5 Things I’ve Learned about Pregnancy: A Listicle

Photo via TipsTimesAdmin on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/tipstimesadmin/11557919223/in/photolist-iBkmHn-5Zkxe7-idL6v-8cZmLZ-71yZLi-dZicFZ-xDgCP1-4PNvSx-5fetgN-aw9Sth-xDkU3u-g1oZpj-7Q8YoN-kjfvT-5cYUWv-5siQc1-8d3vyA-uNbrPA-92MRDG-pZAuKB-47FSSy-3zQatC-oN5ezy-4nPoNZ-67f7SG-crtLkL-6aMC5C-7MFL5L-7WiKe6-7XfFgh-4nMcjc-8TXFGT-7Lsz4B-4zD18k-6aHtCt-8U1Hr9-4y5b47-8dbGLR-pJcbV9-4nMcfX-4yKz3R-9be9XB-7XcrWa-75cRM8-3ay81x-6Mhp4M-4z9fgd-7Kn71C-4yDfTJ-5d4gDA

  1. Pregnancy is hard, even when it’s easy.
    I’ve had it really easy so far*. I was tired and nauseated the first trimester, but could still function in my daily life. The second trimester was mostly boring, despite a few irrational mood swings about Ryan drinking when I could not, and I’ve had no major health complications (of which there are many possible). I think my body might be made for doing this stuff**.

    And yet, I’m not one of those women who will claim to love pregnancy. (For the record, I think you’re all lying.) Things ache in weird places. I have an invader in my body who sucks out the nutrients and for whom I had to give up coffee***, diet coke, and gin. I can no longer comfortably tie my shoes, I have to take naps in the middle of the day, my abdominal muscles feel like they are being stretched over a frame, and most of the time my sleep is shit.

    And that ignores all the emotional stuff that comes with it. Pregnancy is a big friggin’ deal. So basically, all pregnant women deserve a prize for continuing our species, but women who have it especially hard – 9 months of puking, forced bed rest, who have to work manual labour jobs on their feet all day – should get a fucking parade.

    And yes, I know some people choose not to have babies. You might deserve a parade for something else in your life, that’s awesome. But be extra nice to your pregnant friends even if you think they’re annoying.

2. The human body is nuts. Why are we not celebrating how amazing women’s bodies are on the inside? (Like, actually on the inside. Guts and stuff.)

Seriously. How am I still upright? #thingslizzgrew

A photo posted by @opinionatedlizz on Sep 15, 2015 at 8:34am PDT

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I took a photo today – 34 weeks less a day – and as I looked at it, I couldn’t believe I was still standing upright. Even more amazing was when we looked at a diagram of a pregnant women in our prenatal class and I realized that nearly¬†all of my internal organs have been displaced – my stomach is basically in my throat, guys – and yet, somehow continue to function.

I have an actual tiny human inside my stomach right now, I grew it from nothing, and I am single-handedly keeping it alive. And no, I’m not a special snowflake. Women everywhere can just grow new humans. It’s amazing. For all women’s bodies are culturally devalued (and also over-valued as baby-making ovens), they are biologically awesome.

3. Forcing women to carry babies and become parents before they are ready is absurd.
Really early on in my pregnancy, I was scared. Yes, I did this deliberately, and yes, I wanted this baby really badly, but I was terrified. There were so many possible things I could do wrong. It would take 10 months and a huge toll on my body, and at the end, I would be left with a helpless human that I would have to keep alive – not just for a few weeks, but forever. And I would have to teach it to be a good human, and a kind human, and hope I could love it the way it needed to be loved. I knew we were going to be poor for a long time since daycare in Toronto is equivalent to mortgage payments. I sat in a movie theatre one day and panicked about how hard it will be for Ryan and I to just go to a damn movie without it costing $100. And to be honest, I was a bit resentful of losing control of my own body. And the only thing that balanced that out was knowing that I would get a baby at the end that I truly wanted.
But if you had all that fear and didn’t want, or weren’t, for whatever reason, able to handle a baby right now/ever, it would be awful. I’ve always been pro-choice, but actually being pregnant made me appreciate so much more the need to have access to safe abortions and birth control. Because pregnancy is really hard, and at the end you have a baby that needs a hell of a lot of work to make it into a productive member of society and forcing that on anyone who isn’t interested or isn’t capable of doing that work is both cruel and stupid.

When I read about companies fighting against providing birth control to their employees as part of drug plans for “moral” reasons, the only conclusion I can come to is that they really hate women, and they really hate babies.

4. Midwives are amazing. I am lucky.

I guess we timed things well, because I was more than able to find a space with a midwife (despite the small number available). So far, they’ve been really awesome, and I’ve really appreciated going through this madness with the support of health providers that I not only trust, but who don’t treat me like I’m a moron. They give me choice (sometimes more than I would like), and they assume I’m a rational adult who can make decisions about my own body. I get to see the same people week after week, I’ll know the person delivering my baby, and afterwards, they will come to my home multiple times to ensure I and the baby are doing well. No trudging out to a clinic 2 days post-partum, possibly in the middle of a cold November rain storm (or snowstorm), sleep-deprived, bleeding and sore, and sitting in a waiting room full of sick people. How humane.

Yes, I’m glad doctors and hospitals exist for doing the things that actually require doctors’ skills, but until I’m in need of those special skills (hopefully I won’t ever be in need of them), having a publicly funded alternative is the best.

5. Having a pregnancy buddy is essential.
I know that not everyone is as invested in the details of my pregnancy as we are****. I’ve been trying really hard not to overwhelm people with details about weird things happening in my body (night mumbling) or what strange animal my baby is equivalent to this week (ferret) or what new things we got for the baby this week (Lies. It’s baby shoes and they are the greatest thing on earth.), but it’s hard because it’s basically all I can think about. So I can’t stress enough how essential it has been to have someone to talk about all the minutiae, who not only wants to hear all your crazy, but who has a similar philosophy about pregnancy so she doesn’t make your crazy worse.

*Please don’t punish me for being cocky, universe.
**Pretty please. I promise I know you could smite me at any moment, universe.
**For 6 months. I’m back!
****Once she’s out, all bets are off. Unfollow me now because my baby will be the cutest, most special baby in all the world and I will make you look at pictures of her fat limbs and frowny face.