I have a few friends who are expecting babies in the next few months and while Happy Dude is the type of baby (now toddler) who makes me want to have more, the thought of being pregnant again makes me shudder and wince and cringe and then scream, “NO EFFING WAY.”
That’s only a teeny exaggeration. I hated almost everything about being pregnant. And the few things I didn’t hate, I strongly disliked.
Part of the problem was that my expectations were waaaaay too high. I had this view of pregnancy as being this blissful time where I would marvel at the wonder that is life growing inside of me and my hair and nails would be lustrous. FALSE. Not blissful AT ALL. And my hair fell out.
So who’s to blame for leading me astray? I’ll tell you.
1. The Majority of Other Women: Most other women, especially all the celebrities that I consider friends, talk about pregnancy as if it’s as great as drinking Margaritas in a candy store. (Note to self: do this.) Well, I’m here to tell you, readers who still have this “glorious” experience ahead of you, THOSE WOMEN ARE LYING. You may be thinking, “kmac, isn’t it possible they just had a different experience?” and I’m going to say, “Dude. No. That’s not possible.”
Now, in recent years we’ve seen a few truth-tellers come out of the woodwork like Jaime Pressley (who admits to feeling ugly) and Carla Bruni (who really missed her cigarettes), but for the most part, they’re all like Tori Spelling (who is now expecting her fourth… go Donna) and Jessica Simpson, who seems to be breaking records for the longest pregnancy in history. (Seriously, does it not seem like she’s been pregnant for at least a year-and-a-half?) With their gushing and raving about glowing and beaming and …. wah wah wah wah wah (you know, that sound the teacher from the Peanuts makes.)
2. Pregnancy Books: “Welcome to this magnificent time! Your body is now a glorious vessel in which a wondrous seed has been planted and will grow into a miraculous human being blah blah blah blah blah.”
Dear authors, there is nothing glorious about my body right now and this future miraculous human being is KILLING ME. So, go back to your meditation birthing rooms and shut up. Please.
(Needless to say, prenatal yoga wasn’t really my thing.)
It’s true that people like Jenny McCarthy write books that attempt to be a bit more honest about the negative side of pregnancy, but I’m sorry… LOOK AT HER:
Does she look sick and miserable and tired and hot (and not in the good way)? NO. She looks fabulous! And she has lustrous hair and nails! LIAR!!
So, I’m thinking about writing my own book about this wondrous experience. It will have an ugly-ass picture of pregnant me on the cover, possibly vomiting into the garbage can on the corner of 8th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City as I did every morning when I was pregnant for the first time. (Nothing screams BEST SELLER! like a vomiting pregnant lady on the cover, am I right?)
Here’s a rough outline of what I’m thinking…
Chapter 1: Morning Sickness: It’s Not Just for Mornings Anymore!
If you’re anything like me, you won’t stop vomiting for about 16 weeks. Good times!
People will recommend all kinds of remedies including: ginger, Ginger Ale, flat Coke, Saltines (but make sure you eat them BEFORE you get out of bed. Seriously, do not put your feet on the floor until you eat those crackers), lemons, lemonade, lemon drops, sour candies, chewing gum, anything that works for motion sickness (except drugs because nooooo, they’re not allowed), herbal tea, cabbage, sleep and – get this – brewers yeast (as in the key ingredient of BEER, which is strongly discouraged while pregnant except in miniscule amounts that only make you want six more).
I’m here to tell you that nothing works.
Chapter 2: Vomiting and Nausea are Your New Reality: Deal With It
Locate all the bathrooms (and/or garbage cans) in your vicinity while pregnant. Memorize their locations and the time it takes to get to them from wherever you might be. Trust me when I say that this will be useful information.
Chapter 3: I Can’t Eat What Now?
“Yea! I’m pregnant! I can eat everything!” WRONG. There are approximately 96 things that you’re not allowed to eat because it will cause your baby to grow a third ear. Here’s an abbreviated list:
No raw cookie dough or cake batter (… is this a life worth living?)
No fish (I know that’s not really true but it’s so freaking hard to keep track of which fish is allowed and which is not, so it’s easier to just assume you can’t eat anything that used to swim.)
No artificial sweeteners
No fresh-squeezed juice (you know how those oranges are out to get you)
No lunch meat
No hot dogs
No raw sprouts, such as alfalfa, radish or mung bean (WHAT? No mung? You have got to be kidding. Take the baby back!)
You’re also not supposed to eat too much sugar, which is, just a reminder, the main ingredient in ice cream, chocolate and um, I don’t know, pretty much EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO EAT WHEN YOU’RE PREGNANT.
Chapter 4: Kicks or Gas? How Do You Know If That’s Really the Kid?
The difference between the two is teeny tiny. In the beginning, the kicking feels like bubbles or butterflies or something else that no one has ever really experienced floating in their body. But once you’ve confirmed that it is in fact the baby, the fun begins. And by fun, I mean, creepiness.
I’m going to say something controversial now so if you’re going to get mad at me or want to report me to the Bad Pregnant Women Association, please stop reading. Are all the whackjobs gone? OK, here’s the thing… I did not like feeling my babies kick.
Whereas you thought, “Ah, the wonder of life growing inside me,” I thought, “There’s an alien inside of me and it’s trying desperately to get out.”
You say tomato, I say tomahto.
Chapter 5: Hairy Bitch: It Grows Where You Never Had It Before
Yup, your hair may be falling out of your head, but don’t worry, it’s all coming out on your chin! Oh yeah, and you’re a bitch. (More on that in Chapter 7.)
Chapter 6: Mystery Cramps and Other Assorted Pain
At any given time during pregnancy, you will be in pain. It might be the initial cramping or the nine-month backache or the feeling that you’re being stabbed in the crotch that happens somewhere in the middle, but basically carrying a kid hurts. Here are a few other ailments you can expect to experience during this miraculous time: heartburn, leg cramps, sciatica, boob pain, hemorroids, migraines, swollen ankles, carpal tunnel and tennis elbow. (OK, that last one was a lie, but probably not if you try to play tennis at seven months.) You also won’t be able to walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for oxygen as if you’ve been underwater for six minutes.
Chapter 7: STAY OUT OF MY WAY.
This will be the chapter about Mood Swings. It will be long. But I’m going to have my husband write it because I’m not sure I could do it justice.
Chapter 8: I’m Not Glowing, That’s Sweat
Two words for you: Human Furnace. The good news is, if you’re pregnant in the winter, your heating bill will go way down. The bad news is, if you’re pregnant in the summer, you’ll be buying a industrial-sized, commercial air conditioning unit because your house or apartment cannot possibly be cold enough. (I mean, that might happen. I’m not saying that’s what I did or anything.)
Chapter 9: Buy Me a Tarp and Let’s Call It a Day
At first, the giant belly is a little freeing… you can wear big, loose maternity clothes and be comfortable or you can wear tight clothes and not worry, because you’re SUPPOSED to look round! But fast forward to the end and it’s just not pretty.
So there you have it. Now I know that not everyone will agree with my assessment of pregnancy (like I said… they’re wrong), but more importantly, I know that there are women out there that would kill to be pregnant and in no way do I mean to be insensitive about that. I know how lucky I was to go through this horrible experience get pregnant and deliver my three beautiful little alien babies.
What should I call it? “Gestation Frustration?” “Belly Hell?” “40 Weeks of SUCK?”
OK, I’m officially accepting suggestions for a title.