Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Five Surprising Things About Being Pregnant

So now that I've successfully alienated or drawn you in, let's get to it!

As of today, I'm officially twenty-six weeks pregnant. I have two more weeks left in the second trimester and then it's on to the third and final trimester. To say that I'm excited is an understatement. Before becoming pregnant I suspect that I'd dislike being pregnant, and that prediction has certainly come true. Now, I don't have any serious medical issues and have had no serious medical complications due to pregnancy. However, that doesn't mean that I won't take a second to say that being pregnant--from not drinking beer at all, being told I can't ride my bike, constant nausea for the first sixteen weeks, exhaustion and overheating throughout, seeing my body change in a way that on a good day makes me highly, highly uncomfortable, feeling moody and irritable on a near-constant basis, wondering how the hell I'm going to get this baby out of my uterus without dying, and just generally wondering WTF I was thinking when I thought I'd take on the responsibility of another living being--has been less than fun. In fact, I'm counting down the weeks and just generally wishing time would pass faster.

(The good news is that now that the end is in sight I'm starting to feel excited to meet whatever is in my belly.)

So while I haven't been surprised by the fact that I don't enjoy being pregnant, I have been surprised by a few other things. Here are the top five, in random order. (Hint: that means not really in any order. Kinda misleading, that phrase.)

1. People give pregnant women a lot of props for doing _anything_ active. I mean, I know I'm probably above average as far as pregnant fitness goes, but man--every time I'm at the gym, in a class, taking a hike, people love to stop me and say how amazing and impressive it is that I'm staying so active. Really, it's like the fitness bar just got really low and suddenly people are just super impressed that I move myself around at all. It's kind of nice, especially on days when I'm feeling the pregnancy fatigue, but it also surprises me, since I really do think that pregnant women are able to do most of the fitness/activity stuff they did before becoming pregnant. (Recent research on exercise in pregnant women supports this as well.)

2) People open doors for me. This one I find strange. I mean, it's nice if people open the door, sure. But it also feels like they open the doors because I'm the cliché pregnant woman and there is an idea out there that pregnant women really need a lot of help. Now, if I was carrying a TV on my back I'd be telling a different story here, but opening the door to the DMV is definitely _not_ on the list of things my pregnant bad self can't handle. Also, if I ever get pregnant again, and have to deal with baby #1 while being pregnant, then peeps can open the door for me, since I'll prolly be loaded down with a hot pink stroller and pom poms.

3) People smile at me a lot more. This I don't really get, since it's not an intrinsically good thing that I'm gestating a human. I guess it just goes to show how much having kids is socially rewarded and approved.

4) The changes that happen to your body are _not_ necessarily natural. I mean, they are natural in the sense that they happen with pregnancy and reproduction and are thus a product of "nature" and its laws. But the physical changes, especially within the context of our current social environs, are not natural in the sense that they foreign, unexpected, and ultimately culminate in a female body that is not considered socially acceptable. In widespread media the ideal female body is angular, thin, slightly muscular, and generally devoid of body hair. The pregnant body is none of these things due to water retention, weight gain, and increased hair growth. While pregnant cave-chicks might've had "natural" bodies, the reality--if you actually look at a naked pregnant body rather than the image of a pregnant body in the media--is far from the norm that our culture associates with female bodies.

5) In addition to getting you ready for a lack of sleep and an existence that is centered around someone else, pregnancy also readies you for the constant barrage of other people's opinions. Yes, even people who have no expertise in pregnancy, pregnancy nutrition, or childbirth will feel comfortable telling you what you should be doing or how what you're currently doing is not ideal. I mean, does a seventy year old gentleman really think that he's giving me new information by telling me that I should be taking folic acid? Yes, sir, I am taking folic acid. Now eat your f-ing sandwich and leave me alone. :-) Tee-hee.

Finally, I wasn't going to share this before because it's pretty, uh, intimate, but the top, most, and really surprising thing about pregnancy is the changes in your nipples. Yah. I said it. It's not just the boobs that get bigger--it's the whole nipple. And, even worse, the color changes. Now there is literally a brownish ring around my pink nipples. Sorry for the tmi, friends, but this is truly one thing that I didn't expect. All the books said it was going to happen, but I'm a doofus and didn't really understand what "areola" is. My bad.

*Do you know what the areola is, I mean, really? Would you post information about your nipples on your blog? Me personally I'm kind of nervous about doing so... :-)


  1. I think the one thing that surprised my wife most about pregnancy was the number of times I asked if she would like a perineal massage. Hey, the doc lady said it was important.

    And she never once took me up on my generous offer.

    1. Must've been those nasty pregnancy hormones that prevented her from accepting the pleasure that you were offering her. Heh.

  2. Ahhhhh my husband. I need to stop telling him about my favorite blogs. So things like this wouldn't happen anymore. But hey, I guess if you cam chat about areola I guess we can chat about perineal massage.

    I'd like to counter that it's society's ideals of the female body that are unnatural not the female body during pregnancy.

    (Although having something kick the crap out of you from the inside out does feel a bit unnatural. Also not being able to breath feels a bit unnatural as well.)

    1. I would second all of those sentiments. While writing this post I was thinking about this article that I read recently about pubic hair and our current aversion to it. According to the article, men growing up today have no idea what real women's bodies look like thanks to the media, porn, etc.; hence when these men see real women naked, as they truly are, they are either scared, turned off, or just generally decide that they only want to have sex with women who have no fat, no cellulite, and no pubic hair.
      P.S. I can definitely take a perineum joke. Too bad David doesn't have a blog or you could see what kind of un-PC, horrifically dirty joking I'm used to because of him:-)

    2. Good thing I grew up watching old 1970's era porn. Must be why I'm so normal and grounded.

    3. That's two days in a row that reading your comment has made me chuckle out loud!