1. You're guaranteed to stop traffic whenever you cross the street.
2. People look at your stomach and can't help smiling, as if the mere thought of your being pregnant has actually made their day a little bit brighter.
3. You can eat a whole pint of chocolate-chunk ice cream and not feel guilty. Every night.
4. You can -- no, you must! --take naps. Lots of them.
5. Getting to name another human being.
6. Watching your husband turn into a father when he kisses your belly good night, reads to the baby in utero, or stays up until 3:00 a.m. putting the crib together -- just in case the baby decides to come eight weeks early.
7. Sex: For once in your life, you're neither worried about getting pregnant nor trying to get pregnant. You can have sex just for the pure fun of it.
8. Buying a bathing suit. It's not about hiding your flaws; it's about flaunting your belly.
9. Those wild, intense, amazing pregnancy dreams in which every remote person from your past makes some sort of appearance. None of these dreams can even begin to be analyzed or understood.
10. The amazing anticipation. It's like all your previous birthdays and holidays rolled into one.
11. Imagining the possibilities.
12. More personal space! And you have no qualms about claiming it.
13. You eat healthier, drink more water, and carefully read ingredient labels. Suddenly, it matters more to you what you put in your body.
14. In the middle of a boring meeting at work or a meaningless argument, you feel your baby squirming inside you and the sensation takes you away. It's your own secret communication.
15. Getting to hear the swish swish swish of your baby's heartbeat on the Doppler.
16. Playing "Guess the part sticking out," usually at bedtime, when your baby starts moving furniture around or whatever it is he does in there.
17. The extra attention you get from everyone -- your husband gives you more foot rubs, and your friends call to check in more often. Neighbors offer to help; coworkers volunteer to get lunch for you; little presents (a bottle of water, an afternoon snack) mysteriously show up on your desk.
18. The pregnancy beauty package: thick, silky hair; long, strong nails; beautiful skin; big boobs.
19. Getting to skip to the front of the line in public rest rooms.
20. Shopping for a person you haven't met yet: tiny clothes, all-new furniture, and adorable room decorations.
21. Dreaming about the first time someone calls you "Mommy" and the first time you hear someone call your husband "Daddy."
22. Baby showers! They remind you how special your friends and family think you are.
23. A continuous sense of accomplishment. You can answer "What did you do today?" with cool things like "I made ears" or simply "I'm making a person. What did you do?"
24. Spending immeasurable amounts of time trying to remember all those nursery rhymes, children's songs, and lullabies.
25. Knowing that all the bad stuff -- the heartburn, swollen ankles, backaches, and the rest -- doesn't last forever. And that in the end, it's all worth it.
Copyright © 2001 Heather Moors Johnson. Reprinted with permission from the July 2001 issue of Parents magazine.