Wednesday, October 30

4 things no one tells you about being pregnant

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick /
So... you think you know about pregnancy?
You've heard all about weird food cravings, morning sickness, and swollen ankles.
Sure. That's all true. But there are a few things people don't tell you...

You will sit sprawl-legged in public.

There will come a day when you try and cross your legs, because you've been crossing your legs your whole life, and you will suddenly realize that they no longer fit together. Your pelvic joints spread to make room for that baby to get out, and they don't want you messing with their goal. Hell, let's be honest. You can't even sit with your knees together.

When you try, for the sake of decorum, to sit with some semblance of legs-together dignity, baby starts jabbing your hip bones in protest. Hard. This isn't a good position for baby, and it isn't great for you either.

My advice: Give in, buy coverage-appropriate clothing (think long, floaty dresses or comfy slacks), lean back, and enjoy your new favorite seated position.

You can't tie your own shoes.

No matter how much yoga you do before and during your pregnancy, there will come a point when that basketball in front of you (you know... that spot where your abs used to be) gets in the way of basic life skills like tying your shoes, clipping your toenails, and putting on your socks.

You will try all sorts of seated-leg-lift or squat-and-reach positions. Some will work better than others. But at some point you will give up and buy slip-on shoes. (A size larger than your pre-pregnancy size, of course...)

My advice: Get thee to a prenatal yoga class. Yoga won't prevent, but it will delay the onset of this particular pregnancy challenge for as long as possible. And trust me, you want to delay asking your partner to help you tie your shoes. Also, use this as an excellent excuse for a pedicure. Can't reach your own toes? Have someone else file and polish those nails for you!

Toward the end of pregnancy, you will wear more food than you eat.

At some point in the 8th or 9th month, that napkin you put on your lap at nice restaurants will be completely useless. What lap? Your belly takes up most of the space between your spine and your knees, so every crumb that falls from your fork ends up... you guessed it... on your shelf (erm... I mean baby bump).

Also, you can't sit up close to the table anymore. You wind up sitting a foot away from the table, with your legs straddling the chair (see sitting, above). This makes eating soup in public a real trick. You think "This shouldn't be so bad. I can get a spoon from my bowl to my mouth." And then, after ordering the soup, you realize that spoon has to travel 5 or 6 times the distance of any other spoonful of soup you ate pre-pregnancy. And soup spills. Easily.

Last week, at a fancy restaurant, I gave up and held the bowl under my chin. Screw the people who were looking at my funny. At least I didn't spill it all down the front of my dress. Or tuck my napkin around my neck.

My advice: Make use of those bibs you got as shower gifts. Or eat at home. Or both.

Strangers will tell you to have sex.

By 9 months into pregnancy, you start to think you've become immune to random, unsolicited advice from strangers. After all, you've been getting random, unsolicited advice from strangers for nearly a year now. But just when you think the advice can't get any more intrusive, or bizarre, it does...

As you near the prenatal finish line, everyone and their mothers (especially the mothers) will tell you their "sure-fire" way to get labor started. Because by 38 weeks you want that baby out, and by 39 weeks YOU WILL TRY ANYTHING TO GET THAT BABY OUT. So you'll hear all about the labor-inducing benefits of castor oil, massage pressure points, spicy foods, and vigorous exercise.

But whether or not any of these tricks really work, the advice everyone loves to give was best paraphrased by a massage therapist I know:
"The magic that gets baby in there, also gets baby out."
Yes. Random strangers will tell you to have sex.

Some will be coy about it, as my massage therapist friend was. Some will come right out and say "If you get tired of waiting for baby to arrive, just have sex."

Really, if sex were such a powerful trigger for labor, there would be no 42 week babies. But that doesn't stop strangers (and I mean everyone... other customers at the grocery store, the clerk at the bookstore, the receptionist at the dentist's office) from telling you to have sex.

My advice: Umm... For this one, I've got nothing. If you think of a clever reply, do let me know!

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