Okay. Here’s something weird:
I haven’t kvetched about my preggers aches and pains for a while.
So guess what the good boys and girls of the world get? A kvetching (with some kvelling) of my aches and pains! *le yay* And with new and improved MythBuster™ technology.
Onward and outward, I and the baby say!
Myth #1: You’ll look your best during pregnancy
I don’t know how to break this one to the non-pregnant. Yes, technically you look quite different. And sometimes you do look, well….. pretty good. But for the main part, pregnancy is a time of so many body changes, aches, pains, and unpleasant discoveries of body parts you didn’t even know could ache so badly or embarrassingly, that you’ll be more focused on your bowel movements or whether you just had a Braxton-Hicks contraction, that in the precious few moments you have free to just look at yourself in the mirror, you may be inspecting yourself for cholasma (the lovely “mask of pregnancy”) extra body hair, unsightly skin tags or the puffiness that lurks in your pregnant event horizon like a def con 3.
Myth #2: Everyone loves a pregnant woman!
Everyone loves giving the pregnant woman advice.
And telling her whether to circumcise her baby boy, even if she’s stated thirteen times she’s having a girl.
And letting her know she’ll starve her child if she feeds her the lethal poison that is formula.
Or that she should be thankful such good formulas exist and will the daddy help feed baby?
And have you heard the latest study that says that if you have a computer in your house your child will turn out mentally retarded or like one of the X-men?
Did I mention that mosquitos also love a pregnant woman? In one of those lovely and ironic twists of fate, it is other pregnant women who sometimes cause a pregnant woman the most harm, starting with the zealos mosquito mother, who loves feasting on preggie’s increased blood suppply and is beckoned by her elevated body temperature. And did we mention preggies cannot use most mosquito repellents?
In that same lovely fashion, other pregnant women –especially the ones who watch Oprah as if she were made of heroin– love to terrorize and push their “knowledge” on other preggies, not being able to resist the aroma of fear and the warmth of blood.
Myth #3: The Ultrasound said it was a boy!
Of course it did. But out came a girl. Or vice versa.
Face it: as good as medical technology is these days, unless you got some actual fetal blood and did a karyotype (a chromosomal count and profile), you will not know the gender 100% until the child’s lower haunches come into full view of a team of doctors and nurses who will be able to tell you whether there is a winkie or not. Sometimes fetal genitalia (you know… baby winkies) are so affected by mom’s hormones that they can give false readings. Sometimes the ultrasound techs also get it wrong. And a LOT of the time, the Maternal Alphafetoprotein gets it wrong too. And sometimes the amniocentesis goes wrong. And sometimes, doctors don’t know how to spell Chorionic Villus Sampling. But there are babies born every minute, and none of these factors have slowed them down much.
Myth #4: It’s going to take you at least ONE WHOLE YEAR to get pregnant
I think more people should watch soap operas. Life IS a soap opera, only that men are slightly less well-groomed and the women’s breasts are slightly less perky. In soap operas, we are taught that people kiss and nine months later TO THE DATE out comes a bouncing baby boy (who might have been a girl in the ultrasound). Pregnant women in soap operas also faint, swoon, and lose their babies very often,but I’ll tackle that one later.
Back to the baby-making: baby-making is, for the main part, not hard. Apart from what instinct or sex-ed might tell you, there is an overwhelming majority of people who get pregnant by just having sex once. There is an overwhelming amount of people who get pregnant WHILE on birth control. There are LOADS of babies born every day. It is true that there are people who have problems conceiving, but this is exactly why it is extra hard for these men and women to go through their lives: BECAUSE THEY ARE CONSTANTLY REMINDED IN A CRUEL WAY THAT THEY ARE IN THE MINORITY! It’s not fun to look around and see any Tom, Dick, and Harry sticking it to any Jill, Jane or Harriet and seeing them bear fruit over and over (and over and over, like the Duggars in the soon-to-be “15 Kids… And Pregnant Again!”). So whenever you hear that it will take you months to get pregnant, dismiss those silly poops and curl up with “General Hospital.” They haven’t been on the air for 30 years for nothing. ;o)
Myth #5: Pregnant sex is amazing!!!!
That’s not a myth, Britney Spears be damned!
Myth #6: The second trimester is the Honeymoon Trimester!
Listen up: Pregnancy is NOT a picnic. Or a journey. Or a sacred rite.
Pregnancy IS. You, as the overly sentimental and disgustingly-overflowing-with-hormones person that you will become when pregnant (provided that you have a uterus in order to do so), will instill all sorts of meaning and deep complex gravitas to your gravidity.
Bacteria, on the other hand, split in two.
They don’t care. They know it’s do or die. So they literally SPLIT IN TWO. Don’t you think that’s got to hurt them a little? What about stretch marks? Is there a bacterial stretch mark lotion they can buy?
So. Going back to my original point: pregnancy IS. And out of the nine months of pregnancy (which people are only too happy to point out, are really TEN… but more on that later…) the middle three-ish are the least fussy. But you still have a little alien growing inside of you, you know. And you’re getting tired, cranky, hungry, fussy, swollen, itchy, and BIGGER. You still have to get up and pee during the night! Don’t think for a second that this is as if you weren’t pregnant, only that you have the cute belly. YOU ARE STILL PREGNANT! YOU WILL ACHE! THE BABY WILL PUSH ON YOUR RIB CAGE AND KICK YOUR BLADDER WHEN YOU GIGGLE! You may even still puke your guts out on occasion; many girls puke right up to delivery (but it’s rare).
Myth #7: I don’t have one single stretch mark!
90% of women develop stretch marks during pregnancy.
10% are lucky. Very, very lucky. Does this mean they are stretch mark free? Not necessarily.
Ready for an earth-shattering experience? I could bet money on the fact that you, person who is reading this at this very moment, –male or female– has at least one small and well-hidden set of stretch marks.
When you go through puberty, you will sometimes get stretch marks. When you gain some extra weight, ta-daa! Stretch marks. When you gain a lot of muscle….. ding! And finally, when you gain about 400 cc’s of breast “tissue” … you will probably gain some nice stretch marks as well (if not, please check out Kate Beckinsale’s décolletage sometime. You’ll see what I mean). Check the backs of your thighs. Check your hips. Check the underside of your armpits. They are there: silvery tiger-striped reminders that even the most supple of skin can get stretched beyond its comfort zone.
I have three final words on that subject: body make-up; air-brush.
Myth #8: A pregnancy is really TEN months! Tee-hee!
Let’s see what the encyclopedia has to say about pregnancy, okay?
Pregnancy, period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo). The duration of pregnancy in humans is about 280 days, equal to 9 calendar months.
Between fertilization and birth.
Carry young in the uterus.
About NINE calendar months.
Okay rocket scientists, I have news for you. Nine calendar months means that there are some months with four weeks, and some months with FIVE weeks. I know that since it’s really easy to divide by ten, it’s tempting to say, “Oh, OMG! 280/10=28! So it’s like really ten months of twenty-eight days!!!” and then freak out because you can’t take it anymore, boohoo, poor you! You didn’t sign up for TEN months of this Chinese Belly-Swelling torture.
Turbo, dude. Sloweth downeth. Only February has 28 days, hello??
Every other month has 30 or 31 days. And the doctors also sneak into your pregnancy period an extra couple of weeks in which you COULND’T HAVE BEEN PREGNANT to begin with! It’s true, too: they add your period week, and then however long it takes to ovulate (on average, a week). As if most people knew exactly when they ovulated (I know… I know… don’t hit me, girls. I know some of you know the EXACT SECOND. Most of us are lucky to know we have to fart right before it comes out, ka?).
So. Nine months. Will you drop the New-Math 10-month schtick already? Or at least, for my sake, tack on the more correct, “Ten LUNAR Months, oh gracious Madame”? Thank you.
Myth #9: Pregnant women are but delicate doves
I hate to bust this particular myth, but here goes:
Unless you have a life-threatening condition, a high-risk pregnancy, or are in a soap opera, you will be surprised at how much you can do while pregnant. Yes…. it’s a bummer because secretly all you want to do is sleep, eat, maybe puke, scratch yourself, and perhaps pass some gas. Did I mention you also want to sleep? Ooh… I’ll save the pregnant brain for last!
Seriously. No matter how uncomfortable you may be, and how much you may complain, your body can handle it for the main part. Your immune system will take care of all the noxious bacteria you ate in those cold cuts. Your legs will get more muscle. Your emotions won’t always embarrass you. And you may get super-dizzy and feel like pure unadulterated crap on occasion, but you will not faint. You may hate the heat and wish you had a block of ice to sit on, but you can still take it. Although you really want to push the point that pregnant women are naturally warmer and therefore NEED air conditioning, of course. It’s a comfort issue, and comfort is important too!
After a certain magical point, the chances of losing the baby will also drop dramatically. If that kid takes root and has a heartbeat, they’ll almost literally have to kill YOU first before they get to him or her.
Myth #10: Pregnant Brain/Pregnant Cravings/Miscellanea
Hormones are amazing.
Hormones this high do pretty odd things, but they will NOT cause you to get Alzheimer’s or become senile.
If you’re pregnant and forgetting everything, it’s likely to be due to sleeplessness and self-pity than to “pregnant brain.” There.
Cravings don’t exist. Let’s face it: it’s easier to blame this charming notion than to admit that we were hungry enough to actually eat the whole bag of Chee-tos, and do you have some more chips lying around?
Also….. many feel that if you are going to gain weight already, might as well enjoy it. By “many” I refer to celebrities and their whopping weight gains. Do they need the extra weight? Probably not. Do you think they have stretch marks because of their morbid weight gain? You betcha! Do we care? A petty part of our souls says, “OF COURSE!”
Again I repeat: pregnancy IS. You cannot expect a full human being to grow where only poop in various stages of dehydration normally fits without things being a little different.
But just because it’s different, it doesn’t mean “doomed.” It just means, well…. different.
Pregnancy is more like a marathon with a rather cliffhangery, scary end. I have not gotten to the end, but I will definitely write about it when I do.
Some endings are abrupt and quick.
Some last for a while.
Some need special help to end. (DO NOT get me started on how foolish I find scheduled c-sections for no medical purpose)
But there is always an end in sight, and I seek to demystify it. At least if only for my sake.
Gotta agree with you on the TV-makes-the-baby-an-X-man thing — I only wish it DID, because I want the boy to have superpowers!
But even though you’re apparently not getting the cravings, I’m here to tell you they were real for me. Glad you’re not dogged as I was by the need to bake meatloaf (meatloaf!) at 6 in the morning, or to make spinach souffle after spinach souffle for a week. Not to mention that once the craved dish was completed, all it took was a few bites to send me off to throw up yet again! (Also my memory did go v badly during preg. and returned thereafter during a much more sleep-deprived time, although since I’d never heard of “pregnant brain” I just thought I was crazed for many weeks.)
I sympathize and hope you get some sleep — during which you do not have to get up to pee yet again!
I’m just going to copy and save this to my hard drive, so in the event I don’t have internet access and I need to reread it, I can. Because everything you wrote? Pregnant gospel. Just keep preaching it.
*laughs for several minutes* Oh wow!! Does that bring back memories!! I was one of those unfortunates who was sick up to the last minute or thereabouts. I started with morning sickness at three months and it continued every bloody day until two weeks before my daughter was born, who, incidently, was two weeks late.
Mind you, there were a few times I could have gladly clobbered my husband as he thought I couldn’t move without assistance since I was so “fragile”.