So you're pregnant. Congratulations on this happy occasion! What's that, friend? You're nervous? Because you feel like you barely have your sh*t together and now you're staring down nine months of challenge followed by a lifetime of even more challenging challenges? Because you're a self-described hot mess? It's OK. You're not the first hot mess pregnant lady and you sure as hell won't be the last. In fact, allow me to introduce you to the hot mess mom's guide to pregnancy, as written by me: a hot mess mom, a hot mess woman, a hot mess human, and a three-time hot mess pregnant lady (emeritus).
So let's get one thing clear straight off the bat: the glowing, beautiful images you see of pregnancy in magazines and on social media? Chances are that isn't going to be you and it definitely won't be representative of your own pregnancy experience. Because, girl, you're a hot mess, and that level of graceful gestation is bestowed upon only the luckiest of ladies to begin with. Hey, that's OK. You have some advantages over those people. Chief among them, you give none of the f*cks, which is an invaluable asset in pregnancy and, indeed, in parenthood.
While this skill comes naturally to most, about 90 percent of people lose that state of innocent after years of the damn patriarchy telling them all the things they should be and how much they fail. It takes a master to get back to their natural, no-f*ck-giving state of serenity. As a hot mess master you're, like, a not-giving-a-f*ck Jedi. That alone is pretty special. So how are you going to get through this #blessed time? Well, soon-to-be hot mess mom, allow me to divulge:
Step 1: If You Have A Child Already, Introduce Them To Their New Mommy: TV!
Honey, you've got a lot going on. You're pukey. You're tired. You're just kind of done and it's only been a couple weeks. It's not that you love the child living outside of your tumultuous womb any less than you did before you got knocked up again, but sometimes being the best mommy you can be means stepping back from doing some of the usual mommy stuff when you need to rest.
Trust: your kid will not mind. Your kid will think it is the best thing ever. I mean, let's be honest; the fine residents of Sesame Street are going to do an excellent job bringing up your little one. They've been at this for 40-something years. Everything is going to be awesome (and so educational)!
Step 2: Enjoy A Healthy Breakfast Of Whatever The Hell You Can Eat Without Throwing Up
Oooh. Look Healthy Pregnancy R Us Magazine has this awesome recipe for a spinach, kale, quinoa, and egg white quiche. HA! OK. Why don't you just pour it directly into the toilet to save some time?
I don't know about you, but there was no way my morning sickness-stricken tummy could have kept that, or anything remotely like that, down. So you do what you have to do, girl. French toast? Pop Tarts? Dry cereal eaten two at a time over the course of an hour? "Fed is best" doesn't just apply to Teams Formula Fed and Breastfed. Enjoy whatever you can as best you can, just try to eat something.
Step 3: Exercise By Exercising Your Right To Sit Down And Stay There For Nine Months
Come on with that ridiculousness. I mean really. Your glorious, hot mess self can barely muster the energy to pick up the pace and walk briskly to the subway when you're running late for work. Now your doctor is telling you to go to prenatal aerobics classes? Yeah, I suggest you let the baby exercise on their own time if it's so important to them! You just chill, mama.
Step 4: Avoid All Sad Media By Any Means Necessary
Once you start crying (and you will cry at the drop of a damn hat) you will not be able to stop and you'll probably dehydrate. Stay away from Nicholas Sparks novels, movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels, Oprah specials, Disney movies, the news, and shows like This Is Us. You will be a wreck. If you see that a Sarah Mclachlan ASPCA commercial is coming on, run from the room immediately. (Bonus: you can then report back to your doctor that you exercised that day.)
Step 5: Meet Your New Best Friend: Tissues!
Because you're going to be leaking so many body fluids over the next few months. You've got your tears, which we have already established can be induced quickly and do not stop. Those tears are often accompanied by snot and spit.
Seriously, just think of any orifice and then realize you're going to be leaking from there, often at inopportune times, way more than usual. You'll also be leaking from places you didn't used to leak, like from your nipples. It's the worst and it's messy but tissues will help you. As a hot mess, you already know that you should, of course, keep those tissues crumpled up in your bra for easy access.
Step 6: Wear Maternity Jeans Whenever You Damn Well Please
Hey, if that pee stick is positive, you're pregnant and you can wear pregnant lady jeans. It doesn't matter if you haven't gained weight yet or that you aren't showing. Those stretchy, comfy yet fashionable jeans are your right. And you know what? There's no law, federal or in any state, saying you can't wear those pants well past menopause. Don't let someone else's labels define you or your life. That label isn't the boss of you. Spread your wings and fly to the sun, hot mess mom.
Step 7: Buy A Fancy Notebook To Serve As A Pregnancy Journal
Write exactly one, detailed entry early in your first trimester. Ignore it until just after your shower, where you apologize for not writing more frequently. Then ignore it all together for the rest of forever. Three months after the birth of your child, rip out the five pages you wrote on, store them in a folder in your desk, and resolve to use the journal for some other purpose. Never use the journal.
Step 8: Create A Filing System For Any Ultrasound Pictures You Get
By which I mean you should put them in that pile of papers and mail that you're "going to sort through when you have the time to really look at everything." Rediscover them sometimes around the time your kid goes to kindergarten. Sob at how big they've gotten. Dry your eyes with a tissue from your bra.
Step 9: Eat All Your Feelings
Every single one. There is no sadness, joy, anger, or pain that was not made better by ice cream. Remember that, hot mess mom.
Step 10: Don't Even Dream About Mastering The Art Of Peeing In A Cup
You're going to get pee all over your hands every doctor's appointment starting around week 24, because you will not be able to see your vulva past your belly. That's OK. In the end, it's natural and it's excellent practice for having a child, who will piss all over you and everything you love with impunity.
Step 11: Just Stop Shaving
You can't see what you're doing, your coordination is off, and you're holding a sharp object. Who are you fooling?
(If you don't normally shave anyway, you are one step ahead of the game, which probably isn't a terribly familiar feeling for you, you beautiful hot mess. Enjoy it.)
Step 12: Get Creative With "Nesting"
Who says nesting has to be a flurry of organization and cleaning activities. Who says nesting can't be taking everything you have purchased for the baby and throwing it in the middle of the floor in a crumpled-looking heap. Seriously: look at a bird's nest. It's a mess. It's full of poop and feathers and dirt. So doesn't it make sense that "nesting" should be pretty messy as well? Deep thoughts, man.
Step 13: Realize That, To Some Degree Or Another, All Pregnant Women Are A Hot Mess
This is a really trying time. I know it's fashionable to use "hot mess" as a derogatory or self-deprecating term, but believe me when I tell you that just about all pregnant women feel that same sense of overwhelmed chaos you're experiencing. Your fellow gestating sisters stand with you (probably at a buffet because OMG we're starving).