I was walking down an aisle of Target when suddenly I was (quite literally) swarmed by a bunch of local high school cheerleaders. They continued walking in my direction, like an army of bodyguards, right through the baby clothes section.
“I don’t ever want a baby,” one of the girls said to her teammates. (They all agreed.) “I just want to be pregnant to buy maternity clothes.”
Her friends agreed.
I was gobsmacked. I wanted to turn around and tell her HOW MANY THINGS WERE WRONG WITH THAT SENTENCE, except I didn’t have the words. (So naturally I took out my iPhone and updated my Facebook status, to publicly open up the ridicule.)
But it’s only now, looking back at my pregnancy, that I realize how idiotic that statement is. There are so many things about pregnancy that seemed so much cooler before the pregnancy. So many overrated aspects of pregnancy.
Here are 10 things that I thought would be way better than they actually were during pregnancy:
1. Maternity Clothes 1 of 10
2. Eating for Two 2 of 10I can't count how many times I heard, "You're so lucky you can eat whatever you want now!" As if I had a valid excuse to get fat. Truth is, I was way more conscious (read: neurotic) of what I was putting into my body during pregnancy. AND we're not giving birth to another full-grown adult; it's a 7-lb. baby. All of those brownies and sundaes and third helpings will still be there after the baby's out.
3. Working Until the End 3 of 10I remember when New York State Representative Kirsten Gillibrand got a standing ovation for working until the day she went into labor. And that's how it's viewed, isn't it? Standing ovation worthy? We congratulate and marvel at the women who can work right until their water breaks — and I thought it would give me some cool bragging rights. But coming from someone who did such a thing, it's so much smarter to rest and relax. Especially to avoid all of those stuck-in-traffic-and-going-into-labor nightmares that WILL keep you up at night. There's no competition going on.
4. Pregnancy Parking 4 of 10I remember seeing a lot more "stork parking" spots before I was actually pregnant. Why? Because A) they don't exist except for in select, generous, awesome parking lots, or B) they're taken — and not always by a pregnant person. There's no hanging tag to indicate pregnancy, which I've personally heard a few young girls mock. ("Try proving I'm not pregnant!")
5. Planned Pregnancies 5 of 10
6. Glowing Skin 6 of 10I admit it: I was expecting to have an unmistakable "glow" during pregnancy — like every movie and TV show said I would. What did I get? Break outs. And more break outs. Hormonal changes and the extra weight can do a lot to your skin (pimples, stretch marks, varicose veins, "pregnancy mask" sun spots, etc.), but I wasn't so lucky to "glow."
7. Baby Kicking 7 of 10OK, this one is a little touchy. Of course a baby kicking isn't overrated, because that means your little one is alive and well. And there is something sweet about feeling movements — connecting with your child — when no one else has any idea he's communicating with you. BUT it's uncomfortable. The kicks and movements keep you up at night, jab at your ribs, and press on your bladder. And sometimes it just feels downright gross.
8. Thick, Lustrous Hair 8 of 10Oh how I was looking forward to beautiful, shiny, healthy looking hair during my pregnancy. But no one told me that all of that extra hair WOULD FALL OUT after the baby comes, making me feel like I was balding.
9. Cocoa Butter (and other stretch mark creams) 9 of 10Overrated. It's one thing to keep your stretched skin hydrated (because it can get itchy!), but as far as preventing stretch marks? Talk to your genes.
10. Professional Prenatal Massage 10 of 10I loved a good foot massage as much as the next swollen-ankled pregnant woman, but pricey professional massages? I had two prenatal massages, and I felt so uncomfortable and overheated during both of them. For me, it was anything but relaxing.
What parts of pregnancy do you feel are overrated? Or at least unrealistically portrayed?
Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.