of my own things work and I've bought a few more things.  I ask myself if I would wear it if I weren't pregnant, and that becomes the criteria.  Unless it costs less than $10 and I can make it cuter with a scarf.  Then I will wear something that I wouldn't be caught dead in normally.  Hey--I'm on a budget here, folks!

10.  People will say kind and supportive things to you.
Actually, people will say whatever the hell they want.  And you will not always want to hear it.  I've had people (ok one person--and a total stranger) tell me I look soooo big, people tell me I look small for being however-far-along I am at the time, people look right at me and tell me that my boobs have gotten a lot bigger (Oh really?  I hadn't noticed!  But I'm so glad that you both noticed and pointed it out to me!).  And, as I mentioned before, people will tell me that David is lying when he says he doesn't care if it's a boy or a girl.  People are more than willing to put in their two cents, which is why we are keeping the name a secret until the baby is born.  Because I don't want to know if that was the name of your psycho college roommate or if you know someone from church who just named their baby that same name or if you just saw that it made the Top 10 Most Popular Names for Serial Killers or if you think it sounds like a stripper's name or if you just don't care for it.  I want to hear you say, "Oh, that's a beautiful name" or I want you to keep your opinion to your damn self. 

In general, I think everyone should say only nice things.  Not only to me, but in general.  Just because I'm growing a fetus does not mean I am more receptive to your bullshit than I would be on any other day.  And if you can't say something nice?  Remember that old adage and shut the hell up.  Whether I am pregnant or not, I do not need your commentary on the shape or size of any part of my anatomy.


  1. So funny and so true! Especially #1: Go to sleep or throw up and die. That really sums it up.

    If you can find a good consignment store for maternity clothes your life will be forever changed. I don't like buying a ton of maternity clothes either, but I don't mind spending $7 on a pair of jeans either! It took me three pregnancies to figure that out.

  2. I'm totally going to tell you Tumor Spawn's name sounds like a stripper's. Also, please name it Sinnamon.

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