I was 19 when I was pregnant with jr. I wasn’t concerned with educating myself on what was happening to me, because everyone knows that 19 year-olds know everything anyway. I figured as long as I ate enough food to keep a mid-size village fed for a year, then I would be a-okay.
My idea of working out was lifting the donut to my mouth. I would stretch occasionally, if the remote was too far away to reach with a conventional arm movement. I took a Lamaze class, but didn’t pay too much attention. I don’t think that the fact that I was having a baby kicked in until hour ten of my 19 hour marathon labor. I was woefully out of shape, and I came within ten pounds of DOUBLING my body weight. Unless I was giving birth to a baby hippo, I had overdid the baby weight thing.
Youth and ignorance kept my side effects to a minimum. I didn’t have one moment of sickness, I had plenty of energy, and aside from growing to the size of a small mountain, I glided through being pregnant. Once jr. popped out, I pretty much dropped the weight, grabbed a bottle (well, one for me, one for him), and proceeded to blindly plow my way through parenting. And everything turned out okay, for the most part.
Because of this, I have always mocked parents that sweated shit out. Moms that chronicled every bite they ate, making sure that no preservatives breached the placenta. Dads who poured over books and diagrams of vaginas, desperate to understand what was happening to their partners. People chronicling every single second of their pregnancies, as if anyone outside of their immediate families cared what was going on inside of their uteruses.
HA HA HA. Jokes on me. Because now I am one of them. Fourteen years and a lifetime of experience later, I know now that I know nothing. I closed my eyes and jumped into parenthood like it was a dark body of water, and I’m damn lucky I didn’t break my neck. This time around, I’m getting my education on.
My sister, Polar Bear, in a moment of touching sweetness that I am going to try to remember every time she pisses me off, gathered up what little money she had and bought me What To Expect When You’re Expecting and a baby journal. I had neither for jr., so I was pretty excited to dig into this book and see, yes, what AM I expecting here?
That turned out to be a huge mistake. Because apparently I am expecting to turn into a giant, fat, rashy, gassy, hairy monster with stuff leaking out of every hole in my body, while hormones beat a raging path through my brain, making me liable to lash out and kill people with the sheer will of my mind. SIGN ME UP!
Page after page of this book is filled with the horrors of pending parenthood. What kind of a sadistic animal wrote this shit? And I love how they try to pretty it up, make it sound like you’re not being invaded by an evil alien being, and get you to enjoy having your body wrecked by a temporary visitor. To whit:
A thin, milky, mild-smelling discharge is normal throughout the pregnancy. Its purpose is noble: to protect the birth canal from infection and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Oh, well, thank the lord. I have waited literally my entire life to have a noble discharge in my pants. I can cross that off my bucket list.
Nobody likes stretch marks. If you do develop stretch marks (frequently referred to as the red badge of motherhood), you can console yourself with the knowledge that they will gradually fade to a silvery sheen some months after delivery. In the meantime, wear them with pride.
You can also console yourself with the knowledge that you will never wear a bikini ever again, nor have sex in the daylight without worrying about your ‘silvery sheen’ marks glowing in the sunlight. You can spend the rest of your life searching for a photo of a woman in a magazine showing off her red badges of motherhood and you will NEVER FIND ONE. And as for wearing them with pride, I think instead of showing people my sonogram pictures, I am going to show them my inner thighs and tell them how GODDAMN PROUD I AM OF MY STRETCH MARKS. I am making a t-shirt, Ask Me About My Stretch Marks. Horseshit.
Are you passing gas like a college frat boy (make that more than a college frat boy)? Sorry guys, but nobody does gas like a pregnant woman. Fortunately, while the same can’t be said for those who work and live within hearing and sniffing distance of you, your baby is oblivious and impervious to your digestive distress.
Oh good! Because every time I let one rip, or I am doubled over in pain from holding one in, I am thinking, GOOD LORD I HOPE THE BABY CAN’T SMELL THIS. I am going to take advantage of this glorious proof of the fruit in my womb and head down to Pitt in my Ask Me About My Stretch Marks t-shirt and challenge the frat boys to a Fart Off. Who’s with me?
If pregnancy has you looking like a resident of the Planet of the Apes, stay clam – this hairy situation is only temporary.
This better be true. Because I now have side burns. SIDE BURNS.
Being pregnant is obviously not a walk in the park. And a part of me misses that blissfully unaware teenager who ate her way through nine months of pregnancy. I know, intellectually, that all of this is worth it because at the end of this torture I will have a beautiful baby to love and cherish forever.
Until then, if you need me, I will be farting in the corner, grooming my sideburns.