I read an article today in the paper about Heidi Murkoff, the author of the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” empire, and how she is about to become a grandma. After doing a little research, I learned that 93% of pregnant women have read one of her books. I also learned that she was pregnant with her first of two children when she published her first book and had a background in publishing, not in the medical field. And then I thought, Hey, if she can write a book about birthing babies, without any experience even birthing a baby, I who have birthed 3 babies certainly have some words of wisdom to share.
So, without any further ado, here they are. I call this “What NOT to Expect When You’re Expecting”
1. Don’t expect privacy.
Don’t expect any privacy when you’re knocked up. Complete strangers will feel compelled to rub your belly and ask you “are you sure there’s just one in there?” Grandmotherly types at the local Walmart will smile wistfully at you and ask you if you are eating enough spinach. Gotta make sure you get that folic acid, dearie. Someone you’ve never met before will ask you if you planned to be pregnant and you will stare at them while trying to politely phrase the general concept of “my husband and my procreation is none of your damn business you fruit loop!” You may be asked if your placenta is healthy and if your uterus is a habitable environment for your soon to be offspring. For some odd reason, pregnant women are seen as the shared property of the general public. You will be touched, rubbed and hugged by total strangers. Get used to it.
And don’t even get me started about how fast your privacy flies out the window at your gynecologist’s office. One word: stirrups. Your hooha will have more unwelcome intruders inside it in 9 months than a New York City hotel bed has bedbugs. You will be lubed, poked, prodded, pinched (“just a tiny one”), and stretched about 462 times. You’ll get used to that too.
2. Don’t expect people to use common sense or manners when you are pregnant.
These are actual statements/ questions that I heard while I was pregnant: “you don’t look old enough to be a mother”, “is it normal for your stomach/ face/ ankles/ fill in the blank to be so big/ swollen?”, the aforementioned, “are you sure there aren’t two in there?” That one I heard at least 15 times. A week. “You’re so brave to try and have a baby at your age” (over 30), “Holy cow, you’re huge!”, “Are you going to keep working after the baby comes? I think it’s so selfish to have a baby just to put it in daycare”, the list goes on and on. It’s like people see a pregnant lady and their filter instantly goes away. Things that they would never say to a non-pregnant person come flying out of their mouths at rapid fire speed. Be prepared. If you can’t think of something appropriate to say in response, just put your hand over your mouth and quickly leave the room. Morning sickness (real or fabricated) may as well be useful. Which leads me to my next topic:
3. Don’t expect to have control of your bodily functions.
I can’t tell you how many times I puked, pooped, or peed myself when I was pregnant with my three cherubs. Seriously, I can’t. I tried to count, but got lost in the thousands. In fact, I still pee myself with fairly certain regularity. What do you expect when your poor body is experiencing constipation, gas, pressure on your bladder, nauseau, hormone changes, etc? You are growing another life inside of your belly. It is awe-inspiring and unbelievable when you think about it. Of course there are going to be some “issues”. All I can say is be prepared. Wear Depends 24/7 if you have to. Carry a plastic bag in your purse in case you are going to vomit and can’t get to a restroom. Always have a change of clothes handy. And shoes. Don’t ask.
4. Don’t expect to have a “healthy glow”
Now, I know that some women do, in fact, have a healthy glow and to them I say ‘that is great, good for you you smug, glowing bitches’. I, unfortunately, did not have a healthy glow. Oh no. I had serious hormone induced acne and pigment discoloration. And…….cue music…..”I feel pretty, oh so pretty…..” If you are unlucky like me and instead of the pregnancy “glow”, get a pregnancy “halloween mask” rest assured that it will get better after the baby arrives and your hormones have gotten back to normal. So, in about 3.5 years.
4. Don’t expect to remember any of the bad parts of pregnancy as soon as you see that precious little miracle.
Seriously, it all disappears and you remember the bad parts vaguely, like something you dreamed once or watched on 90210 in high school maybe. And that is the way nature intended it to be, otherwise we would all only have one baby. Or, our mothers would talk us out of having any at all and then the human race would eventually die out altogether.
Hopefully this list is helpful to at least one person. Maybe the 7% who haven’t read the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” books.