Aug 16, 2010

The Best Intentions

I have a few friends right now who are pregnant - including my sister (love you!).  It's been nearly a year and a half since my days of waddling around town and rubbing my budda belly, and though I still don't really miss it, I have been somewhat fondly reminscing about my pregnancy lately.

I didn't really enjoy being pregnant; it was ok but not the lovey-dovey, cherished time in my life that I was told it was supposed to be.  I didn't feel like a "sacred vessel of life".  I felt like a bloated whale who was always hot, hungry, thirsty and tired (sounds attractive, right?).  My darling baby was a wiggler right from the start and he loved to wedge his little, pokey feet in underneath my ribs and push... (shudder) my ribs creak at the memory.  Don't get me wrong - there were good parts too and I suppose a small part of me may one day miss being pregnant... a little.  The hardest part for me though was all the unwanted attention that went along with it.

Pregnancy, for me, was a personal, private and emotional experience.  But I suppose since it's such an obvious, public condition everyone else feels like they are involved in your pregnancy too.  I hated how people would always look at my ever-expanding waist line before they looked at my face.  I felt violated whenever someone would (without asking permission) start rubbing my belly (something that you would never dare do to anyone else).  I detested being asked the same questions over and over again, usually by people I didn't even know - "how far along are you?" or "do you know what you're having?" and "when's your due date?"  And it annoyed me how people expected me to share every personal and intimate detail of my pregnancy when I so obviously did not want to.  I'm just not the kinda girl who can have a conversation about her cervix, especially at a work function.

Being pregnant is a bizarre and often hilarious time though.  I thought I'd share with you some of the random things people asked me and the questionable (not to mention unsolicited) advice I was given while pregnant. 

People REALLY said these things to me, though some may be hard to believe!  Sorry if you recognize a statement here as one you may have made.  Please note that I love my family and friends and know that all advice was given in love and all comments were made with the best of intentions at heart.  That being said... what were you thinking?

- "You're glowing!" 
This one I heard a lot and always new it was complete BS.  Pregnant women don't glow, they sweat.)

- "I bet your husband likes how 'well-endowed' you've become."
This one was said to me at the work place (did I mention I worked in an Elementary school at the time? A little inappropriate, non?)

- "Is your Doctor worried about how small you are?"
I think maybe there's a compliment hidden in that one... maybe? A note to the wise - never comment on a pregnant woman's size or shape in any way other than to tell her that she's "all baby" (I couldn't hear that one enough!).

- "Has your Doctor said anything about how much weight you've gained?"

- "You look great... for being pregnant."
In my opinion, qualifiers negate the compliment.

- "You're huge!" And also, "Look how big and fat you're getting!"
To which I pointed out, 'I'm not huge or fat - I'm pregnant! There's a BIG difference - it's called a baby!'

- "You're so lucky - you're not even that bloated."

- "You can't be seven months pregnant! Are you sure you've got your dates right?"
No, you're right.  Myself, my healthcare providers, the 3 ultrasounds I've had - we're all wrong. This question was followed up by the ever-appropriate:

- "Do you know which night you conceived?"
And I was similarly asked...

- "Did you know the moment you got pregnant? Was it a special night? When was it?"
These very personal questions were asked by two separate people, one at a family function and another at a child's birthday party.  Both people had very loud voices.  You can cringe for me if you like.

- "Babies are a lot more work than puppies!"
An old woman told me this when I commented that her puppy was cute... She was one of the few people who found me, in all my pregnant glory, offensive.  I turned 26 while I was pregnant but was often told I looked a few years younger.  A few seniors shot me some scandalized glances - it was sorta fun. What was also fun was when people asked...

- "How far along are you?"
The only reply to that was, 'Far along with what? Oh... did you think...?' and then watch them try to backpedal.  This is especially fun when you are in your ninth month of pregnancy.  It really confuses people.

- "Childbirth is the most painful thing you've ever experienced."
Really... why tell a pregnant woman that?

- "You'll be cursing your husband's name once you're in labor!"
I didn't.  I cursed the name of that lady who wrote the Hypnobirthing (painfree labor) book - for selling me a lie that I wanted so badly to believe!

- "Are you scared about giving birth?"
Does it matter? It's obviously too late for second thoughts.

- "When your water breaks, you'll be overwhelmed by a peaceful wave of tranquility. Your body's biologically programmed that way."
When my water broke, I was in the "Transition Phase" - aka. most intense part. It was not peaceful. And finally...

- "Does it bother you that your baby looks nothing like you?
No, I'm ok with it. I remember quite clearly how he was born and am pretty sure he's mine regardless. It would bother me if he didn't look like my husband. That would be awkward.

And then the old-wives tales that people insisted were true.  None of these were:

"Your cat will try and smother your baby."
Which was not quite as silly as...

"Your cat will be jealous of the baby because he'll be able to smell your milk and not want the baby to drink it." (A mother of 3 told me that one but I'm pretty sure she was stoned.)

"Because you don't have heartburn, your baby will be bald." (He was born with a full head of hair.)

"Because your baby moves a lot, it will be a girl."

"You'll go at least a week past your due date because it's your first baby." (He was born a day early.)

"Spicy food will make you go into early labor." (We eat a lot of Indian food, I was fine.)
"You're belly is too oval-shaped so you're going to have a girl."  (Definitely not a girl.)

"They'll give you an enema as soon as you get to the hospital." (I assure you, they certainly did not.)

"Episiotomies are routine." (Don't know what that is? Look it up - you'll be scared.)
And despite all this helpful advice, I made it through my pregnancy and labor experience ok, and I may even, possibly, do it all over again one day.  Maybe.

I'll end this post with a pic of me when I was 34 wks pregnant:



  1. oh my Suzy, you're so right...i HATED people touching who the f do you think you are?? do you walk up to random people and just rub their stomachs?? NO!! you don't, so why are you touching mine? do you think that because there's a baby in there, its fair game? RUDE.

    I remember being at Starbucks one day, and the woman behind me says "you're not getting a COFFEE are you??"

    ummm...i'm sorry are you my doctor? also - there ARE decaf products at a coffee shop. I should have told her i was getting decaf to bring back to my desk at work as i had baileys waiting for me there...

  2. Great one Suzy - real food for thought to all those people (like me :) who loved the attention when pregnant and therefore expected every other expectant Mom to feel the same way. Really made me think - did I say any of those things to you? :{

  3. Thanks for this ... I'm writing a pregnant woman and not having been pregnant myself it's useful to hear what rot people come out with. :-)

  4. That made me laugh out loud! Love it! I have not had a child yet, so now you have 'de-mystified' a few pregnancy myths for me!

  5. This made me laugh!!! I can't wait to experience many of these joyful (or less joyful) reactions of pregnancy. I am already getting belly rubs and i just started to show a little last week. never mind being called "fatty" and having customers actually coo and make baby noises at my belly! oh the joy!