Pregnancy “Secrects” No One Mentions

When my friend the Rose had her second child, I visited them in the hospital. She clambered out of bed in strikingly large underwear — stuff bigger than anything my grandmother wore — that had a lovely fishnet overlay. “Like it?” she asked, laughing. The net keeps you together after you have the baby and the Jolly Green Giant grannypants secretly house a massive pad to catch all the drainage that continues after the baby is born.

If you thought it was just baby and water, you’re wrong. My students have asked about the placenta so we talked about how you have to expel the placenta after the baby. Then I told them about things people do with it such as burying it under a tree, which I thought was ridiculous until several friends said they did it and now I’m considering it, too. There is the stew (link is not for faint of heart) which still sounds repulsive or the “freeze dry” option in which capsules of placenta are made that you can take. Placenta has great healing qualities, according to some, including helping reduce post partum depression. Hmmm.

But you knew all that, right? What else no one really tells you? That your back will hurt while doing the dishes because you no longer belly up to the counter. Well, you do, but you can’t really reach the counter. The forced bend to get to the dishes in the sink stresses the lower back.

Not only will you go to the bathroom more often, but the process takes longer. At some point, most women can’t see their toes. I was surprised the day my friend asked if I still could. “Of course,” I thought, only to find belly, not big toes in my view. If you can’t see your toes, you most certainly can’t see your pubic area — forget shaving (or at least shaving neatly). If you really need to have your short and curlies culled, either see a waxer or ask your partner. So, not only will you have trouble shaving, but, and maybe this is more than you want to know, if you can’t reach to shave well, have fun tidying up post pee.

Kicking is the sweetest thing in the world to experience while you are pregnant. Being kicked in the ribs at 3am is not.

You will generate a lot of snot. Keep tissues handy.

Your hair won’t fall out, but you might learn to hate it, too. (Apparently it will go back to its normal, fall out state about four months after birth when it comes out in clumps.)

If you have an aura that says, “Do not touch my fucking belly, stranger,” generally strangers will not. Only one person I do not know has touched my belly. Others have eyed it, which irritates me to know end now that I am 37 weeks pregnant. I am pregnant. I do not need silent “holy shit”s from people or smug “ah, she’s pregnant” looks. Really, by this stage, the bloom is off.

Your breasts will look like something from Wild Kingdom.

Your feet will look like a post-modern ceramics class experiment.

You will pat your baby’s butt through your belly all the time. You will talk to the baby all the time. You will squish the baby behind the steering wheel of your car and bonk it on things that seem far away but aren’t.

You will become impatient waiting to meet the baby.

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