If you're anything like me, you know that pregnancy can be an uncomfortable time, filled with strange and sometimes painful symptoms, highly worthy of special consideration by loved ones and strangers alike. But let's be honest: In addition to getting a baby out of the whole deal, being pregnant can also come with some fun side perks. Here are a few of the things you can only get away with during pregnancy... so take some time out to enjoy the indulgences and special treatment!
Let's just start with the obvious and get it out of the way. When I was expecting my twins, I was hungry a lot—and with good reason, of course. I was growing two more humans inside my body! Technically, of course, the "eating for three" (or even eating for two) mentality is a fallacy; in reality, a pregnant mama is only supposed to eat incrementally more calories in order to nourish her baby (or babies). But on many days, I was happy to throw guidelines to the wind in the name of unbridled indulgence—because this would be the one and only time in life I'd allow myself to do it guiltlessly! My go-to breakfast at our typical Sunday brunch spot included eggs, potatoes, vegetarian sausage, an enormous pancake... and a biscuit with butter. I was hardly ashamed to gobble such a feast in public with that very visible bump on view to explain it all!
For me, and for many women, being pregnant means having to pee every 10 minutes. That's the bad news. The good news is bathroom lines tend to part like the Red Sea for expecting mamas. Pregnancy is one of the only times in our lives when people take pity on our gotta-go moments and let us skip the queues. (The other comes a few years later, when you have a small toddler dancing around on one foot, madly holding his or her privates!) And that seems only fair.
I'm a sensitive gal, and I'm no stranger to tears. For instance, there's a diamond jewelry commercial that gets me misty-eyed every year at holiday time, even though I know I'm being emotionally manipulated. Well, in pregnancy, such trigger-happy tears are widely understood and forgiven... by partners, friends, and even strangers alike. If you're obviously pregnant and start crying in the aisle at Target when you pick up a swaddle because the baby on the packaging is so devastatingly cute, other folks nearby are likely to simply smile to themselves and give you a quiet, knowing pass for your hormone-fueled waterworks. Try that when you're not pregnant and they'll probably just give you a wide berth and a raised eyebrow.
An otherwise able-bodied person is generally expected to walk around in the world unassisted. But when I hit the 32-week mark in my twin pregnancy, walking farther than my own bathroom was pretty much out of the question. On one weekend trip to a big-box store around this point in pregnancy, I hopped in the motorized cart provided by the retailer as a way to help get around. (That's me in the silly pic above on that very day!) This started out as a joke, with my husband and I giggling as I scooted around the aisles. But I soon thereafter realized it was the only way if I wanted to remain out in the world grocery shopping and preparing for babies. One time I even got stuck in a narrow aisle—and beeped hopelessly while trying to back up out of the tight squeeze. Mortifying? Yes. Acceptable during pregnancy? Also yes.
And my physical limitations didn't just stop at walking. In fact, because of my size, I really struggled to even roll over in bed; my husband had to wake up at night to help me with that, working gingerly as if twisting a rotisserie chicken. And reaching my much-needed Tums from the medicine cabinet? Even that sometimes felt like a Herculean struggle late in my third trimester. Sometimes, even the most basic movements can become super challenging in pregnancy, and asking for help is completely okay!
As children, we're encouraged—even required—to nap during daylight hours. As adults, it's not so much a thing. I generally hold myself to a high productivity standard, almost obsessively so, and even though I work remotely in my home office, I'd never consider slacking off in the middle of the day. Never, that is, except when I was expecting my twins. In my third trimester, taking not one but two midday naps was essential just to fuel the wakeful hours!
When you're expecting, strangers—those who do the courteous thing, anyway—give up chairs in public environments in deference to pregnant women. And rightly so: It can get really challenging and uncomfortable to stand for any length of time during pregnancy. But pregnancy can also a nice break from the social norm of having to stand for long periods of time. Early in my pregnancy when I was still plenty comfortable but showing noticeably, I found myself at a work-related event waiting in a long, disorganized line to get inside, under a tent on a rainy night. Everyone was annoyed. Everyone was over it. But I was the only one who got the single available chair... and I didn't feel a bit bad about it either!
Pregnant women are generally advised to limit work with certain household chemical cleaning agents—and it can be tough or even dangerous to bend and stretch too aggressively anyway. So pregnancy is a time many women get relief from household chores thanks to other family members chipping in. Changing the cat litter is probably the single grossest and least desirable chore in our home. But this is something I'd done solo for years; that seemed fair since my husband became a cat parent only by marriage, reluctantly at first. Well, this is something pregnant women are told to avoid due to the risk of toxoplasmosis. So my husband took over the chore. And the coolest part? He still owns the responsibility although our twins are now 15 months old!