Between two children, I have been pregnant in every season. My bump has greeted gentle spring showers, reveled in the brisk autumn wind, sweltered, pleading for release in the hottest summer I've ever had the displeasure of suffering through, and hated the world through two winters. Yes, winter is perhaps my least favorite season to be pregnant in (at the very least it's tied with summer), and I got to do that one twice. Winter pregnancy is awful, especially "dead-of-winter" pregnancy a.k.a. February. There are countless reasons why being pregnant in February is actually the worst, but I'll limit myself to 13, because if I don't we'll be here all day.
While the name "February" comes from "Februa," the early Roman purification festival, it's contemporary meaning is closer to "you and your pedantic friend will spend a bitter, snowbound afternoon one day arguing about whether it's pronounced Feb-you-ary or Fe-brew-ary, that's how awful this ridiculous month is" (#TeamFeBrewAry #JustLikeItsSpelled). By February 1, the winter chill has moved from invigorating to dreadful, we're sort of over the whole frost-on-our-windshield thing, and excitement about winter fashions isn't enough to keep us in the pro-winter spirit. Even though March can still be bitter and snowy and rough (at least where I live, in the Northeast), it still usually blesses us with a couple days that carry with them the promise of spring. February is all "F*ck you guys! Have some more snow! Winter is HERE, b*tches! Mwa ha ha ha ha! You're mine! My reign shall last 1,000 years!" And, because we are shrouded in cold and darkness, we believe February and fall into despair.
And these are just the things that normally make February sucktastic. Pregnancy brings a whole new level of suckitude. For example...
I'll give the warm-weather mamas a few moments to smile smugly and go on about how, "65 degrees is considered freezing down here! We could never live anywhere else. I don't know how y'all handle the snow and ice."
OK. Are you done? Great.
Stop now and recognize that the cold weather people just universally loathe you all in the winter. (I kid, I kid: get over here, you. We love ya. We're just a little surly because we're jealous sometimes.)
But for those of us who live in places with actual seasons, ice is the bane of pregnant women everywhere. It's annoying under normal circumstances, but when you're extra-uncoordinated and know that slipping could (though probably won't) hurt your baby, it can be a source of tremendous anxiety... As it was for me, every day on the streets of New York, in the snowiest winter the city had seen in 15 years.
Have you ever tried to button a coat over a pregnant belly? It doesn't go so well, especially if you are a fan of tailored coats, like I am. I honest to goodness lost all but one button on all of my winter coats. Being lazy and inept at all things domestic, I have yet to sew any of those buttons back on, and have therefore been sporting the one coat I have with a zipper for, like, two years now. It's not a fact I'm especially proud of, but I like to keep it real for you guys.
The other thing about coats is that they are bulky, especially when worn with other layers and scarves and stuff. This in and of itself, while sometimes a little cumbersome, is not awful. But when you're attempting to take public transportation, it's difficult for people to tell if you are, in fact, pregnant. So you don't always get a seat, and if there's one thing a pregnant woman loves it's a d*mn seat on a packed N train.
Being pregnant in the summer comes with its own set of issues, but one perk is that a lot of non-maternity clothes will serve just fine in the summer, because they're all loose and flowy. In the winter, however, over-sized sundresses aren't going to cut it. If you're anything like me, you're going to have to pick up a few items to get you through the cold weather. Sweaters long enough to cover your belly, actual maternity pants, it's a whole big thing, and it's annoying AF.
For any number of reasons, all completely valid. Maybe pregnancy is killing your sex drive. Perhaps chocolates make you gag these days (you poor thing). Champagne is probably out, and a lot of champagne is definitely out. You are very likely too tired when you get home at night to attempt to get gussied up and head out for the evening. Do they even make maternity lingerie? (I mean, of course they do, but whether you want to shimmy into it is between you and your bump.) Point is, Valentine's Day is already kind of a weird holiday, and all those pregnancy hormones and physical and dietary limitations make it all the more irritating.
Again, blame hormones for the fact that your're sweating two minutes before you're shivering. The multiple layers of clothing winter often requires, coupled with highly variable indoor temperatures and bitter cold outdoor temperatures just adds more confusion to what is already a personally annoying daily struggle.
Imagine a cold winter's night, the wind howling outside your window, the tips of branches tapping your window panes. There you lie, in the dark, cuddled in a nest of warm blankets and soft pillows. Then it happens: you have to pee. You have to leave the happiest, warmest place in your home to trek through your freezing bedroom and tundra-esque hallway to urinate. Again. Schlepping out of snuggly bed under normal circumstances is annoying, but when your house is approximately seven degrees and you have to do this about 9 times in 8 hours, it's especially terrible.
Super Bowls mean absolutely nothing to me outside of the context of the delicious assortment of carby, fatty foods Super Bowl parties make available to me. Now, this array of artery-clogging deliciousness could go one of a couple ways, depending on your trimester and the kind of pregnancy you are having. For some women, pregnant at a Super Bowl party is a blessing: they can and will eat everything in sight with neither hesitation nor shame. But for those of us who were nauseous for most of our gestation periods, these scrumptious and aromatic foods serve only to remind us that everything makes us barf.
Insane levels of drinking, binge eating, and partying until it's time to go to Ash Wednesday mass are just not in the cards this year. So, basically, Mardi Gras is not in the cards this year. Hopefully you can find comfort in eating an entire King Cake by yourself. That's a surefire way to get the piece with the baby.
Because puppies are so cute, you guys. So very, very cute. That alone could make you cry, but with all those pregnancy hormones coursing through your veins and endocrine system, you're not only going to be appreciating little baby doggies with your tears. You're going to be projecting dreams for your own little one onto those adorable puppehs, and thinking about how cute your baby is going to be, and how excited and scared you are at once. Basically, the Puppy Bowl is going to turn into this whole confusing and nonsensical metaphor for motherhood, and your friends and loved ones are going to stand around you, aghast, not knowing how to deal with your emotional episode.
Black History month initiatives are already uplifting, heartbreaking, and inspiring. Seriously, I'm not pregnant and this gif of Shirley Chisholm is making me tear up. But an impending baby will make everything all the more emotional. Indeed, your unborn child will:
a) make you more susceptible to very. big. feels.;
b) encourage you to think a lot about legacy;
c) prompt you to consider the challenges Black children face that other children do not;
d) ponder how far we still have to go to achieve the kind of world we want our children to inherit.
Anyone? Anyone? I'm certainly not inclined to volunteer as tribute in my waddling state.
Never mind being pregnant in February for a second: being in February at all sucks. It's cold. It's equal parts snowy and rainy, it's dark super-early, and we take our weather advice from a rodent. There's very little good about this dreary month, and in some ways it's a lot like pregnancy itself: it feels like it lasts forever, but in the grand scheme of things it's actually pretty short. So chin up, It'll be over soon.