I’m due with a baby in less than a week! It doesn’t feel like he’s going to arrive all that imminently, but since it’s around the corner I can’t help but think about what I’ve enjoyed (and not enjoyed) about being pregnant.
Things I will miss about pregnancy:
- Disappearing acne. Some women have horrible hormonal breakouts during pregnancy; I have those normally every month and they’ve disappeared in pregnancy. It would be nice if that stuck around. :)
- No more itchy scalp! My hair is dry and coarse and prefers not to be washed very often; however, my scalp usually needs shampooing well before my hair actually does and it’s a bummer to have to cater to my itchy head and ruin a great hair day/week. This seems to have gone away during pregnancy; their washing needs have synced up nicely. Thanks, fetus!
- Not caring about my waistline in clothing. I LOVE being able to wear clothes that show my belly. I mean, it took a while into the pregnancy to be certain that I definitely looked identifiably pregnant, but once I was there it was a thrill to wear form-fitting stuff and horizontal stripes without a care in the world. I’ll miss that. (And if you’re one of those helpful folks who will encourage me to just keep doing that anyway, I regularly got mistaken for pregnant when I wasn’t and that was no fun at all for me, so I won’t be going that route, heh.)
- Grocery carte blanche. I have never been so cavalier about popping in for one or two items and walking out with $70 of organic seasonal fruit. It’s hard not to justify when I’m buying mostly healthy stuff and the occasional craving foodâ€”I’ll dislike having to actually watch the grocery bill soon.
- Reckless A/C abandon. I turn it on full blast every single time I get in my car nowadays, without thinking twice about it, and we’re even going to get one installed in our bedroom to keep the newborn infant cooler (and so we can manage some sleep as new parents). This will eventually become financially and environmentally unsustainable but right now it feels justifiable as I’m 39 weeks along in July/nearly August with 30+ extra pounds on my frame.
- Comfort privilege. I have no qualms whatsoever about requesting a more comfortable seat at restaurants right now, getting dropped off close to somewhere instead of having to walk a few blocks, etc. Being preggo has made me super aware of how many Seattle restaurants have no regard for actual seating comfort in their establishmentsâ€”no thank you to the dinky bar stool with no back support and sharp metal edges that cut into the middle of my ass cheek!
- Metabolic check. Ever since I got over my first trimester nausea, my body kind of refuses to handle refined carbs or sugar wellâ€”which is super healthy for me. I basically ought to eat paleo-ish most of the time for my metabolism, i.e. lots of meat and leafy green veggies and not so much other stuff, but in pregnancy that set of nutritional needs feels physiologically urgent. I can’t describe it perfectly, it’s like a sixth sense that’s part taste part intuition and part blood sugar and part some weird pregnancy magic that goes NOPE NOPE NOPE when I eat something ill advised, especially on an empty stomach. And while it’s a little annoying (I both will and won’t miss this, shut up), it’s an incredibly effective tool at getting me to eat like I should. I’ll miss it being so EASY to make the right choice.
- Growing a human inside of me. Honestly, despite everything on the second half of this list, pregnancy has been really magical for me. (Probably in part because it took us a looooong time to finally get here, but I think also because I’ve always been sort of fascinated by it and excited by the idea of it.) I love feeling this little guy moving around inside of me, and I like feeling like I’m harboring some kind of precious cargo. I can totally understand why a part of some women’s postpartum depression involves missing the feeling of a baby being inside of them… I suspect I may count myself in that category. I think I’ll miss it. It’s an oddly nice feeling even when he occasionally left hooks me in the bladder.
- Community. The sense of connection you get with other parents and especially other birth mothers is intense. I can see how it would totally feel difficult as a parent of adopted children, or even just as a non-birth parent, to not feel a part of this certain sisterhood of the traveling womb or whatever, but it really is a nice sense of all-knowing welcoming community. God that sounds so TERFy and I don’t mean it to, but it’s not something I know how to describe otherwise. I would never presume to define anyone’s womanhood based on this, but I just dig the welcome that I get from other women who have been pregnant and given birth before, even if they also love to overload me with unsolicited advice sometimes, haha.
- Making everyone take the elevator instead of the stairs. Sorry folks, if you wanna chat with me you’re gonna have to give up on that one healthy choice because my knees are tired, haha. I feel no guilt doing this while pregnant whereas I felt bad before if I just did it over a knee injury or general laziness. Which is silly, but true!
- Contractor privilege. I have been doing a ton of home repair projects (perhaps the lazy homeowner version of “nesting” in which I tackle every single maintenance and upgrade issue we have been putting off for 6 straight years in the space of 4 months?). Contractors have been better about accommodating my schedule based on pregnancy, and that’s really effing helpful as it can be so damn hard to wrangle them and ensure that your job gets priority especially during the busy summer season. This isn’t perfect or anything, and some bigger jobs have still gotten pushed out annoyingly, but a couple smaller providers have been incredibly accommodating about fitting in fairly last-minute work because they know we’re expecting a kid so soon, and it’s super wonderful. I also just have this giant purestrings justification thing going on about getting allllll the annoying work in before baby arrives, which is a nice motivator even if we’ll regret it later as we gasp over our bank statements.
- Nesting. I like being this productive and motivated to get shit done around the house! I wish I could bottle this up and sell it.
- Self care. I’m so much better about prioritizing massage appointments, lazy baths, breaks between tiring chores, exercise classes, proper bedtimes, downtime between social engagements, etc. when I’m pregnant. If I were this good about taking care of myself during all walks of life I have to wonder if I’d be less stressed out overall!
- Being told how great I look all the time. I don’t really understand what it means, in the sense that I’m not sure what pregnancy-specific aspect of my appearance we’re commenting on, haha. I think it has to do with a combo of how I’m carrying (uh, round?), how I’m gaining weight mainly in baby-like areas (belly and boob and not so much like face/neck/ankles, lucky me), and that I don’t look miserable or haggard. No one has said I “glow” at any point, heh, but people seem to think pregnancy looks good on me. OK? I’ll take it, thanks! (I definitely feel pretty damn good; I know I’m lucky in that this has been a shockingly easy pregnancy.)
- No periods! It’s really nice, folks! Some women might feel like having a period is some integral part of feminine identity or whatever, but for me it’s an annoying extra thing I have to remember to carry, and a lead-in to all my clueless coworkers asking if I’m taking off when they see me head to the restroom with a purse. No, dummies, I’m fucking bleeding everywhere and I need supplies. Mind ya business.
- Expectant Mother parking spot. I didn’t discover this until a helpful male coworker pointed it out near the beginning of my third trimester, but damn was it nice. Microsoft doesn’t have these at every building, but I used the heck out of it right up until my second-to-last day of work. (On my last day some dude parked his Harley there and I only feel a little guilty that I ratted him out to security and made him move it. C’mon dude, not cool, there is someone literally headbanging on my bladder and I factored that into my pre-commute urination strategy. All you did is buy a motorcycle.)
Things I will not miss about pregnancy:
- Food prep. I really hate cutting up veggie sticks and making little peanut butter tupperwares to dip into, hard boiling a batch of eggs, and whatever other behaviors I’ve had to take on in order to get enough high-protein healthy snacks. And I’m so fucking sick of trail mix. I know I’ll have to be good about food prep once kids are old enough to eat solids, but for now, I’ll be glad during maternity leave to be able to just make myself a snack at home when breastfeeding leaves me ravenous instead of having to prep and carry a freaking restaurant’s worth of metabolically sound bullshit. God I hate food prep so much.
- Giant boobs. Mine were plenty big before. Yes, I’m aware they’re about to get even bigger. Not a fan. Makes it really hard to find clothing that fits and doesn’t look inappropriate, and they just generally make you look heavier. And they actually are heavier which hurts your back, and it gets really hard to find good bras, and nothing from Anthropologie fits unless it’s stretchy, and it’s generally just annoying. (Plus all this other weird shit happens that turns your boobs into a body part that you don’t recognize as your own and I won’t miss that either but I should probably get used to it since I think those changes are permanent; oh well.)
- All the H- symptoms. Heartburn, hemorrhoids, hunger (like BOTTOMLESS PIT type hunger that required me to sleep with food on my nightstand and pack a little grocery store worth of bullshit everywhere I went), and hacking old man cough from being so immunocompromised in order to not reject a fetus that you get ONE COLD and you end up coughing like you’re dying for literally six months straight. There was another H-symptom I was going to include but I forgot, so let’s throw in Hella-bad memory. And uh, histrionics? Nah, fuck that word, but I *definitely* have some amusingly disproportionate reactions to things, usually manifesting either as super snippy impatience/annoyance over something objectively minor, or shocking sobbing fits over something objectively minor. (The former is the most common, and both pretty much only happen around Grant, for better or for worse.)
- Random comments. Whether they’re unsolicited advice, well meaning warnings about how little sleep we will ever get again, strangers asking to hug me, or construction guys saying I’m about to pop as I walk by, I just sort of don’t love the random commentary. And I’m TOTALLY all for pleasant small talk with nice strangers, such as complimenting someone’s shoes or what have you, but the sense of permission people have to just discuss/comment on your body/health/LIFE when you’re pregnant is disconcerting. Harboring a baby fosters this sense of unearned intimacy that seems primal, but it can be unweclome. (Sometimes it’s nice too. But frankly, it’s nice from other pregnant women and visibly obvious moms, and less nice from literally everyone else. Kind of like most compliments or comments directed at a woman’s appearance, haha.)
- Medication overload/underload. You can’t take shit for shit while you’re pregnant (no aspirin, no cold meds, no this no that, half the essential oils and herbal teas are banned for no clear reason or lack of data) and yet you end up taking tons of shit that you wouldn’t otherwise (Unisom because you’re nauseated and can never sleep, Zantac because you start to barf every time you lie down in bed otherwise, Qvar inhaler because of aforementioned old man cough, a million vitamins and probiotics and enzymes to help it all work, motherfucking Metamucil, etc.) I look forward to my medical regimen being a) more limited and b) more flexible, even if some stuff is still restricted during breastfeeding.
- Pregsomnia. I already suffer from mild anxiety and not so mild insomnia, and it just seems way worse preggo. Probably because the things I’m worrying about are more legit, you know? All sorts of labor stuff and postpartum woes and latching stuff and sleep training stuff and financial stuff and the massive career impact of parenthood and childcare and RAISING A GOOD HUMAN FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE while maintaining a happy marriage and not losing my sense of self and… see what I mean? My worries are about REAL SHIT now and they keep me up and night and I kind of can’t blame them.
- Foot stuff. I can barely reach my feet even suspended in a nice deep buoyant bathtub, so they’re cracked up to shit in a way that no pedicurist can really tackle. Plus I don’t like exposing Junior to all the nasty chemicals that a pedicure entails, so I’ve gotten exactly one my entire pregnancy which is a bummer. It’s not looking so great at this stage. And they got bigger! Fucking relaxin! Even though I went out of my way to wear footwear that I hoped would help contain any spreading out, they are totally wider at the very least. I’m hoping desperately that they will go back to being a solid 11 because I already went from a 10 to an 11 when I gained some weight a few years back, and it really limits your fashion choices. A 12 would be much worse (AND I’d have to give up my roster of existing footwear). Sigh.
- Feeling weird about pictures. It’s a common trend for a lot of pregnant women to photograph their changing body throughout a pregnancy. I started my pregnancy with a significant enough gluten/pizza gut that I was frequently mistaken for being pregnant when I wasn’t, which is never ever fun. So during the earlier parts of pregnancy, I had absolutely no desire to document my “bump” progress, schedule a maternity photo shoot, etc. Now that I’m farther along I’m more OK with it, but it feels like a large portion of pregnancy selfie excitement is only made for skinny gals. I am all for the body positivity movement but that doesn’t mean I actually feel it in my own heart/cellulite, so it bums me out to feel, just, BIG compared to other pregnant women, and to look like I’m farther along, etc. This becomes notable in pregnancy fitness and education classes, too, when everyone goes around the room and says how far along they are. (But once you hit your third trimester it matters a lot less.)
- Stretch marks. I mean, I’m pretty sure mine are here to stay and frankly fairly minimal and will fade a lot with time, but we’d all rather NOT get them than get them, right?
- All tops being too short. Yep, even maternity ones. I have a long torso and am a larger person already, which has been great for fitting the actual baby into my body with fewer terrible symptoms than shorter women, but it’s been a real annoyance to just constantly have to tug shirts down or have the bottom of my belly exposed. And I’m not nuts about the paneled pants that go way up to alleviate this. Not made for my body.
- Misc. body stuff. There’s a lot of other weird little things that are too personal to go into in a blog post, but your body has some shifts that are annoying and that I won’t miss. Including…
- Weird belly button. Go back in, slight bulge to right of navel. WTF.
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