Almost all expectant moms are sucked into reading the cliched, yet best-selling baby book “What to Expect When Expecting.” It’s up to you to decide to read it with a filter (as it travels far, FAR into Absurdsville at times) or become a fanatic and follow it as if it were the Gospel. I found most of the book quite useful and informative for myself as well as my daddy-to-be, but I definitely read that thing with a filter. If not, I’d have gone insane and run screaming down the street pulling my hair out!
But as I’ve learned, that book or any other can’t prepare you for some of the unexpectedly weird things you will experience while you are pregnant. The most surprising things I found out during my pregnancy weren’t mentioned in any book or blog post I read. Yes, I was focused on reading those books and blogs so I could learn as much as I could to take the best care of baby and myself throughout our nine months as one person and how to mentally prepare myself for giving birth. But nothing I read, saw or heard prepared me for dealing with these pregnancy absurdities. So here it is, my list of What I Wasn’t Expecting While Expecting:
1. FOOD WOULD BE THE ALL-CONSUMING FOCUS OF MY LIFE
No wonder doctors worry about pregnant women getting fat and monitor it so closely during the entire 10 month stint that is pregnancy. The amount of food I put in my mouth was the one thing constantly on my mind during my pregnancy. Food, food, FOOD…..every. single. minute. of. the. day.
I started the first 19 weeks of my pregnancy sick all the time with food as my ultimate nemesis. All I could stomach during that time was Rice Krispies and bananas. I can’t even stand to look at those little people on the front of that cereal box now! I may never eat a banana again. Well, at least until my next potential pregnancy…….and why the hell did that even enter my brain and make it into writing?!
When the nausea subsided around week 19, I could (and probably did) cry at the enjoyment of eating regular food again. I went from being worried I wasn’t eating enough to monitoring my food down to the minute. And no, it was never because I was worried about “gradual weight gain” and not getting those dreaded stretch marks, it was a minute by minute monitoring of when I could put MORE food in my mouth. I LOVE FOOD. I have never dieted in my life. I have never WANTED to diet in my life. I enjoy food WAY too much to be able to deny myself the pleasure of eating whatever I wanted, so yay for a healthy metabolism that’s let me enjoy doing just that. But man, oh man, I am lucky my husband doesn’t have to roll me around like a meatball to get from one place to another.
2. SITTING…..OH HELL NO, I’LL STAND!
I MISS SITTING. I miss the ability to plop on the couch, open a book and lose track of time. I miss being able to sit comfortably for 45 minutes and not feel absolutely miserable while watching the brand new Criminal Minds. God forbid there is a movie on TV I want to watch. I loathe the tremendous ache in my ribs and stomach that will last for hours for a mere 15 minutes of getting off my feet.
And let me tell you, that’s all EVERYONE wants me to do. I know, I KNOW it’s because everyone cares and wants me to be comfortable…..that doesn’t mean when I speak my mind and say I am much more comfortable standing, it’s not annoying or frustrating to be talked to like I don’t make sense or am wrong…….”Go sit down Courtney!”…..”Have a seat Courtney, you’ll feel much better.”…….”How come you don’t want to sit down Courtney?”…….”Oh that just doesn’t make sense! Here, sit in my spot!!” People look at me like I’ve sprouted horns or a second head when I am emphatic about standing. Being short does not allow for comfort and ease of sitting during pregnancy. So PLEASE stop asking.
3. STRANGER DANGER…..OR NOT?
Even before I was pregnant, I’d heard and even had plenty of conversations emphasizing how horrible/awkward strangers can treat you when you’re expecting. The comments about your size, the unexpected touching and the often absurd and unwanted advice. So when I found out I was expecting, I was worried about having to fend these imaginary people and their comments off. However……it never happened. NOT ONCE. I received not a single mean, opinionated, rude comment or hand swipe from a stranger. HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?!?! I heard nothing but how beautiful I looked, how exciting and anxious I must be waiting to meet Baby C, how great of a mother I was going to make……the list goes on and on.
Now I heard variations of this from my friends and family and this is not written to get everyone’s panties in a twist, but some could use a refresher on that old adage: “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” The comments and advice from strangers I’d prepared myself to defend actually came from those closest to me. I’m not going to lie, this was probably the BIGGEST shocker and hardest to deal with during my pregnancy. I was told I was big, ginormous, putting on QUITE the belly, and every other variation people use to tell you you look fat without using the word fat.
Those comments I could smile and ignore like I’d prepared to do with those mean old strangers I’d been warned about. What I found myself having to vent to my wonderfully understanding hubby to keep from punching out or calling people bad names was when people talked to me as if I were addle-brained and didn’t have the first clue what happened during a pregnancy and what was best for Baby C. I was told what I SHOULD be doing. What I WANTED to happen during my pregnancy. That I needed to WAIT and not be so impatient. What was BEST for me and my baby because so-and-so knows best because they got knocked up and popped one or more out before me. I guess my board-certified doctor who has been delivering babies for over 25 years doesn’t know jack shit about what’s best for me and Baby C, so good thing everyone else was there to tell me!!! (If for some reason, you missed the sarcasm in that, well…..you don’t know me very well). I get it, people have OBVIOUSLY been there before me and feel they can say what they want because they’ve survived the battle, but as a person I CANNOT tolerate people telling me they know what’s best for me and MY child more than I do. A lot of people are lucky they didn’t get the punch in the throat I wanted to give them. Do any of you who are questioning my sanity here or are getting upset while reading this feel any doubts that you’ve said something like this to someone you know who’s pregnant? Think long and hard and maybe learn to keep those comments to yourself. You may believe you’re helping, but sometimes words we mean as encouraging or knowledge we just have to pass on make people feel horrible. Ok, this just gets me worked up….end of rant.
4. BABY C WOULD BE MY STRONGEST ALLY
From his humble beginnings as a teeny, tiny sesame seed to the now watermelon sized bundle of joy pushing around in my belly, Baby C has been the one constant I feel has kept me strong and pushed me along throughout this entire pregnancy.Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the love and support I have received from everyone for the last ten months. My husband has been the most wonderful partner I could have asked for to help me through this and I cannot wait to see him meet our baby boy and show the world the truly wonderful daddy I know he will be. Although a few less “NO”s when asking for a back or foot rub would have been appreciated ;)
Even though this kiddo of mine hasn’t even made his debut, he is such a great comfort to me. When I’ve felt down or doubted myself about this whole pregnancy and motherhood thing, my little man gives me a swift kick (literally) to let me know that WE’VE GOT THIS. We’ve made it through the last 10 months of challenges and there’s nothing we can’t handle. People are constantly asking me how nervous I am. I am being completely honest in saying I’m NOT. I’m not nervous about labor (which heck, once it starts could prove me quite the liar). I’m not nervous about how my baby boy is developing and preparing himself for life outside the womb. I’m not nervous about breastfeeding or cloth diapering or all the other choices Jon and I have made about caring for our little one won’t work out. Our doctor asked us during week 20-something if we wanted a test to determine if Baby C might have Down’s syndrome. Jon and I looked at each other and had the same reaction. Heck no! What is the point of freaking ourselves out and worrying about the things we have no control over? What’s the point in stressing about our decisions not working when we haven’t even tried them. Parenting is a challenge, one I’m looking forward to greatly. I am just amazed that this little bundle of joy is the one person that has kept me so centered. I absolutely cannot wait to hold him in my arms so I can give him some of that love that has sustained me for the last 10 months.
So there they are, the top absurdities I did not expect to find myself challenged or surprised by during my last 10 months of pregnancy. What was your biggest surprise/challenge during you and/or your spouses pregnancy?? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!!