Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Giselle Bundchen Needs To Hush Up

Every time I've been pregnant I get kind of panicky at the end. Have I enjoyed it enough? Did I savor the experience properly, in case it was the last time? Did I bond with the baby as best I could? Did I eat well enough, did I yell too much, stress out too much, eat too few veggies, did I listen to music that would enrich his little brain? Should I have stayed off my cell phone, like that recent article in some PregnancyGuilt magazine suggested, in case the emissions are harmful? Did I doom my child to a low IQ because I slacked off on taking my omega-3 capsules? Did I do it right, basically?

In a culture in which most women are only pregnant two or three times in their childbearing years (as opposed to upwards of ten pregnancies, like in the good old days,) I think there is a lot of pressure to enjoy the perfect pregnancy. To wear cute maternity clothes, to keep up your fitness routine, to eat just right for baby, to bond with your baby, to not allow pregnancy to in any way diminish your marriage or sex life, to read all the books, to take birthing and breastfeeding and baby care classes, and of COURSE to prepare a detailed birth plan and then "achieve" exactly the birth you envision for yourself and your baby. I am no exception to this trend. I am the consummate consumer of the idea that there IS such a thing as the ideal pregnancy and birth and babyhood, much as my common sense and experience strives to tell me otherwise. It's a lovely fairy tale that I just keep coming back to.

The other day, to try to combat this mindset of Panic! that I had once failed to realize a blissful pregnancy experience, I started composing a little mental list of things that just plain suck about childbearing, no matter how "right" you try to do it. Here's my list: feel free to add your own contribution in the comment section!

Overall Inconveniences/Pain:

-Morning sickness (a lucky few skip this one; mine has gotten worse each time)

-First trimester fatigue, i.e., Why Do I Feel Like I've Been Run Over By A Bus All The Time?

-Back/hip/sciatic nerve pain (again, doesn't apply to everyone, and certainly varies in severity, but most women are complaining of this by the last trimester)

-Needing to pee constantly (up to and including the utter indignity of needing to WEAR A PAD to handle sudden leaks every time you cough and sneeze due to all the weight of your baby's giant head on your bladder. Um, not that I would know about that at all. Not that I am exceedingly bitter about that at all.)

-Weird skin changes (example: I have had a heat rash this entire pregnancy.)

-Moodiness/irritability (I hear some people don't experience this, or even feel extra peaceful and calm while pregnant. I also hear pigs fly, but you know, it could happen, I guess.)

-Water retention, i.e. Sudden Appearance of Double Chins and Disappearance of Ankles

-Balance/clumsiness issues, eventually leading to the dreaded Pregnant Waddle

-Headaches (not everyone, just a select lucky few)

-Blood pressure and/or diabetes issues (same as above)

-Heartburn (and, uh, RELATED gastro-intestinal issues. Like, everything listed on the side of a Pepto Bismal bottle, basically.)

-Random strangers thinking they can touch your belly, give you advice, tell you what to eat, etc.

-Blood draws, glucose tests and endless, sometimes seemingly pointless doctors' visits, including irritating weigh-ins

-Shaving becomes a real feat, especially in Certain Areas

-Insomnia (I hear SOME PEOPLE end up kicking their husbands out of bed due to their need for four enormous pillows in order to support their back, knees and belly, as well as their need to change position approprimately forty times throughout the night. Or maybe the husbands fled in self defense- the details are a little sketchy.)

-Baby kicks that go from amazing flutters to karate chops on your internal organs that can make you gasp in pain (and also keep you awake at 2Am every night because your baby has deemed it Aerobics Hour.)

-General loss of dignity by the end due to repeated pelvic exams and public weigh ins.

-The constant worrying, no matter how hard you work to suppress it (again, I HEAR this doesn't affect everyone, but I've so far met only one woman who personally attested to it.)

-Stretch marks, which are totally indiscriminate little suckers and can show up on tiny-bellied women while completely bypassing the giant watermelon tummies. It's all up to fate, and Bio-Oil is just an exercise in delusion.

-Last but not least, birth. I don't care if you get an epidural upon admission to the hospital, there is SOME pain involved in getting a baby out of you, either before or after, and it is simply part of the deal. You can't get something the size of a house cat out of any bodily orifice or man made incision without suffering some residual effects, you know?

Next post I'll do the cool aspects of pregnancy, just to keep things fair and balanced, but today is all about reminding myself that many parts of pregnancy do in fact suck, and not just for me but for every pregnant woman, no matter how blissful she may look on the cover of a magazine. Now, what was YOUR least favorite part of being with child? Or your biggest fear about it, if you haven't done it yet?


Jess said...

YES, thank you, OMG. Let's see, I haven't hit the third trimester yet so I haven't experienced many of the lovely things on this list so far, but the worst part for me has DEFINITELY been the morning sickness. Gag. Now that it's all a distant memory (THANK GOD) it is the CONSTANT PEEING that is driving me UP A WALL OMG CAN I NOT SIT DOWN FOR FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT HAVING TO GO TO THE BATHROOM AGAIN? How is it possible that the need to pee will only INCREASE over the next 18 weeks?

Jess said...

Also, in case the above comment didn't make it quiiiite clear enough: moodiness/irritability. EVERYTHING pisses me off. ESPECIALLY the constant peeing.

LoriD said...

I DID have rather blissful pregnancies, but I hated the extra attention to every detail of my day (what I was eating, where I was sitting, what I was lifting, what I was wearing) often from relative strangers.

d e v a n said...

My least favorite parts:
Morning sickness
Stretch marks
stretched out tummy skin
Pain, in general. ugh.
And, at the end, my mother calling EVERY DAY (often multiple times) to see if I thought today was THE day. *sigh*

Erin said...

Very excellent point about trying to acheive perfection in 2-3 tries at pregnancy. Not possible!

My least fav part FAR AND AWAY is the pregnancy insomnia that I get for the last 3 months. It's brutal. I am not exaggerating at how awful that insomnia is. Week up on endless week of barely sleeping a few minutes, or if it's a rare lucky night, MAYBE a few hours. Awful.

Jana said...

I'd say having to wear a pad for things other than coughing/sneezing/laughing-induced pee was a low point for me. I don't think even one of the pregnancy books I read mentioned the copious amounts of, uh, discharge (for lack of a better word) I'd be facing those last few months. Ridiculous. Sorry for the TMI....

Pigeon said...

Least fave--week 26, every single time, I go from cutely pregnant with reasonable belly to OMG I look like I'm having triplets how much longer do I have to carry this watermelon? Towards the end I would support my underbelly with both hands.

Swistle said...

HA HA! Favorite parts: "...the details are a little sketchy" and "something the size of a house cat."

I think my least favorite parts were:

1) The constant nausea/barfing for the first trimester.

2) The constant worrying.

3) Icky leg feelings.

Michelle said...

I am full on moody. Moody. I had someone tell me today that I lost my sparkle. I thought of punching him. That isn't right.
The morning sickness, the back pain the holy mother of everything good a pure where did this belly come from and what the hell am I going to wear?

Anonymous said...

We welcomed number two just about three months ago. Number one was a scheduled C-section because they pegged him at 11lbs when I was a mere 37w so I didn't go into labor. (He was 10lbs so...) The second was a scheduled section as well. Alas, my baby girl doesn't care for schedules and I went into labor. Only I was completely unprepared for labor, because hello scheduled and everything. I was sleeping in the basement because it was June and hot. My husband was asleep in our bedroom. I laid in the basement writhing with contractions for three full hours before I could get to the phone to call him downstairs. I went from nothing to three minutes apart in less than four hours. Labor is what I hate most about pregnancy. 8-)

Katy said...

You know, I really did try to do everything perfectly with my first pregnancy. And I had a most un-perfect result. If/when I do it again, I'm going to give myself permission to do my best and I'm not going to pressure myself to do more than that just because society wants me to.

CAQuincy said...

How your body just doesn't quite "bounce back" as quickly (or the same EVER) after successive pregnancies.

The kidney stone incident. GAH!

Thinking I have asthma and then realizing that nope! it's just the baby lying apparently horizontally across my diaphram.

Related: heartburn.

Oh! And the hair-shedding three months after birth!

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

*the mother f'ing kidney stones. (Which make me swear like a sailor... as you can see).

*pinched nerves

*dropping part of every meal on my stomach and thus ruining every shirt that remotely fits. And that's only like, 2 by the end... so you're just a stained, watermeloned belly.

*trying to discipline older kids while 9 months pregnant. They like to run away, grinning, because they know you can't catch them.

*THe awful quality of sleep in the last trimester... I swear, I sleep more solidly once the baby comes home.

*The wacked out dreams that make you completely freaked.

*Breach babies that live in your ribcage.

*Food aversions. Food cravings rocks. Food aversions suck toenails.

Melinda said...

I remember almost all of those things LOL
I'm happy that gisele had a great pregnancy and birth, yes we all know she's perfect {insert eye roll smiley}