1. Are you scared?
Of what? Of the dark? Yeah a little. I never quite outgrew that. When I have to sleep alone, I totally don’t dim the lights the whole way. Oh of becoming a parent? Scared is not the word. I’m excited, but I’m aware there will be a lot of challenges and frustrations, but I expect more positives than negatives, so I’m choosing to focus on the positives. Oh, scared of labor? No, the baby has to come out. I knew this before I decided to get pregnant. Oh not of labor in general but of the pain? No, should I be? I mean does being scared and fixated on an unknown amount of pain make it better cause to me that seems like that sort of focus would make it worse.
2. Your feet!
Yes, those are my feet. Yes, they are swollen. No, they aren’t that bad. Yes, I’m ready for them not to be swollen. Let’s keep going around stating the obvious some more. My belly is round. My skin is brown. I still can sure enough get down.
3. You must be miserable.
Well I do live in a town I’m ready to leave and I am working just a job instead of the career I went to school for. And my husband is still working on a PhD that I thought would be over by now, and I did have two of my chickens die in the last year and I’m sad every time I look at my flock because there seems to be too few, but am I miserable? Oh you mean about being pregnant? No, I’m not miserable. Yes I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, but I’m carrying a full-term baby and all the things that have sustained his life for the last 37 weeks. That’s not misery; that’s amazing. Sure I can’t sleep how I want, and I’m too slow and heavy to work out like I normally would, but I’m pregnant. I expected my body and my life to change as part of the process. I also recognize it’s a process with an end date. It’s not forever. Discomfort is part of being pregnant, but I haven’t been miserable. I’ve been pregnant, and it’s a temporary condition.
4. Home birth weirds me out. I mean I know people have had babies for centuries without hospitals but…
Elective c-sections weird me out. Inductions weird me out. Nurseries that separate babies from moms weird me out. IVs weird me out. Only being allowed ice chips weirds me out. The idea of taking drugs that could prolong my labor, drop my baby’s heart rate, and do a number of known and established side effects weird me out. Strangers coming and going who have a lot of other people to take care of and work in an assembly line manner weird me out. I know our birthing choice isn’t the most popular right now, but I’m never quite sure what people want from me when they say this. Do they want me to convince them? Honestly, I have no interest in that just as I have no interest in being convinced I need to give birth in a hospital. I assume most people are as informed and educated as they choose to be about their birth process, and they have chosen what works best for them and their family. I don’t know why people don’t assume the same for us.
5. You’re not going to make it.
It always seemed like the “you’re not going to make it comments” were about my petite stature. Well surprise, a 5-foot-1-and-a-half-inch-tall woman who didn’t weigh enough to give blood can take a pregnancy to term. Being short and fit does not mean my body is incapable.
6. You’re still at work?
Yes, still am. I will be at work until I can no longer work. Unfortunately maternity leave benefits at least at MSU are not as generous as people think, and since I am the breadwinner married to a graduate student on a stipend, we don’t have the financial luxury to take copious amounts of time off. I’m often told I should be at home resting, but when I say, “Sure I’ll do that if you’ll pay my bills” no one takes me up on the offer. Besides I feel fine. I’d rather be at work getting more done right now. It passes the time, and I get paid and continue to earn leave I’ll need to be able to take off time to stay with my baby once he’s here.
7. You’re still pregnant?
I’m only 37/38 weeks. Yes, I’m still pregnant. No, my doctor hasn’t told me when he’ll induce. See #4. Yes, I’m ok. See #3. No reason to stop by and ask me every day if I’m still pregnant. If my light is on and my door is open and I’m at my desk working, then yes, I’m still pregnant.
8. Is that safe for you to be doing?
If I didn’t think it were safe, why would I be doing it? Oh, what they’re saying is they don’t think I should be doing this. This usually relates to some physical activity like yoga or even traveling earlier on in the pregnancy. I must have missed the memo that I was supposed to sit on my rump for 40 weeks and watch TV. Life shouldn’t end with pregnancy. Labor is a physical activity. I plan on living my life and staying physical while listening to my body to know my limits.
9. I wish I got 12 weeks of paid leave to sit at home.
Me too, but I don’t. I get 12 weeks where my employer can’t fire me because I’ve had a baby and I’m not at work. If I want to get paid for that time, I have to have saved up leave I’ve earned at the same rate as all other employees. Oddly enough, I’m familiar with the procedure and forms because it’s the exact same coverage I got for when I got mono a few years ago. Don’t worry, no special treatment of pregnant women here. Also even men have access to FMLA which is for more than just the birth of a child.
10. You look like you’re about to pop / you’re so tiny.
Being pregnant has made me more aware than ever that everyone sees the world through his own filter, and quite often that filter is based on their own prior experiences. This week at the grocery store one person told me I looked like I was about to pop and literally a few minutes later someone expressed shock I was as far along as I was because I was just so tiny. What am I, stuck in Goldilocks? Too big, too small, too hot, too cold, naw, I’m pretty sure I’m just right for this pregnancy. I look like what I look like at this point in the pregnancy.
Ladies, do you agree? What would you add to the list?
Alicia has been known to add chia and flax seed meal to brownies, so she can eat them guilt free. Besides teaching her one-year-old son to use gentle hands with their two dogs, two rabbits, flock of chickens, and one foster cat for a friend serving in the Peace Corps, she mostly spends too much time on the internet.