Friday, July 20, 2007

On Being Pregnant

I am tired.

I'm not as tired as I thought I would be by now, but waking up 5 times a night does take its toll. That I don't even get to bed until after midnight most nights, what with the unpacking and the Ikea runs, doesn't help.

Tomorrow I will be 38 weeks pregnant, which is full term. Technically, I still have two weeks to go, but really, it could be any time now. I haven't given this much real thought, as I've been distracted by the move. I don't know if this distraction is a good thing. On one hand, I'm not obsessing and freaking out about the thought of labor. On the other hand, I probably haven't mentally prepared myself for this at all. I still haven't really packed a hospital bag.

Being pregnant is totally different than I thought it would be. I expected a horrible pregnancy, one where I was sick and fatigued all the time. My mother was sick every day for nine months and I thought I'd be the same way. And because I never had the uncontrollable desire to procreate that so many women seem to be programmed with, I expected that I would resent being tired, fat and miserable.

With the exception of the CF thing, which really has nothing to do with pregnancy, I have been incredibly lucky. Being pregnant has...basically not affected me. Sure, the last few weeks have been somewhat uncomfortable, but generally speaking, the last nine months have passed with little effect. I can't say I've really basking in the joys of pregnancy. But I haven't minded it. In fact, it's been kind of nice. Like I have a little buddy that I carry around with me wherever I go. And the best thing about that buddy is that he/she doesn't cry, eat or poop yet.

I expect that labor will be some long, torturous experience, but who knows? My body might surprise me again. Certainly, no one has been more surprised than me that I seem to be suited to pregnancy.

A couple of things I've learned:

1. Maternity clothes. If you wouldn't wear it before you were pregnant, don't make yourself wear it now. I mean, you will have to succumb to the elastic waistband, the unlined pant and flowing shirts. But if you didn't wear pastel floral patterns with little bows all over before you were pregnant, don't do it now. Don't feel like you have to run out and stock up on maternity shirts as soon as you get a positive test result. Look around the stores you already shop in. Chances are, they have some empire waist tops and more generously cut shirts that will fit well into your second trimester. I found lots of non-maternity options at Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft and Macy's--some of which I still am wearing now. Also, even if you didn't do it before, there's nothing wrong with shopping at Target. In fact, just about all my real maternity clothes came from Target, Gap and Motherhood. There's no point in spending a fortune on maternity clothes, because the quality of your Diane von Furstenberg pants will be the same as the ones you get at Target.

2. Don't feel like you have to change your lifestyle just because you're pregnant. Of course, if your pregnancy is high-risk, you may have to take some extra precautions, but for the rest of you, just keep living your life. If you exercise, keep exercising. Listen to your body instead of listening to what they tell you not to do in the books. Don't push yourself too hard, but don't assume you can't do as much just because you're pregnant. Continue to go out with your friends. Go out for happy hour.

3. Speaking of the books, go ahead and read them. Then decide which parts seem to work for you. Don't take everything they tell you as gospel. Don't let the books make you paranoid.

4. Avoid pregnancy message boards.

5. If you aren't someone who enjoys having people touch your stomach, don't make your pregnancy the feature topic of every conversation. The more you talk about it, the more interest people will show, and the more likely they are to touch you. I've only had 2 people touch my stomach in the last nine months and fortunately for them, they happen to be two people I like. If you are some sort of freak who enjoys people touching you, don't insist that they touch your stomach. Freak.

6. Speaking of talking about it, for God's sake, don't tell the whole world as soon as you get a double pink line on a stick. In the last couple of months I've had two women tell me they were pregnant, only to have to later tell me that they weren't. Miscarriages happen. A lot. Wait at least until you've heard a heartbeat.

7. Don't assume everyone wants to hear about your pregnancy 24/7. They don't.

8. Regarding work, aside from preparing your boss and/or anyone else who may be affected by your maternity leave, there's really no reason to talk about your pregnancy at work. I had one co-worker once who felt it was necessary to detail every pregnancy symptom she was having with me. So not necessary.

9. Do not move when you are 9 months pregnant.

10. I'm too tired to think of a 10th thing I've learned. I'm going to have some ice cream instead.

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At 3:48 PM, Blogger Christy said...

Twice in the past few weeks, I've had the urge to touch your belly. I haven't and frankly, I'm not planning on it. I think it would be weird.

Anyway, all good thoughts. I especially agree with the one about not telling people immediately. It's awkward for everyone involved when a person is no longer pregnant and I can't imagine the pain of having to tell people.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Star said...

Okay, this list is so much of why I love you! Thanks for being a cool normal person and staying a cool normal person (according to my standards.)

You little buddy is going to love you, especially when we take him/her to happy hour!


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