Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. Sort of.
1. You can, in fact, still see your toes. You just can’t get to them as easily as you used to.See? I even painted these bad boys last week. Granted, it involved some bodily contortion and I’ll leave it to the pros for the rest of my pregnancy, but I did it. That said. . . .
2. Your belly is getting ridiculously huge. You’d think this would be a given, considering you know how the whole process works, but it’s still shocking when it’s your body. Sometimes it kind of seems like someone strapped a giant fanny pack to you, then somehow super-glued it in place really securely. You used to sort of forget you were pregnant, then surprise yourself from time to time when you walked past a mirror. Those days are gone now. There’s no getting away from this thing. It bumps into counters and doorways, keeps you from being able to pass people in the grocery store aisle, and refuses to let you bend over without a grunt-filled struggle. And sometimes, when you’re the passenger in a car that goes over some bumpy terrain, you’re convinced that the damn thing is going to go flying off to one side, and you’ll end up looking like Daffy Duck’s face after he’s been hit with something.
3. Fashion just doesn’t matter anymore. For sure, you’re getting really tired of your maternity clothes. Unless you spent a fortune on an extensive new wardrobe, you’re probably cycling through about ten outfits. And the place where the elastic meets the non-stretchy fabric on maternity pants hits you in the pelvis in such an uncomfortable way that you never want to wear real pants. So you pretty much live in yoga pants and loose gym shorts whenever you can. The rest of this one might just be me, I’m not sure. I’ve never been a jewelry maven, but I’ve gradually stopped accessorizing over the course of my pregnancy. Maybe it’s because my belly has become really prominent, and I don’t feel the need to add accessories to a body that’s already so adorned.
4. Your whole body hurts in some way. Just get used to it. There’s an alien taking over your body, and it causes you to weigh at least 20 pounds more. It also makes you release some sort of hormone (among the myriad others) that loosens your joints so the baby will more easily come through the pelvis. The pressure down there sort of makes you feel like you’ve been riding a bike a very long distance. And the muscles surrounding your torso are stretching in unthinkable ways. The crushing heartburn could put a rhinoceros out of commission. And the combination of these things and the baby’s incessant squirming prevent you from ever getting a full night’s sleep. In an effort to minimize the whining, I’ll simply supply this diagram with some of the aches that are always around these days.
5. It doesn’t really bother you anymore to discuss your most private bodily functions. This starts gradually in the first trimester as your body slowly loses its frickin mind. You discuss with your spouse, friends, mom, whoever, the freak show that is your pregnant body. It begins with nausea and digestive problems and gradually morphs into boobs, belly, and stretch marks. By the time the third trimester comes around, family, friends, and random strangers will begin to ask you what is happening with your cervix. It’s a little unsettling at first, but you eventually get used to it. This is helped in part by the fact that you’re getting really used to doctors and nurses eyeballing your junk on the regular.
6. You’ve been subjected to terrifying birth videos. It’s not like you’re uneducated. You’ve read the books. You know academically what is going to happen to your body. You figure you’ll get to the hospital when you’re having contractions, request the epidural, and then let a professional deal with the messy bits. But in your quest to learn all about the miracle of life, you’ve watched women go through natural childbirth and thought, “Sweet Jesus! Why the hell would you voluntarily feel all of that?” Even in the more sedate videos of epidural-assisted births, the images may scar you for life: You really didn’t need to see just how squished the plates in the baby’s head are when it presses up against the vaginal opening. You don’t plan on watching your own situation in a mirror, so you really don’t want to see other women’s business. [Shudder]
7. You’ve got a serious case of the dizzies. Maybe it’s because you accidentally rolled onto your back and compressed that one artery everyone is always warning you about. Or maybe you went from horizontal to vertical too quickly, or vice versa. Because of one thing or another, you’re suddenly frighteningly dizzy from time to time. Luckily, you think of Lucille 2 every time it happens, which makes you feel much better.
8. Hunger EMERGENCIES are a daily reality. Gone are the days when snacks were a guilty indulgence or an excuse to get out of the office. When hunger strikes you these days, it is serious business. Every night you find yourself sneaking out of bed at midnight for a bowl of cereal. You now keep emergency rations in your bag, your desk, and your car. And god help anyone who dares mention that you ate a full meal just an hour ago.
9. You’re skeptical about the whole nesting thing. Again, this one might just be me. I don’t have much of a housewife gene. I only clean when it is really clear that something needs to be cleaned. I don’t decorate, but I’ve had to figure out how to coordinate baby furniture, bedding, and wall décor without getting to the point where I just say fuck it and toss together a hodgepodge of animal, nautical, and cartoon themes. I’ve heard of other women suddenly getting the urge to paint all of the walls in the house, rearrange the kitchen cabinets and drawers, DIY adorable wall hangings, and clean the baseboards on hands and knees. I’m really hoping this happens to me, but I’m pretty sure the only way my house is getting a deep clean in the next month is if I hire someone to do it.
10. Panic starts to set in as the due date approaches. Your pregnancy has lasted for-fucking-ever, but the end is finally in sight. Yay! But also, you will soon be taking a tiny human-thing home with you, which is terrifying. You’ve slowly been accumulating baby things from showers, friends, family, and frenzied trips to BabiesRUs, but you don’t quite have everything yet. You managed to throw together a decent nursery and assemble most of the equipment, but you still need one or two key items that you’re not sure if you can live without. And that one really tricky-looking item isn’t put together yet. And your husband said he wanted to take care of that one thing, and you don’t want to press him, but he hasn’t done it yet. And you don’t have the car seat installed, but what if the baby comes early and you can’t get it triple-checked before you need to take the kid home in it? You’re already exhausted just trying to get through the day, but the to-do list makes you want to take a nap just so you can forget about it for a while.
This will all end one day. Then you get to deal with the overwhelming, terrifying reality of parenting a newborn. And if you plan to have multiple kids, combine the processes. Hurray!