Ten best and worst things about being pregnant

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It’s been almost two years since my pregnancy, and while much of that time is lost in my web of maternal memory (see #3 in the “worst” list below), I still marvel over how I was able to get through those nine months in one piece (well, two pieces, really). Here is a recap of what you have to look forward to while you are a mommy-to-be.

The Ten Worst Things About Being Pregnant

Virginia at four months pregnant (Photo provided by Virginia Petrucci)
Virginia at four months pregnant
(Photo provided by Virginia Petrucci)

1. Morning sickness. All of that gastronomical indulgence mentioned above will wreck havoc on your body. Prepare to projectile vomit in a Denny’s bathroom after eating a depraved amount of scrambled eggs and sausage.
2. Mood swings. Holy hell, the mood swings. Prepare to become the biggest wuss of all time: you’re going to cry when you see an errant salamander, sob when Netflix screws up the order of the movies in your queue, and generally mope around about nothing/everything. You are also going to be vehemently enraged at the smallest annoyances of your friends and family (and especially your partners). And whatever you would normally do to take the edge off is certainly out of the question for the next nine months …
3. You can’t drink. Or consume your usual daily caffeine intake. Or go on rollercoaster rides. Or do anything fun that you used to take for granted. And the worst part? You might not be doing any of these fun things ever again. Coffee will become a necessary staple in your daily life, rather than something to be enjoyed during a leisurely catch-up with your best friend. Drinking will involve pumping and dumping, if you breastfeed, and chances are you’ll be far too exhausted to even think about all of those unopened congratulatory champagne bottles anyway.
4. Advice. Almost everyone, not matter how misinformed, will relay “helpful” tidbits that they heard or read somewhere regarding pregnancy. Determining the sex of the baby based on the shape of your belly is an old favorite. Even experienced mothers or otherwise respectable family members are wont to dish out advice that is far from helpful. Now, some of it may be worth listening to, but most of it is annoying and unwelcomed. The only people with any authority over a woman’s pregnancy are her doctor and of course the woman herself. Finally, and most importantly, don’t ever let a man try to tell you what’s what about pregnancy or going into labor.
5. Loss of memory. Try, if you can, not to engage in tasks or situations that require much effort on the memory front. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stared blankly at people who I allegedly met when pregnant. The good news? Your cognitive functioning will return to normal … eventually.
6. You have to pee. All the time. This doesn’t really kick in until the third trimester. But be prepared to take bathroom breaks every twenty minutes or so. Your sleep will be horribly compromised, which brings us to number seven …
7. Fatigue. Even during the second month of my pregnancy, I found it unbearable to do anything but sleep, nap, lie down, and whine when I wasn’t doing any of those things. When you think about how much energy your body is investing in growing an entirely new body, it shouldn’t be that surprising that you can’t walk more than two blocks without wanting to call it quits.
8. Maternity clothes. EW. Do yourself a favor and shop around for everyday, loose clothing that will flatter you while keeping you comfortable.
9. Stretch marks. Stock up on cocoa butter and hope for the best. Doing yoga is rumored to help, as is keeping your weight within the healthy range suggested by your doctor.
10. Swollen feet. For whatever reason, this didn’t happen to me. Or maybe it did … like I said, my memory is forever shot by those not too distant nine months.

The Ten Best Things About Being Pregnant

Virginia six months pregnant (Photo by Rebekah W. in Sunnyvale)
Virginia six months pregnant
(Photo by Rebekah W. in Sunnyvale)

1. You get to eat whatever you want. Milkshakes, bacon, Lucky Charms, pizza, steak, French fries, baked potatoes, squid, whatever floats your boat is fair game, and those around you have no business arguing with you.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should eat whatever you want. Eating a ham and cheese melt in bed at two a.m. may sound amazing, but it’s also kind of gross. Force yourself to eat your greens whenever you can bear it (if you mix some kale in with your mac and cheese, I think this counts as “salad”).
2. You aren’t responsible for anything you say or do. Okay, yes you are, when it comes to things like car accidents or petty theft. But your friends and family are at your hormonal mercy, which means that any seemingly irrational behavior will be politely tolerated. Do not abuse this power … too much.
3. You are supposed to gain weight. I know, right? It’s definitely a good idea to get light exercise (with your doctor’s permission) and make sure you don’t gain more than forty or fifty pounds, depending on your natural physique. If you feel miserable in your own stretching skin, don’t fret: a good fifteen or twenty pounds of that weight is accounted for by your baby and all of the resulting fluid. You will be pleasantly surprised when you step on the scale for the first time after childbirth.
4. Immediate chivalry from everyone you meet. No matter how pretty or charming you already are, prepare to be pampered and coddled by absolutely everyone. People will let you skip ahead in lines at the bathroom, and more importantly, at the bakery. Everyone will hold doors for you, and strangers will insist upon helping you carry even the lightest of loads. The downside of this is that by the time you are responsible for carrying around a large, screaming weight, you will be so spoiled that your arms will be burning around the clock.
5. Nesting. Otherwise known as decorating, nesting is the most comforting thing you will do while pregnant. You get to paint your baby’s room, buy cool furniture and stock up on adorable stuffed animals, books, and blankets.
6. Boy or Girl? Even if you decide not to open the envelope declaring your baby’s sex, knowing that your child has reached this stage of development solidifies his/her personage. If you do find out, then you can start getting excited about expensive, gender-specific outfits.

7. Kicking. Around five or six months, I felt the first flutter of my baby. You will feel kicking, jerking, and hiccupping (my personal favorite). Sometimes your baby will stretch out his or her arms or legs, and your ribs will have to bear the weight. But this really won’t be much of a bother since the movement is the first perceptible evidence that there really is a living person inside of you.
8. Announcing your news. Telling your loved ones that you are expecting is a pretty amazing thing. Your child-less friends will be envious and people you haven’t heard from in years will be stalking your Facebook page for updates and photos.
9. Baby shower. Prepare for even more attention and love. Be sure to make a registry of items that you will actually need, such as diapers, wipes, burp clothes, bottles, pacifiers, and that divine entity known as a Diaper Genie.
10. You are growing your very own human being. This is the absolute coolest. When you think about what is really going on inside your body during pregnancy, it is impossible not to be moved to tears of joy as you envision your offspring developing from genetic whatnot, to fishy mystery, to sleeping cherub. Enjoy the process.