Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Being Pregnant
My niece is expecting the first baby on my husband’s side of the family next year. I’m so excited about being a great aunt! But I’m not excited for the usual reasons–because I’ll get to buy baby gifts, attend a shower, and hold a newborn again, although those are great motivations. The real reason I’m excited about being a great aunt is because I get to share the truth about pregnancy with a complete neophyte. As I anticipated giving her the low down, I realized I could share it with all the newly pregnant online, too. I’m nice like that.
#1 You will gain more than 25 pounds.
In other words, you’re going to be FAT. Eating makes the nausea go away and not just any eating will do. When the waves hit, you won’t be reaching for a salad, unless you plan to use the bowl like a bed pan. Come to think of it, you may want to practice that, because that may come up in labor (see truth #8). Between the nausea and the estrogen-induced sensation of chronic starvation, you’ll convince yourself that Taco Bell and Oreos do a baby good or at least that they’ll do YOU good (and that will be all that matters).
I know what you’re thinking–that you’ve seen plenty of young moms stay tiny during pregnancy. What you probably don’t know is that real moms HATE these women. So starve yourself to stay under the 25-pound limit, but you’ll be friendless. Trust me and have a cookie.
#2 Maternity clothes only look good on the mannequins.
Let’s review. You’re going to be FAT. Fat pregnant women do not look good in much of anything, let alone the cute, neon spandex top with the large horizontal stripes you bought when your pregnancy test turned positive. The maternity bikini and the spaghetti-strap shirts will get tossed aside in favor of a swim dress and a bra with straps the width of a ruler. Sure, there are a few women who manage to look like the mannequins in the maternity store. But do you really want to live on lean meats and veggies to look cute for nine months when it is absolutely true that WE WILL ALL HATE YOU? Be a smart girl and start picking out some of your husband’s jeans and t-shirts. They’ll tide you over ’til you outgrow him.
#3 You’re going to be hot–and not in a good way.
By now, I hope you’ve begun to accept that you’re going to be FAT. Packing on 50+ pounds of extra weight coupled with doubling your blood supply will make you feel like you’re wearing a fur coat in the desert at noon. You will want to have very little clothing on which doesn’t fit with having thighs the consistency of tapioca pudding. Nor will running around in your gigantic white underwear and monstrous bra do anything to appeal to your very frightened husband. If you’re not hot because you have gained less than 25 pounds, fan yourself and crank up the A/C anyway or WE WILL HATE YOU.
#4 You’re going to quit working out.
I know you’ve fantasized that you’ll finish a three-mile run by heading straight to the ER where you’ll push your little darling out with one or two ultra-strong pushes. You know you can keep up weight lifting and sports right until the very end because doctors say exercise is not only safe, but really important. What was truth #1? You’re going to be FAT. Fat pregnant women do not run anywhere, except maybe to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And lifting weights? You’ll be doing that every time you heft those extra pounds of yours out of the recliner to get another snack (unless you’ve sweet talked your husband into doing it, in which case you’re a quick learner).
Oh, I know. Exercising is important for the baby. But if you think you’re going to work out til the very end, think about pushing your baby stroller around all by yourself because your mom friends will HATE YOU.
#5 You’re going to become a hypochondriac.
Reading “What to Expect” books and pregnancy blogs can make you paranoid enough, but add in the health problems that often accompany being FAT, and you may notice new troubling symptoms every day. Fatigue, heartburn, abdominal pain, constipation, leg cramps, back spasms, palpitations, and kidney stones are just a few of the symptoms my friends and I have experienced (I say friends because they knew better than not to get FAT).
#6 You’re going to be a basket case.
Your emotions are going to be out-of-control, not because you’re freaked out by how FAT you are, or because of all the physical problems you’re having, but because of your hormones. Their action on your brain defies scientific explanation. My husband prefers the old-fashioned explanation: the curse. Yes, I know you thought that was one problem you wouldn’t have while pregnant, but the curse is still very much in force. You’ll know that when you can’t stop crying after watching a commercial where the people looked “really happy.” You’ll know that when you’re so overcome by the plot of the Hallmark movie you watched that you can’t speak without blubbering. Tell your mom friends that you love being pregnant while smiling in your cute little maternity jogging suit you wore to the gym and you can be sure: THEY WILL HATE YOU.
#7 You’re going to attract crazies.
By this time, I bet you’re starting to get comfortable with being FAT. But other people won’t be. People you don’t even know will come up to you, rub your belly, and ask you if you’re having multiples. What’s worse is that crazy people you DO know will feel compelled to tell you every pregnancy horror story they’ve ever heard. When this happens, take my advice: have a cookie. If everyone in your life is super sweet and supportive, pretend to be miserable anyway or WOMEN WILL HATE YOU.
#8 You won’t be able to handle the pain.
I don’t know if being FAT makes the pain worse, but even if you’re not fat, you’re going to cave due to pain in labor. Go ahead and take the natural labor class though. They serve a lot of good food. Then get pain relief ASAP–preferably in month 7. The only women I know who had no epidural for their first labor were disappointed that they gave birth too quickly to get one. They still talk about it years later. Speaking of years later, I met a woman many years ago who said she had no pain in labor AT ALL. I still HATE HER. Tell you anything?
#9 You’re not going to get your body back.
I feel the need to remind you one more time that you’re going to be FAT. It’s hard to pack on lots of weight with no lasting effects. Imagine renting your place to someone for nine months. Do you really expect it to look the same when they move out? Your stomach will look like an old party balloon with the air let out. Same goes for the big pair of balloons you’re sporting now. Sure, it’s possible that you’ll still have a bikini-eligible body after your baby is born, but that’s the biggest mistake of all where your social life is concerned. I guarantee WE WILL HATE YOU.
#10 You’re not going to be a perfect mom.
No, not because you got FAT in the process of becoming a mom. Not because your expensive maternity wardrobe made you look like a float in the Thanksgiving parade. Not because you ignored my advice and pranced around in your giant underwear to cool off while your husband was awake. Not because you quit working out and became a hypochondriacal basket case. Definitely not because you promised to let some strange old lady you met at the mall babysit for you. But because it’s the most important truth about pregnancy: there are no perfect moms. And you know what? As long as you don’t pretend that you’re perfect, every mom you meet WILL LOVE YOU.
P.S. Because I love you, I’ll be writing Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Being a Mom next year.
P.P.S. With all the eating you’ll be doing, I recommend you get my free meal planning survival guide.
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