My teenage life was full contradiction. I loved learning but I hated going to school. I was boy-crazy but also a closeted feminist. I frequented and threw many parties but loved being alone at home doing absolutely nothing. My taste in music was contradictory, too. I rocked out to Garbage and Nirvana, while also genuinely enjoying Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, The Spice Girls, and The Backstreet Boys. I was a typical teenager, lost somewhere between thinking I knew who I was and not having a clue. What I didn't realize, though, is how Britney Spear's songs lowkey prepared me for pregnancy, partly because I was legitimately terrified of getting pregnant in high school and partly because I wasn't at all baby crazy. Like, I didn't even know if I wanted to have kids, ever.
Britney Spears came into the pop culture scene when I was 16, also known as: the perfect age. Sixteen is the sweet spot of teenage life. I mean, you're not technically an adult, but you feel completely grown up and powerful and indestructible. When Britney appeared on my television screen — with braided pig tails, a school-girl uniform, and a look of innocence yet spice — I knew she was the girl for me. Her overt yet somewhat clandestine sexuality spoke to my core and elicited my inner voice. While some berated Britney for being way too sexualized, I celebrated her ability to show girls they were allowed to be open about their inner feelings and emotions.
I own all of Spears' records, in the now apparently antiquated CD format. Britney was and still is my soundtrack when I'm doing some ridiculously boring household chore (read: laundry) and I need something to motivate me. I fold the baby clothes and put away the 50 pairs of socks (how do these kids have so many socks?) and sing along and aloud the lyrics to every single one of her songs. Those lyrics are forever ingrained and protected in my mind. And as with most things in life, my brain is able to interpret these lyrics on a whole new level now that I've gained more experience. I'm sure Britney didn't intend to prepare me for my pregnancy and I never really thought she did, but on some lowkey level she totally did you guys.
This was the song that clearly spoke to me when I was pregnant with my second. It took me five years to gather the courage to have another child, as my firstborn was an extremely difficult newborn, infant, toddler, and pre-schooler. When I did get pregnant the second time around I was as ready as I would ever be, but I still couldn't help but think: "Oops! I did it again."
"Oh, baby, baby."
This might be an obvious one because well, don't most new moms feel this way? When I found out I was pregnant, and after the initial shock subsided, I was all like, "But, um, I'm only a kid." The funny thing, though, was that I wasn't a kid. I was a married woman with a job and my own place. Still, those "wait, I'm way too young for any of this" feelings don't quite ever go away. Not for me, at least.
"I'm not a girl/Not yet a woman/All I need is time/A moment that is mine."
At the tender age of 35, I think I'm finally feeling like a woman. I am a mother of two, after all.
You guys, I know what this song is really about, but let's look at some of these lyrics, shall we?
"I took a sip From my devil's cup..." This is definitely about sex. And sex is what sometimes makes babies. So, I definitely took a sip, or two.
"Slowly, it's taking over me..." That would be the nausea.
"Too high... can't come down..." That would also be the nausea.
"It's in the air and it's all around..." All the smells that made me sick. They were all toxic. As was all the food.
Before 18 weeks, I didn't really connect to the many cells actively developing to create a human life in my uterus. I was mostly unattached to the fetus and was also extremely sick during the first trimester. However, when I went for my anatomy ultrasound, at around 20 weeks, and when the ultrasound technician showed me the legs, arms, spine, head, fingers, and toes, I realized I was now a slave for this baby.
"What's practical is logical, what the hell, who cares? I'm a slave for you, I won't deny it, I'm not trying to hide it."
I'm still a slave for my kids, too.
Well, the pregnancy hormones sure made me feel slightly insane sometimes. I read an article about global warming and how polar bears are dying because the ice melts before they can get to their destination and they can't swim that far and, you guys, I was crying for a week straight. I couldn't stop. Britney just knew how crazy a pregnancy can be and she described it so perfectly in these lyrics:
"You drive me crazy/I just can't sleep/I'm so excited, I'm in too deep/Oh crazy, But it feels alright/Baby, thinkin' of you keeps me up all night."
Can't sleep? Check. Crazy but feels right? Check. Thinking of you all night? Check.
While "Overprotected" was arguably Britney's cry for help and some semblance of freedom, overprotected is how I felt when I was pregnant. Don't eat this. Don't drink that. Don't do this or that. Be careful. Be mindful. You're carrying a child, watch your step. Britney, girl, overprotected is pregnancy.
"I'll tell them what I like, what I want, what I don't/But every time I do I stand corrected/I realize I'm overprotected."
Preach it, girl.
"Gimme, Gimme more
Gimme, Gimme, More
Gimme, Gimme more..."
Um, guys. She's clearly talking about food.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.