Posts Tagged ‘ pregnancy etiquette ’

Letting it All Hang Out

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

My pregnant gut is not the only thing hanging out these days. I’ve recently realized when it comes to my relationship, maybe too much of my personal business, or bidnass as they say, is on display.

I must confess, I’ve been a little lackadaisical in keeping that air of mystery alive in the ol’ marriage. My corazon breaks for my husband. He’s a great one, so he’s said nary a word about it, but as I stared at my salves (read: hemorrhoid cream, suppositories, Monistat 7) littering the bathroom, I felt a twinge of guilt.

I firmly believe in not going to the bathroom or breaking wind in front of my spouse, but I feel a hypocrite espousing these points when one glance at the bathroom lets my husband know something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The thing is, pregnancy makes a lot of things hang out. It requires a lady to have conversations she thought she’d never have, getting down to the nitty gritty with one’s spouse: the cervix, the engorgement, the milk ducts…need I go on?

Like I said, the Rands is a solid. He doesn’t bat an eye when I pee my pants and regularly asks about my fiber intake to ensure bathroom success. Heck, I know he’d make me a “dry days” chart just like when we potty trained our toddler if I requested it. He shies away from no conversation and listens to my ailments. I appreciate this tremendously.

Just because I scored in the marital department however, doesn’t mean I have free reign to be that girl who lets pregnancy get the best of her and especially her marriage. I’m calling myself out. It’s time to clean up my act and my creams.

Sure there are days when I just am that pregnant girl. The one who is slowly but surely turning into the hunchback of Notre Dame to compensate for the burgeoning bump, the one wiping tear stains off her phone because the ol’ hormones struck again and I had to talk it out, the one who decides it’s best to bring up any and every feeling I’ve ever had after 11pm, or the one who can’t fathom um, er, physical activity…of any kind, past 8pm. Oh that pregnant girl. Bless my husband’s heart for loving her so.

But to be honest, I’m feeling a bit sheepish at the realization that I’ve let myself go a bit, in the wife department. Marriage is about mystery at times. Surprise. Knowing when to shut one’s pie hole. The Rands has proven he understands pregnancy ain’t easy. He’s no stranger. He’s mostly a saint. And sure, pregnancy can be rough on a lady, but them significant others, they have some rough days as well.

I know my husband regularly looks past my strict sweat pants after 7pm policy, the crumbs settled in for the long haul on my protruding belly, and my annoying habit of  mooching all of his food.  We both look past things at any given time in marriage, but I don’t want him to always need to look past the little things, which make up the big things. I don’t want him to feel unappreciated. His understanding, his kindness, especially during pregnancy, makes me want to try a little harder.

Pregnancy and kids change marriage. It requires some readjusting, some forgiveness, and a lot of laughter. I believe in the importance of honesty and sharing in marriage. But I also believe in holding certain cards close to your chest to keep it interesting and less like roomies and more like, “hello lover.” So I stand here today, ready to reform my careless ways and not let the state of my lady bits be on display at any given moment. May the force be with me.

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Step Into My Locker Room

Monday, November 12th, 2012

27 weeks/6 months

“You don’t even look pregnant!” she said to me as I awkwardly mumbled an over-share reply along the lines of, “Oh yeah, I am. My hemorrhoids are raging, and the baby sits on my bladder so I pee every 47 seconds.”

Doh! Not my finest response, but I just never know what to say when people tell me I don’t look pregnant. I suppose it’s a compliment? Really though, it makes me feel a teeny bit, okay maybe a lot a bit inadequate.

In my twenty-seven years of being a lady, I thought women didn’t compare sizes of any particular body part like men. Sure, I might notice a woman’s bosoms, but there is no locker room runway show of the business to prove bigger is better. At least that’s what I thought…until pregnancy. During the nine month grow sesh, belly size is a main topic of conversation.

Size doesn’t matter they say, but really, when it comes to pregnant bellies, it does. Judging a pregnant woman’s belly size is akin to judging a man’s family jewels. Just like the frank and beans has become a sign of manliness, for mothers, the belly is the ultimate symbol of womanhood.

When it comes to belly size, my genetics make me “a grower, not a shower.” Yes, I realize this crass euphemism really refers to a man’s solider, but let me try to explain. And please, for the love, don’t urbandictionary.com that saying. Especially you, mom.

A “shower” for men refers to one who doesn’t have much size difference depending on the different um, states of his one-eyed snake. In relation to pregnancy then, this is the lady who looks pregnant pretty much since the day she thought about getting pregnant. She shows early, grows early, and pretty much glows early. She is my envy. She’s got that adorable basketball belly that the people can’t help but love and rub.

On the other hand, a “grower,” a bit more obvious, refers to a man’s schnitzel that really grows when the troops have reason to raise the flag. Being a “grower” in pregnancy means for the first couple of trimesters one’s belly may not be much to look at (we’re not talking about shrinkage here), but give your “mama nine months to make ya” and that belly will make other women feel like mere girls in comparison.

Being a “grower” though makes me long for a little early belly action, for just one stranger to inappropriately rub my tummy because it’s so darn cute. I want people to let my ample belly cut in lines and not give me dirty stares when I use the “expectant mother” parking. I want those pregnancy perks before month nine.

Alas, with pregnancy, women are constantly sizing up each others bellies. The funny part is though, just like with dem manly parts, belly size is pretty much genetic. The pregnant belly is a fascinating member of the body part family. It can stretch beyond the imagination as with Nadya Suleman or Kate Gosselin. Or as TLC’s show “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” tells us, people can carry babies full term and not even know they’re pregnant. The magnificent pregnant belly boggles the mind with its variety.

I never got the manly wiener comparisons before pregnancy, but now I get why feelings are hurt and moods are ruined if the pied piper is insulted. It hurts a little to think one is less of woman based on uncontrollable genetics. One can’t help it if their belly comes with its own zip code from the day of conception, or alternately, if their child prefers a good game of hide in seek in the womb.

Pregnant ladies should not compare. We all need to get off each others backs bellies. Or at least let all bellies, big or small, have their moment on the locker room catwalk.

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Say What?!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

23 weeks/5 months

There is something about the pregnant belly that causes people to lose their filter. As a pretty filter-less person myself, I still manage to pick my cartoon jaw up off the floor every now and again at people’s rudeness commentary.

Most queries are harmless: When are you due? What are you having? What are you naming her?

Other comments, they hurt a pregnant lady right down to her heartburn induced core. As my burgeoning belly is a little slower to show, (all’s fair in love and pregnancy and it will be nice and massive by the end), I, along with a little help from my pregnant friends, recorded a few inappropriate, yet true “observations” many women endure during pregnancy.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I submit as evidence an airtight case of things never to say to a pregnant lady:

  • “You have HOW many weeks left??”
  • “You just look miserable.”
  • “Wow, you could fit two basketballs in there!”
  • “Was that an accident?” (mother of 5)
  • “I hope you’re done now.” (mother of 5)
  • “Are you allowed to drive? Can you even fit behind the steering wheel?”
  • “I don’t know much about having babies, but you are BIG.”
  • “Are you sure there’s only one in there? You look like you must be having twins.”
  • “I thought you couldn’t possibly get any bigger, but you sure did.”
  • With 8 weeks left to go, “WOW, someone’s ready to POP!” or “Any day now.”
  • “You must be having a boy because your nose is so wide…. how much wider would you say it’s gotten?”
  • “Oh you’re pregnant? I just thought you were getting fat.”

People, there are a finite number of appropriate things to say to a pregnant lady. Ever. Commenting on belly size is rarely a good idea. Especially if you’re going to be using the descriptors: uncomfortable, big, huge, massive, enormous, whale, or “large and in charge.”

Whether the pregnant lady you’re “wishing well” is leo-the-late-bloomer and looks like she’s rocking a serious beer belly for the first six months, or she looks six months pregnant the day after conception, it’s not really polite or helpful to point out the obvious regarding a sensitive topic.

Instead of making a lady feel pregnant-er than she already does, please remember any sort of comments made to her should inspire confidence and honor at what the human body can do. Okay, and flattery. Ain’t nothing wrong with stroking a pregnant lady’s ego. I highly recommend the following forms of pregnant flattery, especially if you see me in the next 17 weeks.

  • You look beautiful/stunning/gorgeous (heck, I’d even take your unbelievable use of the word “hot”)
  • You are so tiny (or any synonym for tiny)
  • You’re all belly
  • I can’t believe you’re that far along. I would have never guessed.
  • Bless you my good woman

Or a cat call would suffice.

Image: Baby bump via Blaj Gabriel/Shutterstock

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