by Maggie Lamond Simone
Excerpt from her book, From Beer to Maternity
Nine Months, 65 Pounds
“There she was just a-waddlin’ down the street, singing doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo, belly so big she could barely see her feet, singing doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo …”
Yep, we’re soon going to enter the somewhat terrifying realm of parenthood, as demonstrated by my changing body (amusingly reminiscent of Jabba the Hut) and my emotional state (not-so-amusingly reminiscent of “The Exorcist.”) It finally happened. Not that I was under any pressure or anything.
There’d been some concern, of course. My sister-in-law approached the baby race as an actual competition (and you can bet that may be a little more than I needed to know about my brother), while my mother developed a charming habit of looking at her watch every time I came home. As if anything’s going to happen when I’m visiting my mother.
My mother-in-law handled the whole situation very well, with only a very few impeccably-placed sighs here and there, while my dear husband spent more than his fair share of time pondering the possible tax effects of children heading to college as Social Security kicks in.
But everyone can now relax, except, of course, me. I can’t relax because a) I really, really liked being a size 3, and b) at the end of all this, an 8-lb. person is somehow going to leave me through an exit the size of an olive pit. I’ve therefore assembled some suggestions and observations for people who are not currently pregnant, to help ease the way for those of us who are.
1. Lose the dismissive, “Get over yourself, women give birth every day” attitude. People die every day, too. They still need support. It’s not like we’re asking for special treatment or anything. . . wait a minute. Yes we are. We’re growing babies here.
2. Fathers, imagine having the flu for three straight months and still having to work, cook, clean, and take care of the kids and dog. Help out. At least try to look busy.
3. Reading books doesn’t cause the symptoms we experience. If that were the case, we’d all have gone through “sympathy pregnancies” in sixth grade health class. The symptoms are real, so don’t try to convince yourself – or us – that we’ve imagined them. Trust me. That head-spinning routine is not a pretty sight.
4. Don’t blanche at the clothes we have to buy. This isn’t a day job that allows us to go back to our regular wardrobe nights and weekends.
5. Society likes thin people. Many of us have spent the majority of our lives trying to get or stay that way, so gaining weight – even for this – can be difficult. If you’re going to say, “You don’t even look pregnant,” you may as well add, “It just looks like you’ve gained thirty pounds.” Be tactful. Lie if you have to. Tell us we look great.
6. Resist the urge to snicker when we’re stuck on our backs in the bathtub like turtles. Remember that while the gravity problem that prevents us from performing certain basic maneuvers will soon fade, our memories will not.
Now, don’t get me wrong. My husband and I have spent many evenings of late discussing the end of life as we know it, and we’ve concluded it’ll be the best thing that ever happened to us. But I’m definitely not handling the journey very gracefully, because beautiful though it is, graceful it is not. And if it’s going to come out kicking and screaming anyway, then darn it, this baby’s going to learn from a pro.
“Now I’m so nauseous nearly every single day, singin’ doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo, so just give me my crackers and get out of my way. . . , singin’ doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo. . .