When I was pregnant everything was an occasion. In fact, I’d constantly think things like, “This is the last February I’ll live through before I’m a mom.” Even tiny things were big deals when I was pregnant, like me wondering if someone was holding the door for me because I was a woman, or a pregnant woman.
Pregnancy was definitely a time for introspection. I spent most of those nine months alternating between a fantasizing of our future ideal family (stain-free clothes! No childcare snags!), and being seized by panic that deciding to have kids may have been our worst idea ever. I overthought almost everything. I researched and planned and plotted and did everything in my power to try to become the best mother in the world, ignorant that I was setting myself up to fail. By getting caught in the weeds on all the tiny details of my future baby’s life, I was missing the big picture. The top-rated car seat wasn’t going to make us the happiest version of ourselves. I needed to put my Consumer Reports away, and just focus on the big things: how to make sure my baby would feel loved and confident, and how to manage the ebb and flow of emotions that come with the drastic change of welcoming a new person into my home.
With pregnancy, everyone knows what the big stuff is that you worry about: amusement parks, giving up certain foods, and trying to make it at least appear that you’re not wearing the same pair of stretchy pants five days in a row. But here are some little things that might become big deals when you’re pregnant:
Getting Out Of Bed
Oh the irony of having to get out of bed more frequently to use the bathroom as my pregnancy progressed, as it simultaneously got harder to leave the bed due to my unwieldy belly. I tried to limit my liquid intake before bed, to no avail. I got myself a step stool to help ease myself to the floor, but that just led to a lot of fumbling and cursing in the dark. If I could have stomached the idea of a bedpan in those last few weeks of pregnancy, I might have considered it.
The thing about being pregnant and not showing yet is that nobody on the subway offers you a seat. Even when I was hugely pregnant — literally, the day before I gave birth — I stood on my entire commute home because nobody on that train was a decent human being. I can see how giving up your seat might backfire, though; a woman older than me signaled for me to take her spot, and I wasn’t even pregnant at the time. I never wore an empire-waist dress again.
Buttoning Your Pants
Around my 15th week, I could no longer button my regular pants, but I wasn’t yet able to fill out maternity jeans. It was an awkward time, with me dressing in loose tops and looping a ponytail holder through my buttonhole to sort of keep my unbuttoned pants up.
An ex-boyfriend of mine had a great way of putting the effect onions had on him: “They’re repeating on me,” he’d say, keeping things classy. I never had that issue, until I was pregnant. Then, just a slice of red onion on a sandwich would give me the worst heartburn.
Pregnancy is a tough time for those of us who have dealt with body image issues for most of our adult lives. Facing my growing figure in the shower every day was both thrilling and crushing. I had spent decades trying to be a certain size, sabotaging my efforts with disordered eating and negative self-talk. When I finally achieved what I thought was my goal (as it turned out, I would be caught in a perpetual cycle of wanting to lose those last five pounds), I was able to enjoy it for a few years, and then my husband and I decided to start a family. Seeing myself expand, even if it was for the most wonderful reason I could have, was bittersweet.
Ultimately, pregnancy enabled me to see that my body was more than a prop for piece of clothing in a particularly tiny size. Instead, it was nurturing vessel that built my child, causing me to appreciate it in ways I was never able to before having kids.
Putting On Boots
Bending over was a chore. Even sliding into rain boots was a struggle. There is nothing easy about having to deal with something close to the floor when your midsection is an unforgiving beach ball pressing on all your internal organs.
My favorite summer activity is plopping into an inner tube and just floating around in a lake, pool, or any body of water that would accommodate me. Try climbing into one of those when you’re sporting a belly the size of a Rushmore head, though. Not happening. My pregnant ass was relegated to crouching in the baby pool for a refreshing, and confidence-busting, summer.
I was about six months pregnant with my daughter when summer arrived and, all of a sudden, hitting the beach and sitting out by the pool were no-nos. All the material I was reading was warning against sun exposure, so I got paranoid that even just walking to the subway in the morning would be an issue unless I covered up from head to toe. That was not a fun summer.
It was cute to read about how big my fetus was getting: the size of a watermelon seed, a kumquat, a blue ribbon-winning tomato. Then it got weird going grocery shopping. I’d palm a lemon and be consumed by guilt that I was even thinking of zesting it.