8 Things I Thought I Knew About Pregnancy…Until I Got Pregnant

by Alessandra Macaluso
Originally Published: 

1. I thought it was OK to touch a pregnant woman’s belly without her permission. No. Just, NO. Some women don’t mind, and that’s great, but if you really have an urge to touch the blessed bump, ASK FIRST. Because there are two uncontrollable reflexes from a pregnant woman who gets her belly groped without being asked, depending on the mood she is in: 1) a welcoming smile, or 2) a punch to the clavicle. Proceed with caution.

2. I thought that registering would be fun. BuyBuyBaby should carry adult diapers because you’ll likely shit your pants out of fear before you make it past the feeding section. And by the time you hit up strollers and car seats, you’ll be on the verge of a full-blown panic attack. Because registering for baby items is like reading a Stephen King novel – you don’t know what’s around the bend, but it will likely scare the crap out of you. Registering for wedding gifts was sort of fun, in the “let’s pick out all the pretty things we love and want to use in our new home every day!” sort of way. But baby registries? A whole new territory. Sure, you’ll pick out some cute bibs and onesies and have some fun. But just know that when I got my breast pump home for the very first time, the anxiety from all those instructions and parts almost sent me into early labor.

3. I thought crying for bizarre reasons wasn’t a real thing. I did well for most of my pregnancy – until that one fateful day when the floodgates opened, and I was inconsolable: a sniffling, mascara-running, ugly-crying, pregnant mess, right in the middle of a crowded deli. I had a totally valid reason, of course – it was because the guy behind the counter accidentally skipped me, and I couldn’t order my sandwich. Yep. Bawled like a baby.

4. I thought that weird shit wouldn’t happen. These 9 months will be easy-peasy, right? I’m under 35! I’m not high-risk! I exercise and eat healthy! All good, right? Ennnnnn, wrong. Turns out pregnancy finds other ways to throw you speed bumps. Gestational diabetes? Check. Breech baby? Check. C-section? Check!

5. I thought that shopping for maternity clothes would be fun. Nothing fits quite right, and if it does, take a good picture because it will only fit long enough for you to make it to the parking lot. Oh, but don’t maternity stores provide those fake “bumps” for you to put on, to see how things will fit as you grow? Ah, yes: “Here, sweetie, why don’t you strap on this fake belly right here? You know, the one that is covered in dirt and sweat from every other pregnant woman who grunted her way around belting it on to see if that shirt she’s about to drop $75 on would actually still fit her three months from now?”

6. I thought that pregnancy would be totally peaceful. You can do your yoga, practice deep breathing, and keep it together for much of your pregnancy, but during this otherwise beautiful time you should also expect at least a wee bit of straight-up RAGE. It will come out in the form of an explosive fight with your partner, an interaction with a family member, a flurry of tears at the doctor’s office, or a tirade provoked by an unfortunate coworker. Don’t be alarmed. This probably results from what I call the “perfect prenatal storm” of discomfort, stress or anxiety over carrying and birthing a human, being provoked by others in your life, and yes, hormones. Give yourself a free pass. It’s nothing to worry about. (And besides, it’s been proven that it’s normal, and is just your body preparing for its survival through your baby’s toddlerhood.)

7. I thought I’d know what to tell people when they asked, “how far along are you”? Truth is, I never actually remembered. I told people I was 19 weeks for three weeks in a row because I had no idea. And really, the answer changes based on who is asking. For example…

To the stranger: “I am (X) months pregnant.”

To your mom or sister: “Still (X) amount of weeks, 21 hours and 53 minutes, same as I was 30 seconds ago. Talk to you again in five minutes.”

To your girlfriend who is also pregnant: “At the point where I can no longer see the cup I’m peeing into at the doctor’s office.”

To your husband: “I’m at the point where I can no longer see what I’m doing in the shower when it comes to personal ‘maintenance.’ (HANDS OVER RAZOR) Speaking of, can you help me?” (HUSBAND RUNS SCARED.)

To your coworkers: “Pregnant enough to fight you for that last donut in the break room. Don’t test me.”

To the teenage boy at the grocery store checkout: “Ten months and eleven-teen days. Now, could you help me carry those bags to my car?”

8. I thought that “pregnancy brain” was just a figure of speech. This one I was actually right about: pregnancy brain isn’t real! I mean it’s not like us pregnant women are … I mean clearly we don’t have … crap, have you seen my sunglasses? Oh, they’re on my head! Thank you. Now, what was I saying? What the hell was this article about?! Oh, forget it. I’m off to pee again and look for my keys.

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