Friday, January 6

"PREGNANCY IS MAGICAL" AND OTHER TALL TALES

If I’ve learned anything over the past 8 months, it's this: don’t believe everything you hear. People will tell you anything. People lie.  Arm yourselves with knowledge, dear ones! Don’t believe it all!  Below are some pearls of wisdom: 7 nasty lies (and 1 beautiful truth).
1) “Pregnancy is magical.”
Pregnancy is not all that magical. Pregnancy is a period of time where your physical body is conquered by some [seemingly unnatural] external force and transformed into something from a Michelin commercial. Parts are growing, sometimes painfully, often uncomfortably, and there’s nothing you can do about it. There's swelling and stretching. It didn't look like magic when I hobbled around with the sciatica of an 89-year-old man. The only thing magical in pregnancy is the hallucinogenic dream that haunts a mother-to-be every night. No doubt about it, each nightly REM cycle for me is like experiencing Woodstock. Pure magic. And a little spooky.
2) “Prenatal vitamins will make you feel fabulous.
While this is partly true (if you’re into growing monstrous claw-like fingernails), one teeny capsule of folic acid made me feel as though I’d been drinking Four Loko for two days straight. *shudder*
3) “Everyone loves a pregnant girl.”
Nope. Not even close. While many people will “ooh” and “ahh” over your belly and ask you borderline-inappropriate questions about how the pregnancy is going, others will glance at your left hand (looking for a ring) and then walk away. People are far more excited about conventional/long-awaited pregnancies. Not to mention, people don't always think so highly of the newest employee at work who's also conveniently sporting a baby bump. Walking through my department, I could practically hear the emails going around: "Why on earth would they hire a pregnant girl?" "Why would you even accept a job if you're going on maternity leave immediately after starting?" Being the new girl at work is hard. Being the new (and pregnant!) girl at work is 100x harder.
4) “Every pregnant woman is radiant and glowing.”
Nope. My skin got spotty, and my hair got darker, coarser, and far less manageable. As much as you try, you’ll never convince me that it was fun when I had to start using a rubber band to hold the fly shut on my pants. That interim period where no one else can really tell you’re pregnant yet, but you’re looking awfully well-fed around the midsection? Not great. Suddenly it looks like your hands have been replaced by inflated latex gloves, and you can’t fit a shoe on your foot to save your life. True story: at my job, an employee must enter a 6-digit code and place his or her hand on a scanner to enter the building (and no, I don’t work at the Pentagon). My hands have recently become so swollen in the mornings that my handprint doesn’t register with the security system. Until they're able to re-scan my giant Hamburger Helper hands, security has to let me into the building every morning.
5) “It’s tempting and easy to eat for two.”
Whaaaaat? I’ve always had a very healthy appetite… just ask my sister Amanda, who I bombarded with “Are you gonna eat that?” for the first 20 years of my life. I was always excited about pregnancy, because it seemed like a free pass to eat whatever you want and not worry about what other people thought. However, I was sick for the first half of my pregnancy; and during the second half, MiniMon was occupying so much space in my belly that I was full almost instantly after beginning a meal. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve put on my fair share of weight, and I do eat. I’m not at all implying that I’m a skinny-mini mama-to-be. But I’m certainly not capable of eating for two. I wish I were.
6) “Pregnancy means pickles and ice cream.”
Who decided that? I’m not sure that I ate one pickle during my entire pregnancy. Maybe I did, but if so, I don’t remember it. I certainly didn’t crave them. And ice cream? Not a chance. For the first half, creamy/sweet was not a desirable combination (flu-like symptoms, people!). As I recall, there was one unfortunate instance where a coworker caught me standing in front of the gelato freezer at Meijer, crying uncontrollably (epitome of “crazy preggo?”). Other than that, I haven’t craved ice cream. As a matter of fact, I don’t even own an ice cream scoop.  If I craved anything, it was pizza, pasta, Mexican food, and Coca-Cola straight from the fountain.  Yummm. Heaven.
7) "Sure, you're exhausted for the first little bit, but then you get to enjoy those bursts of energy!" 
Sorry, what? I didn't hear you. I was sleeping. In #7's defense, yes, I was exhausted for the first half. But I was exhausted for the next few months. And guess what? I'm still exhausted. I think back to a year ago, when I was able to stay up till 4 and get up to be at work by 9 (and be productive!). Now it's lights out by 9, wake up at 4 to use the bathroom, and back to bed until 6:30. My crazy wild life. No, I unfortunately never experienced those bursts of energy. I won't even eat soup, for fear that I may pass out facedown in the bowl and drown. Zzzzzzz.

1) "Pregnancy changes you."
Okay, there's absolutely no denying this one. Mentally, physically, emotionally... once you've experienced a pregnancy you will never be the same person. Whether planned or unplanned, whether joyous or tragic, whether it ends in parenting, adoption, miscarriage, or abortion: YOU WILL BE CHANGED. You suddenly consider things you never would have considered before. You suddenly enjoy things you never enjoyed before. You find yourself wandering the baby department at Target when you're bored. You start buying baby carrots and tiny bananas "just because they're cute." Soon you won't be able to think about anything but what color Baby's hair or eyes will be. You won't be able to concentrate on anything without wondering what his/her cry sounds like. As hard as you try, you'll never be able to remember exactly how life was before you were creating another life. You will be consumed by the pregnancy. It will take over your whole being. Not only will it supersize your hands and feet, it will supersize your soul. No longer are you living for yourself. You're living for the life inside you. Your heart is keeping time with the tiny heart that beats deep within you. There seems to be nothing natural about it, and yet it IS the most natural thing in the world. Congratulations, you're a mom.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this! :) I relate to each and every one of these, including #3. I started my job and a new pregnancy both at the same time. Although I have told a few coworkers I have gotten to know over the past few months, there a hundreds more that do not know me (only that I am the "new" girl, walking around with a belly bump). I constantly feel the eyes of passers-by looking me in the face, then see them shift to all eyes on my belly! Of course nobody askes me "are you Pregnant".. but I too can feel and hear the emails circulating the office. One thing I have learned is that hair ties definately can be used to help keep your fly closed... but regardless of how we look to others on the outside, on the inside there is something magical growing, moving and changing everyday. That definately makes all of the rest totally worth it! xooxoxoxoo love you Mel! :)

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