Pregnancy 101

This is an accelerated course for the advanced student.  Pay close attention and take notes, there will be a test at the end of this lesson.

Pregnancy 101: A few lessons this Mommy Friend has learned along the way

1.      Prior to conception, get your health in order.  Make sure your Rubella vaccination is up to date and start taking prenatal vitamins as you try to conceive (TTC).  It is also a good idea to start charting your menstrual cycle dear Mommy Friend to give you better insight into your most fertile days. 

2.      As excited as you are to tell people you are TTC, try your best to stay mum.  If you tell everyone you are trying, they will inevitably ask about your progress every time you meet and if things are taking a little longer than expected, this will undoubtedly become a sensitive subject for you.

3.       Research, research, research everything you can on your company’s maternity leave policy, all things pregnancy, childbirth and your partner’s medical history.  It is also valuable to read pregnancy diaries and birth stories online but only if they manage to ease your anxiety.  An informed decision is the best decision and you will quickly be able to discern fact from fiction, necessity and frivolousness once you have educated yourself from reputable resources dear Mommy Friend. 

4.       Your partner’s reaction to your pregnancy will convince you that he is possessed (see link).  My husband, “Big Daddy P” learned I was expecting, he immediately started repeating in a “Rain Man” monotone, “This is a good thing, this is a good thing”.  It felt as if he was trying to convince himself and mask his real reaction which I discovered about an hour later.  The delayed reaction was his trying to plan out the next 10 years of our marriage involving everything from our careers to where we will live to where our little embryo would be going to school.  Just let him go on and on to talk himself through this process.  You know as well as me, dear Mommy Friend that half of the plans we make in life never come to fruition.  That said, if your partner decides you need to move to Alaska to live in his mother’s back house so your child can be home schooled by his nun sister just smile and nod because he will eventually come to his senses…you will make sure of it.

5.       Accept that your body is no longer your own.  Your physical changes are just the beginning.  Your unborn child will indeed inhabit your body and make it his/her own with or without your blessing.  Your friends, family and a few unwelcome strangers will touch (or attempt to touch) your belly without your permission so get used to it.  Your doctor will soon know more about your body inside and out than you ever thought possible and often by intrusive means.  Your body may be a temple, but for the next 40 or so weeks of pregnancy, temple admission is free.

6.       Men think they know everything.  Seriously, men should be the last people to tell you anything about childbirth unless they are a licensed OB/GYN.  For some reason, men possess a lot of “useful” information because their wife or sister has had a baby, or because they themselves were babies once, I dunno.  Ignore these seemingly well-informed men, they mean well.  They just only seem to remember the gruesome details and can never seem to answer any of the specific questions an educated Mommy Friend asks of them.

7.       Beware of the martyr. 

Your will encounter moms who:

a.       Supposedly only looked 4 months pregnant when they were ready to deliver.  They will tell you strangers used to comment in disbelief at how svelte they looked at 9 months.  These same women allegedly fit into their pre-pregnancy low-rise True Religions the day they were released from the hospital.

b.      Didn’t require pain meds even though their labor lasts 42 hours.

c.       Did not gain a bunch of weight, have cravings, or experience nausea/hemorrhoids/stretch marks/yeast infections/leg cramps/etc.  Not every woman experiences every symptom and discomfort but you will encounter women who swear they managed to experience pregnancy without even one physical pitfall, liars!

8.       You will outgrow maternity clothes.  What the hell?!  I was shocked and appalled to discover this ugly truth.  The day you buy your first pair of maternity jeans you will swear that they are the most ginormous things you have ever seen and cannot even fathom the day your belly will actually fill the panel designed to nestle your dainty belly.  The good news is you won’t outgrow all your clothes, just a few.  In my case, bottoms.

9.       Get used to answering the same series of questions over and over and over again.

May I suggest a sandwich board that says:

a)      I am feeling XXX

b)      I am XXX months along

c)       It is a boy/girl/surprise

d)      His/Her name is XXX

e)      He/She is due XXX

f)       Yes, my partner is excited (the nerve!)

10.   Relinquish control and discover faith.  As a Type A Mommy friend, I have always believed that I was happy with my life because I was in control of it.  The earth would cease to revolve if I willed it so (control freak much?).  Pregnancy taught me that I had very little control over the development of that gorgeous baby inside me.  Short of maintain and a healthy lifestyle, I had to have faith that with divine intervention, my body would be able to create this perfect human being.

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