People who don’t have something growing inside of them get schooled by a doctor or nurse around once a year. Too much salt, not enough exercise, blah, blah, blah. For pregnant women, it happens every damn day. And if we don’t do what this person or that blog says, we’re not just killing ourselves, we’re definitely probably almost assuredly killing our fetuses.
Of course, we’re willing to sacrifice. We biologically can’t avoid sacrificing—pre- and post-baby—but we need to remember that we (woman/person/mommy) are an important part of the equation too. Becoming a shut-in who never breathes polluted air and eats only vegetables while doing moderate stretching isn’t the answer. The answer is to just say “no” to the following recommendations:
1. All Kegels All the Time!
Kegels are supposed to beef up your pelvic floor so you can handle the massive trauma of a watermelon coming out of your vagina. The exercises will also help you avoid leaking pee all over the place after armageddon. Kegels are fine to do every now and then, when you’re watching TV or talking to someone really boring, but remembering to do them every day multiple times? It’s just not going to happen. The minimum recommendation I’ve seen is 10 reps held for 10 seconds to 3 to 4 times a day. And I’ve seen some bastards suggest 20 reps 10 times a day. People are hilarious.
2. No Heavy Lifting!
Pregnant women are generally supposed to avoid lifting objects heavier than 20 to 25 pounds. This is a very sweet suggestion, but it’s nearly impossible, especially if said pregnant woman also has a toddler running around. Aside from the cuddles and hugs you’d miss out on, picking those little assholes up is sometimes the only way to get on with your day. Heavy lifting is a part of mom life. Accept it, use your knees, and move on.
3. Eat Healthy!
Apples are a good idea. Yes, we know. Thanks. So is spinach. But four servings of each throughout the day? I don’t think so.
And junk food—apparently, your stomach grows smaller when you’re pregnant, so those empty calories could be taking space that’s meant for greener foods. I’m sorry, but an angelic pregnant diet is what we call a “wasted opportunity.” This is the only time I get to blame my nacho and milkshake habit on not me. So, you can take your celery and make a nice salad for yourself. See how you like it.
You know how, when you’re not pregnant, you want to murder anyone who tells you to “just relax”? The serial killer comes out in full force when you’re growing something inside of you. Avoid stress? Same problem. It is stressful to get prepped for a baby, it’s stressful to try to work while your body is becoming something foreign and you pee yourself all the time. And if you’ve already got a kid, or two, or three, or four, or—no, I can’t go on, because that’s just horrible to imagine—the stress quotient gets exponentially higher. Sure, it would be nice to stop and smell the dinner someone else is cooking, but we all know that isn’t likely to happen. The relaxation comes when you finally pass out at night. Which brings me to…
5. Get Plenty of Sleep!
The problem here is that pregnant people are pregnant. It’s very hard to sleep when there’s so much going on inside of you. And don’t sleep on your back! Or your stomach! Just shut your damn eyes and go to sleep, because you are killing your baby!
Nope. Sleep happens when it happens, and we are grateful to the toddler who decided not to come out of his room that particular morning to talk about his “cool” idea for the most boring thing ever.
I understand why this is a recommendation. It’s good for you and for the baby. But if you’re nauseous or you just feel like lying on the couch like a bloated Nefertiti, that’s what you should do. Self-care is a really annoying word, but it’s important. Let’s call it “Shut Up and Leave Me Alone,” or SULMA, if you want to get weird about it.
Exercise is also difficult because there are lots of bonus recommendations. You have to bring water with you. You have to pass the “talk test.” Don’t get overheated or you will definitely kill your embryo. If you feel like saying SULMA, do it. Besides, it’s really hard to eat all those nachos when you’re constantly jogging.
7. Say Goodbye to Wine!
This is a weird one, because Europe tells us wine is OK, but the United States is in the “one drink and you’re going to ruin your baby” camp. Before I knew I was pregnant the first time, I got completely shitfaced, and my kid is fine. He’s a toddler asshole, but he’s fine. I’m not saying you should get tequila-drunk, but French women seem to have great babies, and they do wine like we do water. Anyway, like everything else, it’s up to the woman who is actually growing the thing inside of herself to decide what to do. Cheers, and SULMA.
8. Wear Protective Gear While Cleaning!
While masks are fun sometimes, they’re not awesome when you’re cleaning. And gloves make everything more difficult. I think the solution to this one is obvious: Stop cleaning. There have to be some benefits to this pregnancy thing, right? See also: cleaning the litter box and reptile cage. Pass, pass, pass. So it is written, and so it shall be.
9. No Deli Meat!
The minute I was told this was a thing, I wanted a ham sandwich more than I wanted Ryan Gosling’s face on my face. And when a pregnant woman wants something, she will find a way. Just heat the meat up until it burns your mouth, and you’re fine. Added benefit: If anyone gives you side-eye for eating a sandwich while pregnant, you can shove that steaming hot shit in their face.
10. Avoid Microwaves!
People are never going to stop saying stupid garbage to pregnant women. I like the smile-and-nod-and-then-do-