pregnancy lessons learned


As I am near to the halfway point in this pregnancy thing, I thought I would share some lessons learned. In the spirit of Continuous Improvement, you may want to add them to your Six Sigma pregnancy database:

1. Upon first viewing that positive pregnancy test, I should have rushed to my computer to buy a Bella Band. This would have made it completely unnecessary for me to walk around with my pants unzipped for two months. But, really, nothing is more attractive than a not-visibly-pregnant bloated woman with her pants rubber banded together.

2. You need to immediately shift your bra paradigm. You used to buy bras based on their "cute" or "sexy" look (and you never, ever tried them on), now bras are foundation garments, in a true architectural sense. They have load baring walls and buttresses. You now need bras that were designed by an engineer, not some flaky designer. Buy only one bra at a time, as buying in multiples of the same design will only assure you of hating that style (you will, of course, always hate the way they look. I'm talking about the way they feel). Also, no matter how large your breasts have grown, they will be bigger tomorrow. A bra extender is key.

3. Far, far before you have to worry about not sleeping on your stomach for baby's sake, you will not be able to do so because your bosoms will be entirely to sore. Oh, and you will never sleep through the night again, but that's more due to your bladder.

4. You will have to spend 10 - 15 minutes longer styling your hair each morning, in months 1 - 3 (for me this was a 1000% increase in time). The reason is that your hair will instantly double in volume upon fertilization. These hairs will be very short in the beginning and they will stick straight up, making you look like the victim of some horrible chemical accident. They must be carefully pasted down. Don't worry if they aren't perfect, though, because they will most likely spring back up the minute you walk out of the door.

5. Be prepared for the strangest health advice from the most unlikely people. At least three times a day, you will receive a lecture about some totally random and unsubstantiated health "fact". If you are seen eating a salad, someone will come up to you and tell you about how the thickeners in commercial salad dressing will make your baby blind, or something crazy like that. In the eyes of the public, you will never again make a correct choice about anything from food to laundry detergent to cleaning products.

6. There is almost nothing black and white about being pregnant. Actually, I take that back. There is nothing that is universally accepted as being "ok" to do/ingest/use while pregnant, and there are not too many things that are universally accepted as being off limits. Your life can easily turn into a constant battle to balance the possible side effects. Things that you had never thought about can suddenly seem very dangerous: flying (exposure to radiation), showering (is it too hot? you are boiling your baby), eating alfalfa sprouts (death by e. coli), etc.

7. You will never tire of telling your mother about how everything she ever knew about motherhood is wrong, harmful, and considered child abuse in some states. For example, a young baby should never be put to sleep on their stomach (which is how she did it) because they will DIE of SIDS. And you can't use a blanket on them in the crib (again, certain death). And a baby should never wear a coat in a car seat because they weren't tested with that extra bulk (death! death!). The list goes on and on. Wrap this speech up by adding that it was a wonder that you even survived and you think she may need some additional training before your sweet pea is ever at her house unsupervised.

8. Avoid the employee break room like the plague. Every time you enter, someone will have just finished microwaving curried mackerel and you will want to projectile vomit a la Exorcist all over the walls. Also DO NOT open the employee's refrigerator. Just trust me.

9. Throw away an entire drawer's worth of files in your office to make room for snacks and water. You never want to be hungry in the first three months. That kind of hunger is a hunger the likes of which you have never known. It can come upon you with the speed of a freight train and make you feel nauseous, shaky, and all broken out in a cold sweat in a microsecond. So stock up, and hide some in your purse and your car. Because if you ever run out of snacks and have to get something from the vending machine, well, refer to number 5.

10. Pregnancy is a lot like puberty. You will have acne. You breasts will grow. You will be hormonally unbalanced and maybe just a touch crazy. Be prepared.

11. Pay particular attention to the waistband of any pants or skirts that you are considering. That waist band will never show (unless you want to look like Humpty Dumpty) so imagine what it would look like under a shirt. Remember that your stomach will be pressing it outward and your shirt will be resting directly on top of it (not hanging an inch in front of it like it used to). The side tab waistband that used to be a favorite of yours will now become a freakish lump on your belly. Also, maternity pants mostly are made to lie at or over your belly and you don't want any of those horridly thin non-pregnant ladies to see just how high you pull up your pants.

12. Maternity stores are evil. Yes, all of them. They are horrifically overpriced and the return policies all suck. Oh you THINK you won't be using the return policy, but remember that you will increase in size on a daily basis (like the little girl who turned into a blueberry in Willy Wonka). Instead of shopping at the Mimi Maternity store, shop at the Mimi Maternity boutique inside Marshall Fields. They have a ninety day return policy instead of Mimi's 10 day, exchange only policy of evil. Actually, just skip the mall and go to Target. Or shop on eBay or at Old Navy.

I am so full of wisdom, am I not? yea.

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